Does Low-Level Arsenic Exposure Affect Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness in Black Men?

Low levels of arsenic exposure do not appear to augment prostate cancer (PCa) aggressiveness in African American men, according to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

 The researchers noted that while high-level exposure to arsenic is associated with PCa mortality, it is unknown whether low-level exposure is correlated with PCa aggressiveness. They assessed the link between urinary arsenic and PCa aggressiveness among men in North Carolina.

In a cross-sectional study, the researchers analyzed 463 African American and 491 white men with newly diagnosed prostate adenocarcinoma. PCa aggressiveness was defined either as low aggressive or intermediate/high aggressive. The researchers collected urine samples at an average of 23.7 weeks after diagnosis to measure arsenic levels and used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the covariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for PCa aggressiveness by race.

According to the results, the highest levels of arsenic were associated with PCa aggressiveness ORs of 1.77 (95% CI, 1.0-2.98) among white men and 0.94 (95% CI, 0.57-1.56) among Black men (P=0.04). The researchers noted that, in contrast, total arsenic and arsenical species were not associated with PCa aggressiveness in unstratified models.

“Low-level arsenic exposure may be associated with PCa aggressiveness among European-Americans, but not among African-Americans,” the researchers concluded.