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Long-term Dietary Cadmium Intake and Postmenopausal Endometrial Cancer Incidence: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study

Environmental pollutants mimicking the effects of estrogen are suggested to contribute to the high incidence of hormone-related cancers, but supporting data are sparse. A potent estrogen-like activity of the pollutant cadmium, mediated via the estrogen receptor-, has been shown in vivo. We prospectively examined the association between cadmium exposure and incidence of postmenopausal endometrial cancer. The Swedish Mammography Cohort is a population-based prospective cohort of 30,210 postmenopausal women free of cancer diagnose at baseline (1987) and who completed a food frequency questionnaire at baseline and in 1997. We estimated the dietary cadmium intake based on the questionnaire data and the cadmium content in all foods. During 16.0 years (484,274 person-years) of follow-up between the baseline and mid-2006, we ascertained 378 incident cases of endometrioid adenocarcinoma. The average estimated dietary cadmium intake was 15 µg/day (80% from cereals and vegetables). Cadmium intake was statistically significantly associated with increased risk of endometrial cancer in all women; the multivariate relative risk (RR) was 1.39 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.04–1.86; Ptrend = 0.019], comparing highest tertile versus lowest. Among never-smoking women with body mass index (BMI) of <27 kg/m2, the RR was 1.86 (95% CI, 1.13–3.08; Ptrend = 0.009). We observed a 2.9-fold increased risk (95% CI, 1.05–7.79) associated with long-term cadmium intake consistently above the median at both baseline 1987 and in 1997 in never-smoking women with low bioavailable estrogen (BMI of <27 kg/m2 and nonusers of postmenopausal hormones). Our results support the hypothesis that cadmium may exert estrogenic effects and thereby increase the risk of hormone-related cancers. [Cancer Res 2008;68(15):6435–41]