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High Pesticide Exposure Linked to Liver Cancer Risk

Risk highest among people with high DDT levels, low DDE levels

TUESDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to the DDT pesticide may increase the risk of developing liver cancer, according to a report in the July 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Katherine McGlynn, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues reviewed data on 553 patients who participated in clinical trials in China between 1986 and 1991, and identified 168 who later developed liver cancer. They measured serum levels of DDT and DDE, a product of DDT.

The researchers found an increased risk of liver cancer was linked to increased DDT levels blood levels, although they found no significant link between liver cancer and DDE blood levels. They found that the risk was highest among people with high DDT levels and DDE levels below the median value.

They suggest that high exposure to DDT may increase the incidence of liver cancer by 77 percent.

"DDT may be a risk factor for liver cancer, particularly among persons with lower DDE concentrations," the authors conclude. "On the basis of these observations, future research in the area of pesticide exposure and liver cancer should be encouraged."

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