Urinary arsenic profiles and the risks of cancer mortality: A population-based 20-year follow-up study in arseniasis-endemic areas in Taiwan

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Few studies investigated the association between chronic arsenic exposure and the mortality of cancers by estimating individual urinary arsenic methylation profiles. Therefore, we compared with the general population in Taiwan to calculate the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) in arseniasis-endemic area of Taiwan from 1996 to 2010 and evaluated the dose-response relationships between environmental arsenic exposure indices or urinary arsenic profiles and the mortality of cause-specific cancer. A cohort of 1563 residents was conducted and collected their urine sample and information regarding arsenic exposure from a questionnaire. All-cause death was identified using the National Death Registry of Taiwan. Urinary arsenic profiles were measured using high performance liquid chromatography-hydride generator-atomic absorption spectrometry. We used Cox proportional hazard models to evaluate the mortality risks. In results, 193 all-site cancer deaths, and 29, 71, 43 deaths respectively for liver, lung and bladder cancers were ascertained. The SMRs were significantly high in arseniasis-endemic areas for liver, lung, and bladder cancers. People with high urinary InAs% or low DMA% or low secondary methylation index (SMI) were the most likely to suffer bladder cancer after adjusting other risk factors. Even stopping exposure to arsenic from the artesian well water, the mortality rates of the residents were higher than general population. Finally, urinary InAs%, DMA% and SMI could be the potential biomarkers to predict the mortality risk of bladder cancer.

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