OBJECTIVES: Trichloroethylene (TCE) is suspected of association with elevated risk of cervical cancer. A case-control study was performed in a geographical area in which occupational TCE exposure is high. The study objective was to analyze the correlation between occupational TCE exposure and cervical cancer (including precancerous conditions).
METHODS: Case and control subjects were recruited by gynecologists. General and occupational data were collected by telephonic interviews. An industrial hygienist assessed occupational TCE exposure on a task-exposure matrix. Analysis focused on occupational TCE exposure at various levels and on cumulative dose. Multivariate analysis was performed to take account of the various risk factors.
RESULTS: In total, 67 case and 67 age-matched control subjects were included. Mean age was 36 years in both groups. Five of the possible general risk factors correlated significantly with cervical dysplasia or cancer: number of partners, history of genital or anal wart, interval between first period and first sexual relation, parity, and body mass index, the last three showing inverse correlation. Elevated risk was found in women who had had jobs as manual workers according to the PCS French classification (professions and socioprofessional categories), and production and related workers according to ISCO classification (International Standard Classification of Occupations), with odds ratios (ORs), adjusted on general and medical risk factors, of 7.68 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.39-42.54] and 7.48 (1.30-43.24), respectively, among skilled service sector workers; the adjusted OR was close to significance, at 4.67 (95% CI: 0.92-23.67). No occupational sectors were significantly associated with elevated risk. In all, 17 (25.4%) case and 15 (22.4%) control subjects were exposed to TCE: raw OR = 1.17 (95% CI: 0.54-2.52), adjusted OR = 1.51 (95% CI: 0.42-5.41). There was no significant correlation between cumulative dose and exposure time.
CONCLUSIONS: The study found no significantly increased risk of cervical dysplasia or cancer associated with occupational TCE exposure.