Pesticide exposure may increase testicular tumor risk

May 8, 2008

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as persistent organochlorine pesticides, is associated with the risk of both seminomatous and nonseminomatous testicular germ cell tumors, whereas exposure to chlordane compounds and metabolites may be associated with the risk of seminoma, according to a study published in an online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (April 28).

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as persistent organochlorine pesticides, is associated with the risk of both seminomatous and nonseminomatous testicular germ cell tumors, whereas exposure to chlordane compounds and metabolites may be associated with the risk of seminoma, according to a study published in an online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (April 28).

Because evidence suggests that testicular germ cell tumors are initiated in very early life, researchers say it is possible that exposure to these persistent organic pesticides during fetal life or via breast feeding may increase the risk of testicular germ cell tumors in young men.

Katherine A. McGlynn, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, and colleagues, studied prediagnostic serum samples from 754 case subjects and 928 control subjects enrolled in the Servicemen’s Testicular Tumor Environmental and Endocrine Determinants Study. The samples were analyzed for specific pesticides.

Adjusted odds ratios and their associated 95% confidence intervals for the risk of testicular germ cell tumors overall and for the histologic subgroups, seminoma and nonseminoma, were estimated using multivariable logistic regression.

The team found that testicular germ cell tumor risk was statistically significantly associated with higher plasma levels of p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane [(p,p'-DDE) OR=1.71, 95% CI=1.23 to 2.38, p=.002] and of two chlordane components, cis-nonachlor (OR=1.56, 95% CI=1.11 to 2.18, p=.009) and trans-nonachlor (OR=1.46, 95% CI=1.07 to 2.00, p=.026).

Seminoma risk was statistically significantly associated with p,p'-DDE (OR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.22 to 2.99, p=.0008), cis-nonachlor (OR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.27 to 2.93, p=.0045), trans-nonachlor (OR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.67, p=.033), and a chlordane metabolite, oxychlordane (OR = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.04 to 2.60, p=.048).