Associations between Novel and Legacy Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Human Serum and Thyroid Cancer: A Case and Healthy Population in Shandong Province, East China

By Mei Liu, Gaoxin Zhang, Lingling Meng, Xu Han, Yingming Li, Yali Shi, An Li, Mary E Turyk, Qinghua Zhang, and Guibin Jiang
Environ Sci Technol
October 12, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c02850

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are widely detected in the environment and may cause adverse human health effects after exposure. Studies on the effect of PFASs on some health end points, including cancer, are still limited and show inconsistent results. In this research, 319 participants were recruited from Shandong Province, East China, consisting of patients with thyroid cancer and healthy controls. Seven novel and legacy PFASs were frequently detected (detection rate > 75%) in the serum samples of the participants. The concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were the highest in the case and control groups. Males showed significantly higher concentrations of PFASs than females. Exposure to PFASs was inversely associated with the risk of thyroid cancer. In the control group, we identified significant positive associations between PFASs and free thyroxine (FT4) as well as between PFOA and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in females. A significant negative association between perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and triiodothyronine (T3) was observed in males. Our results suggest that exposure to certain PFASs could interfere with thyroid function. To our knowledge, this is the first case-control study demonstrating associations between novel and legacy PFASs in human and thyroid cancer.

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