Results of long-term experimental studies on the carcinogenicity of methyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol in rats

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Dec;982:46-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2002.tb04924.x.


Methyl alcohol was administered in drinking water supplied ad libitum at doses of 20,000, 5,000, 500, or 0 ppm to groups of male and female Sprague-Dawley rats 8 weeks old at the start of the experiment. Animals were kept under observation until spontaneous death. Ethyl alcohol was administered by ingestion in drinking water at a concentration of 10% or 0% supplied ad libitum to groups of male and female Sprague-Dawley rats; breeders and offspring were included in the experiment. Treatment started at 39 weeks of age (breeders), 7 days before mating, or from embryo life (offspring) and lasted until their spontaneous death. Under tested experimental conditions, methyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol were demonstrated to be carcinogenic for various organs and tissues. They must also be considered multipotential carcinogenic agents. In addition to causing other tumors, ethyl alcohol induced malignant tumors of the oral cavity, tongue, and lips. These sites have been shown to be target organs in man by epidemiologic studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens / toxicity*
  • Ethanol / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Methanol / toxicity*
  • Models, Animal
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / classification
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Water Supply


  • Carcinogens
  • Ethanol
  • Methanol