Goats and Cancer - a Strange New Link

Lung cancer risks linked to exposure to goats

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) When you think of known lung cancer risks, you probably immediately think of tobacco smoke. Scientists have now identified a new threat - goats.

French researchers have found that being around goats can increase the risk of a rare form of lung cancer known as pneumonic-type lung adenocarcinoma (P-ADC).

"Exposure to goats increases the risk of a certain type of lung cancer."

P-ADC is not as closely associated with tobacco smoke as other forms of lung cancer. Researchers have noticed a similarity between P-ADC and a viral infection growths found in the lungs of goats.

To test the association, investigators looked at 44 patients with P-ADC and 132 healthy people. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire to assess their relationship with a number of risk factors.

People whose professional lives had exposed them to goats were five times more likely to develop P-ADC compared with other types of the cancer.  These results were particularly true for women, people who had never smoked and those who had no personal history of cancer.

Dr. Nicolas Girard, from the Louis Pradel Hospital, Hospices Civils de Lyon, says scientists are aware of similar viral infections found in sheep and cattle. Further study will be needed, he says, to learn if professional exposure to these animals increases risks for P-ADC.

Findings from this study were presented the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam.

Until published in a peer-reviewed journal, research is considered preliminary.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 5, 2011
Last Updated:
October 5, 2011