Epidemiologic studies of glyphosate and cancer: A review

Pamela J. Mink, Jack S. Mandel, Bonnielin K. Sceurman, Jessica I. Lundin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The United States Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory agencies around the world have registered glyphosate as a broad-spectrum herbicide for use on multiple food and non-food use crops. Glyphosate is widely considered by regulatory authorities and scientific bodies to have no carcinogenic potential, based primarily on results of carcinogenicity studies of rats and mice. To examine potential cancer risks in humans, we reviewed the epidemiologic literature to evaluate whether exposure to glyphosate is associated causally with cancer risk in humans. We also reviewed relevant methodological and biomonitoring studies of glyphosate. Seven cohort studies and fourteen case-control studies examined the association between glyphosate and one or more cancer outcomes. Our review found no consistent pattern of positive associations indicating a causal relationship between total cancer (in adults or children) or any site-specific cancer and exposure to glyphosate. Data from biomonitoring studies underscore the importance of exposure assessment in epidemiologic studies, and indicate that studies should incorporate not only duration and frequency of pesticide use, but also type of pesticide formulation. Because generic exposure assessments likely lead to exposure misclassification, it is recommended that exposure algorithms be validated with biomonitoring data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-452
Number of pages13
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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