Asbestos exposure and the risk of sinonasal cancer

Occupational Medicine 2016 March 2 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Andersson M, Selin F, Järvholm B.



While the increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma is well established, the relationship between exposure to asbestos dust and sinonasal cancer is less clear.


To study the risk of sinonasal cancer in relation to asbestos dust exposure.


A retrospective cohort study of construction workers, linked to the Swedish Cancer Registry. Participants were classified into four exposure groups; heavy, medium, low or very low exposure to asbestos, according to the incidence of pleural mesothelioma in their occupational group. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and relative risks (RRs) were analysed, adjusted for age and smoking habits. The risks of adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma were investigated separately.


Among the 280222 subjects, there was no increased risk of sinonasal cancer compared to the general population [SIR 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.68-1.03], or any dose-response relationship with exposure to asbestos. The highest RR was found in the low exposure group (RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.69-2.28) and the lowest RR was found in the group with the highest exposure to asbestos (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.33-1.53). No significantly increased risk or dose-response association could be found for adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma when analysed separately.


This study did not find an increased risk of developing sinonasal cancer after asbestos exposure.