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American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Vol. 56, Iss. 7, July 2013

Effect of Occupational Exposure to Aflatoxins on Some Liver Tumor Markers in Textile Workers


Background In a study of textile workers, the effects of occupational exposure to cotton dust—with possible exposure to aflatoxin—on levels of some liver tumor biomarkers were explored.

Methods The study included 58 textile workers and 64 controls. Skin prick tests, urinary Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) and the tumor biomarkers (alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), alpha-l-fucosidase (AFU), insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1) were measured.

Results Positive reactants to Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, and cotton dust were significantly higher in pre-spinning (14.3%, 28.6%, and 28.6%, respectively) and spinning workers (25.0%, 33.3%, and 25.0%, respectively) compared to controls (4.7%, 7.8%, and 3.1%, respectively). Urinary AFM1 was significantly higher in the pre-spinning, spinning, and weaving groups compared to controls (554.2 ± 346.2 pg/ml, 459.1 ± 781.6 pg/ml, 296.5 ± 336.5 pg/ml and 68.5 ± 136.8 pg/ml, respectively). We found a highly significant increase in levels of serum AFU in textile workers, compared to the control group.

Conclusion Exposure to fungi had a significant effect on AFM1 measurements and tumor biomarkers, especially in allergic textile workers (with the exception of the arginase biomarker), though results were generally within normal limits.


aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), alpha-l-fucosidase (AFU), arginase, insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1), skin prick test;alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), textile workers

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