Perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctanesulfonate plasma concentrations are not associated with the risk of prostate, bladder, pancreatic, or liver cancer.
The two chemicals, commonly used in manufacturing, are widely found in the environment. Previous studies show that they are found in the blood of both occupationally exposed individuals and the general public. High concentrations of the chemicals have been associated with cancer in animals, but their association with cancer in humans is unknown.
To investigate whether exposure the the two chemicals increases the risk of certain cancers, Kirsten T. Eriksen of the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, and colleagues used a large prospective cohort of Danish-born individuals who were cancer-free when they were enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1997. Within this cohort, the researchers identified 713 participants who were later diagnosed with prostate cancer, 332 with bladder cancer, 128 with pancreatic cancer, and 67 with liver cancer, and they also randomly selected 772 control participants without cancer. They divided the participants into four groups on the basis of their perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctanesulfonate plasma levels.
There was no association between the plasma concentration of perfluorooctanoate or perfluorooctanesulfonate and risk of prostate, bladder, pancreatic, or liver cancer.
"Additional research is warranted to investigate this relationship further in other cohorts, because this is, to our knowledge, the first study on perfluorinated chemicals and risk for cancer in a general population.," the authors write.
This research was recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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