Ethnic differences of urinary cadmium in cigarette smokers from the multiethnic cohort study

Shannon S. Cigan, Sharon E. Murphy, Bruce H Alexander, Daniel O. Stram, Dorothy K. Hatsukami, Loic Le Marchand, Sungshim L. Park, Irina Stepanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Multiethnic Cohort Study (MEC) has demonstrated racial/ethnic differences in smoking-associated lung cancer risk. As part of the ongoing effort to characterize exposure to cigarette smoke constituents and better understand risk differences, we evaluated Cd exposure as it is a known lung carcinogen. We quantified urinary cadmium (Cd) by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in a subset of 1956 current smokers from MEC. Ethnic-specific geometric means (GM) were compared adjusting for age at urine collection, sex, creatinine (natural log), education, and smoking (urinary total nicotine equivalents [TNE] and smoking duration). Self-reported ques-tionnaire data, including occupation, were also considered. Latinos and Native Hawaiians had the highest GM urinary Cd (0.871 and 0.836 ng/mL, respectively) followed by Japanese Americans and African Americans (0.811 ng/mL and 0.807, respectively) and Whites (0.736 ng/mL). Patterns in race/ethnicity were consistent by sex such that females had the highest GM urinary Cd. When further adjusting for categorical occupational Cd exposure, racial/ethnic differences of Cd remained (p = 0.009). Findings suggest differences in urinary Cd among smokers across different racial/ethnic groups exist and highlight the importance in considering environmental sources of Cd exposure beyond smoking. These finding lay ground for future studies of individual characteristics that are associated with lower risk for cancer despite higher carcinogenic exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2669
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institute of Health Program Project Grant (PPG; P01 CA-217806). The MEC study is supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI; UM1 CA-164973 to L.L.M.). S.S.C. was additionally supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH; 5T42OH008434-13) and NCI (R01 CA-179246 to I.S.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Biomarkers
  • Cadmium exposure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Occupational exposures
  • Urinary cadmium


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