Methylmercury exposure, genetic variation in metabolic enzymes, and the risk of glioma

Academic Article


  • Methylmercury (MeHg) is an environmental neurotoxin with human exposure mainly from dietary intake of contaminated fish. Exposure to MeHg has been implicated in neurological damage, but research on its role in cancers, specifically glioma, is limited. In a glioma case-control study, we examined associations between toenail mercury (Hg) and glioma risk. We also examined genetic polymorphisms in 13 genes related to MeHg metabolism for association with glioma risk; genetic associations were also studied in the UK Biobank cohort. Median toenail Hg in cases and controls, respectively, was 0.066 μg/g and 0.069 μg/g (interquartile range (IQR): 0.032–0.161 and 0.031–0.150 μg/g). Toenail Hg was not found to be significantly associated with glioma risk (Odds Ratio: 1.02; 95% Confidence Interval: 0.91, 1.14; p = 0.70 in analysis for ordinal trend with increasing quartile of toenail MeHg). No genetic variant was statistically significant in both of the studies; one variant, rs11859163 (MMP2) had a combined p-value of 0.02 though it was no longer significant after adjustment for multiple testing (Bonferroni corrected p = 1). This study does not support the hypothesis that exposure to MeHg plays a role in the development of glioma at levels of exposure found in this study population.
  • Published In

  • Scientific Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Creed JH; Peeri NC; Anic GM; Thompson RC; Olson JJ; LaRocca RV; Chowdhary SA; Brockman JD; Gerke TA; Nabors LB
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1