Dietary cadmium may be linked with breast cancer risk

Dietary cadmium, a toxic metal widely dispersed in the environment and found in many farm fertilizers, may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Cadmium occurs at low concentrations naturally, but scientists are concerned because contamination of farmland mainly due to atmospheric deposition and use of fertilizers leads to higher uptake in plants.

"Because of a high accumulation in , the main sources of dietary cadmium are bread and other cereals, potatoes, root crops and vegetables," said Agneta Åkesson, Ph.D., associate professor at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. "In general, these foods are also considered healthy."

For the current study, Åkesson and colleagues observed 55,987 women for more than 12 years. They estimated the dietary cadmium exposure using a food frequency questionnaire. During the follow-up period, researchers observed 2,112 incidences of breast cancer including 1,626 estrogen receptor-positive and 290 estrogen receptor-negative cases.

Cadmium consumption was divided into three groups with the highest levels of exposure compared with the lowest. Overall, a higher exposure to cadmium via diet was linked with a 21 percent increase in breast cancer. Among lean and normal weight women, the increased risk was 27 percent.

Both estrogen receptor-positive and negative tumors had the same risk increase at roughly 23 percent. Åkesson said that women who consumed higher amounts of whole grain and vegetables had a lower risk of compared to women exposed to dietary cadmium through other foods.

"It's possible that this healthy diet to some extent can counteract the negative effect of cadmium, but our findings need to be confirmed with further studies," said Åkesson. "It is, however, important that the exposure to from all food is low."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cadmium investigated as cause of endometrial cancer

Jun 09, 2010

McDonald's announced a recall recently of 12 million "Shrek"-themed collectible glasses because traces of the toxic metal cadmium were found in them. Cadmium, a silver-white metal, is found in many substances, including certain ...

Recommended for you

Same cancer, different time zone

12 hours ago

Just as no two people possess the same genetic makeup, a recent study has shown that no two single tumor cells in breast cancer patients have an identical genome.

Brazilian researchers identify RNA that regulates cell death

17 hours ago

Researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP) have identified an RNA known as INXS that, although containing no instructions for the production of a protein, modulates the action of an important gene in the process ...

User comments