Journal Article

Plasma Concentrations of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and the Risk of Breast Cancer: A Congener-specific Analysis

Alain Demers, Pierre Ayotte, Jacques Brisson, Sylvie Dodin, Jean Robert and Éric Dewailly

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 155, issue 7, pages 629-635
Published in print April 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online April 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Plasma Concentrations of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and the Risk of Breast Cancer: A Congener-specific Analysis

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Some reports indicate that exposure to specific polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners is related to breast cancer risk. The authors recruited participants in a case-control study from October 1994 to March 1997 to assess the relation between breast cancer risk and concentrations of 14 PCB congeners measured in plasma lipids by high-resolution gas chromatography. Participants were incident cases of breast cancer (n = 314) and controls (n = 523) from the Quebec City region (Canada). Compared with controls, cases had significantly higher concentrations of PCB 99 (p = 0.02), PCB 118 (p = 0.03), and PCB 156 (p = 0.006). Associations were found between breast cancer risk and either PCB 118 (odds ratio (OR) = 1.60, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 2.53; fourth vs. first quartile) or PCB 156 (OR = 1.80, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.94; fourth vs. first quartile) concentration. Breast cancer risk was also associated with a total concentration of the three mono-ortho-substituted congeners 105, 118, and 156 expressed as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin toxic equivalents (OR = 2.02, 95% CI: 1.24, 3.28; fourth vs. first quartile). These results suggest that exposure to dioxin-like PCBs increases breast cancer risk. Alternatively, the results may be explained by differences between cases and controls regarding metabolic pathways involved in the biotransformation of both mono-ortho PCBs and estrogens. Am J Epidemiol 2002;155:629–35.

Keywords: breast neoplasms;; case-control studies;; estrogens;; polychlorinated biphenyls; CI, confidence interval;; odds ratio;; PCB, polychlorinated biphenyl;; TEQ, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin toxic equivalents.

Journal Article.  5026 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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