Occupational lead exposure, nephropathy, and renal cancer

Authors

  • Edward L. Baker Jr MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Occupational Health Program,Harvard School of Public Health, and Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Ellen and Harold Wald Neurological Unit and Evans Memorial Research Foundation, University Hospital, Boston
    • Occupational Health Program, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
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  • Robert A. Goyer MD,

    1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
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  • Bruce A. Fowler Phd,

    1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
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  • Urmila Khettry MD,

    1. Department of Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine, and Mallory Institute of Pathology, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • David B. Bernard MD,

    1. Renal Section, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Stephen Adler MD,

    1. Renal Section, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Ralph Devere White MD,

    1. Department of Urology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Richard Babayan MD,

    1. Department of Urology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Robert G. Feldman MD

    1. Occupational Health Program,Harvard School of Public Health, and Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Ellen and Harold Wald Neurological Unit and Evans Memorial Research Foundation, University Hospital, Boston
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Abstract

A 48-year-old lead worker was found to have a cystic renal carcinoma during an evaluation of his occupational lead poisoning. Clinical studies showed elevated blood lead levels, impaired urinary concentrating ability, and reduced creatinine clearance. Histologic and electron microscopic studies showed this cystic tumor to be similar to renal carcinomas observed in animals with prolonged lead exposure. Lead content of the tumor was elevated (2.49 μg/gm) in comparison with adjacent renal tissue and with normal adult levels. In light of previous animal studies, this case adds increased evidence to the concern over the carcinogenic potential of prolonged lead exposure.

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