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Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Arsenite cocarcinogenesis: an animal model derived from genetic toxicology studies.

Authors: Rossman, Toby G; Uddin, Ahmed N; Burns, Fredric J; Bosland, Maarten C

Published In Environ Health Perspect, (2002 Oct)

Abstract: Although epidemiologic evidence shows an association between inorganic arsenic in drinking water and increased risk of skin, lung, and bladder cancers, no animal model for arsenic carcinogenesis has been successful. This lack has hindered mechanistic studies of arsenic carcinogenesis. Previously, we and others found that low concentrations (< or =5 microm) of arsenite (the likely environmental carcinogen), which are not mutagenic, can enhance the mutagenicity of other agents, including ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and alkylating agents. This enhancing effect appears to result from inhibition of DNA repair by arsenite, but not via inhibition of DNA repair enzymes. Rather, low concentrations of arsenite disrupt p53 function and upregulate cyclin D1. Failure to find an animal model for arsenic carcinogenesis might be because arsenite is not a carcinogen per se but acts as an enhancing agent (cocarcinogen) with a genotoxic partner. We tested this hypothesis with solar UVR in hairless but immunocompetent Skh1 mice. Mice were given 10 mg/L sodium arsenite in drinking water (or not) and irradiated with 1.7 KJ/m(2) solar UVR 3 times weekly. As expected, no tumors appeared in any organs in control mice or in mice given arsenite alone. After 26 weeks irradiated mice given arsenite had a 2.4-fold increase in skin tumor yield compared with mice given UVR alone. The tumors were mostly squamous cell carcinomas, and those occurring in mice given UVR plus arsenite were much larger and more invasive. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that arsenic acts as a cocarcinogen with a second (genotoxic) agent by inhibiting DNA repair and/or enhancing positive growth signaling. Skin cancers in populations drinking water containing arsenic may be caused by the enhancement by arsenic compounds of carcinogenesis induced by UVR (or other environmental agents). It is possible that lung and bladder cancers associated with arsenic in drinking water may also require a carcinogenic partner.

PubMed ID: 12426125 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Animals; Arsenic/adverse effects*; Arsenic/chemistry; Arsenites/pharmacology; Arsenites/toxicity*; Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/chemically induced*; Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/veterinary; Cell Transformation, Neoplastic; DNA Damage*; DNA Repair*; Disease Models, Animal*; Risk Assessment; Skin Neoplasms/chemically induced*; Skin Neoplasms/veterinary; Teratogens/pharmacology; Teratogens/toxicity*; Ultraviolet Rays/adverse effects*; Water Supply

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