PFAS may reduce the effectiveness of cancer treatments

According to a new study published in Journal of Hazardous Materials, two types of PFAS - PFOS and its supposedly safer substitute 6:2 Cl-PFESA - may make chemotherapy treatments for pancreatic cancer less effective.

In short:

  • While both chemicals reduced the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug, the substitute had an even stronger impact.
  • Studies have suggested that PFAS may have a similar effect on treatments for both endometrial and ovarian cancers.
  • This study adds to the growing evidence that environmental pollutants can increase drug resistance in tumors.

Key quote:

“Despite 6:2 Cl-PFESA being regarded as a safer substitute for PFOS, its pronounced effect on chemotherapeutic resistance in [pancreatic cancer] necessitates a thorough evaluation of its potential risks.”

Why this matters:

PFAS chemicals - which are found in a wide range of industrial and consumer products - are associated with severe health effects including an increased risk of cancer, liver and kidney damage, and developmental issues in babies and children. While regulations have restricted the use of older forms of PFAS, industry has created a host of new PFAS substitutes and put them to use without proper testing for health risks. This study points to the need to address widespread exposure to newer, untested chemical substitutes that are not covered by current regulatory structures.

Related EHN coverage:

More resources:

Hong, Jaiwei et al. for Journal of Hazardous Materials vol. 474. Aug. 5, 2024

About the author(s):

Katherine McMahon
Katherine McMahon
Katherine McMahon is a Science Administrative Assistant at Environmental Health Sciences.
Sarah Howard
Sarah Howard
Howard is the Program Manager at the Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies (HEEDS), a program of Environmental Health Sciences.

You Might Also Like


Top environmental health news from around the world.

Environmental Health News

Your support of EHN, a newsroom powered by Environmental Health Sciences, drives science into public discussions. When you support our work, you support impactful journalism. It all improves the health of our communities. Thank you!

coconut oil

Phthalate chemicals found in popular coconut oils

New testing finds traces of the toxics in all seven coconut oils tested.