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Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 Nov;279(1-2):45-67.

Carcinogenic effect of nickel compounds.

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Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, School of Medicine, New York University, Tuxedo, New York 10987, USA.


Nickel is a widely distributed metal that is industrially applied in many forms. Accumulated epidemiological evidence confirms that exposures to nickel compounds are associated with increased nasal and lung cancer incidence, both in mostly occupational exposures. Although the molecular mechanisms by which nickel compounds cause cancer are still under intense investigation, the carcinogenic actions of nickel compounds are thought to involve oxidative stress, genomic DNA damage, epigenetic effects, and the regulation of gene expression by activation of certain transcription factors related to corresponding signal transduction pathways. The present review summarizes our current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of nickel carcinogenesis, with special emphasis on the role of nickel induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and signal transduction pathways.

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