Posted on Apr 10, 2012, 6 a.m.
Swedish researchers report that cadmium, present agricultural crops as a result of farm fertilizers, is linked to an increased incidence of breast cancers.
Dietary cadmium, a toxic metal widely dispersed in the environment and found in many farm fertilizers, may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden). Some scientists are concerned about cadmium because contamination of farmland mainly due to atmospheric deposition and use of fertilizers leads to higher uptake in plants. Agneta Akesson and colleagues observed 55,987 women for more than 12 years. They estimated the dietary cadmium exposure using a food frequency questionnaire. During the follow-up period, researchers observed 2,112 incidences of breast cancer including 1,626 estrogen receptor-positive and 290 estrogen receptor-negative cases. Cadmium consumption was divided into three groups with the highest levels of exposure compared with the lowest. Overall, a higher exposure to cadmium via diet was linked with a 21% increase in breast cancer. Among lean and normal weight women, the increased risk was 27%. Both estrogen receptor-positive and negative tumors had the same risk increase at roughly 23%. The study authors conclude that: "Overall, these results suggest a role for dietary cadmium in postmenopausal breast cancer development.”
Bettina Julin, Alicja Wolk, Leif Bergkvist, Matteo Bottai, Agneta Akesson. “Dietary Cadmium Exposure and Risk of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study.” Cancer Res., March 15, 2012; 72:1459-1466.