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Lead blood levels may increase smokers' risk for kidney cancer
Date:1/23/2012

levels.

Southard and Wilson looked at whether the subjects had ever been in a "high-risk occupation," which would expose the subject to more lead than an average person -- such as mining, asbestos fabric manufacture or oil refining.

"There were no significant differences in occupational history or smoking history between cases and controls in our study that would sufficiently explain the association we observed," the researchers reported online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

The ATBC study consisted of nearly 30,000 Finnish male smokers between the ages of 50 and 69 years, enrolled from 1985 to 1988. The study was initially conducted to study lung cancer prevention. This study collected blood samples periodically for over two decades. Finland has a cancer registry that tracks patients, making it easier to follow up with patients after diagnosis than it is in the United States.

Southard, Wilson and colleagues looked at a cohort within the ATBC study that included 154 renal cell carcinoma cases, diagnosed after the initial blood collection, and 308 controls. Notably, Southard and Wilson found that among renal cancer cases alone, those with higher blood levels of calcium and vitamin D had a longer period of time before they developed cancer, as measured from blood when they first enrolled in the study as healthy individuals.

"This association suggests that vitamin D and calcium biomarkers may be important clues that can lead us to the early diagnosis of cancer," said Wilson. This is important because there are currently no available screening tests for kidney cancer.

"Studies have shown that people with kidney cancer have higher average lead levels in their kidney tissue, compared with people without kidney cancer," said Southard. "Prior to our study, this was only shown in cadavers and not in living people. Now we have shown that elevated blood lead levels put smokers at higher risk fo
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Contact: Victoria M. Indivero
vmi1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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