A new peer-reviewed study says that many chemicals demonstrated to cause mammary cancer in rats are linked to breast cancer in women.
The team, led by Ruthann Rudel, research director of the institute, did a structured online literature review of 102 known rodent mammary carcinogens to identify measurement methods for biomarkers of exposure; that is, specific chemicals or their metabolites in the blood or other bodily fluids. They also compared consistency in the results of any animal and human breast cancer studies for a given chemical type.
From this, the scientists were able to identify 17 types of chemical as “high priority” because they cause mammary tumours in laboratory rats, and are often associated with breast cancer in women. The chemicals are present in vehicle exhaust emissions, flame retardants, paint removers, disinfection byproducts and stain resistant textiles.
The findings have been consolidated as a reference for other researchers in the field. “The study provides a roadmap for breast cancer prevention by identifying high priority chemicals that women are most commonly exposed to, and demonstrates how to measure exposure” says Dr Rudel.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), US, plans to use the study recommendations in future research into the causes of breast cancer. “It’s a terrific resource for epidemiologists thinking about studying environmental contributors to breast cancer, or trying to understand the associations they see in their questionnaire data,” says Dale Sandler, chief of epidemiology at NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The study is published in Environmental Health Perspectives.