Results of Long-Term Carcinogenicity Bioassays on Coca-Cola Administered to Sprague-Dawley Rats

Authors

  • FIORELLA BELPOGGI,

    1. Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Foundation for Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini,” 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy
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  • MORANDO SOFFRITTI,

    1. Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Foundation for Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini,” 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy
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  • EVA TIBALDI,

    1. Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Foundation for Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini,” 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy
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  • LAURA FALCIONI,

    1. Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Foundation for Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini,” 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy
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  • LUCIANO BUA,

    1. Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Foundation for Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini,” 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy
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  • FRANCESCA TRABUCCO

    1. Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Foundation for Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini,” 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy
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  • Funding for this research was provided entirely by the European Foundation on Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini.”

Address for correspondence: Morando Soffritti, M.D., Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Ramazzini Foundation, Castello di Bentivoglio, 40010 Bentivoglio (BO), Italy. Voice: +39-051-6640460; fax: +39-051-6640223.
 e-mail: crcfr@ramazzini.it; http://www.ramazzini.it

Abstract

Abstract: Coca-Cola was invented in May 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia by a pharmacist who, by accident or design, mixed carbonated water with the syrup of sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, and other natural flavors to create what is known as “the world's favorite soft drink.” Coca-Cola is currently sold in more than 200 countries and in early 2000, the company sold its 10 billionth unit case of Coca-Cola branded products. Given the worldwide consumption of Coca-Cola, a project of experimental bioassays to study its long-term effects when administered as substitute for drinking water on male and female Sprague-Dawley rats was planned and executed. The objective of the project was to study whether and how long-term consumption of Coca-Cola affects the basic tumorigram of test animals. The bioassays were performed on rats beginning at different ages, namely: (a) on males and females exposed since embryonic life or from 7 weeks of age; and (b) on males and females exposed from 30, 39, or 55 weeks of age. Overall, the project included 1999 rats. During the biophase, data were collected on fluid and feed consumption, body weight, and survival. Animals were kept under observation until spontaneous death and underwent complete necropsy. The results indicate: (a) an increase in body weight in all treated animals; (b) a statistically significant increase of the incidence in females, both breeders and offspring, bearing malignant mammary tumors; (c) a statistically significant increase in the incidence of exocrine ademonas of the pancreas in both male and female breeders and offspring; and (d) an increased incidence, albeit not statistically significant, of pancreatic islet cell carcinomas in females, a malignant tumor which occurs very rarely in our historical controls. On the basis of the results of this study, excessive consumption of regular soft-drinks should be generally discouraged, in particular for children and adolescents.

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