Washington: Researchers at the Cincinnati Cancer Center have shown that levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in men's urine could be a marker of prostate cancer and that low levels of BPA exposure can cause cellular changes in both non-malignant and malignant prostate cells.
The study provides the first evidence that urinary BPA levels may help predict prostate cancer and that disruption of a cell duplication cycle through exposure to low-dose BPA may cause cancer development in the prostate.
BPA, an environmental pollutant with estrogen activity, is used to make hard, clear plastic and is common in many food product containers. It has been linked to neurological defects, diabetes and a number of cancers, including breast and prostate.
Principle investigator Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, director of the Cincinnati Cancer Center, Jacob G. Schmidlapp Chair of Environmental Health and professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said that human exposure to BPA is a common occurrence and that animal studies have shown that BPA contributes to development of prostate cancer but that human data are scarce.
"Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in North America, and one in six men will develop it over their lifetime," she said.
"However, the cancer is rarely diagnosed in men under the age of 40 with almost two-thirds of cases reported in men at age 65.
"Major contributing factors other than age are race and family history, whereas little is known about the impact of endocrine disruptors on prostate cancer," she added.
The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.