Research Groups

Section of Environment and Radiation

Current Research Topics:

Aim 1: To study the epidemiology of cancers whose causes are unknown but are suspected to involve environmental, lifestyle, or occupational exposures.

To study the epidemiology of cancers whose causes are unknown but are suspected to involve environmental, lifestyle, or occupational exposures. Our research in support of this aim uses specific types of cancer (that have distinct descriptive patterns suggestive of a major etiological role of the environment) as the starting point for investigating a variety of possible exposures.

Projects:

   Oesophageal cancer

  • Oesophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma African Prevention Research (ESCCAPE): a collaborative research effort to investigate the etiological epidemiology of squamous cell oesophageal carcinoma in the high-incidence belt in East Africa; major case—control studies are ongoing in Eldoret (Kenya) and Moshi, Kilimanjaro (the United Republic of Tanzania), with further pilot work being conducted in Ethiopia and Malawi (http://esccape.iarc.fr)

   Testicular cancer

  • The TESTIS and SIGEXPO projects: a case—control study of testicular cancer in France (TESTIS), with development of a contemporary dust measurement—based pesticide exposure metric (SIGEXPO)
  • The NORD-TEST study: a registry-based study in the Nordic countries investigating parental occupational exposures and risk of testicular cancer in their offspring

   Childhood cancer

  • The Global Acute Leukaemia network (GALnet): a consortium established to assess epidemiological, molecular, and clinical characteristics of childhood leukaemia in high- and low-incidence areas around the world (http://galnet.iarc.fr)
  • Collaboration in the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC): a pooled analysis of case—control studies on childhood leukaemia investigating the role of potential lifestyle and environmental risk factors

   Lung cancer

  • The LUCANA study: a pilot study in the area of Ibadan (Nigeria) — a city with high levels of indoor and outdoor air pollution and potential exposures to occupational carcinogens, but lower prevalence of tobacco smoking than elsewhere

   Breast cancer

  • The International Pooling Project of Mammographic Density: individual-level pooled analysis of breast density and its determinants across 20 diverse countries (http://mdpool.iarc.fr)
  • Breast Cancer in Southern Africa: a population-based review of hormone receptor status at the time of diagnosis across southern Africa


Aim 2: To study unique environmental, lifestyle, and occupational exposures in underresearched settings (either underresearched affected populations or underresearched exposure conditions).

To study unique environmental, lifestyle, and occupational exposures in underresearched settings (either underresearched affected populations or underresearched exposure conditions). Our research in support of this aim uses specific exposures as the starting point for investigating a variety of possible cancer types.

Projects:

   Pesticides and other agricultural exposures

  • AGRICOH: a research consortium of 28 cohort studies of agricultural workers or pesticide applicators and their families, to investigate the risk of cancer and other diseases related to pesticide exposure and other prevalent agricultural exposures (http://agricoh.iarc.fr); specific projects in progress include:
    • An investigation of overall cancer incidence and mortality in agricultural cohorts
    • A pooled study (including data from France, Norway, and the USA) on the risk of haematological malignancies in pesticide applicators and farmers
    • A pooled study (including data from France, Norway, and the USA) on the risk of breast cancer in female pesticide applicators and spouses of farmers

   Asbestos

  • The ASBEST study: a cohort study on occupational exposure to chrysotile asbestos in workers in mines and processing facilities in the town of Asbest (Russian Federation) (http://asbest-study.iarc.fr)

   Khat use, tobacco use, and other lifestyle factors

  • A pilot study on khat use, tobacco use, and other lifestyle factors and upper digestive tract cancers in Ethiopia, including a case—control study in Addis Ababa and an investigation of hospital referral patterns to and from Adama General Hospital

   Uranium contamination

  • Pilot studies on uranium contamination and cancer risk in the West Rand region of South Africa, including a study on analysing human exposure to uranium in composite hair samples from communities in the West Rand region and retrospective and prospective case series of patients with haematological malignancies from the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto

   Various occupational carcinogens

  • The SYNERGY project: a lung cancer consortium studying lung cancer risk associated with combined occupational exposures and smoking, pooling case—control studies of lung cancer from 13 countries; the project currently focuses on exposure to asbestos, respirable crystalline silica, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chromium, and nickel

   Loud noise

  • Pooled analyses of case—control studies on occupational exposure to loud noise and the risk of vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma)


Aim 3: To study the carcinogenic effects of protracted exposures to low doses of ionizing radiation.

To study the carcinogenic effects of protracted exposures to low doses of ionizing radiation (e.g. due to nuclear accidents or waste dumping, occupational exposures, and medical exposures).

Projects:

   Medical exposure

  • Coordination of the Epidemiological Study to Quantify Risks for Paediatric Computerized Tomography (CT) and to Optimize Doses (EPI-CT): a multinational consortium of cohort studies of children who have undergone CT examination, followed up for childhood cancer (http://epi-ct.iarc.fr/)
  • Pilot activities to study cancer risks in an international cohort of paediatric patients who have undergone fluoroscopically guided cardiac procedures

   Exposure due to nuclear accidents or nuclear testing

  • The Cooperation on Chernobyl Health Research (CO-CHER) project: a project to establish an international collaboration to facilitate long-term research on the health effects of the Chernobyl accident (http://co-cher.iarc.fr)
  • The SOLO project: pooled analyses of radiation-related cancer risk in people with in utero exposure to ionizing radiation in exposed populations (nuclear facility workers and their offspring and local residents and their offspring) in the Southern Urals (Russian Federation)
  • The SEMI-NUC project: an assessment of the feasibility of establishing a prospective integrated epidemiological study of cancer risk in residents of areas near the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan (http://semi-nuc.iarc.fr/)
  • Assessment of thyroid cancer risk in young people exposed to radioactive iodine from Chernobyl fallout in Belarus and Ukraine, including assessment of genetic predisposition and further developments in evaluating uncertainties in doses and their impact on risk assessment

   Occupational exposure

  • The International Nuclear Workers Study (INWORKS): Extended follow-up of cancer and all-cause mortality among cohorts of nuclear industry workers in France, the United Kingdom, and the USA


Aim 4: To study exposure to non-ionizing radiation (electromagnetic fields).

To study exposure to non-ionizing radiation (electromagnetic fields). Exposure to non-ionizing radiation is ubiquitous, with new applications continually emerging, but further research is needed to clarify whether and under what conditions exposure may be associated with cancer risk.

Projects:

  • The COSMOS study: an international prospective study of mobile phone users, with IARC′s Section of Environment and Radiation coordinating the French component
  • Collaboration in studies investigating the relationship between extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and the risk of childhood leukaemia


Aim 5: To study lifestyle and environmental determinants of cancer risk, prognosis, and outcome.

To study lifestyle and environmental determinants of cancer risk, prognosis, and outcome. Our research in support of this aim includes studies investigating potential determinants at every step of a patient′s experience with cancer.

Projects:

  • The African Breast Cancer - Disparities in Outcomes (ABC-DO) study: a multinational African study of the entire experience of a patient with breast cancer, to identify determinants and pathways contributing to poor survival; patients are recruited at public hospitals in five countries (Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia) and actively followed up using mHealth technology (http://abc-do.iarc.fr)
  • Investigation of social determinants and birth characteristics and their role in the occurrence of and patient survival after childhood cancer


Aim 6: To establish cancer prevention recommendations on environmental, occupational, lifestyle, and radiation-related risk factors and to evaluate the recommendations′ impact.

To establish cancer prevention recommendations on environmental, occupational, lifestyle, and radiation-related risk factors and to evaluate the recommendations′ impact.

Projects:

  • European Code Against Cancer, 4th edition: an initiative resulting in the development of 12 recommendations to the general population of how to reduce the risk of cancer, with IARC′s Section of Environment and Radiation responsible for coordinating and leading expert working groups on tobacco, radiation and ultraviolet (UV) light, and environment and occupation (http://cancer-code-europe.iarc.fr)
  • A pilot study evaluating the impact of the 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer
  • Pilot activities to develop cancer prevention recommendations for other parts of the world


Epidemiological studies with Section of Environment and Radiation fieldwork involvement – Map.

Consortia with Section of Environment and Radiation coordination function – Map.

Links to Selected Previous Research Projects:

  • Agenda for Research on Chernobyl Health (ARCH): evaluation of the health effects of the Chernobyl accident (http://arch.iarc.fr)

  • The INTERPHONE Study: a large, multicentre, multinational case—control study of tumours of the brain, acoustic nerve, and parotid gland in relation to radiofrequency fields emitted by mobile phones (http://interphone.iarc.fr)

  • IARC Handbook of Cancer Prevention, Volume 14: Effectiveness of Tax and Price Policies for Tobacco Control: produced as part of the EU-funded Pricing Policies and Control of Tobacco in Europe (PPACTE) project (http://www.ppacte.eu)