Exposure to multiple sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and breast cancer incidence

White, Alexandra J.; Bradshaw, Patrick T.; Herring, Amy H.; Teitelbaum, Susan L.; Beyea, Jan; Stellman, Steven D.; Steck, Susan E.; Mordukhovich, Irina; Eng, Sybil M.; Engel, Lawrence S.; Conway, Kathleen; Hatch, Maureen; Neugut, Alfred I.; Santella, Regina M.; Gammon, Marilie D.

Background: Despite studies having consistently linked exposure to single-source polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to breast cancer, it is unclear whether single sources or specific groups of PAH sources should be targeted for breast cancer risk reduction. Objectives: This study considers the impact on breast cancer incidence from multiple PAH exposure sources in a single model, which better reflects exposure to these complex mixtures. Methods: In a population-based case-control study conducted on Long Island, New York (N = 1508 breast cancer cases/1556 controls), a Bayesian hierarchical regression approach was used to estimate adjusted posterior means and credible intervals (CrI) for the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for PAH exposure sources, considered singly and as groups: active smoking; residential environmental tobacco smoke (ETS); indoor and outdoor air pollution; and grilled/smoked meat intake. Results: Most women were exposed to PAHs from multiple sources, and the most common included active/passive smoking and grilled/smoked food intake. In multiple-PAH source models, breast cancer incidence was associated with residential ETS from a spouse (OR = 1.20, 95%CrI = 1.03, 1.40) and synthetic firelog burning (OR = 1.29, 95%CrI = 1.06, 1.57); these estimates are similar, but slightly attenuated, to those from single-source models. Additionally when we considered PAH exposure groups, the most pronounced significant associations included total indoor sources (active smoking, ETS from spouse, grilled/smoked meat intake, stove/fireplace use, OR = 1.45, 95%CrI = 1.02, 2.04). Conclusions: Groups of PAH sources, particularly indoor sources, were associated with a 30–50% increase in breast cancer incidence. PAH exposure is ubiquitous and a potentially modifiable breast cancer risk factor.


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Environmental Health Sciences
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August 24, 2016