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Int J Cancer. 1993 Nov; 55(5): 722-7.

Non-viral risk factors for nasopharyngeal carcinoma in the Philippines: results from a case-control study.

West S, Hildesheim A, Dosemeci M.

Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205.

In a case-control study of NPC conducted in the Philippines, 104 predominantly non-Chinese (< 10% ethnically Chinese) cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and 205 hospital and community controls were recruited. Risk factor information was obtained through personal interview. The occupational history of each subject was reviewed "blind" by an industrial hygienist to determine estimates of exposure to formaldehyde, solvents, dusts, exhaust and pesticides. After control for confounding, subjects who were first exposed to formaldehyde 25 or more years prior to diagnosis/interview or wo were first exposed before the age of 25 were found, in relation to those never exposed, to be at a 4.0-fold excess risk of disease. Similarly, those first exposed to dust and/or exhaust 35 or more years prior to diagnosis/interview were at a 4.4-fold excess risk of disease and those first exposed before the age of 20 were at a 3.5-fold excess risk of disease. Salted fish consumption was not associated with risk, while consumption of processed meats protected against NPC. Smoking was positively associated with NPC, but only when cases were compared to community controls. Relative to non-smokers, subjects reporting more than 30 years of smoking were at an adjusted 7.2-fold excess risk of disease. Herbal medicine use and burning of anti-mosquito coils were both independently associated with risk of NPC, with ever-users of herbal medicines being at a 2.5-fold excess risk of disease and those reporting daily use of anti-mosquito coils being at a 5.9-fold excess risk of disease relative to never users. Exposure to solvents, pesticides, or use of betel nuts were not associated with NPC risk.

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