Does long-term talc exposure have a carcinogenic effect the female genital system of rats? An experimental pilot study
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Objective In several studies, the prolonged exposure to talc has been associated with development of ovarian cancer. However, some studies have advocated contrary views. The present study aims to investigate histopathological changes and whether long-term talc exposure is associated with potential carcinogenic effects on the female genital organs of rats. Materials and methods The present study was conducted at Dumlupinar University Medical Faculty and a total of 28 Sprague-Dawley rats were included. The experimental animals were allocated into four groups having seven rats each. Groups 1 and 2 served as controls, where the rats in Group 1 did not receive any intervention and Group 2 received intravaginal saline. Groups 3 and 4 received intravaginal or perineal talc application, respectively. Talc was applied for 3 months on a daily basis. Histopathological changes in the peritoneum and female genital system were evaluated. For statistical analyses, Fisher's exact test was carried out using SPSS. Findings In both the groups exposed to talc (Groups 3 and 4), evidence of foreign body reaction and infection, along with an increase in inflammatory cells, were found in all the genital tissues. Genital infection was observed in 12 rats in the study group and 2 rats in the control group. Neoplastic change was not found. However, there was an increase in the number of follicles in animals exposed to talc. No peritoneal change was observed. In the groups not exposed to talc, similar infectious findings were found, but there was a statistically significant difference between the groups (Groups 1 and 2 vs. Groups 3 and 4, P > 0.05). Neoplastic change was also not observed in these groups. Four groups were compared in terms of neoplastic effects and infections. In Groups 1, 5 rats were normal, two developed vulvovaginitis and endometritis with overinfection (in both ovaries), and one developed salpingitis (in both fallopian tubes), that is, infection was found in a total of two rats. In Group 2, only one experimental animal had endometritis. All the animals in Groups 3 and 4 developed infections. Conclusions Talc has unfavorable effects on the female genital system. However, this effect is in the form of foreign body reaction and infection, rather than being neoplastic.