African Journal of
Biochemistry Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biochem. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0778
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 425

Full Length Research Paper

Mechanisms of arsenic toxicity and carcinogenesis

Obinaju, Blessing Ebele
Department of Biological Science, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 20 May 2009
  •  Published: 31 May 2009



Industrialization has excessively modified the discharge and distribution of arsenic in the environment through natural and anthropogenic activities. Gastrointestinal tract, Lung and Dermal absorptions account for various adverse effects associated with arsenic toxicity. The knowledge of arsenic biotransformation holds the trivalent species (DMA3+ and MMA3+) accountable for most arsenic toxicity with mechanisms of action such as the inhibition of DNA replicating or repair enzymes, interference with tissue respiration and oxidative stress. There is information of transplacental arsenic carcinogenesis and arsenic disruption of endocrine activity but most of these mechanisms remain poorly understood. More importantly, the exact dose at which arsenic induces tumours in vivo is still a major research question and therefore necessitates more scientific investigation/ research.


Key words: Arsenic, toxicity, carcinogenesis.