Environmental Geology

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 391–409 | Cite as

Environmental effect and genetic influence: a regional cancer predisposition survey in the Zonguldak region of Northwest Turkey

  • Selahattin KadirEmail author
  • A. Piril Önen-Hall
  • S. Nihal Aydin
  • Cengiz Yakicier
  • Nurten Akarsu
  • Murat Tuncer
Original Article


The Cretaceous-Eocene volcano-sedimentary units of the Zonguldak region of the western Black Sea consist of subalkaline andesite and tuff, and sandstone dominated by smectite, kaolinite, accessory chlorite, illite, mordenite, and analcime associated with feldspar, quartz, opal-CT, amphibole, and calcite. Kaolinization, chloritization, sericitization, albitization, Fe–Ti-oxidation, and the presence of zeolite, epidote, and illite in andesitic rocks and tuffaceous materials developed as a result of the degradation of a glass shards matrix, enclosed feldspar, and clinopyroxene-type phenocrysts, due to alteration processes. The association of feldspar and glass with smectite and kaolinite, and the suborientation of feldspar-edged, subparallel kaolinite plates to fracture axes may exhibit an authigenic smectite or kaolinite. Increased alteration degree upward in which Al, Fe, and Ti are gained, and Si, Na, K, and Ca are depleted, is due to the alteration following possible diagenesis and hydrothermal activities. Micromorphologically, fibrous mordenite in the altered units and the presence of needle-type chrysotile in the residential buildings in which cancer cases lived were detected. In addition, the segregation pattern of cancer susceptibility in the region strongly suggested an environmental effect and a genetic influence on the increased cancer incidence in the region. The most likely diagnosis was Li-Fraumeni syndrome, which is one of the hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes; however, no mutations were observed in the p53 gene, which is the major cause of Li-Fraumeni syndrome. The micromorphology observed in the altered units in which cancer cases were detected may have a role in the expression of an unidentified gene, but does not explain alone the occurrence of cancer as a primary cause in the region.


Alteration minerals Genetic influence Geochemistry Health effects Mineralogy Turkey Volcanosedimentary units Zonguldak 



This study was financially supported by the Cancer Control Department, Turkish Ministry of Health, and the Turkish Association for Cancer Research and Control, within the framework of the Terry-Fox Project. The authors are grateful to the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration of Turkey (MTA) for conducting some of the mineralogical analyses. Professor Robert Hall and Dr. J. Nick Walsh (Royal Holloway, University of London) are greatly acknowledged for their help during chemical analysis and reviews of an early draft of the manuscript (by Professor Hall). Appreciation is extended to Huseyin Ozmen from Gökçeler Village, who together with most of his family was suffering from cancer, for his helps during the fieldwork. The authors are greatly indebted to Professor Gunter Doerhoefer, Editor-in-Chief, and anonymous reviewers for their critical reviews and suggestions, which improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Selahattin Kadir
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Piril Önen-Hall
    • 2
  • S. Nihal Aydin
    • 3
  • Cengiz Yakicier
    • 4
  • Nurten Akarsu
    • 5
  • Murat Tuncer
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Geological EngineeringEskisehir Osmangazi UniversityEskisehirTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Geological EngineeringMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA)AnkaraTurkey
  4. 4.Department of Molecular Biology and GeneticsBilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  5. 5.Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Hematology, Gene Mapping LaboratoryHacettepe UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  6. 6.The Ministry of Health Cancer Control DepartmentAnkaraTurkey

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