Critical review on PFOA, kidney cancer, and testicular cancer

By Eric D. Stevenson, Michael T. Kleinman, Xuelien Bai, Morton Barlaz, Michael Abraczinskas, Virginia Guidry, John Watson, and Judy Chow
J Air Waste Manag Assoc
October 12, 2021
DOI: 10.1080/10962247.2021.1909668

The carcinogenicity of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been reviewed previously by several different regulatory agencies and researchers, with contradictory conclusions-especially regarding epidemiological findings on kidney cancer and testicular cancer. In addition, previous dose-response assessments have focused primarily on evidence from animal studies. This critical review summarizes peer reviewed epidemiological studies on PFOA and cancers of the kidneys and testes, using modified Hill's criteria to assess the evidence for causation. We converted exposures to a common scale based on serum PFOA concentrations and applied meta-analysis to estimate the average increase in cancer risk reported by the studies with sufficient information to estimate serum PFOA. Using random effects meta-analysis, we found that the average relative increase in cancer risk per 10 ng/mL increase in serum PFOA for these studies is 16% (95% CI: 3%, 30%) for kidney cancer and 3% (95% CI: 2%, 4%) for testicular cancer. These associations are most likely causal, but results are limited by the small number of studies for testicular cancer, the overlapping study populations for several studies, and the lack of measured or modeled serum PFOA concentrations for several studies. Implications: Our review meta-analysis indicates an average increase in cancer risk per 10 ng/mL increase in serum PFOA for kidney and testicular cancers. These associations are most likely causal, but results are limited by the small number of studies for testicular cancer, the overlapping study populations for several studies, and the lack of measured or modeled serum PFOA concentrations for several studies. The weight of evidence could be even stronger with the addition of future studies conducted in large cohorts.

 

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