In earlier analyses, we demonstrated dose-response relationships between renal and lung cancer and local arsenic concentrations in wells used by Bangladeshi villagers. We used the same case-referent approach to examine the relation of arsenic to biopsy confirmed transition cell cancer (TCC) of the ureter, bladder or urethra in these villagers. As the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has conclude that arsenic in drinking water causes bladder cancer, we expected to find higher risk with increasing arsenic concentration. We used histology/cytology results from biopsies carried out at a single clinic in Dhaka, Bangladesh from January 2008 to October 2011. We classified these into four groups, TCC (n
= 1466), other malignancies (n
= 145), chronic cystitis (CC) (n
= 844) and other benign (n
= 194). Arsenic concentration was estimated from British Geological Survey reports. Odds ratios were calculated by multilevel logistic regression adjusted for confounding and allowing for geographic clustering. We found no consistent trend for TCC with increasing arsenic concentration but the likelihood of a patient with benign disease having CC was significantly increased at arsenic concentrations >100 µg/L. We conclude that the expected relationship of TCC to arsenic was masked by over-matching that resulted from the previously unreported relationship between arsenic and CC. We hypothesize that CC may be a precursor of TCC in high arsenic areas.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited