High concentrations of organochlorines in a patient with kidney cancer and anorexia-cachexia syndrome

Med Chem. 2006 Nov;2(6):607-10. doi: 10.2174/1573406410602060607.


Purpose: To determine persistent organic pollutants in adipose tissue in a patient with kidney cancer.

Methods: Adipose tissue was sampled from the abdominal wall during autopsy of a 75-year old man who had died from a kidney cancer. The concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDE), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), chlordanes and tetrabromodiphenyl ether (TeBDE) were determined on lipid basis. For comparison results from 29 male population based subjects aged 70-80 years were used.

Results: All concentrations except for TeBDE were very high in the patient; sum of PCBs 18 808 ng/g fat (median for controls 997), DDE 14 183 (median for controls 751), HCB 424 (median for controls 46), and sum of chlordanes 2 389 (median for controls 62). The patient lost weight from 80 kg to 48 kg when he died, which may have contributed wholly or partly to the very high concentrations of organochlorines.

Conclusion: Changes in weight must be recorded in cancer patients and the concentrations of persistent organic pollutants should be normalized to weight. The concentrations in this patient were 10- to almost 40-times higher than in the controls. Such very high concentrations may give clinical symptoms in the final stage of a wasting cancer patient.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / chemistry
  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Cachexia / metabolism
  • Cachexia / pathology*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / analysis*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Wasting Syndrome


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls