Tobacco, alcohol, asbestos, and occupational risk factors for laryngeal cancer

Joshua E. Muscat, Ernst L. Wynder

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186 Scopus citations


Data from a hospital‐based case‐control study between 1985‐1990 were used to examine the effects of tobacco, alcohol, asbestos, and other occupational exposures on laryngeal cancer risk in 194 white men with primary cancer of the larynx and 184 age‐matched control subjects. A dose‐dependent effect for current cigarette smoking was observed, with higher relative risks (RR) for supraglottic cancer (RR, 21.6 to 68) than for cancer of the glottis (RR, 5.5 to 20.7). Elevated RR for ex‐smokers (RR, 4.8) and pipe and cigar smokers (RR, 4.3) did not vary by subsite. The effects of alcohol also showed dose‐dependent effects, with higher RR for cancer of the supraglottis than glottis for heavy drinkers (207 ml or more/daily; RR, 9.6 versus 2.5) and binge drinkers (RR, 28.4 versus 8.3). A slightly elevated but not significant association was seen for asbestos exposure and glottic cancer (RR, 1.3). The RR did not increase linearly with the number of years employed in asbestos‐related occupations. No relationship was observed between asbestos and cancer of the supraglottis. When examining the data for a synergistic effect of cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure, no excess risk was found. A significantly elevated risk was found for men exposed to diesel fumes (RR, 5.2). Elevated but not significant RR were seen for men chronically exposed to rubber (RR, 6.4) and wood dust or employed as construction laborers, auto mechanics, and other jobs. A significant inverse trend with body mass was observed for cancer of the supraglottis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2244-2251
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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