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Long-term exposure to road traffic noise and incidence of breast cancer: a cohort study

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BACKGROUND: Exposure to road traffic noise was associated with increased risk of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative (ER-) breast cancer in a previous cohort study, but not with overall or ER-positive (ER+) breast cancer, or breast cancer prognosis. We examined the association between long-term exposure to road traffic noise and incidence of breast cancer, overall and by ER and progesterone receptor (PR) status.

METHODS: We used the data from a nationwide Danish Nurse Cohort on 22,466 female nurses (age > 44 years) who at recruitment in 1993 or 1999 reported information on breast cancer risk factors. We obtained data on the incidence of breast cancer from the Danish Cancer Registry, and on breast cancer subtypes by ER and PR status from the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group, up to 31 December 2012. Road traffic noise levels at the nurses' residences were estimated by the Nord2000 method between 1970 and 2013 as annual means of a weighted 24 h average (Lden) at the most exposed facade. We used time-varying Cox regression to analyze the associations between the 24-year, 10-year, and 1-year mean of Lden and breast cancer, separately for total breast cancer and by ER and PR status.

RESULTS: Of the 22,466 women, 1193 developed breast cancer in total during 353,775 person-years of follow up, of whom 611 had complete information on ER and PR status. For each 10 dB increase in 24-year mean noise levels at their residence, we found a statistically significant 10% (hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval 1.10; 1.00-1.20) increase in total breast cancer incidence and a 17% (1.17; 1.02-1.33) increase in analyses based on 611 breast cancer cases with complete ER and PR information. We found positive, statistically significant association between noise levels and ER+ (1.23; 1.06-1.43, N = 494) but not ER- (0.93; 0.70-1.25, N = 117) breast cancers, and a stronger association between noise levels and PR+ (1.21; 1.02-1.42, N = 393) than between noise levels and PR- (1.10; 0.89-1.37, N = 218) breast cancers. Association between noise and ER+ breast cancer was statistically significantly stronger in nurses working night shifts (3.36; 1.48-7.63) than in those not working at night (1.21; 1.02-1.43) (p value for interaction = 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Long-term exposure to road traffic noise may increase risk of ER+ breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Volume20
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)119
ISSN1465-542X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2018

ID: 56059585