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Genetic Toxicity and Cancer from Agrochemicals

  1. Derek W. Gammon,
  2. Joseph P. Frank

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr117

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Gammon, D. W. and Frank, J. P. 2003. Genetic Toxicity and Cancer from Agrochemicals. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. California EPA, Sacramento, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


Agrochemicals are regulated very thoroughly at both the national and international levels. Toxicology tests generally include lifetime rodent studies to determine whether or not the the compound is capable of causing cancer. In addition, a battery of shorter duration tests designed to evaluate an agent's genotoxic potential are conducted. These studies provide insight into the toxicological mechanisms of the agents tested and provide an opportunity to evaluate the relationship between activity at the molecular level and observations made in cancer studies. In this article, the major tests required by regulatory authorities have been described and the results obtained for many agrochemicals are presented. The main databases used were IARC, USEPA and CDPR and the main publications considered were Eastmond and Balakrishnan (2001), Gold and Ames (2001), and Sasaki et al. (2000). Tumor sites are also presented and correlations drawn, where possible, between genotoxic activity and reported oncogenicity. Furthermore, a number of types of cancer are described where the primary cause may not be a genotoxic event, but instead an epigenetic phenomenon, and some possible examples are given. Finally, some suggestions are provided for potentially improving the regulation of pesticides that cause cancer using the tools of molecular biology.


  • allele;
  • aneuloidy;
  • auxotroph;
  • base-pair substitution;
  • cancer;
  • carcinogen;
  • codon;
  • epigenetic;
  • frame-shift mutation;
  • gene;
  • genetic toxicology;
  • genome;
  • locus;
  • mitotic gene conversion;
  • mutation;
  • mutagen;
  • prototroph;
  • tumor