Exploring exposure to Agent Orange and increased mortality due to bladder cancer

During the Vietnam War, many veterans were exposed to Agent Orange (AO), a chemical defoliant containing varying levels of the carcinogen dioxin. The health effects of AO exposure have been widely studied in the VA population. Here we review and interpret data regarding the association between AO exposure and bladder cancer (BC) mortality.

Data evaluating the association between AO and BC is limited. Methods characterizing exposure have become more sophisticated over time. Several studies support the link between AO exposure and increased mortality due to BC, including the Korean Veterans Health Study.

Available data suggest an association with exposure to AO and increased mortality due to BC. In patients exposed to AO, increased frequency of cystoscopic surveillance and potentially more aggressive therapy for those with BC may be warranted but utility of these strategies remains to be proven. Additional research is required to better understand the relationship between AO and BC.

Urologic oncology. 2017 Aug 17 [Epub ahead of print]

Matthew Mossanen, Adam S Kibel, Rose H Goldman

Division of Urological Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Electronic address: ., Division of Urological Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA., Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Department of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA.