Correlation between toxic organochlorine pesticides and breast cancer

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Abstract

Organochlorines (OCs) are common environmental pollutants that have been linked to cancer. This work aims to assess the role of OCs as a risk factor for breast cancer and to evaluate the cellular changes induced by exposure to such environmental contaminants. The study included 70 cancer patients subjected to thorough history taking and routine investigations. Samples from tumor and normal adjacent tissue were taken to measure OCs’ levels and to perform molecular analysis (some oncogenic and apoptotic markers) by flow cytometry. There were significantly higher concentrations of methoxychlor, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), hexa-chlorobenzene (HCB), and chlordane in tumor tissue samples compared to the surrounding normal tissue. There was a positive statistically significant correlation between G2m and dichloro-diphenyl-dichloroethane, DDT, and methoxychlor. There was also a negative correlation between propidium iodide (PI) and heptachlor as well as between PI, B-cell lymphoma 2, and methoxychlor. Annexin showed a negative correlation with HCB and methoxychlor. In conclusion, the higher level of organochlorine pesticides in the tissue specimens of breast cancer and the resultant molecular dysfunction highlight a possible association. Further research is warranted to elucidate the other possible mechanisms involved in the process of carcinogenesis.

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