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BPA Tied to Tumor Growth in Mice

Update Date: Feb 03, 2014 09:22 AM EST

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that can be found in many household products, such as food packaging and bottles. Over the past years, researchers have gathered more evidence that overexposure to BPA can be detrimental for one's health. In a new study, researchers reported that BPA exposure was tied to the development of liver tumors in mice models.

For this study, the research team from the University of Michigan School of Public Health exposed pregnant mice with different levels of BPA. The six-week-old mice were fed one of three diets that had varying levels of BPA. The mice had to stay on this diet throughout pregnancy and during nursing as well. The researchers examined one male and one female from each liter for 10 months. The team discovered that the pregnant mice that were exposed to the highest level of BPA, which was 50 milligrams, had offspring that were seven times more likely to develop liver tumors.

"We found that 27 percent of the mice exposed to one of three different doses of BPA through their mother's diet developed liver tumors and some precancerous lesions. The higher the dosage, the more likely they were to present with tumors," said Caren Weinhouse, U-M doctoral student in the School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health Sciences and first author of the paper. "The current study showing live tumors in mice says let's take another look at BPA and cancer in humans."

According to the senior corresponding author of this study, Dana Dolinoy, this study is the first to find a statistically significant relationship between clinically evident tumors in the body and BPA exposure. Dolinoy, who is the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, also reported that this study did not find any differences in tumor risk between male and females mice. Previous findings have suggested hat women have a lower risk of liver cancer.

The researchers reported that the study's findings suggest that there could be a link between BPA exposure and cancers in humans. However, the team would have to find more evidence before making such a conclusion. Weinhouse added that in their next laboratory study, they plan on examining any biomarkers of diseases in the mice's genes. If particular biomarkers indicate diseases, the researchers plan on seeing if humans have similar characteristics in their genes.

The findings were published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

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