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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;754:215-32. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-9967-2_11.

Environmental toxicants, epigenetics, and cancer.

Author information

  • 1Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA. igor.pogribny@fda.hhs.gov

Abstract

Tumorigenesis, a complex and multifactorial progressive process of transformation of normal cells into malignant cells, is characterized by the accumulation of multiple cancer-specific heritable phenotypes triggered by the mutational and/or non-mutational (i.e., epigenetic) events. Accumulating evidence suggests that environmental and occupational exposures to natural substances, as well as man-made chemical and physical agents, play a causative role in human cancer. In a broad sense, carcinogenesis may be induced through either genotoxic or non-genotoxic mechanisms; however, both genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens also cause prominent epigenetic changes. This review presents current evidence of the epigenetic alterations induced by various chemical carcinogens, including arsenic, 1,3-butadine, and pharmaceutical and biological agents, and highlights the potential for epigenetic changes to serve as markers for carcinogen exposure and cancer risk assessment.

PMID:
22956504
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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