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Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
IF: 1.241 5-Year IF: 1.349 SJR: 0.519 SNIP: 0.613 CiteScore™: 1.61

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

Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology

DOI: 10.1615/JEnvironPatholToxicolOncol.v21.i4.20
12 pages

Arsenic-Mediated Cellular Signal Transduction, Transcription Factor Activation, and Aberrant Gene Expression: Implications in Carcinogenesis

Chengfeng Yang
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Center for Experimental Therapeutics, 421 Curie Blvd, Philadelphia, PA
Krystyna Frenkel
New York University School of Medicine, Department of Environmental Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY


Arsenic is a common environmental and occupational pollutant and a wellknown human carcinogen that causes cancers in many human organs. The exact molecular mechanisms of arsenic carcinogenesis, however, are not well understood. It is generally acknowledged that arsenic does not act via a classic genotoxic or mutagenic mechanism, because it is not a direct mutagen. On the other hand, a growing amount of evidence has shown that arsenic shares many properties with tumor promoters by inducing intracellular signal transduction, activating transcription factors, and changing the expression of genes that are involved in promoting cell growth, proliferation, and malignant transformation. It is postulated that arsenic-induced mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) signal transduction, which leads to activation of transcription factors such as activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB) (which in turn alter gene expression), is associated with the carcinogenicity of arsenic. In this article, we review the recent findings in arsenic-induced MAPKs, AP-1 and NF-kB activation, and aberrant gene expression; their implications in arsenic carcinogenesis are discussed. The elucidation of arsenic-induced signal transduction pathways that lead to aberrant gene expression involved in the arsenic-triggered malignant transformation could help to identify novel molecular targets for the treatment of human cancers resulting from arsenic exposure.

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