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  • Evidence from basic science studies

    2024-04-03

    Evidence from basic science studies suggests that Cd may play a role in prostate cancer through disruption of the androgen receptor (AR). AR, a hormone-activated transcription factor, is the key driver of prostate cancer progression [6]. Ironically, the AR is also required for normal prostate growth and development. Work in cell lines has shown changes in AR activity or AR expression when AZD 8055 are exposed to Cd [[7], [8], [9], [10]]. Studies have also shown that Cd can bind directly to the ligand binding domain of AR and can compete with dihydrotestosterone, the natural ligand of AR [8]. Binding of Cd has been shown to modify the conformation of the receptor [11], potentially changing its transcriptional potential. Epidemiological studies evaluating the relationship between Cd and AR have largely employed peripheral measures of Cd exposure (in blood, toenails, or urine) and proxy measures of AR function such as serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) level [[12], [13], [14], [15]], a downstream target of the AR. Such approaches have yielded mixed results and have not confirmed a clear interaction between Cd exposure and AR signaling in the human prostate.
    Materials and methods
    Results Of the 52 cases, 22 self-identified as African American and 30 as European American. Age, dietary intake of Zn and Se, smoking status and Gleason score did not differ by race (Table 1). Tumor tissue Cd, Pb, and Zn content were determined in replicate samples and did not differ by race. African Americans had significantly lower Census tract median household income (p < 0.001) compared with European Americans. In the Detroit metropolitan area, neighborhood poverty is positively associated with greater numbers of polluting industrial sites[30]. As part of a prior study, AR protein expression was measured in tissue from the same tumor foci in each specimen. Tumor AR expression did not differ between African American and European American prostate cancer cases. We evaluated the association of Cd and AR expression overall and by race. Overall, there was no significant association between Cd and AR protein expression. However, as shown in Fig. 1, the direction of the correlation between Cd and AR differed by race. A significant positive correlation between the log of tumor Cd content and AR expression was evident for African Americans (Pearson correlation, r = 0.52, 95% CI 0.13–0.91, P = 0.013); whereas a non-significant negative correlation was observed in European Americans (r = −0.19, 95% CI −0.57–0.19. P = 0.31). In multivariable analyses (Table 2) that accounted for age, ever smoking and Gleason score, a significant race-by-Cd content interaction (P = 0.003) was observed, indicating that the relationship between tumor AR expression and Cd content was dependent upon self-identified race. Adjusting for additional factors including tumor tissue Zn or Pb content, dietary Zn or Se intake, or median household income did not modify these results (Table 3). Comparing mean AR expression by high (>median) and low Cd level showed that among African-American men with high Cd content, AR expression is more than double the AR expression in men with low Cd tissue levels (mean AR expression (±standard error): Cd high 0.021 (±0.005) vs. Cd low 0.008 (±0.003), P = 0.014). AR expression did not differ in European Americans by Cd content (mean AR expression (±standard error): Cd high 0.011 (±0.002) vs. Cd low 0.015 (±0.003), P  = 0.30).
    Discussion In this study, we found that the association between Cd and AR protein expression in prostate tumor tissue was dependent upon self-identified race-ethnicity (African American). These preliminary findings (N = 52) support the hypothesis that Cd may be a direct or indirect endocrine disruptor of AR in human prostate tumor tissue and that race (African American) may modify the association between Cd and AR. This finding is provocative since African American men have 74% higher incidence of prostate cancer and are more than twice as likely to die of the disease than European American men (42.8 vs. 18.7 deaths per 100,000).[31]