Even 30 or more years after their last exposure to aromatic amines, which are known bladder carcinogens, individuals have an excess risk of bladder cancer, a study found.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2010;102:1-4),  included 590 Italian dye workers who were heavily exposed to aromatic amines from 1922 through 1972 and had follow-up data through 2003. The number of deaths in the cohort was 50% higher than expected in the general population (394 observed deaths vs. 262.7 expected), and the number of deaths due to bladder cancer was 16.5 times greater (56 observed vs. 3.4 expected).

The number of deaths from bladder cancer in the cohort was more than twice that from lung cancer or ischemic heart disease, the investigators noted. The absolute risk remained at about 3.5 excess bladder cancer deaths per 1000 man-years up to 29 years after the last exposure; it was still 1.9 per 1000 man-years 30 years or more after the last exposure, according to the investigators.

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The researchers, led by Carlo La Vecchia, MD, of the University of Milan in Italy, also found that bladder cancer risk increased with younger age at first exposure and increasing duration of exposure.