High levels of cadmium may be tied to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study. However, whether increased cadmium actually causes breast cancer or whether cadmium levels increase in response to treatment or the disease itself remains unknown.
Cadmium is a long-lasting heavy metal that accumulates in the body. It is found in food and tobacco smoke and is thought to be a carcinogen. Jane A. McElroy, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues examined cadmium levels in urine samples of 246 breast cancer patients between ages 20 and 69 and 254 matched controls.
The authors found that women with the highest cadmium levels had twice the breast cancer risk of those with the lowest cadmium levels. They write, "Given the ubiquitous exposure of the general population to cadmium, the mode of the association between cadmium exposure and breast cancer risk warrants further study."
Contact: Linda Dietrich, University of Wisconsin, 608-263-6585, firstname.lastname@example.org
Drug from Milk Thistle Prevents Lung Cancer in a Mouse Model
Silibinin, a compound from the milk thistle, inhibits lung tumor blood vessel formation in mice and may help prevent the growth and development of lung tumors, a study reports.
Rajesh Agarwal, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and colleagues tested the effect of dietary silibinin on mice injected with a chemical that causes lung cancer. Mice given silibinin had lower numbers of lung tumors than mice given a diet lacking silibinin, and their tumors had a lower size and blood vessel count. The authors conclude that dietary silibinin should be investigated as a cancer preventing agent for lung cancer in humans.