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Open Access Research article

Cadmium burden and the risk and phenotype of prostate cancer

Yi-Chun Chen12, Yeong S Pu3, Hsi-Chin Wu4, Tony T Wu5, Ming Kuen Lai13, Chun Y Yang6 and Fung-Chang Sung24*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Management, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung 824, Taiwan

2 Institute of Environmental Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei 100, Taiwan

3 Department of Urology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei 100, Taiwan

4 Division of Urology and Institute of Environmental Health, China Medical University and Hospital, Taichung 404, Taiwan

5 Division of Urology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung 813, Taiwan

6 Department of Public Health, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:429  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-429

Published: 10 December 2009



Studies on the association between prostate cancer and cadmium exposure have yielded conflicting results. This study explored cadmium burden on the risk and phenotype of prostate cancer in men with no evident environmental exposure.


Hospital-based 261 prostate cancer cases and 267 controls with benign diseases were recruited from four hospitals in Taiwan. Demographic, dietary and lifestyle data were collected by standardized questionnaires. Blood cadmium (BCd) and creatinine-adjusted urine cadmium (CAUCd) levels were measured for each participant. Statistical analyses measured the prostate cancer risk associated with BCd and CAUCd separately, controlling for age, smoking and institution. BCd and CAUCd levels within cases were compared in relation to the disease stage and the Gleason score.


High family income, low beef intake, low dairy product consumption and positive family history were independently associated with the prostate carcinogenesis. There was no difference in BCd levels between cases and controls (median, 0.88 versus 0.87 μg/l, p = 0.45). Cases had lower CAUCd levels than controls (median, 0.94 versus 1.40 μg/g creatinine, p = 0.001). However, cases with higher BCd and CAUCd levels tended to be at more advanced stages and to have higher Gleason scores. The prostate cancer cases with Gleason scores of ≥ 8 had an odds ratio of 2.89 (95% confidence interval 1.25-6.70), compared with patients with scores of 2-6.


Higher CAUCd and BCd levels may be associated with advanced cancer phenotypes, but there was only a tenuous association between cadmium and prostate cancer.