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Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2017 May;390(5):443-455. doi: 10.1007/s00210-017-1351-x. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Molecular insight of arsenic-induced carcinogenesis and its prevention.

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Department of Zoology, The University of Burdwan, Golapbag Campus, Bardhaman, West Bengal, 713 104, India.


Population of India and Bangladesh and many other parts of the world are badly exposed to arsenic through drinking water. Due to non-availability of safe drinking water, they are dependent on arsenic-contaminated water. Generally, poverty level is high in those areas with lack of proper nutrition. Arsenic is considered to be an environmental contaminant and widely distributed in the environment due to its natural existence and anthropogenic applications. Contamination of arsenic in both human and animal could occur through air, soil, and other sources. Arsenic exposure mainly occurs in food materials through drinking water with high levels of arsenic in it. High levels of arsenic in groundwater have been found to be associated with various health-related problems including arsenicosis, skin lesions, cardiovascular diseases, reproductive problems, psychological, neurological, immunotoxic, and carcinogenesis. The mechanism of arsenic toxicity consists in its transformation in metaarsenite, which acylates protein sulfhydryl groups, affect on mitochondria by inhibiting succinic dehydrogenase activity and can uncouple oxidative phosphorylation with production of active oxygen species by tissues. A variety of dietary antioxidant supplements are useful to protect the carcinogenetic effects of arsenic. They play crucial role for counteracting oxidative damage and protect carcinogenesis by chelating with heavy metal moiety. Phytochemicals and chelating agents will be beneficial for combating heavy metal-induced carcinogenesis through its biopharmaceutical properties.


Arsenic; Carcinogenesis; Molecular mechanism; Prevention; Toxicity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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