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Rajput, Zara; Hering, Kurt Georg; Kraus, Thomas; Tannapfel, Andrea; Sonnenschein, Günter; Centmayer, Alexandra; Radon, Katja; Nowak, Dennis; Weinmann, Tobias (2019): Investigating the association between occupational exposure to asbestos and ovarian carcinoma: results from a pilot study in Germany. In: BMC Public Health 19:1341
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Background The aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility of a large-scale epidemiologic investigation elucidating the quantitative association between occupational exposure to asbestos and ovarian cancer in former German asbestos workers. Methods Between December 2017 and May 2018, a random sample of one thousand insured woman registered at the health service of a German trade association as formerly occupationally exposed to asbestos were invited to participate in a pilot study. Participation included a phone interview using a standardised questionnaire. The feasibility of the project was evaluated using a priori defined criteria. They included response, number of cases, eligibility of the questionnaire data for exact estimation of asbestos fibre-years, and availability of relevant medical documentation (imaging procedures, medical reports, and histologic materials). Results The response (17%) was clearly below the intended number of 60%. With six tumour suspects, of which two could be confirmed by medical documents, the number of cases was within the expected range of two to eleven cases. Exact asbestos fibre-year estimations could be performed for 29% of all interviewees, but only for one suspected case. Medical documentation could be collected for only few participants, while no histology reports could be obtained for all cases. Thus, only the feasibility criterion of the expected number of cases was fulfilled. Conclusion The results of the pilot study indicate that the planned project is feasible only to a very limited extent. For further planning of the study, measures to improve recruitment of participants are necessary.