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Association Between Outdoor Air Pollution and Risk of Malignant and Benign Brain Tumors: The Multiethnic Cohort Study.



There are increasing concerns about the potential impact of air pollution on chronic brain inflammation and microglia cell activation, but evidence of its carcinogenic effects is limited.


We used kriging interpolation and land use regression models to estimate long-term air pollutant exposures of oxides of nitrogen (NOx, NO2), kriging interpolation for ozone (O3), carbon monoxide, and particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), and nearest monitoring station measurements for benzene for 103 308 men and women from the Multiethnic Cohort, residing largely in Los Angeles County from recruitment (1993-1996) through 2013. We used Cox proportional hazards models to examine the associations between time-varying pollutants and risk of malignant brain cancer (94 men, 116 women) and meningioma (130 men, 425 women) with adjustment for sex, race and ethnicity, neighborhood socioeconomic status, smoking, occupation, and other covariates. Stratified analyses were conducted by sex and race and ethnicity.


Brain cancer risk in men increased in association with exposure to benzene (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.55 to 7.55) and PM10 (HR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.00 to 3.23). Stronger associations with PM10 (HR = 3.02, 95% CI = 1.26 to 7.23), O3 (HR = 2.93, 95% CI = 1.09 to 7.88), and benzene (HR = 4.06, 95% CI = 1.17 to 18.2) were observed among Latino men. Air pollution was unrelated to risk of meningioma except that O3 exposure was associated with risk in men (HR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.02 to 3.06). Brain cancer risk in women was unrelated to air pollution exposures.


Confirmation of these sex differences in air pollution-brain cancer associations and the stronger findings in Latino men in additional diverse populations is warranted.

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