Exposure to long-term source-specific transportation noise and incident breast cancer: A pooled study of eight Nordic cohorts

Jesse D. Thacher*, Anna Oudin, Erin Flanagan, Kristoffer Mattisson, Maria Albin, Nina Roswall, Andrei Pyko, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Zorana J. Andersen, Signe Borgquist, Jørgen Brandt, Karin Broberg, Thomas Cole-Hunter, Charlotta Eriksson, Kristina Eneroth, Hrafnhildur Gudjonsdottir, Emilie Helte, Matthias Ketzel, Timo Lanki, Youn Hee LimKarin Leander, Petter Ljungman, Jonas Manjer, Satu Männistö, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Göran Pershagen, Debora Rizzuto, Malte Sandsveden, Jenny Selander, Mette K. Simonsen, Lara Stucki, Mårten Spanne, Leo Stockfelt, Anne Tjønneland, Tarja Yli-Tuomi, Pekka Tiittanen, Victor H. Valencia, Mikael Ögren, Agneta Åkesson, Mette Sørensen

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Background: Environmental noise is an important environmental exposure that can affect health. An association between transportation noise and breast cancer incidence has been suggested, although current evidence is limited. We investigated the pooled association between long-term exposure to transportation noise and breast cancer incidence. Methods: Pooled data from eight Nordic cohorts provided a study population of 111,492 women. Road, railway, and aircraft noise were modelled at residential addresses. Breast cancer incidence (all, estrogen receptor (ER) positive, and ER negative) was derived from cancer registries. Hazard ratios (HR) were estimated using Cox Proportional Hazards Models, adjusting main models for sociodemographic and lifestyle variables together with long-term exposure to air pollution. Results: A total of 93,859 women were included in the analyses, of whom 5,875 developed breast cancer. The median (5th–95th percentile) 5-year residential road traffic noise was 54.8 (40.0–67.8) dB Lden, and among those exposed, the median railway noise was 51.0 (41.2–65.8) dB Lden. We observed a pooled HR for breast cancer (95 % confidence interval (CI)) of 1.03 (0.99–1.06) per 10 dB increase in 5-year mean exposure to road traffic noise, and 1.03 (95 % CI: 0.96–1.11) for railway noise, after adjustment for lifestyle and sociodemographic covariates. HRs remained unchanged in analyses with further adjustment for PM2.5 and attenuated when adjusted for NO2 (HRs from 1.02 to 1.01), in analyses using the same sample. For aircraft noise, no association was observed. The associations did not vary by ER status for any noise source. In analyses using <60 dB as a cutoff, we found HRs of 1.08 (0.99–1.18) for road traffic and 1.19 (0.95–1.49) for railway noise. Conclusions: We found weak associations between road and railway noise and breast cancer risk. More high-quality prospective studies are needed, particularly among those exposed to railway and aircraft noise before conclusions regarding noise as a risk factor for breast cancer can be made.

TidsskriftEnvironment International
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NordForsk (grant 83597 ) and by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte). Funding for the included cohorts is shown in Supplemental Table S1.


  • Air pollution
  • Aircraft noise
  • Breast cancer
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Noise
  • Railway noise
  • Traffic
  • Traffic noise

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