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The association between occupational asbestos exposure with the risk of incidence and mortality from prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Abstract

Background

There is conflicting evidence on the association between asbestos exposure and prostate cancer (PCa). Two recent meta-analyses have claimed that exposure is associated with increased PCa incidence and mortality, but they suffer from some methodological flaws. Given the potential importance of this research question, we aimed to perform a methodologically sound systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the association between occupational asbestos exposure and the incidence of and mortality from PCa.

Methods

We followed PRISMA guidelines to systematically search for pertinent articles in three relevant electronic databases: Pubmed, Scopus, and Embase, from their inception to July 2020. The methodological quality of included articles was evaluated using the US National Institutes of Health tool. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for PCa, as well as respective 95% confidence intervals (CIs), were extracted or calculated for each included cohort. Main and subgroup meta-analyses according to first year of employment, industry, asbestos type, and geographic region were performed.

Results

Sixty-five articles comprising 68 cohorts were included. PCa incidence and mortality were not significantly associated with occupational asbestos exposure (pooled SIR: 1.06, 95% CI: 1.00–1.13, P = 0.062; pooled SMR: 1.03, 95% CI: 0.99–1.06, P = 0.115). PCa incidence was higher among workers employed after 1960 (SIR: 1.10, 95% CI: 1.01–1.20). Pooled SIR was elevated in European (SIR: 1.09, 95% CI: 1.01–1.18) and UK cohorts (SIR: 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02–1.09). Mortality was elevated in North American cohorts (SMR: 1.06, 95% CI: 1.02–1.10). Studies of lower methodological quality appeared to yield elevated SIRs or SMRs.

Conclusions

This systematic review and meta-analysis provides evidence that men with occupational asbestos exposure have a PCa incidence and mortality similar to that of the general population. Temporal and geographical variables seem to be related to higher SMR or SIR.

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All the following authors meet the criteria for authorship, have approved the final manuscript, are entitled to be cited as its authors, and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. In particular: AG, EP and PB were responsible for the conception and design of the review; AG, MC, and NF contributed to the interpretation of data, and PB was responsible for data analysis; AG, MC, NF, and PB contributed to the drafting of the manuscript; AG, NF, and IM contributed to the data acquisition and interpretation; CC, IM, CZ, and EP contributed to data interpretation and revised the paper critically in terms of argument.

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Correspondence to Paolo Boffetta.

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Godono, A., Clari, M., Franco, N. et al. The association between occupational asbestos exposure with the risk of incidence and mortality from prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41391-021-00437-x

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