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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 1981837, 8 pages
Review Article

Cadmium Exposure as a Putative Risk Factor for the Development of Pancreatic Cancer: Three Different Lines of Evidence

1Department of Toxicology “Akademik Danilo Soldatović”, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy, Belgrade, Serbia
2School of Biomedical Science, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK, USA
3Emergency Center, Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia
4First Surgical Clinic, Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia

Correspondence should be addressed to Aleksandra Buha;

Received 9 September 2017; Accepted 31 October 2017; Published 16 November 2017

Academic Editor: Rosaria Scudiero

Copyright © 2017 Aleksandra Buha et al. 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.


Although profoundly studied, etiology of pancreatic cancer (PC) is still rather scant. Exposure to cadmium (Cd), a ubiquitous metal associated with well-established toxic and carcinogenic properties, has been hypothesized to one putative cause of PC. Hence, we analyzed recently published observational studies, meta-analyses, and experimental animal and in vitro studies with the aim of summarizing the evidence of Cd involvement in PC development and describing the possible mechanisms. Consolidation of epidemiological data on PC and exposure to Cd indicated a significant association with an elevated risk of PC among general population exposed to Cd. Cadmium exposure of laboratory animals was showed to cause PC supporting the findings suggested by human studies. The concordance with human and animal studies is buttressed by in vitro studies, although in vitro data interpretation is problematic. In most instances, only significant effects are reported, and the concentrations of Cd are excessive, which would skew interpretation. Previous reports suggest that oxidative stress, apoptotic changes, and DNA cross-linking and hypermethylation are involved in Cd-mediated carcinogenesis. Undoubtedly, a significant amount of work is still needed to achieve a better understanding of the Cd involvement in pancreatic cancer which could facilitate prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of this fatal disease.