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Occupational Exposure to Cancer Chemotherapy Agents and Adverse Health Outcomes

patient's hand receiving treatment for cancer

Topic Overview

Status: Evaluation completed

Background Information

Many cancer chemotherapy agents have toxic properties that can lead to secondary cancers in patients receiving treatment for cancer and are known to cause DNA damage and adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g., fetal loss, congenital malformations). Occupational exposure to these agents was first documented in the 1970s and continues to occur, despite the issuance of safe handling guidelines in 1980s. While occupational exposure likely occurs at lower levels than those administered to patients or laboratory animals, the duration of occupational exposure is longer and may involve multiple chemotherapy agents.

As a follow-up to the NTP Monograph on Developmental Effects and Pregnancy Outcomes Associated with Use of Cancer Chemotherapy Agents During Pregnancy, NTP conducted a systematic review of the published studies of occupational exposure to cancer chemotherapy agents and adverse health effects in humans. In addition, this systematic review also summarized the prevalence and levels of cancer chemotherapy agents detected in the workplace.

NTP concluded that there is a moderate level of evidence that occupational exposure to chemotherapy agents is associated with increased incidence of spontaneous abortion, and genetic toxicity. Regarding exposure to these agents, NTP observed that detectable levels of cancer chemotherapy agents continue to be reported in worker’s urine and blood samples and in the work environment. However, some studies suggested that the levels of exposure have decreased over time with the use of exposure protection equipment and implementation of safe handling guidelines.

Documents

Documents for Occupational Exposure to Cancer Chemotherapy Agents and Adverse Health Outcomes
Date Document
Apr 18, 2014 Meeting Presentation: NTP Evaluation Concept - Adverse Health Effects Associated With Occupational Exposure To Cancer Chemotherapy Agents
Oct 09, 2015 NTP Protocol
Dec 07, 2018 NTP Protocol - Revised
Mar 01, 2019 NTP Monograph - Final (Abstract)
Preferred Citation: National Toxicology Program. 2019. NTP Monograph on the Systematic Review of Occupational Exposure to Cancer Chemotherapy Agents and Adverse Health Outcomes. NTP Monograph 5. Research Triangle Park, NC. National Toxicology Program (5): 1-200.

Meetings & Events

Listing of related events
Date Event Event Type Materials
Apr 16, 2014

NTP Board of Scientific Counselors Meeting

Board of Scientific Counselors
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Materials

    NTP Board of Scientific Counselors Meeting Meeting Materials
    April 16, 2014

    Supplemental materials for events, meetings, and workshops prior to 2016 have been archived. These archived materials frequently include presentations, background materials, and public comments. Email us or use our contact form to request a list or copy of archived materials for the following meeting.

     
  • Minutes

Supplemental materials for events, meetings, and workshops prior to 2016 have been archived. These archived materials frequently include presentations, background materials, and public comments. Email us or use our contact form to request a list or copy of archived materials for the following meeting.

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