Wood dust exposure and small cell lung cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  1. Curiel-García, Teresa
  2. Candal-Pedreira, Cristina
  3. Varela-Lema, Leonor
  4. Rey-Brandariz, Julia
  5. Casal-Acción, Beatriz
  6. Moure-Rodríguez, Lucía
  7. Figueiras, Adolfo
  8. Ruano-Ravina, Alberto
  9. Pérez-Ríos, Mónica
Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology

ISSN: 1559-0631 1559-064X

Ano de publicación: 2023

Tipo: Artigo

DOI: 10.1038/S41370-023-00538-W SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-85151511328 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openAcceso aberto editor

Outras publicacións en: Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology


Introduction: Occupational exposure role on small cell lung cancer (SCLC) onset has been little studied. Wood dust has been recognized as a human carcinogen, and many occupations have high wood-dust exposure. The aim of this study was therefore to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature to summarize and analyse the risks of wood dust-related occupations on development of SCLC, taking tobacco use into account. Methods: We conducted a literature search of PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane using a predefined strategy and including case-control and cohort studies assessing occupational exposure to wood dust or wood dust-related occupations. To perform the meta-analysis, the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of each of the studies were extracted. A random-effects model was fitted using the DerSimonian Laird method. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses were performed. Quality was assessed using the Office and Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) for human and animal studies instrument. Results: Eleven studies with a total of 2,368 SCLC cases and 357,179 controls were included. Overall, exposure to wood dust significantly increases risk of SCLC (RR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.11–1.80), with low heterogeneity between studies (I2 = 40%). The association was maintained in studies conducted on males (RR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.12–1.78) but not in those conducted on females/both sexes (RR = 1.37, 95% CI 0.35–3.44). Sensitivity analysis showed that none of the studies significantly modified the results. Conclusions: Our results support that exposure to wood-dust can increase the risk of SCLC. Although the level of evidence is low, there are strong arguments to recommend the implementation of effective control measures to reduce exposure in occupational settings, as a means of preventing SCLC. Impact statement: The results of this study support that exposure to wood-dust can increase the risk of developing small cell lung cancer. Determining the impact of occupational exposure on workers is essential to improve their individual protection and prevention. There is a strong case for recommending the implementation of control measures to reduce occupational exposure to wood dust, specifically for highly exposed occupations such as carpenters and sawmills, in order to prevent small cell lung cancer.

Información de financiamento

This research has been funded by a research project (1215/2022) awarded by the Spanish Society of Respiratory Pathology (SEPAR), entitled “Occupation and lung cancer. A pooling study in Northwestern Spain”.


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