Mutagenesis of Mammalian Cells by Chemical Carcinogens after Metabolic Activation

  • Eliezer Huberman
  • Robert Langenbach
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 15)


Currently there is an increased interest in developing short-term bioassays for carcinogens in view of the studies which implicate a large number of environmental chemicals in causing cancer. While the mechanism by which chemicals induce cancer is unknown, one of the simplest explanations is that carcinogenesis is initiated by a somatic mutation. Indeed, chemical carcinogens are capable of binding to the DNA of susceptible mammalian cells (1–6), and can induce mutations at different genetic loci (25). Some of these mutations could also involve the genes that control the expression of malignant transformation (7–10). Studies of the mutagenic activity of carcinogens in mammalian cells should therefore provide an important technique for detecting cancer-causing agents and possibly for elucidating the mechanism of carcinogenesis (10–15). However, most compounds encountered in the environment are chemically nonreactive and have to be enzymatically activated before they can manifest biological activity (16–17). Furthermore, many mammalian cell lines which are suitable for studies on mutagenesis are not able to metabolically activate these chemicals (18–22).


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Mutation Frequency Mutagenic Activity Chemical Carcinogen Polycyclic Hydrocarbon 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eliezer Huberman
    • 1
  • Robert Langenbach
    • 2
  1. 1.Biology DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Eppley Institute for Research in CancerUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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