Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
The organochlorine pesticide residues and antioxidant enzyme activities in human breast tumors: is there any association?
Iscan, M., Coban, T., Cok, I., Bulbul, D., Eke, B. C., Burgaz, S. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2002. 72:2, 173-82.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Pesticides, organochlorine, hexachlorobenzene, HCB
Study design
Other: case analysis
Funding agency
Ankara University, Turkey
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Female breast cancer patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma who underwent mastectomy.
Exposures investigated
Tissue concentrations of hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexachlorohexane (HCH), heptachlor epoxide (HE), p,p'-DDE, and p,p'-DDT, in both breast tumor tissue and surrounding tumor-free tissue.
Statistical Analysis
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Confounding was not controlled for in the analysis.
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Differences in mean pesticide levels and enzyme levels between cases and controls, and correlations between pesticide levels and enzyme levels.
Strength of associations reported
Significant differences in the mean levels of pesticides between tumors and control tissue were only found for alpha-HCH, gamma-HCH, and HE.
The activity levels of many enzymes were significantly higher in tumor tissue.
The only correlations between pesticide levels and enzyme activity in tumor tissue were found for alpha-HCH, gamma-HCH, and HE.
Results Comments
Several issues make the significance of this paper's results difficult to interpret: -A chemical could be a mammary carcinogen without necessarily having a higher concentration inside of the tumor, so the absence of difference seen here is difficult to interpret. -if we would expect a difference, it is unclear that a tissue sample up to 3cm from the tumor is the most appropriate control. -Is antioxidant activity associated with causes or with effects of tumor growth?
Author address
Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Ankara University, Turkey. iscan@pharmacy.ankara.edu.tr