Agricultural exposures and risk of childhood neuroblastoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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While neuroblastoma accounts for an estimated 8% of childhood cancers, it causes about 15% of childhood cancer deaths in the United States. The role of agricultural exposures in the development of neuroblastoma is unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the relationship between agricultural exposures and neuroblastoma. MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, and Google Scholar were searched in February 2022, identifying 742 publications. Seventeen articles met the inclusion criteria; all were published between 1985 and 2020 and included 14 case-control, one cross-sectional, and two cohort studies. Random and fixed effects models were used to calculate summary odds ratios (sORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). An increased odds of developing neuroblastoma with parental exposure to any pesticides (sOR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.03–1.48; 4 studies), insecticides (sOR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.19–1.91; 3 studies), and residential exposure to crops/vegetables (sOR = 1.04, 95% CI: 1.01–1.06; 2 studies) was seen. Heterogeneity was low in all analyses, and no publication bias was evident. No significant associations were found with agricultural occupations, herbicides, and agricultural dusts. The studies were limited by exposure measurements and small sample sizes. Further studies are needed to explore mechanisms in the development of neuroblastoma in children with parental agricultural exposures, especially pesticides, and to improve methods of measuring agricultural-related exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113193-113204
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number53
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Agriculture
  • Childhood cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Meta-analysis
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Pesticides
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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