Pathology oncology research : POR

In Vivo Uptake of Rare Earth Metals by Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells.

PMID 28185164


Rare earth metals (REM) are a group of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table, namely scandium (Sc), yttrium (Y) and the lanthanides. In relation to atomic volume and geological behavior, the lanthanides are further subdivided into light, medium and heavy REM. They find many applications in the technological field; however, their impact on the human health is still conflicting and, for many aspects, unknown. During a research program carried on 113 cases of female breast cancer, immunohistochemically categorized in Her2-positive (29 cases), Her2-negative (57 cases) and triple negative (27 cases), aimed to evaluate the role of environmental particulate in carcinogenesis by elemental microanalysis, for the first time in literature we have detected a REM uptake, in detail europium (Eu), dysprosium (Dy) and praseodymium (Pr), inside the neoplastic cells belonging to a single triple negative breast cancer. Curiously, the woman affected by this form of malignancy had worked in the ceramic industry, a well-known source of REM, during her life, and she was the one and only patient of our series to be dedicated to this activity. The medical repercussions of our findings are here discussed: in fact, a REM detection in only 1 of 113 examined cases seems to exclude active roles in breast carcinogenesis and discloses new possibilities for therapeutic developments in triple negative breast cancer.