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|Regional Issue: Skin tumors||News and Highlights||
Solving the riddle of skin tumors in brown bullhead catfish
The Problem and Effects:
Carcinogens in sediments, especially polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are strongly linked to liver tumors. PAHs can are found in gasoline, oil, coal, car exhaust and road particles.
What We're Doing:
The Service developed a more intensive study to try to determine the causes of these tumors. In partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, South River Federation, George Washington University Medical Center, Stockholm University, and Penn State University-Behrend Campus, the Service sampled the South River four more times, as well as the Severn, Rhode, and Choptank rivers.
In addition to examining the fish for skin and liver tumors, the team looked at the DNA in the liver and skin tissues for PAHs and alkylating agents. Early in the cancer process, chemicals attached to DNA.
Neither the DNA nor the sediment data suggested an association between fish with tumors and exposure to PAHs or alkylating agents. Thus, though the team was able to rule out some causes, questions remain. Follow-up studies will examine the immune system of fish from some of the rivers to see why they frequently develop tumors.
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May 22, 2013