A meta-analysis of occupational trichloroethylene exposure and multiple myeloma or leukaemia

Dominik D. Alexander, Pamela J. Mink, Jeffrey H. Mandel, Michael A. Kelsh

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16 Scopus citations


Background: Trichloroethylene (TCE) has been widely used as an industrial solvent and degreasing agent. Aims: We conducted a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies of occupational TCE exposure and multiple myeloma (MM) or leukaemia. Methods: We identified a total of eight cohort or case-control studies that enumerated a TCE-exposed study population and presented relative risk (RR) estimates for MM (n = 7) and/or leukaemia (n = 7). The individual studies included aerospace or aircraft workers (n = 3 studies), workers from a transformer manufacturing plant (n = 1 study) and workers from numerous occupations who, based on biomonitoring or extensive industrial hygiene exposure measurements, were likely exposed to TCE (n = 4). We used random effects models to calculate summary relative risk estimates (SRRE). In addition, we examined heterogeneity across studies and the relative influence of each individual study on the overall meta-analysis. Results: No association was observed for MM (SRRE = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.80-1.38; P value for heterogeneity = 0.94) or leukaemia (SRRE = 1.11, 95% CI: 0.93-1.32; P value for heterogeneity = 0.50), based on TCE-exposed subgroup meta-analyses. Study-specific RR estimates for MM ranged between 0.57 and 1.62. RRs for leukaemia ranged between 1.05 and 1.15 in five studies, while one study reported a 2-fold increased RR and another study reported an inverse association of 0.60. All confidence intervals (CIs) for study-specific estimates included 1.0. Conclusions: The results of this meta-analysis do not support an etiologic association between occupational TCE exposure and risk of MM or leukaemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-493
Number of pages9
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Leukaemia
  • Meta-analysis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • TCE
  • Trichloroethylene


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