Cadmium may lead to breast cancer progression

5/20/2014

Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Recent studies by researchers at the University of Skövde and Dominican University of California now show that even very low levels of cadmium may be dangerous and lead to breast cancer progression.

- Our research focuses on understanding the link between cadmium and breast cancer. Cadmium is a heavy metal which is found in contaminated food and water, and cigarette smoke. It is a known carcinogen, but our study shows that even at very low levels, chronic exposure can lead to breast cancer advancement, say Zelmina Lubovac Pilav, Lecturer in Bioinformatics at the University of Skövde.

The Swedish - American research team has recently published an article showing that breast cancer cells exposed to cadmium over long periods´of time express common genes that contributes to the progression of the disease. Many studies in the field have linked cadmium to breast cancer for short periods of exposure at high concentrations, this is one of few studies that have focused on long-term exposure of cadmium and its connection to breast cancer.

 - Most people in today's society are exposed to low levels of cadmium for long periods of time, therefore it is important to understand that the accumulation of this in our tissues could be dangerous to human health and the development of cancer, says Zelmina Lubovac Pilav.

The University of Skövde has a long-standing partnership with Dominican University of California in terms of student exchange and the cooperation has now been extended to include research, mainly in biomedicine and bioinformatics. The research is funded by the National Institute of Health, USA, and AGfonden and Magnus Bergvall Foundation.