Cadmium, a heavy metal found in cigarettes, batteries, paint, and some foods, could have a role in causing prostate cancer, according to an international team of researchers. This discovery could eventually lead scientists to develop new ways to treat prostate cancer.
Cadmium can enter the body from smoking cigarettes, eating food (especially shellfish) and drinking water that contains the metal, and inhaling it from the air. The toxin is found in industrial environments, especially those that involve ore processing or smelting.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has stated that cadmium and cadmium compounds are known human carcinogens.
The new study, which was conducted by Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Marshall University, and his team, evaluated the impact of cadmium exposure on normal and tumor cells from human prostate tissue. To date, research into the impact of cadmium on prostate cancer has been limited to such laboratory work.
Claudio noted that they “were able to demonstrate the molecular mechanisms cadmium uses to induce carcinogenesis in the prostate.” The team stated that their work “will contribute to the body of knowledge available to science and may lead to exciting new treatments for this common cancer.”
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
Aimola P et al. Cadmium induces p53-dependent apoptosis in human prostate epithelial cells. PLoS One 2012 Mar 20