Ann Occup Environ Med.  2018 ;30(1):33. 10.1186/s40557-018-0245-9.

A brief review of relationship between occupational benzene exposure and hematopoietic cancer

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2The Institute for Occupational Health, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, 162, Ilsan-dong, Wonju, South Korea, Wonju, 26426 Korea.


We reviewed articles to clarify the current evidence status for 1) types of cancer which related to benzene exposure, and 2) certain benzene exposure level which might cause the hematopoietic cancers. Hematopoietic function of the bone marrow is involved in the production of all blood cells types. The benzene metabolites including benzoquinone and mucoaldehyde affect hematopoietic stem cells as well as differentiation steps of progenitor cells for each blood cell. Hence, we concluded that benzene was associated with all lymphohematic carcinogenesis. First, it is supported by biological plausibility. Second, it is supported by meta-analysis although sing study did not show relationship due to lack of sample size or statistical power. More recent studies show lesser exposed level related to risk of cancer, compare to past studies did. Actually, early studies show the risk of malignancies in workers who exposed more than 200 ppm-years. However, only 0.5 to 1 ppm-year benzene exposed show significant linking to risk of malignancies in recent study. As reviewed research articles, we concluded that the relatively lower exposure level, such as 0.5-1 ppm-year, will be considering at risk of hematopoietic cancer. However, more research needs to be done on dose-response analysis.


Benzene; Hematopoietic cancer; Leukemia
Full Text Links
  • AOEM
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2021 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: