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Clinical Oncology/Epidemiology

Cancer potential in liver, lung, bladder and kidney due to ingested inorganic arsenic in drinking water


In order to compare risk of various internal organ cancers induced by ingested inorganic arsenic and to assess the differences in risk between males and females, cancer potency indices were calculated using mortality rates among residents in an endemic area of chronic arsenicism on the southwest coast of Taiwan, and the Armitage-Doll multistage model. Based on a total of 898,806 person-years as well as 202 liver cancer, 304 lung cancer, 202 bladder cancer and 64 kidney cancer deaths, a significant dose-response relationship was observed between arsenic level in drinking water and mortality of the cancers. The potency index of developing cancer of the liver, lung, bladder and kidney due to an intake of 10 micrograms kg day of arsenic was estimated as 4.3 x 10(-3), 1.2 x 10(-2), 1.2 x 10(-2), and 4.2 x 10(-3), respectively, for males; as well as 3.6 x 10(-3), 1.3 x 10(-2), 1.7 x 10(-2), and 4.8 x 10(-3), respectively, for females in the study area. The multiplicity of inorganic arsenic-induced carcinogenicity without showing any organotropism deserves further investigation.

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Chen, CJ., Chen, C., Wu, MM. et al. Cancer potential in liver, lung, bladder and kidney due to ingested inorganic arsenic in drinking water. Br J Cancer 66, 888–892 (1992).

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