Biomass fuel as a risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Samson Okello, Suzan Joan Akello, Emmanuel Dwomoh, Emmanuel Byaruhanga, Christopher Kenneth Opio, Ruyang Zhang, Kathleen E. Corey, Winnie R. Muyindike, Ponsiano Ocama, David D. Christiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The link between use of solid biomass fuel (wood, charcoal, coal, dung, and crop residues) for cooking and/or heating and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is inconclusive. Objective: We systematically reviewed the literature and performed a meta-analysis to determine whether cooking fuel type influences esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Knowledge and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for studies investigating cooking fuel and ESCC from 2000 until March 2019. We performed random effects meta-analysis stratified by the continent, World Bank's country income classifications and fuel type and calculated pooled odds ratios and 95% CIs for the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in biomass fuel users compared with non-users. Results: Our analysis included 16 studies (all case-control) with 16,189 participants (5233 cases and 10,956 controls) that compared risk of ESCC among those using nonsolid fuels and biomass fuels. We found use of biomass fuel was associated with Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma with a pooled odds ratio (OR) 3.02 (95% CI 2.22, 4.11, heterogeneity (I2) = 79%). In sub-group analyses by continent, Africa (OR 3.35, 95%CI 2.34, 4.80, I2 = 73.4%) and Asia (OR 3.08, 95%CI 1.27, 7.43, I2 = 81.7%) had the highest odds of ESCC. Use of wood as fuel had the highest odds of 3.90, 95% CI 2.25, 6.77, I2 = 63.5%). No significant publication bias was detected. Conclusions: Biomass fuel is associated with increased risk of Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Biomass fuel status should be considered in the risk assessment for Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


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