The Role of Iron in Asbestos-Induced Cancer

  • Ann E. Aust
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 85)


The mechanism by which asbestos and other mineral fibers cause cancer remains unknown despite intensive investigation. The most carcinogenic forms of asbestos contain iron and catalyze many of the same reactions that iron does. In fact, there is increasing evidence to suggest that iron is responsible for the biochemical reactivity of asbestos in vitro. Iron appears to be responsible for asbestos-dependent 02 consumption [Aust and Lund (1991); Lund and Aust (1991)], OH formation [Weitzman and Graceffa (1984); Gulumian and Van Wyk (1987); Zalma et al. (1987); Kennedy et al. (1989); Aust and Lund (1991)], lipid peroxidation [Weitzman and Weitberg (1985); Turver and Brown (1987); Goodlick et al. (1989)], induction of deoxyribonuclease-S1 sensitive sites [Turver and Brwon (1987)], and induction of DNA single-strand breaks [Lund and Aust (1992)]. Iron may also play a role in one mechanism of phagocytosis of asbestos fibers [Hobson et al. (1990)]. Desferrioxamine B, an iron-specific chelator, reduced the cytotoxicity of asbestos to a variety of different cultured cell types, suggesting that iron may be involved in the cytotoxicity of asbestos [Goodlick and Kane (1986); Shatos et al. (1987); Garcia et al. (1988); Kamp et al. (1990); Goodlick and Kane (1990)].


Asbestos Fiber Chrysotile Asbestos Mineral Fiber Iron Mobilization Asbestos Body 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann E. Aust
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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