Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-25

Breast cancer, dermatofibromas and arsenic

Department of Dermatology, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, USA

Correspondence Address:
Paul I Dantzig
Department of Dermatology, Columbia University School of Medicine, 30 East 60th Street, Suite 508, New York, NY-100 22
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.48981

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Background: Dermatofibromas are common benign tumors in women, and breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women. The aim of this study is to determine if there is any relationship between the two conditions. Materials and Methods: Five patients with dermatofibromas and 10 control patients (two groups) had their skin biopsies measured for arsenic by inductively coupled mass spectrometry. Fifty randomly selected patients with breast cancer and 50 control patients were examined for the presence of dermatofibromas. Results: The dermatofibromas were found to have an arsenic concentration of 0.171 micrograms/gram, compared with 0.06 and 0.07 micrograms/gram of the two control groups. Forty-three out of 50 patients with breast cancer had dermatofibromas and 32/50 patients with breast cancer had multiple dermatofibromas, compared to 10/50 control patients with dermatofibromas and only 1/50 with multiple dermatofibromas. Conclusions: Arsenic is important in the development of dermatofibromas and dermatofibromas represent a reservoir and important sign of chronic arsenic exposure. Dermatofibromas represent an important sign for women at risk for breast cancer, and arsenic may represent the cause of the majority of cases of breast cancer.

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