The SYNERGY project -a pooled analysis of case-control studies on the joint effects of occupational carcinogens in the development of lung cancer- began in January 2007. The aim of SYNERGY is to study joint effects of occupational lung carcinogens and smoking. As of December 2011, data from 14 case-control studies conducted by renowned research groups in Europe and North America have been pooled. As of December 2011, the SYNERGY project had collected individual lifetime data on occupations and smoking history for >17 700 lung cancer cases and >21 800 control subjects.
The unique aspect of the SYNERGY project is its innovative strategy for assessing occupational exposures. The project currently focuses on exposure to asbestos, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nickel, chromium and respirable crystalline silica. Quantitative exposure measurements are being collected from large national or industry-specific exposure databases in Europe and Canada. The SYN-JEM, a job-exposure matrix based on these measurements, has now been linked to the epidemiological data.
The SYNERGY project is funded by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), and is coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the DGUV, Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum (IPA) and the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences at Utrecht University (IRAS)