PurposePolybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are among the most persistent and pervasive global environmental contaminants. Their toxic and endocrine-disrupting properties have made them a focus of concern for breast cancer. Our objective was to evaluate the risk of breast cancer associated with serum PBDE levels in a case-control study nested within the California Teachers Study.
MethodsParticipants were 902 women with invasive breast cancer (cases) and 936 with no such diagnosis (controls) who provided 10 mL of blood and were interviewed between 2011 and 2015. Blood samples were collected from cases an average of 35 months after diagnosis. PBDEs were measured in serum using automated solid phase extraction and gas chromatography/high resolution mass spectrometry. Statistical analyses were restricted to the three congeners with detection frequencies ≥75%: 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47), 2,2',4,4',6-pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-100), and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-153). Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) for each BDE congener, adjusting for serum lipids and other potential confounders.
ResultsThe OR for each of the three BDE congeners was close to unity with a CI that included one. Analyses stratified by menopausal status, tumor hormone responsiveness, BMI, and changes in body weight yielded similarly null results.
ConclusionsOur findings provide no evidence that serum levels of BDE-47, BDE-100 or BDE-153 are associated with breast cancer risk. These results should be interpreted in the context of study limitations which include the reliance on PBDE measurements that may not represent pre-diagnostic, early-life or chronic exposures and a lack of information on genetic polymorphisms and other factors which may affect endogenous estrogen levels.