Leading applicant:

Fondazione IRCCS "Istituto Nazionale Tumori", Environmental Epidemiology Unit (INT)


Alessandro Borgini (alessandro.borgini@istitutotumori.mi.it)

List of polluttants analysed

Research of scientific articles in the PubMed, Scopus, and Embase, and other databases, using the term ‘‘breast cancer’’ in combination with environmental persistent organic pollutants (POPs) chosen in the Wasaby European project like:

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites (DDD, DDE) and others organochlorine compounds (Lindane, Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), Chlordane, ecc.)
  • Dioxin (TCDD)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs, PFOS, PFOSA and PFOA)
  • Triazine (atrazine, simazine, terbuthylazine and metabolites desethyl-atrazine, desethyl-terbuthylazine)
  • Cadmium (heavy metal)
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs) (bromoform, bromo-dichloro-methane, dibromochloromethane, chloroform)

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a group of heterogeneous compounds of both natural and anthropogenic origin with highly persistent and bioaccumulative properties and common properties like lipophilic compounds accumulate in fat, resulting in bioaccumulation and biomagnification up the food chain. There is growing concern that POPs may increase breast cancer risk due to their xenoestrogenic properties. They are also resistant to photolytic, biological or chemical degradation and remain in the environment for a long period (Damstra, 2002). However, most of the studies have examined exposure to the pollutants after diagnosis of breast cancer, overlooking exposure during critical windows of vulnerability

Nr of articles considered at 31.12.2018

Pollutant Nr of IARC Monographs Nr of meta-analysis or reviews Nr of scientific articles
PCBs 1 6 38
DDT, DDD, DDE and HCB 1 8 40
TCDD 2 5 13
PAHs 2 1 14
Triazine 1 3 8
Cadmium 1 1 6
THMs 2 1 5
Total 11 27 130


Deliverable Status File
D7.1-Literature review on the main persistent environmental contaminants related to breast cancer V.1
D7.1-Annexes V.1