Deciphering the Code between Air Pollution and Disease: The Effect of Particulate Matter on Cancer Hallmarks

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Dec 24;21(1):136. doi: 10.3390/ijms21010136.


Air pollution has been recognized as a global health problem, causing around 7 million deaths worldwide and representing one of the highest environmental crises that we are now facing. Close to 30% of new lung cancer cases are associated with air pollution, and the impact is more evident in major cities. In this review, we summarize and discuss the evidence regarding the effect of particulate matter (PM) and its impact in carcinogenesis, considering the "hallmarks of cancer" described by Hanahan and Weinberg in 2000 and 2011 as a guide to describing the findings that support the impact of particulate matter during the cancer continuum.

Keywords: air pollution; cancer hallmarks; particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter