Polychlorinated biphenyls and omega-3 fatty acid exposure from fish consumption, and thyroid cancer among New York anglers

Alyson Haslam, Sara Wagner Robb, Matthew R. Bonner, William Lindblad, Joey Allegra, Ye Shen, John E. Vena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Fish from the Great Lakes contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which have been shown to disrupt endocrine function and mimic thyroid hormones, but they also contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that may offer protection against endocrine cancers. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Lake Ontario fish consumption and the estimated consumption of PCBs and omega-3 fatty acids on the risk of thyroid cancer in a group of sport fishermen. Anglers from the New York State Angler Cohort Study were followed for cancer incidence from 1991-2008. Twenty-seven cases of incident thyroid cancer and 108 controls were included in the analyses. Total estimated fish consumption, estimated omega-3 fatty acid consumption, and estimated PCB consumption from Lake Ontario fish were examined for an association with the incidence of thyroid cancer, while matching on sex, and controlling for age and smoking status. Results from logistic regression indicate no significant associations between fish consumption, short-term estimated omega-3 fatty acids, or estimated PCB consumption from Great Lakes fish and the development of thyroid cancer, but it was suggested that long-term omega-3 fatty acid from Great Lakes fish may be protective of the development of thyroid cancer. In conclusion, fish consumption, with the possible concomitant PCBs, from the Great Lakes does not appear to increase the risk of thyroid cancer in New York anglers. Further research is needed in order to separate the individual health effects of PCBs from omega-3 fatty acids contained within the fish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Sciences (China)
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Fish consumption
  • Lake Ontario
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Thyroid cancer


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