Fish Neoplasms Found at High Prevalence in Polluted Waters

  • John M. Grizzle
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 38)


High frequencies of neoplasms have been found in several populations of wild fish in polluted environments (Table 1). These epizootics in polluted locations in North America will be reviewed, including studies of Puget Sound, Washington; a pond in Alabama that receives chlorinated sewage effluent; and several areas in the eastern United States and Great Lakes region. The occurrence of neoplasms in fish living in polluted waters has been reviewed by Black (1984a), Couch and Harshbarger (1985), and Mix (1986).


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Hepatic Neoplasm Yellow Perch Wild Fish White Perch 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anders, F., Schartl, M., and Barnekow, A., 1984, Xiphophorus as an in vivo model for studies on oncogenes, Natl. Cancer Inst. Monogr., 65: 97.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Baumann, P.C., 1984, Cancer in wild freshwater fish populations with emphasis on the Great Lakes, J. Great Lakes Res., 10: 251.Google Scholar
  3. Baumann, P.C., and Harshbarger, J.C., 1985, Frequencies of liver neoplasia in a feral fish population and associated carcinogens, Mar. Environ. Res., 17: 324.Google Scholar
  4. Baumann, P.C., Smith, W.D., and Ribick, M., 1982, Hepatic tumor rates and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon levels in two populations of brown bullhead (Ictalurus nebulosus), in: “Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Physical and Biological Chemistry,” M. Cooke, A.J. Dennis, and G. Fisher, eds., Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio, pp. 93–102.Google Scholar
  5. Baumann, P.C., Smith, W.D., and Parland, W.K., 1987, Tumor frequencies and contaminant concentrations in brown bullheads from an industrialized river and a recreational lake, Trans. Am. Fish. Soc., 116:78.Google Scholar
  6. Baumann, P.C., and Whittle, D.M., 1988, The status of selected organics in the Laurentian Great Lakes: An overview of DDT, PCBs, dioxins, furans, and aromatic hydrocarbons, Aquatic Toxicology (Amsterdam) 11: 241.Google Scholar
  7. Becker, D.S., Ginn, T.S., Landolt, M.L., and Powell, D.B., 1987, Hepatic lesions in English sole (Parophrys vetulus) from Commencement Bay, Mar. Environ. Res., 23: 153.Google Scholar
  8. Black, J.J., 1983, Field and laboratory studies of environmental carcinogenesis in Niagara River fish, J. Great Lakes Res., 9: 326.Google Scholar
  9. Black, J.J., 1984a, Aquatic animal bioassays for carcinogenesis, Transplantation Proceedings, 16: 406.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Black, J.J., 1984b, Environmental implications of neoplasia in Great Lakes fish, Mar. Environ. Res., 14: 529.Google Scholar
  11. Black, J.J., Evans, E.D., Harshbarger, J.C., and Zeigel, R.F., 1982, Epizootic neoplasms in fishes from a lake polluted by copper mining wastes. J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 69: 915.Google Scholar
  12. Black, J., Fox, H., Black, P., and Bock, F., 1985, Carcinogenic effects of river sediment extract in fish and mice, in: “Water Chlorination: Chemistry, Environmental Impact and Health Effects, Vol. 5,” R.L. Jolly, R.J. Bull, W.P. Davis, S. Katz, M.H. Roberts, Jr., and V.A. Jacobs, eds., Lewis Publishers, Chelsea, MI, pp. 415–427.Google Scholar
  13. Brown, E.R., Hazdra, J.J., Keith, L., Greenspan, I., Kwapinski, J.B.G., and Beamer, P., 1973, Frequency of fish tumors found in a polluted watershed as compared to nonpolluted Canadian waters, Cancer Res., 33: 189.Google Scholar
  14. Brown, E.R., Sinclair, T., Keith, L., Beamer, P., Hazdra, J.J., Nair, V., and Callaghan, 0., 1977, Chemical pollutants in relation to diseases in fish, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 298: 535.Google Scholar
  15. Budd, J., Schroder, J.D., and Dukes, K.D., 1975, Tumors of the yellow perch, in: “The Pathology of Fishes,” W.E. Rebelin and G. Migaki, eds., Univ. of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, pp. 895–906.Google Scholar
  16. Bunton, T.E., and Baksi, S.M., 1988, Cholangioma in white perch ( Morone americana) from the Chesapeake Bay, J. Wildl. Dis., 24: 137.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Couch, J.A., and Harshbarger, J.C., 1985, Effects of carcinogenic agents on aquatic animals: An environmental and experimental overview, Environ. Carcinogenesis Review, 3: 63.Google Scholar
  18. Cormier, S.M., 1986, Fine structure of hepatocytes and hepatocellular carcinoma of the Atlantic tomcod, Microgadus tomcod (Walbaum), J. Fish Dis., 9: 179.Google Scholar
  19. Dawe, C.J., Stanton, M.F., and Schwartz, F.J., 1964, Hepatic neoplasms in native bottom-feeding fish of Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, Cancer Res., 24: 1194.Google Scholar
  20. Dawe, C.J., and Harshbarger, J.C., 1975, Neoplasms in feral fishes: Their significance to cancer research, in: “The Pathology of Fishes,” W.E. Rebelin and G. Migaki, eds., University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, pp. 871–894.Google Scholar
  21. Grizzle, J.M., Schwedler, T.E., and Scott, A.L., 1981, Papillomas of black bullheads, Ictalurus melas (Rafinesque), living in a chlorinated sewage pond, J. Fish Dis., 4: 345.Google Scholar
  22. Grizzle, J.M., Melius, P., and Strength, D.R., 1984, Papillomas on fishGoogle Scholar
  23. exposed to chlorinated wastewater, J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 73:1133.Google Scholar
  24. Grizzle, J.M., Horowitz, S.A., and Strength, D.R., 1988, Caged fish as monitors of pollution: Effects of chlorinated effluent from a wastewater treatment plant, Water Resour. Bull., 24: 951.Google Scholar
  25. Hargis, W.J., Jr., Zwerner, D.E., Thoney, D.A., Kelly, K.L., and Warinner, J.E., III, 1989, Neoplasms in mummichog from the Elizabeth River, Virginia, Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, in press.Google Scholar
  26. Harshbarger, J.C., Cullen, L.J., Calabrese, M.J., Spero, P.M., Baumann, P.C., and Parland, W.K., 1984, Epidermal, hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinomas in brown bullheads, Ictalurus nebulosus, from industrially polluted Black River, OH, Mar. Environ. Res., 14: 535.Google Scholar
  27. Hendricks, J.D., 1982, Chemical carcinogenesis in fish, in: “Aquatic Toxi- cology, Vol. 1,” L.J. Weber, ed., Raven Press, New York, pp. 149–211.Google Scholar
  28. Ishikawa, T., and Takayama, S., 1977, Ovarian neoplasia in ornamental hybrid carp (nishikigoi) in Japan, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 298: 330.Google Scholar
  29. Klauda, R.J., Peck, T.H., and Rice, G.K., 1981, Accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls in Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod) collected from the Hudson River estuary, New York, Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., 27: 829.Google Scholar
  30. Krahn, M.W., Rhodes, L.D., Myers, M.S., Moore, L.K., MacLeod, W.D., Jr., and Malins, D.C., 1986, Associations between metabolites of aromatic compounds in bile and the occurrence of hepatic lesions in English sole (Parophrys vetulus) from Puget Sound, Washington, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., 15: 61.Google Scholar
  31. Lucké, B., and Schlumberger, H., 1941, Transplantable epitheliomas of theGoogle Scholar
  32. lip and mouth of catfish: I. Pathology. Transplantation to anterior chamber of eye and into cornea, J. Exp. Med., 74:397.Google Scholar
  33. Malins, D.C., McCain, B.B., Brown, D.W., Chan, S., Myers, M.S., Landahl, J.T., Prohaska, P.G., Friedman, A.J., Rhodes, L.D., Burrows, D.G., Gronlund, W.D., and Hodgins, H.O., 1984, Chemical pollutants in sediments and diseases of bottom-dwelling fish in Puget Sound, Washington, Environ. Sci. Technol., 18: 705.Google Scholar
  34. Malins, D.C., Krahn, M.M., Brown, D.W., Rhodes, L.D., Myers, M.S., McCain, B.B., and Chan, S.-L., 1985a, Toxic chemicals in marine sediment and biota from Mukilteo, Washington: Relationships with hepatic neoplasms and other hepatic lesions in English sole (Parophrys vetulus), J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 74: 487.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Malins, D.C., Krahn, M.M., Myers, M.S., Rhodes, L.D., Brown, D.W., Krone, C.A., McCain, B.B., and Chan, S.-L., 1985b, Toxic chemicals in sedi-Google Scholar
  36. ments and biota from a creosote-polluted harbor: Relationships with hepatic neoplasms and other hepatic lesions in English sole (Parophrys vetulus), Carcinogenesis, 6: 1463.Google Scholar
  37. Malins, D.C., McCain, B.B., Myers, M.S., Brown, D.W., Krahn, M.M., Rougal, W.T., Schiewe, M.H., Landahl, J.T., Chan, S.-L., 1987a, Field and laboratory studies of the etiology of liver neoplasms in marine fish from Puget Sound, Environ. Health Perspect., 71: 5.Google Scholar
  38. Malins, D.C., McCain, B.B., Brown, D.W., Myers, M.S., Krahn, M.M., Chan, S.L., 1987b, Toxic chemicals, including aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons and their derivatives, and liver lesions in white croaker (Genyonemus lineatus) from the vicinity of Los Angeles, Environ. Sci. Technol., 21: 765.Google Scholar
  39. Malins, D.C., McCain, B.B., Landahl, J.T., Myers, M.S., Krahn, M.M.Google Scholar
  40. Brown, D.W., Chan, S.-L., and Roubal, W.T., 1988, Neoplastic and other diseases in fish in relation to toxic chemicals: an overview, Aquatic Toxicology, 11: 43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Masahito, P., Ishikawa, T., and Sugano, H., 1988, Fish tumors and their importance in cancer research, Jpn. J. Cancer Res. (Gann), 79: 545.Google Scholar
  42. May, E.B., Lukacovic, R., King, H., Lipsky, M.M., 1987, Hyperplastic and neoplastic alterations in the livers of white perch (Morone americana) from the Chesapeake Bay, J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 79: 137.Google Scholar
  43. Mix, M.C., 1986, Cancerous diseases in aquatic animals and their association with environmental pollutants: A critical literature review, Mar. Environ. Res., 20: 1.Google Scholar
  44. Murchelano, R.A., and Wolke, R.E., 1985, Epizootic carcinoma in the winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, Science, 228: 587.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Myers, M.S., Rhodes, L.D., and McCain, B.B., 1987, Pathologic anatomy and patterns of occurrence of hepatic neoplasms, putative preneoplastic lesions, and other idiopathic hepatic conditions in English sole (Parophrys vetulus) from Puget Sound, Washington, J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 78: 333.Google Scholar
  46. O’Connor, J.M., and Huggett, R.J., 1988, Aquatic pollution problems, North American coast, including Chesapeake Bay, Aquatic Toxicology (Amsterdam), 11: 163.Google Scholar
  47. Pierce, K.V., McCain, B.B., and Wellings, S.R., 1978, Pathology of hepatomas and other liver abnormalities in English sole (Parophrys vetulus) from the Duwamish River estuary, Seattle, Washington, J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 60: 1445.Google Scholar
  48. Pitot, H.C., 1986, “Fundamentals of Oncology,” 3rd ed., Marcel Dekker, New York.Google Scholar
  49. Rhodes, L.D., Myers, M.S., Gronlund, W.D., and McCain, B.B., 1987, Epizootic characteristics of hepatic and renal lesions in English sole, Parophrys vetulus, from Puget Sound, J. Fish Biol., 31: 395.Google Scholar
  50. Schmale, M.C., Hensley, G.T., and Udey, L.R., 1986, Neurofibromatosis in the bicolor damselfish (Pomacentrus partitus) as a model of von Recklinghausen neurofibromatosis, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 486: 386.Google Scholar
  51. Smith, C.E., Peck, T.H., Klauda, R.J., and McLaren, J.B., 1979, Hepatomas in Atlantic tomcod Microgadus tomcod (Walbaum) collected in the Hudson River estuary in New York, J. Fish Dis., 2: 313.Google Scholar
  52. Sonstegard, R.A., 1977, Environmental carcinogenesis studies in fishes of the Great Lakes of North America, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 298: 261.Google Scholar
  53. Sonstegard, R.A., 1978, Feral aquatic organisms as indicators of waterborne environmental carcinogens, in: “Aquatic Pollutants: Transformation and Biological Effects,” O. Hutzinger, I.H. Van Lelyveld, and B.C.J. Zoeteman, eds., Pergamon Press, Oxford, England, pp. 349–358.Google Scholar
  54. Sonstegard, R.A., and Leatherland, J.F., 1984, Comparative epidemiology: The use of fishes in assessing carcinogenic contaminants, in: “Contaminant Effects on Fisheries,” V.C. Cairns, P.V. Hodson, and J.O. Nriagu, eds., John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp. 223–231.Google Scholar
  55. Stich, H.F., and Acton, A.B., 1976, The possible use of fish tumors in monitoring for carcinogens in the marine environment, Prog. Exp. Tumor. Res., 20: 44.Google Scholar
  56. Tan, B., Melius, P., and Grizzle, J.M., 1981, Hepatic enzymes and tumor histopathology of black bullheads with papillomas, in: “Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons Chemical Analysis and Biological Fate. 5th International Symposium,” M. Cooke and A. Dennis, eds., Battelle Press, Columbus, OH, pp. 377–386.Google Scholar
  57. Thiyagarajah, A., and Bender, M.E., 1988, Lesions in the pancreas and liver of an oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau (L.), collected from the lower York River, Virginia, USA, J. Fish Dis., 11: 359.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Grizzle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures Alabama Agricultural Experiment StationAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

Personalised recommendations