Systematic scoping review evaluating the potential of wastewater-based epidemiology for monitoring cardiovascular disease and cancer

Vivek Amin, Devin A. Bowes, Rolf U. Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are collectively responsible for tens of millions of global deaths each year. These rates are projected to intensify as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in individualized diagnostics, or exacerbated prevalence due to Post Acute Coronavirus (COVID-19) Syndrome. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has successfully been employed as a useful tool for generating population-level health assessments, and was examined here in this systematic scoping literature review to (i) identify endogenous human biomarkers reported to indicate CVD or cancer in clinical practice, (ii) assess specificity to the indicated diseases, (iii) evaluate the utility for estimating population-level disease prevalence in community wastewater, and (iv) contextualize the obtained information for monitoring CVD and cancer presence via WBE. A total of 48 peer-reviewed papers were critically examined identifying five urinary protein biomarkers: cardiac troponin I (cTnI) (heart attack/heart failure), cystatin C (atherosclerosis), normetanephrine (tumor presence), α-fetoprotein (prostate and liver cancer), and microtubule assisted serine/threonine kinase 4 (MAST4) (breast cancer). Next, urinary excretion information was utilized to predict biomarker concentrations extant in community wastewater, resulting in average healthy concentrations ranging from 0.02 to 1159 ng/L, and disease-indicating thresholds from 0.16 to 3041 ng/L. Finally, estimating prevalence-adjusted wastewater measurements was explored in order to assess community-level CVD and cancer presence utilizing U.S. reported prevalence rates. Results obtained suggest that WBE can serve as a viable tool in support of current methods for CVD and cancer assessment to reduce morbidities and mortalities worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160103
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • Biomarkers
  • Chronic disease
  • Diagnostics
  • Population health
  • Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome
  • Proteomics
  • Sewage epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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