Environmental Carcinogens and Mutagens
Published Online: 29 JAN 2003
Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
How to Cite
Loechler, E. L. 2003. Environmental Carcinogens and Mutagens. eLS. .
- 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.