Liver Cancer Not Associated with Cyanobacterial Toxin Exposure, Canada

Labine MA, Green C, Mak G, Xue L, Nowatzki J, Griffith J, Minuk GY. The Geographic Distribution of Liver Cancer in Canada Does Not Associate with Cyanobacterial Toxin Exposure. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015 Nov 30;12(12):15143-53. doi: 10.3390/ijerph121214969.

BACKGROUND: The incidence of liver cancer has been increasing in Canada over the past decade, as has cyanobacterial contamination of Canadian freshwater lakes and drinking water sources. Cyanotoxins released by cyanobacteria have been implicated in the pathogenesis of liver cancer.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a geographic association exists between liver cancer and surrogate markers of cyanobacterial contamination of freshwater lakes in Canada.

METHODS: A negative binomial regression model was employed based on previously identified risk factors for liver cancer.

RESULTS: No association existed between the geographic distribution of liver cancer and surrogate markers of cyanobacterial contamination. As predicted, significant associations existed in areas with a high prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection, large immigrant populations and urban residences.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that cyanobacterial contamination of freshwater lakes does not play an important role in the increasing incidence of liver cancer in Canada.

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