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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Carcinogenic potential of o-nitrotoluene and p-nitrotoluene.

The potential of o-nitrotoluene and p-nitrotoluene to cause cancer in mammalian species was studied in male and female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice. These chemicals are on the EPA list of high production chemicals and there is potential for human exposure (High Production Volume Chemical List (2000) o-Nitrotoluene, administered in the feed for up to 2 years, caused clear evidence for cancer at multiple sites in rats and mice. Male rats, receiving o-nitrotoluene in the feed ( approximately 0, 25, 50, or 90 mg/kg per day), developed treatment-related mesotheliomas, subcutaneous skin neoplasms, mammary gland fibroadenomas, and liver neoplasms. By 2 years, mesotheliomas, skin, liver, mammary gland and liver tumors also occurred in 'stop-study' male rats that received o-nitrotoluene at 125 or 315 mg/kg per day for only the first 3 months of study. These 'stop-studies' showed that the critical events leading to tumor formation occurred after 3 months of dosing, and these events were irreversible and eventually led to cancer at multiple sites. o-Nitrotoluene given in the feed to female rats (approximately 0, 30, 60, or 100 mg/kg per day) and to male and female mice (approximately 0, 150, 320, or 700 mg/kg per day) also caused a carcinogenic response. In female rats, treatment-related subcutaneous skin neoplasms and mammary gland fibroadenomas occurred. Hemangiosarcomas and carcinomas of the large intestine (cecum) were seen in treated male and female mice. In contrast to o-nitrotoluene, p-nitrotoluene given in the feed over approximately the same exposure levels caused only equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity in male rats (subcutaneous skin neoplasms); some evidence of carcinogenic activity in female rats (clitoral gland neoplasms); equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity in male mice (lung neoplasms); and no evidence of carcinogenic activity in female mice. Differences in the o-nitrotoluene and p-nitrotoluene carcinogenic activity may be due to differences in the metabolism of the parent compound to carcinogenic metabolites.[1]


  1. Carcinogenic potential of o-nitrotoluene and p-nitrotoluene. Dunnick, J.K., Burka, L.T., Mahler, J., Sills, R. Toxicology (2003) [Pubmed]
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