BPA increases risk of cancer in human prostate tissue

January 7, 2014, University of Illinois at Chicago

Fetal exposure to a commonly used plasticizer found in products such as water bottles, soup can liners and paper receipts, can increase the risk for prostate cancer later in life, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago published Jan. 7 online in the journal Endocrinology.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is widely used to soften plastics. Steering clear of the chemical is nearly impossible, says Gail Prins, professor of physiology at UIC and lead author of the paper.

"Previous studies have shown that people who avoided all contact with plastics or other BPA-containing objects for up to a month or more still had BPA in their urine, which means they must have come into contact with BPA in the last 24 to 48 hours, since it clears the body rather quickly," said Prins, who is director of the UIC andrology laboratory. "It's very hard to avoid."

Exposure of the fetus to BPA in utero is of particular concern, because the chemical, which mimics the , has been linked to several kinds of cancer, including , in rodent models. The new findings show that human tissue is also susceptible.

"Our research provides the first direct evidence that exposure to BPA during development, at the levels we see in our day-to-day lives, increases the risk for prostate cancer in human ," Prins said. "The findings of adverse effects of BPA in are highly relevant and should encourage agencies like the Food & Drug Administration to re-evaluate their policies in the near future."

Prins investigated the effect of BPA on human cells by implanting human prostate taken from deceased young-adult men into mice. Prostate stem cells are very long-lived. They arise during early fetal development and produce and maintain a man's prostate tissue throughout his life.

To mimic exposure to BPA during embryonic development, for two weeks following implantation the mice were fed BPA—in amounts in line with those seen in pregnant American women—as the cells produced humanized prostate tissue.

"The amount of BPA we fed the mice was equivalent to levels ingested by the average person," Prins said. "We didn't feed them exorbitantly high doses."

After the tissue was allowed to mature for one month, the mice were given estrogen to mimic the naturally rising estrogen levels seen in aging men. This rise in estrogen later in life is one of the known drivers of prostate cancer.

Tissue was collected after two to four months and analyzed for prostate disease. Prins found that a third of tissue samples taken from mice fed BPA had either pre-cancerous lesions or prostate cancer, compared to only 12 percent in a control group of mice fed oil. If the prostate stem cells were exposed to BPA before implantation and again as they produced prostate tissue in the mice, 45 percent of the tissue samples had pre-cancerous lesions or cancer.

"We believe that BPA actually reprograms the stem cells to be more sensitive to estrogen throughout life, leading to a life-long increased susceptibility to diseases including cancer," Prins said.

Explore further: Exposure to BPA in developing prostate increases risk of later cancer

Related Stories

Exposure to BPA in developing prostate increases risk of later cancer

June 17, 2013
Early exposure to BPA (bisphenol A) – an additive commonly found in plastic water bottles and soup can liners – causes an increased cancer risk in an animal model of human prostate cancer, according to University of Illinois ...

Exposure to low doses of BPA linked to increased risk of prostate cancer in human stem cells

June 17, 2013
Exposing developing tissue to low levels of the plastic bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is linked to a greater incidence of prostate cancer in tissue grown from human prostate stem cells, a new study finds. The results ...

BPA exposure in utero may increase predisposition to breast cancer

October 3, 2011
A recent study accepted for publication in Molecular Endocrinology, a journal of The Endocrine Society, found that perinatal exposure to environmentally relevant doses of bisphenol A (BPA) alters long-term hormone response ...

BPA affects sex-based behavior in mice

May 28, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common chemical found in household plastics. Previous studies on rodents show that BPA exposure is associated with problems with brain and behavioral development. There is evidence ...

BPA exposure effects may last for generations

June 15, 2012
Exposure to low doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) during gestation had immediate and long-lasting, trans-generational effects on the brain and social behaviors in mice, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.