Low levels of the plastic compound bisphenol A have been linked to a greater incidence of prostate cancer in tissue grown from human prostate stem cells, a new study finds.
The results, presented at the Endocrine Society's 95th annual meeting in San Francisco this week, are the latest in a growing number of study findings to suggest potential risks from exposure to BPA, a synthetic estrogen that is used to add flexibility to many common products, including food cans and containers, compact discs, eyeglasses, and baby bottles.
For the study, University of Illinois at Chicago investigators used human prostate stem cells from organ donors to grow prostate tissue in laboratory mice. They found that early BPA exposure significantly increased the risk of both prostate cancer and a precancerous condition known as prostate epithelial neoplasia, or PIN.
"These results suggest that stem cells are direct BPA targets which may explain the long-lasting effects of this chemical throughout the body," said lead researcher Gail S. Prins, a professor of physiology and urology. "They provide the first direct in vivo evidence that developmental exposure to environmentally relevant levels of BPA increases human prostate cancer risk."
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
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