(HealthDay News) — Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may increase the risk for prostate cancer later in life, according to an experimental study published online Jan. 1 in Endocrinology.

It has been shown in rodent models that early-life exposure to BPA reprograms the prostate and increases its susceptibility to hormonal carcinogenesis. Gail S. Prins, PhD, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues utilized human prostate epithelial stem-like cells cultured from prostates of young, disease-free donors to examine whether the human prostate is similarly sensitive to BPA.

The researchers found that BPA correlated with elevated self renewal of stem-progenitor cells and with expression of stem-related genes in a dose-dependent manner. Robust induction of p-Akt and p-Erk was seen at 15 minutes, with equimolar membrane-initiated signaling from 10 nM BPA and estradiol-17β. 

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There was a significant increase the incidence of prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (HG-PIN) and adenocarcinoma in oil-fed controls, compared with in vivo BPA-exposed grafts (13 percent versus 33 to 36 percent; P < 0.05). Continuous developmental BPA exposure via in vitro and in vivo treatment correlated with further increased HG-PIN/cancer incidence to 45 percent (P < 0.01).

“Together, the present findings demonstrate that human prostate stem-progenitor cells are direct BPA targets and that developmental exposure to BPA at low doses increases hormone dependent cancer risk in the human epithelium,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Prins GS, Hu WY, Shi GB, et al. Bisphenol A Promotes Human Prostate Stem-Progenitor Cell Self-Renewal and Increases In Vivo Carcinogenesis in Human Prostate Epithelium. Endocrinology. 2014;doi:10.1210/en.2013-1955.