In utero exposure to poly− and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and subsequent breast cancer

Barbara A. Cohn, Michele A. La Merrill, Nickilou Y. Krigbaum, Miaomiao Wang, June Soo Park, Myrto Petreas, Gregory Yeh, Russell C Hovey, Lauren Zimmermann, Piera M. Cirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We tested the hypothesis that maternal perinatal serum levels of poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) predict risk for breast cancer in daughters in a 54-year follow-up of 9300 daughters born 1959–1967 in the Child Health and Development Studies pregnancy cohort. Total cholesterol and PFASs were measured in archived maternal perinatal serum for 102 daughter breast cancer cases diagnosed by age 52, and 310 controls matched on birth year and blood draw trimester. High maternal N-ethyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamido acetic acid (EtFOSAA), a precursor of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), in combination with high maternal total cholesterol predicted a 3.6-fold increased risk of breast cancer (pinteraction<0.05). Conversely, maternal PFOS was associated with decreased daughters’ breast cancer risk. Predictions were robust to alternative modeling and independent of other maternal factors. Future generations continue to be exposed to ubiquitous, persistent PFASs. These findings are relevant to breast cancer prevention if confirmed experimentally and where possible, in additional epidemiology studies of internal doses of PFASs and other chemical mixtures especially during vulnerable windows in early life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReproductive Toxicology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • CHDS
  • Child Health and Development StudiesI
  • Cholesterol
  • In utero window of susceptibility
  • PFASs
  • PFOS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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