Liver pathology of fishes, including neoplastic and preneoplastic lesions, is widely used as an indicator of exposure to anthropogenic contaminants. By definition, the "fish tumor or other deformities" beneficial use impairment (BUI) at Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) includes neoplastic and preneoplastic liver lesions in brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) or suckers. Unfortunately, adequate guidelines for defining neoplastic and preneoplastic liver lesions or determining rates at unimpacted control sites were not provided and different criteria have been used. In some cases, only neoplastic changes were used to calculate tumor prevalence, in some both neoplastic and preneoplastic changes and in some it is difficult to determine which changes were included. Using standardized criteria, the prevalence of liver neoplasia was compared at eight AOC during 1998-2000. The Cuyahoga River had the highest prevalence (25.0%), while the Maumee River had the lowest (3.9%). The Buffalo (4.8%), Detroit (5.9%), Ashtabula (6.8%), Niagara (7.5%) and Black (8.9%) rivers were intermediate, as was Presque Isle Bay (7.1%). From 2002 to 2007 the prevalence of liver neoplasia at Presque Isle Bay ranged from a low of 2.1% (2002) to a high of 12.0% (2007). Non-AOC sites, as potential reference sites, also were monitored during this time. By combining years and sites, the prevalence of liver neoplasia in bullhead (aged 2 to 12 years) at inland lakes was 0.7%, at bays/harbors was 1.6% and at tributary sites was 4.1%. This is the same trend (inland lakes < bays/harbors < tributaries < Presque Isle Bay) noted for orocutaneous neoplasms.
Additional publication details
Assessment of the "fish tumors or other deformities" beneficial use impairment in brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus): II. Liver neoplasia