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Journal of Cancer Prevention

Review

Journal of Cancer Prevention 2015; 20(4): 232-240

Published online December 30, 2015

https://doi.org/10.15430/JCP.2015.20.4.232

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

An Overview of Carcinogenic Heavy Metal: Molecular Toxicity Mechanism and Prevention

Hyun Soo Kim*, Yeo Jin Kim*, and Young Rok Seo

Institute of Environmental Medicine for Green Chemistry, Department of Life Science, Dongguk University Biomedical Campus, Goyang, Korea

Correspondence to :
Young Rok Seo, Institute of Environmental Medicine for Green Chemistry, Department of Life Science, Dongguk University Biomedical Campus, 32 Dongguk-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang 10326, Korea, Tel: +82-31-961-5172, E-mail: seoyr@dongguk.edu
*These authors contributed equally to this work as co-first authors.

Received: December 9, 2015; Revised: December 12, 2015; Accepted: December 14, 2015

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Almost all heavy metals are serious toxicants as carcinogens. However, due to their chemical and physiological properties, heavy metals are useful in industrial areas including alloy, smelting and production of commercial products. Such applications increase the opportunity for heavy metal exposure. Waste from industrial processes is also a major source of environmental contamination and accumulation in the human body. Arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and nickel are classified as group 1 carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and are utilized commercially. In this review, we used molecular pathway analysis to understand the toxicity and carcinogenic mechanisms of these metals. Our analyzed data showed that above-mentioned metallic substances induce oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cell death processes, resulting in increase the risk of cancer and cancer-related diseases. Thus, we might think phytochelatin molecules and antioxidative phytochemical substances are helpful for prevention of heavy metal-induced cancer.

Keywords: Carcinogenic heavy metals, Molecular mechanism, Pathway analysis, Cancer prevention

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