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News Note: Pesticide Use Linked to Higher Risk of Pre-Cancerous Multiple Myeloma

  • Posted: May 29, 2009

Investigators from NCI used data from the Agricultural Health Study to refine and expand a relationship between pesticide exposure and risk for multiple myeloma that they had established several years ago. They found that men who used pesticides occupationally, particularly farmers, had a nearly two-fold increased risk of a well-established precursor for multiple myeloma--monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance--when compared to men not exposed to pesticides through their job. These findings add support to the hypothesis that pesticides are biologically linked to the development of multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is estimated to be diagnosed in about 20,000 Americans this year and about 10,000 Americans are expected to die of the disease in 2009. This research finding has been published in the journal Blood (available here) and was authored by Ola Landgren and colleagues at NCI as well as researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which along with NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.