Endotoxin Exposure May Reduce Lung Cancer Risk

Lower incidence seen in female Chinese textile workers with significant long-term exposure

MONDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term occupational exposure to endotoxin may reduce the risk of lung cancer, according to a report published in the March 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

George Astrakianakis, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues compared endotoxin exposure in 628 female cotton-textile workers in Shanghai, China, who developed lung cancer, with that of 3,184 lung cancer-free workers.

The researchers found that workers with 20 years of endotoxin exposure had a 40 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer than workers who had no exposure. They also found the lung cancer incidence in the high-exposure group was significantly lower (approximately 7.6 per 100,000 lower) than that of women in the general Shanghai population (19.1 per 100,000).

"Results of the study by Astrakianakis et al. are strongly suggestive that endotoxin exposure is associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer, but potential confounding and lack of strong supportive mechanistic evidence prevent stronger conclusions," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "These considerations, coupled with imperfect knowledge on potential health risks of endotoxins, argue against the implementation of an endotoxin-based intervention against lung cancer in the near future."

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