Cigarette smoking: cancer risks, carcinogens, and mechanisms

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2006 Nov;391(6):603-13. doi: 10.1007/s00423-006-0111-z. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


Background: Cigarette smoking causes about 30% of all cancer mortality in developed countries. Although smoking is decreasing in developed countries, it is increasing in some developing countries.

Discussion: Cigarette smoke contains over 60 well established carcinogens. There are strong links between some of these carcinogens and various types of smoking-induced cancers. Mechanisms by which cigarette smoke carcinogens cause cancer are well established and are discussed here.

Conclusions: A great deal is known about cigarette smoke carcinogens and the mechanisms by which they cause cancer. It is hoped that this will provide new insights for the prevention and cure of tobacco-induced cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens / analysis*
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Tobacco*


  • Carcinogens
  • Smoke