Abstract Title:

Urinary phthalate exposures and risk of breast cancer: the Multiethnic Cohort study.

Abstract Source:

Breast Cancer Res. 2021 Apr 6 ;23(1):44. Epub 2021 Apr 6. PMID: 33823904

Abstract Author(s):

Anna H Wu, Adrian A Franke, Lynne R Wilkens, Chiuchen Tseng, Shannon M Conroy, Yuqing Li, Linda M Polfus, Mindy De Rouen, Christian Caberto, Christopher Haiman, Daniel O Stram, Loïc Le Marchand, Iona Cheng

Article Affiliation:

Anna H Wu


BACKGROUND: The epidemiologic evidence from observational studies on breast cancer risk and phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals, has been inconsistent. In the only previous study based on pre-diagnostic urinary phthalates and risk of breast cancer, results were null in mostly white women.

METHODS: We examined the association between pre-diagnostic urinary phthalates and breast cancer in a nested case-control study within the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study, presenting the first data from five major racial/ethnic groups in the USA. We measured 10 phthalate metabolites and phthalic acid, using a sensitive liquid chromatography mass spectrometry assay on 1032 women with breast cancer (48 African Americans, 77 Latinos, 155 Native Hawaiians, 478 Japanese Americans, and 274 Whites) and 1030 matched controls. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine risk with individual metabolites and ratios of primary (MEHP, mono-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate) to secondary (MEHHP, mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl); MEOHP, mono(2-ethyl-5-oxohexy)) metabolites of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), a widely used plasticizer. In addition, we investigated risk associations with high (∑HMWP) and low molecular weight (∑LMWP) phthalates, as well as total phthalates which included high and low molecular weight phthalates with phthalic acid (∑LMHMPA) or without phthalic acid in molar ratios (∑LMHM) and adjusted for creatinine and potential confounders.

RESULTS: Among all women, breast cancer risk was higher for those in tertile 2 and tertile 3 of primary to secondary metabolites of DEHP (MEHP/(MEHHP + MEOHP)) in comparison to those in tertile 1; the respective odds ratios were 1.32 (95% CI 1.04-1.68) and 1.26 (95% CI 0.96-1.66) (P = 0.05). Risk among Native Hawaiian women increased with exposures to eight of ten individual phthalates and total phthalates (∑LMHMPA OR = 2.66, 95% CI 1.39-5.12, P = 0.001). In analysis by hormone receptor (HR) status, exposure above the median of ∑LMWP was associated with an increased risk of HR-positive breast cancer (OR = 1.30, 95% CI 1.05-1.60) while above the median exposure to phthalic acid was associated with an increased risk of HR-negative breast cancer (OR = 1.59, 95% CI 1.01-2.48).

CONCLUSIONS: Further investigations of suggestive associations of elevated breast cancer risk with higher ratios of primary to secondary metabolites of DEHP, and differences in risk patterns by race/ethnicity and HR status are warranted.

Study Type : Human Study

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