CINCINNATI, USA—A link has been demonstrated for the first time between prostate cancer and exposure to the synthetic compound bisphenol-A (BPA ) — commonly used in plastic bottles and other household plastics and epoxy resins. It has long been known to have hormone-like properties that could potentially cause harm to humans.
In a study of 60 male urology patients just published in PLoS One those with prostate cancer had urine BPA levels two to three times higher than those without prostate cancer. The lead author Dr. Shuk-mei Ho PhD, Director of the Cincinnati Cancer Center and Chair of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, told AudioMedica.com with MD-FM that although there was already overwhelming experimental data showing connections between BPA and various kinds of cancers, type II diabetes and obesity this was probably the first study to connect urinary BPA with prostate cancer: “So maybe now we should conduct larger studies to validate that this is true,” she noted.
Trying to reduce BPA exposure as much as possible might be wise, she thought: a policy which has already begun in some countries with such measures as keeping BPA out of the food chain by banning it from products such as baby bottles and water containers.
The new research has provided further evidence base for excluding BPA. Working with isolated human prostate cells in the lab the Cincinnati team showed that even extremely low BPA levels induced the sorts of abnormalities often observed in cancers.
Dr. Gail S Prins PhD from the University of Illinois in Chicago — who didn’t participate in the study — commented on the findings in an interview: “The focus of work in this field has [previously] more been towards what does early life exposure do. And this data suggests that exposure to BPA in adult life can continue to be harmful and can help to promote prostate cancer growth or make it behave more aggressively than if BPA is not present — at very low doses. So this important new information,” she noted.
SOURCE: Tarapore P. et al., Exposure to bisphenol-A correlates with early-onset prostate cancer and promotes centrosome amplification and anchorage-independent growth in vitro, PLoS One, March 3 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090332.
CONTRIBUTOR: Dr. Shuk-mei Ho, Director of the Cincinnati Cancer Center, OH.
CONTRIBUTOR: Dr. Gail Prins, Professor of Physiology, Department of Urology, University of Illinois, Chicago.