International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations


VOL.: 3 (1973) (p. 45)

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Animal carcinogenicity data

Benz(a)anthracene given by several routes of administration has proved to be carcinogenic in the mouse. It produced hepatomas and lung adenomas following repeated oral administration to young mice. In a parallel experiment with 3-methylcholanthrene, the carcinogenic effect upon the liver and lung was similar for the two compounds at the same dose level. In the same experiment, benz(a)anthracene did not produce tumours of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas 3-methylcholanthrene induced them consistently.

Benz(a)anthracene is a complete carcinogen for the mouse skin. The fact that the tumour yield was higher when using a dodecane solution than with toluene is related to the co-carcinogenic effect of dodecane. Benzo(a)pyrene given at a lower dose level produced more skin tumours with a shorter latency period than did benz(a)anthracene. Benz(a)anthracene is also an initiator of skin carcinogenesis in mice.

Benz(a)anthracene produced tumours in mice following s.c. injections. Fifty mg benz(a)anthracene was the lowest dose tested, and it was effective in newborn and in adult animals. It produced bladder tumours in mice following implantation.

It has not been adequately tested in other species.

5.2 Human carcinogenicity data

No case reports or epidemiological studies on the significance of benz(a)anthracene exposure to man are available. However, coal-tar and other materials which are known to be carcinogenic to man may contain benz(a)anthracene. The substance has also been detected in other environmental situations. The possible contribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from some environmental sources to the overall carcinogenic risk to man is discussed in the General Remarks.

Subsequent evaluations: Vol. 32 (1983); Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 58: Group 2A)

For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

Last updated: 16 March 1998

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Benz(a)anthracene (ICSC)