Men's Health : BPA Linked to Prostate Cancer

New findings by researchers at the Cincinnati Cancer Center shows that levels of bisphenol A (BPA), an environmental pollutant used to make hard plastic, in men’s urine could be a marker of prostate cancer and that exposure to low levels of BPA can cause changes in both normal and malignant prostate cells.

Study authors report that BPA exposure is widespread in the US, exceeding 90 percent of the population. The effects of BPA on health are extensive—higher levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and a variety of immune and reproductive dysfunctions.

Researchers used a cross-sectional clinical study to examine the association between BPA exposure and prostate cancer. They found that individuals with prostate cancer are more likely than those without prostate cancer to have higher levels of BPA in their urine.

“Major contributing factors other than age are race and family history, whereas little is known about the impact of endocrine disruptors on prostate cancer,” says study author Shuk-mei Ho, PhD. “As an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen and thyroid hormones, BPA also acts as a metabolic and immune disruptor,” she says. “The adverse health effects of BPA are extensive, and studies in animals have proven this.”

While human studies linking BPA to increased cancer risk are limited, this study finds an important link between BPA and prostate cancer. “All of these findings revealed a previously unknown relationship between BPA and prostate cancer and suggest a mechanism underlying the role of BPA and cellular transformation and disease progression,” says Ho. “With this insight, we hope to further investigate ways we can decrease exposures to potentially cancerous causing chemicals in everyday products and substances and reduce the onset of prostate cancer in men.”

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