Chronic exposure to environmental arsenic has been linked to a number of human diseases affecting multiple organ systems, including cancer. The greatest concern for chronic exposure to arsenic is contaminated groundwater used for drinking as it is the main contributor to the amount of arsenic present in the body. An estimated 40% of households in Nova Scotia (Canada) use water from private wells, and there is a concern that exposure to arsenic may be linked to/associated with cancer. In this preliminary study, we are aiming to gain insights into the association of environmental metal’s pathogenicity and carcinogenicity with prostate cancer. We use toenails as a novel biomarker for capturing long-term exposure to arsenic, and have performed toxicological analysis to generate data about differential profiles of arsenic species and the metallome (entirety of metals) for both healthy and individuals with a history cancer. We have applied feature selection and machine learning algorithms to arsenic species and metallomics profiles of toenails to investigate the complex association between environmental arsenic (as a carcinogen) and prostate cancer. We present machine learning based models to ultimately predict the association of environmental arsenic exposure in cancer cases.
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