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Benzene Exposure and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis of Epidemiologic Studies

Alexander, Dominik D. PhD, MSPH; Wagner, Meghan E. MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 2 - p 169-189
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181cc9cf0
Original Articles

Objective: To conduct a meta-analysis of studies of benzene exposure and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

Methods: A total of 8 cohort and 14 case-control studies were analyzed.

Results: Meta-analysis of any benzene exposure resulted in a summary relative risk estimate (SRRE) of 1.02 (95% CI: 0.94 to 1.12). The SRRE changed minimally when only data representing the highest level of benzene exposure were analyzed after an a priori data extraction protocol, using cumulative exposure as the optimum metric (SRRE = 1.08, 95% CI: 0.93 to 1.24). Meta-analysis of five studies that reported results for 60 or more ppm-years of cumulative exposure yielded an SRRE of 1.08 (95% CI: 0.36 to 3.24). Similarly, an SRRE of 1.04 (95% CI: 0.96 to 1.12) for each 25 ppm-year increment of benzene exposure was observed.

Conclusions: The results from this meta-analysis are not supportive of an independent association between benzene exposure and NHL.

From the Center for Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Computational Biology, (Dr Alexander) Exponent Inc., Health Sciences, Wood Dale, IL and New York, NY (Ms Wagner).

Address correspondence to: Dominik D. Alexander, PhD, MSPH, Exponent, Inc, 185 Hansen Court, Suite 100, Wood Dale, IL 60191; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine