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Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Nov;25(11):1439-48. doi: 10.1007/s10552-014-0446-7. Epub 2014 Aug 23.

Breast cancer risk after exposure to perfluorinated compounds in Danish women: a case-control study nested in the Danish National Birth Cohort.

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Department of Public Health, Centre for Arctic Health & Cellular and Molecular Toxicology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark,



Animal studies have indicated that perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) increase mammary fibroadenomas. A recent case-control study in Greenlandic Inuit women showed an association between the PFAS serum levels and breast cancer (BC) risk. The present study evaluates the association between serum levels of PFAS in pregnant Danish women and the risk of premenopausal BC during a follow-up period of 10-15 years using prospectively collected exposure data during the pregnancy.


Questionnaire and blood samples were taken during 1996-2002 and at the end of follow-up, all 250 BC cases and 233 frequency-matched controls were chosen for further analyses. Serum levels of ten perfluorocarboxylated acids, five perfluorosulfonated acids, and one sulfonamide (perflurooctane-sulfonamide, PFOSA) were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization in negative mode. Computer-assisted telephone interviews taken during pregnancy provided data on potential confounders.


Weak positive and negative insignificant associations were found between BC risk and levels of perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA) and perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS), respectively. Grouped into quintile, the BC cases had a significant positive association with PFOSA at the highest quintiles and a negatively association for PFHxS. Sensitivity analyses excluding uncertain cases caused stronger data for PFOSA and weaker for PFHxS. No further significant associations were observed.


This study does not provide convincing evidence for a causal link between PFAS exposures and premenopausal BC risks 10-15 years later.

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