Iulia A. Neamtiu​, Michael S. Bloom*, Irina Dumitrascu, Carmen A. Roba, Cristian Pop, Claudia Ordeanu, Ovidiu Balacescu, and Eugen S. Gurzau


Background: Cancer research is a national and international priority, with the efficiency and effectiveness of current anti-tumor therapies being one of the major challenges with which physicians are faced. Objective: To assess the impact of exposure to tobacco smoke, arsenic, and phthalates on cervical cancer treatment. Methods: We investigated 37 patients with locally advanced cervical carcinoma who underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We determined cotinine and five phthalate metabolites in urine samples collected prior to cancer treatment, by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, and urinary total arsenic by atomic absorption spectrometry with hydride generation. We used linear regression to evaluate the effects of cotinine, arsenic, and phthalates on the change in tumor size after treatment, adjusted for confounding variables. Results: We detected no significant associations between urinary cotinine, arsenic, or phthalate monoesters on change in tumor size after treatment, adjusted for urine creatinine, age, baseline tumor size, and cotinine (for arsenic and phthalates). However, higher %mono-ethylhexyl phthalate (%MEHP), a putative indicator of phthalate diester metabolism, was associated with a larger change in tumor size (β = 0.015, 95% CI [0.003–0.03], P = 0.019). Conclusion: We found no statistically significant association between the urinary levels of arsenic, cotinine, and phthalates metabolites and the response to cervical cancer treatment as measured by the change in tumor size. Still, our results suggested that phthalates metabolism may be associated with response to treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer. However, these observations are preliminary and will require confirmation in a larger, more definitive investigation.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates and Staff