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Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
CiteScore™: 1.61 IF: 1.15 5-Year IF: 1.4 SNIP: 0.613 SJR: 0.519

ISSN Print: 0731-8898
ISSN Online: 2162-6537

Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology

DOI: 10.1615/JEnvironPatholToxicolOncol.2014011075
pages 183-194

A Review of Molecular Events of Cadmium-Induced Carcinogenesis

Joe Luevano
Center of Excellence in Cancer Research, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas, USA
Chendil Damodaran
Department of Urology, University of Louisville, KY 40202, USA

ABSTRACT

Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic, heavy industrial metal that poses serious environmental health hazards to both humans and wildlife. Recently, Cd and Cd-containing compounds have been classified as known human carcinogens, and epidemiological data show causal associations with prostate, breast, and lung cancer. The molecular mechanisms involved in Cd-induced carcinogenesis are poorly understood and are only now beginning to be elucidated. The effects of chronic exposure to Cd have recently attracted great interest due to the development of malignancies in Cd-induced tumorigenesis in animals models. Briefly, various in vitro studies demonstrate that Cd can act as a mitogen, can stimulate cell proliferation and inhibit apoptosis and DNA repair, and can induce carcinogenesis in several mammalian tissues and organs. Thus, the various mechanisms involved in chronic Cd exposure and malignant transformations warrant further investigation. In this review, we focus on recent evidence of various leading general and tissue-specific molecular mechanisms that follow chronic exposure to Cd in prostate-, breast-, and lung-transformed malignancies. In addition, in this review, we consider less defined mechanisms such as epigenetic modification and autophagy, which are thought to play a role in the development of Cd-induced malignant transformation.