Genetic connection in link between permanent hair dye use and bladder cancer risk

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 Certain women may be more susceptible to bladder cancer associated with the use of permanent hair dyes than other women, based on their genetic makeup, according to study results released today by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and colleagues. Female study participants whose bodies could only slowly flush out carcinogens known as arylamines, which are an ingredient of hair dye, had a higher risk of bladder cancer than women whose bodies eliminated the carcinogens more quickly, the investigators reported. The body's efficiency in removing such toxins depends on whether someone possesses the "fast" or "slow" version of certain key genes.

Researchers presented results at the American Association of Cancer Research's 93rd Annual Meeting.

"We believe these results provide further evidence supporting a causal association between permanent hair dye use and bladder cancer risk," said Manuela Gago-Dominguez, M.D., Ph.D., researcher in preventive medicine at the Keck School and USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and lead author of the study. "They implicate the arylamines contained in hair dye solutions as the carcinogenic substances responsible for bladder cancer development in the users of these dyes." Early in 2001, USC preventive medicine researchers reported that women who use permanent dyes at least once a month for one year or longer have twice the risk of bladder cancer as non-users. Monthly or more frequent users of 15 or more years experience three times that risk even after adjusting for smoking, a known risk factor for bladder cancer.

The increase in bladder cancer risk also was observed in people who are exposed to hair dyes in their work, such as barbers and hairdressers. Increased risk was not seen for those who used temporary or semi-permanent dyes.

Gago-Dominguez explained that small amounts of arylamines are absorbed through the skin during the use of hair dye. Certain agents contained in

Contact: Richard Stone
University of Southern California

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