Differences in serum concentrations of organochlorine compounds by occupational social class in pancreatic cancer

Miquel Porta, Magda Bosch de Basea, Fernando G. Benavides, Tomàs López, Esteve Fernandez, Esther Marco, Juan Alguacil, Joan O. Grimalt, Elisa Puigdomènech

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The relationships between social factors and body concentrations of environmental chemical agents are unknown in many human populations. Some chemical compounds may play an etiopathogenic role in pancreatic cancer. Objective: To analyze the relationships between occupational social class and serum concentrations of seven selected organochlorine compounds (OCs) in exocrine pancreatic cancer: dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p′-DDT), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p′-DDE), 3 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene, and β-hexachlorocyclohexane. Methods: Incident cases of exocrine pancreatic cancer were prospectively identified, and interviewed face-to-face during hospital admission (n=135). Serum concentrations of OCs were analyzed by high-resolution gas chromatography with electron-capture detection. Social class was classified according to occupation. Results: Multivariate-adjusted concentrations of all seven compounds were higher in occupational social classes IV-V (the less affluent) than in classes I-II; they were higher as well in class III than in classes I-II for four compounds. Concentrations of six OCs were higher in manual workers than in non-manual workers (p<0.05 for PCBs). Social class explained statistically between 3.7% and 5.7% of the variability in concentrations of PCBs, and 2% or less variability in the other OCs. Conclusions: Concentrations of most OCs were higher in the less affluent occupational social classes. In pancreatic cancer the putative causal role of these persistent organic pollutants may not be independent of social class. There is a need to integrate evidence on the contribution of different social processes and environmental chemical exposures to the etiology of pancreatic and other cancers. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-379
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Beta-hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane
  • Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane
  • Etiology
  • Gender
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Organochlorine compounds
  • Pancreatic neoplasms
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Sex
  • Social class
  • Social factors


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