Arsenic exposure: A public health problem leading to several cancers

I. Palma-Lara, M. Martínez-Castillo, J. C. Quintana-Pérez, M. G. Arellano-Mendoza, F. Tamay-Cach, O. L. Valenzuela-Limón, E. A. García-Montalvo, A. Hernández-Zavala

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    3 Scopus citations


    Arsenic, a metalloid and naturally occurring element, is one of the most abundant elements in the earth's crust. Water is contaminated by arsenic through natural sources (underground water, minerals and geothermal processes) and anthropogenic sources such as mining, industrial processes, and the production and use of pesticides. Humans are exposed to arsenic mainly by drinking contaminated water, and secondarily through inhalation and skin contact. Arsenic exposure is associated with the development of vascular disease, including stroke, ischemic heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. Also, arsenic increases the risk of tumors of bladder, lungs, kidneys and liver, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Food and Drug Administration. Once ingested, an estimated 70–90% of inorganic arsenic is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and widely distributed through the blood to different organs, primarily to the liver, kidneys, lungs and bladder and secondarily to muscle and nerve tissue. Arsenic accumulates in the organs, especially in the liver. Its excretion mostly takes place through urination. The toxicokinetics of arsenic depends on the duration of exposure, pathway of ingestion, physicochemical characteristics of the compound, and affected biological species. The present review outlines of arsenic toxic effects focusing on different cancer types whit highest prevalence's by exposure to this metalloid and signaling pathways of carcinogenesis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number104539
    JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
    StatePublished - Feb 2020


    • Arsenic
    • Bladder
    • Molecular mechanism
    • Skin and lung cancer

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