Plasma perfluoroalkyl substance exposure and incidence risk of breast cancer: A case-cohort study in the Dongfeng-Tongji cohort

By Yue Feng, Yansen Bai, Yanjun Lu, Mengshi Chen, Ming Fu, Xin Guan, Qiang Cao, Fangfang Yuan, Jiali Jie, Mengying Li, Hua Meng, Chenming Wang, Shiru Hong, Yuhan Zhou, Xiaomin Zhang, Meian He, and Huan Guo
Environ Pollut
May 2, 2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.119345

Experimental studies have suggested perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) as mammary toxicants, but few studies evaluated the prospective associations of PFASs with breast cancer risk. We performed a case-cohort study within the Dongfeng-Tongji cohort, including incident breast cancer cases (n = 226) and a random sub-cohort (n = 990). Baseline plasma concentrations of four perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) [perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)] and two perfluorinated sulfonic acids (PFSAs) [perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)] were measured. Barlow-weighted Cox regression models revealed that each 1-unit increase in ln-transformed PFOA and PFHpA was associated with a separate 35% and 20% elevated incident risk of breast cancer [HR(95%CI) = 1.35(1.03, 1.78) and 1.20(1.02, 1.40), respectively], which were also significant among postmenopausal females [HR(95%CI) = 1.34(1.01, 1.77) and 1.23 (1.02, 1.48), respectively]. Quantile g-computation analysis observed a 19% increased incident risk of breast cancer along with each simultaneous quartile increase in all ln-transformed PFCA concentrations [HR(95%CI) = 1.19(1.01, 1.41)], with PFOA accounting for 56% of the positive effect. Our findings firstly revealed the impact of short-chain PFHpA on increased incident risk of breast cancer, suggested exposure to PFASs as a risk factor for breast cancer, and shed light on breast cancer prevention by regulating PFASs as a chemical class.

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