A biological approach to characterizing exposure to metalworking fluids and risk of prostate cancer (United States)

Ilir Agalliu, Ellen A. Eisen, David Kriebel, Margaret M. Quinn, David H. Wegman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: Prostate cancer is hormone-related and chemicals that interfere with hormones may contribute to carcinogenesis. In a cohort of autoworkers we characterized exposure to metalworking fluids (MWF) into age windows with homogenous biological risk for prostate cancer, and examined exposure-response relationships using semi-parametric modeling. Methods: Incident cases (n=872) were identified via Michigan cancer registry from 1985 through 2000. Controls were selected using incidence-density sampling, 5:1 ratio. Using a hormonal-based model, exposure was accumulated in three windows: (1) late puberty, (2) adulthood, and (3) middle age. We used penalized splines to model risk as a smooth function of exposure, and controlled for race and calendar year of diagnosis in a Cox model. Results: Risk of prostate cancer linearly increased with exposure to straight MWF in the first window, with a relative risk of 2.4 per 10 mg/m3-years. Autoworkers exposed to MWF at a young age also had an increased risk associated with MWF exposure incurred later in life. For soluble MWF there was a slightly increased risk in the third window. Conclusions: Exposure characterization based on a hormonal model identified heightened risk with early age of exposure to straight MWF. Results also support a long latency period for exposure related prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-331
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Exposure windows
  • Hormone-related cancer
  • Latency of cancer
  • Penalized splines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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