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Background: Controversy still exists about the breast carcinogenic properties in humans of environmental xenoestrogens (organochlorines), justifying new investigations.
Aims: To compare the blood levels of total dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in samples collected at the time of breast cancer discovery, in order to avoid the potential consequences of body weight change (after chemotherapy or radiotherapy) on the pesticide residue levels.
Methods: Blood levels of HCB and total DDT (we calculated total DDT concentrations by adding all DDT and DDE isomers) were compared in 159 women with breast cancer and 250 presumably healthy controls. Risk of breast cancer associated with organochlorine concentration was evaluated.
Results: Mean levels of total DDT and HCB were significantly higher for breast cancer patients than for controls. No differences in serum levels of total DDT or HCB were found between oestrogen receptor positive and oestrogen receptor negative patients with breast cancer.
Conclusions: These results add to the growing evidence that certain persistent pollutants may occur in higher concentrations in blood samples from breast cancer patients than controls.