Incidence of Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Bladder and Arsenic Exposure in New Hampshire
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Objective: Arsenic is a known bladder carcinogen and populations exposed to high arsenic levels in their water supply have reported elevated bladder cancer mortality and incidence rates. To examine the effects of lower levels of arsenic exposure on bladder cancer incidence, we conducted a case–control study in New Hampshire, USA where levels above 10 μ/l are commonly found in private wells.
Methods: We studied 383 cases of transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder cancer, newly diagnosed between July 1, 1994 and June 30, 1998 and 641 general population controls. Individual exposure to arsenic was determined in toenail clippings using instrumental neutron activation analysis.
Results: Among smokers, an elevated odds ratio (OR) for bladder cancer was observed for the uppermost category of arsenic (OR: 2.17, 95% CI: 0.92–5.11 for greater than 0.330 mcg/g compared to less than 0.06 μ/g). Among never smokers, there was no association between arsenic and bladder cancer risk.
Conclusions: These, and other data, suggest that ingestion of low to moderate arsenic levels may affect bladder cancer incidence, and that cigarette smoking may act as a co-carcinogen.
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