A pilot case-cohort study of brain cancer in poultry and control workers

S. Gandhi, M. J. Felini, H. Ndetan, K. Cardarelli, S. Jadhav, M. Faramawi, E. S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We conducted an exploratory study to investigate which exposures (including poultry oncogenic viruses) are associated with brain cancer in poultry workers. A total of 46,819 workers in poultry and nonpoultry plants from the same union were initially followed for mortality. Brain cancer was observed to be in excess among poultry workers. Here we report on a pilot case-cohort study with cases consisting of 26 (55%) of the 47 brain cancer deaths recorded in the cohort, and controls consisting of a random sample of the cohort (n = 124). Exposure information was obtained from telephone interviews, and brain cancer mortality risk estimated by odds ratios. Increased risk of brain cancer was associated with killing chickens, odds ratio (OR) = 5.8 (95% confidence interval, 1.2-28.3); working in a shell-fish farm, OR = 13.0 (95% CI, 1.9-84.2); and eating uncooked fish, OR = 8.2 (95% CI, 1.8-37.0). Decreased risks were observed for chicken pox illness, OR = 0.2 (95% CI, 0.1-0.6), and measles vaccination, OR = 0.2 (95% CI, 0.1-0.6). Killing chickens, an activity associated with the highest occupational exposure to poultry oncogenic viruses, was associated with brain cancer mortality, as were occupational and dietary shellfish exposures. These findings are novel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-350
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 3 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our appreciation and thanks go to the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union for their continuing support and collaboration over the years without which this research would not have been possible. This study was funded by grant 1 RO1 OH008071 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Ethics approval was provided by the Human Subjects Committee (Institutional Review Board) of the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Oncology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cancer Research


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