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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane serum levels and breast cancer risk: a case-control study from Mexico.

Some, but not all, epidemiological studies have suggested that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) may play a role in the development of breast cancer. These investigations have been conducted in countries where this substance has been banned for at least 20 years. We conducted a study in Mexico, a country in which DDT is still being used to control malaria. In a hospital-based case-control study, we compared 141 histologically confirmed cases of breast cancer with 141 age-matched controls (+/-3 years). All subjects were identified at three referral hospitals of Mexico City between March 1994 and April 1996. Reproductive histories and other variables were obtained by structured interviews, DDT/DDE levels were determined in serum by gas-liquid chromatography. The arithmetic mean of serum DDE in lipid basis was 562.48 +/- 676.18 ppb (range, 10.24-4661.44) for the cases and 505.46 +/- 567.22 ppb (range, 0.004 to 4361.75) for the controls, but this difference was not statistically significant. The age-adjusted odds ratios for breast cancer regarding the serum level of DDE were 0.69 (95% confidence interval, 0.38-1.24) and 0.97 (confidence interval, 0.55-1.70) for the contrasts between tertile 1 (lowest level) and tertiles 2 and 3, respectively. These estimates were unaffected by adjustment for body mass, accumulated time of breast-feeding and menopause, and other breast cancer risk factors. These results do not lend support to the hypothesis that DDT is causally related to breast cancer at the body-burden levels found in our study population but do not exclude the possibility that higher levels of exposure could still play a role in the etiology of this tumor.[1]


  1. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane serum levels and breast cancer risk: a case-control study from Mexico. López-Carrillo, L., Blair, A., López-Cervantes, M., Cebrián, M., Rueda, C., Reyes, R., Mohar, A., Bravo, J. Cancer Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
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