Research on environmental toxins and cancer
Background and purpose
In this project, the level of two groups of organochlorines, DDT and PCB, is analysed in samples from the Janus serum bank. The results of the laboratory analyzes are used to calculate the risk of developing several different cancers:
- Breast cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Endometrial cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Cancer of the brain
- Pancreatic cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Liver cancer
- Thyroid cancer
The collection for Janus Serum Bank started in the 1970s, and the samples are therefore ideal for investigating levels of pollutants such as PCBs and DDT, which were banned in Norway in the 1970s and 80s. Serum samples from just over 2,000 individuals with different types of cancer have been analysed, in addition to samples from a healthy control group of just over 1,000 people.
Organochlorins are a group of organic compounds that contain at least one chlorine atom. The substances have different build-up and very different chemical properties. Some organochlorins have been shown to be carcinogenic, and some are endocrine disruptors. It is questioned whether this may increase the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer, endometrial cancer and prostate cancer.
DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-dichloroethane) is chlorinated hydrocarbon that was widely used in agriculture, and for fighting malaria from the 1940s. The substance was banned in Norway in 1970, although the deepening of spruce trees to combat spruce weevils was allowed at the reforestation schools until 1989. It breaks down very slowly in nature, and is highly toxic (Great Medical Encyclopedia)
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were used commercially from the 1930s in a number of industries, and were used in electrical appliances, transformers, capacitors, sealants, paints, and as adhesives around insulated glass windows. The substance is oil-like and burn-proof, and was therefore used as hydraulic oil in underground mines, aircraft and smelters.
PCBs were banned from use and trading in Norway in 1980. Much of the original amount is now out of use, but only about half of the PCBs that have been taken out have been handled properly. The rest may have ended up in ordinary landfills, or in nature. The substance breaks down slowly and dissolves into fat. This means that PCBs accumulate in the food chain, and humans and predators are therefore particularly vulnerable. It can be passed on to the next generation through breast milk, via the womb to the fetus, and via egg circulation (http://www.miljostatus.no/PCB).
- Niehoff NM, Zabor EC, Satagopan J, Widell A, O'Brien TR, Zhang M, Rothman N, Grimsrud TK, Van Den Eeden SK, Engel LS. "Prediagnostic serum polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations and primary liver cancer: A case-control study nested within two prospective cohorts." Environmental Research. 2020;187:109690.
- Chen D, Grimsrud TK, Langseth H, Barr DB, Bassig BA, Blair A, Cantor KP, Gammon MD, Lan Q, Rothman N, Engel LS. "Prediagnostic serum concentrations of organochlorine pesticides and non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A nested case–control study in the Norwegian Janus Serum Bank Cohort." Environmental Research. 2020;187:109515. DOI
- Purdue MP, Lan Q, Langseth H, Grimsrud TK, Hildesheim A, Rothman N. "Pre-diagnostic serum sCD27 and sCD30 in serial samples and risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes" Int J Cancer. 2020;146(12):3312-3319. DOI
- Bassig BA, Shu XO, Sjödin A, Koh WP, Gao YT, Adams-Haduch J, Davis M, Wang R, Xiang YB, Engel LS, Purdue MP, Ji BT, Yang G, Jones RS, Langseth H, Hosgood HD, Grimsrud TK, Seow WJ, Wong JYY, Hu W, Chen D, Zheng W, Yuan JM, Lan Q, Rothman N. "Prediagnostic blood levels of organochlorines and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in three prospective cohorts in China and Singapore." Int J Cancer. 2020;146(3):839-849. DOI
- Bassig BA, Engel LS, Langseth H, Grimsrud TK, Cantor KP, Vermeulen R, Purdue MP, Barr DB, Wong JYY, Blair A, Rothman N, Lan Q. "Pre-diagnostic serum concentrations of organochlorines and risk of acute myeloid leukemia: A nested case-control study in the Norwegian Janus Serum Bank Cohort." Environment International. 2019;125:229-235. DOI
- Engel LS, Zabor EC, Satagopan J, Widell A, Rothman N, O'Brien TR, Zhang M, Van Den Eeden SK, Grimsrud TK. "Prediagnostic serum organochlorine insecticide concentrations and primary liver cancer: a case-control study nested within two prospective cohorts." International J Cancer. 2019;145(9):2360-2371. DOI
- Lerro CC, Jones RR, Langseth H, Grimsrud TK, Engel LS, Sjödin A, Choo-Wosoba H, Albert P, Ward MH. "A nested case-control study of polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, and thyroid cancer in the Janus Serum Bank cohort."
Environmental Research. 2018;165:125-132.DOI
- Satagopan JM, Sen A, Zhou Q, Lan Q, Rothman N, Langseth H, Engel LS. "Bayes and empirical bayes methods for reduced rank regression models in matched case-control studies." Biometrics. 2016;72(2):584-95. DOI
- Koutros S, Langseth H, Grimsrud TK, Barr DB, Vermeulen R, Portengen L, Wacholder S, Beane Freeman LE, Blair A, Hayes RB, Rothmann N, Engel LS. "Prediagnostic Serum Organochlorine Concentrations and Metastatic Prostate Cancer: A Nested Case-Control Study in the Norwegian Janus Serum Bank Cohort." Environ Health Perspect. 2015;123:867-872. DOI
- Purdue MP, Engel LS, Langseth H, Needham LL, Andersen A, Barr DB, Blair A, Rothman N, McGlynn KA. "Prediagnostic serum concentrations of organochlorine compounds and risk of testicular germ cell tumors." Environ Health Perspect 2009;117(10):1514-1519. DOI
- Angel LS, Laden F, Andersen A, Strickland PT, Blair A, Needham LL, Barr DB, Wolff MS, Helzlsouer K, Hunter DJ, Lan Q, Cantor KP, Comstock GW, Brock JW, Bush D, Hoover RN, Rothman N. "Polychlorinated biphenyl levels in peripheral blood and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: a report from three cohorts." Cancer Research. 2007;67(11):5545-5552. DOI
- Ward EM, Schulte P, Grajewski B, Andersen A, Patterson DG, Jr., Turner W, Jellum E, Deddens JA, Friedland J, Roeleveld N, Waters M, Butler MA, DiPietro E, Needham LL. "Serum organochlorine levels and breast cancer: a nested case-control study of Norwegian women." Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. PMID: 11142422