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Environmental Carcinogens and Mutagens

  1. Edward L Loechler

Published Online: 29 JAN 2003

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001477



How to Cite

Loechler, E. L. 2003. Environmental Carcinogens and Mutagens. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 JAN 2003


Environmental agents (chemicals, radiation and viruses) can be carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and mutagens (substances that alter DNA). The steps from mutagen/carcinogen to tumour involve mutagen/carcinogen activation by metabolism, reaction with DNA to give a DNA adduct and DNA replication of the adduct, resulting in a mutation; a mutation in a cancer gene may result in enhanced growth potential, and ultimately in tumour growth.


  • mutations;
  • cancer;
  • environment;
  • DNA;
  • disease;
  • chemicals;
  • carcinogens;
  • mutagens