Cadmium - A metallohormone?

Celia Byrne, Shailaja D. Divekar, Geoffrey B. Storchan, Daniela A. Parodi, Mary Beth Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Cadmium is a heavy metal that is often referred to as the metal of the 20th century. It is widely used in industry principally in galvanizing and electroplating, in batteries, in electrical conductors, in the manufacture of alloys, pigments, and plastics, and in the stabilization of phosphate fertilizers. As a byproduct of smelters, cadmium is a prevalent environmental contaminant. In the general population, exposure to cadmium occurs primarily through dietary sources, cigarette smoking, and, to a lesser degree, drinking water. Although the metal has no known physiological function, there is evidence to suggest that the cadmium is a potent metallohormone. This review summarizes the increasing evidence that cadmium mimics the function of steroid hormones, addresses our current understanding of the mechanism by which cadmium functions as a hormone, and discusses its potential role in development of the hormone dependent cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadmium
  • Endocrine disruptor


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