Oxidative mechanism of arsenic toxicity and carcinogenesis

Mol Cell Biochem. 2004 Jan;255(1-2):67-78. doi: 10.1023/b:mcbi.0000007262.26044.e8.


Arsenic is a known toxin and carcinogen that is present in industrial settings and in the environment. The mechanisms of disease initiation and progression are not fully understood. In the last a few years, there has been increasing evidence of the correlation between the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), DNA damage, tumor promotion, and arsenic exposure. This article summarizes the current literature on the arsenic mediated generation of ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) in various biological systems. This article also discusses the role of ROS and RNS in arsenic-induced DNA damage and activation of oxidative sensitive gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Arsenic / metabolism
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / chemically induced*
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Arsenic