Serum cadmium levels in pancreatic cancer patients from the East Nile Delta region of Egypt

Alison M. Kriegel, Amr S. Soliman, Qing Zhang, Nabih El-Ghawalby, Ahmed Soultan, Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, Omar Fathy, Gamal Ebidi, Nadia Bassiouni, Stanley R. Hamilton, James L. Abbruzzese, Michelle R. Lacey, Diane A. Blake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The northeast Nile Delta region exhibits a high incidence of early-onset pancreatic cancer. It is well documented that this region has one of the highest levels of pollution in Egypt. Epidemiologic studies have suggested that cadmium, a prevalent pollutant in the northeast Nile Delta region, plays a role in the development of pancreatic cancer. Objective: We aimed to assess serum cadmium levels as markers of exposure in pancreatic cancer patients and noncancer comparison subjects from the same region in Egypt. Design and participants: We assessed serum cadmium levels of 31 newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer patients and 52 hospital comparison subjects from Mansoura, Egypt. Evaluation/Measurements: Serum cadmium levels were measured using a novel immunoassay procedure. Results: We found a significant difference between the mean serum cadmium levels in patients versus comparison subjects (mean ± SD, 11.1 ± 7.7 ng/mL vs. 7.1 ± 5.0 ng/mL, respectively; p = 0.012) but not in age, sex, residence, occupation, or smoking status. The odds ratio (OR) for pancreatic cancer risk was significant for serum cadmium level [OR = 1.12; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.04-1.23; p = 0.0089] and farming (OR = 3.25; 95% CI, 1.03-11.64; p = 0.0475) but not for age, sex, residence, or smoking status. Conclusions: The results from this pilot study suggest that pancreatic cancer in the East Nile Delta region is significantly associated with high levels of serum cadmium and farming. Relevance to Clinical Practice/Public Health: Future studies should further investigate the etiologic relationship between cadmium exposure and pancreatic carcinogenesis in cadmium-exposed populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadmium
  • East Nile Delta region
  • Environmental exposure
  • Immunoassays
  • Occupational exposure
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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