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Association between Benzene Exposure and Leukemia Risk Refined

, by DCEG Staff

In a follow-up to a long-term study of Chinese workers exposed to benzene, DCEG researchers observed increased risks for the combined grouping of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) with increasing cumulative exposure among individuals whose first exposure occurred before age 30, and whose exposure came within 10 years of diagnosis. They reported little evidence of exposure-response among workers exposed 10 or more years prior to diagnosis, regardless of age at first exposure. The risk for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) was increased in exposed versus unexposed workers, but appeared to increase and then decrease with increasing exposure. The findings were published December 6, 2018, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

There is international consensus that benzene exposure is causally related to AML, and more recent evidence of risk for MDS. However, there have been uncertainties about the exposure-response, particularly for risk by time since exposure and age at exposure. In this study, DCEG investigators applied novel, sophisticated statistical analysis to evaluate the combined risk for MDS/AML and for CML in a case-cohort study of 110,000 Chinese workers (followed between 1972-1999).


Linet M et al. “Benzene Exposure-Response and Risk of Myeloid Neoplasms in Chinese Workers: A Multi-Center Case-Cohort Study,” JNCI December 6, 2018. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI:10.1093/jnci/djy143

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