International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations


For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

Supplement 7: (1987) (p. 118)

CAS No.: 492-80-8
Chem. Abstr. Name: C.I. Solvent yellow 34

A. Evidence for carcinogenicity to humans (inadequate for auramine, technical-grade; sufficient for the manufacture of auramine)

The manufacture of auramine (which also involves exposure to other chemicals) was judged to be causally associated with an increased incidence of bladder cancer on the basis of one study dealing with experiences in the first half of the century in the UK [ref: 1]. Data reported later, in two studies dealing with one group of workers in the Federal Republic of Germany involved in the manufacture of auramine, were judged to show increased risks of both bladder cancer and prostatic cancer; however, these workers had also been exposed to other chemicals, including 2-naphthylamine (see p. 261) [ref: 2,3].

In a study of mortality and cancer incidence among hairdressers, the hypothesis was raised that the observed excess risk of bladder cancer was associated with exposure to colouring agents present in brilliantines used on men's hair. Auramine was reported to be one of the most commonly used dyes in brilliantines, at least in the 1930s; however, the occurrence of impurities, such as 2-naphthylamine could not be ruled out [ref: 4]. Data on exposure to auramine alone were considered to be inadequate for evaluation.

B. Evidence for carcinogenicity to animals (sufficient for auramine, technical-grade)

Auramine (technical-grade) was tested for carcinogenicity by oral administration in mice and rats and by subcutaneous injection in rats. Following its oral administration, it induced liver neoplasms in animals of each species [ref: 1,2]. After subcutaneous injection in one study in rats, it induced local sarcomas [ref: 1]. Studies in rabbits and dogs were inadequate for evaluation [ref: 1].

C. Other relevant data

No data were available on the genetic and related effects of auramine in humans. Auramine did not induce micronuclei in bone-marrow cells of mice treated in vivo. It transformed Syrian hamster embryo cells and induced sister chromatid exchanges and DNA strand breaks in rodent cells in culture. It caused aneuploidy, mitotic recombination and DNA damage in yeast. Auramine was mutagenic to bacteria and induced prophage [ref: 5].

Overall evaluation

Manufacture of auramine is carcinogenic to humans (Group 1).

Auramine (technical-grade) is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Also see previous evaluation: Vol. 1 (1972)


1. IARC Monographs, 1, 69-73, 1972

2. Kirsch, P., Fleig, I., Frentzel-Beyme, R., Gembardt, C., Steinborn, J., Thiess, A.M., Koch, W., Seibert, W., Wellenreuther, G. & Zeller, H. 1978) Auramine. Toxicology and occupational health (Ger.). Arbeitsmed. Sozialmed. Präventivmed., 13, 1-28

3. Thiess, A.M., Link, R. & Wellenreuther, G. (1982) Mortality study of employees exposed to auramine. In: El-Attal, M., Abdel-Gelib, S., Massoud, A. & Noweir, M., eds, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of Occupational Health in the Chemical Industry, Cairo, 1981, pp. 197-208

4. Gubéran, E., Raymond, L. & Sweetnam, P.M. (1985) Increased risk for male bladder cancer among a cohort of male and female hairdressers from Geneva. Int. J. Epidemiol., 14, 549-554

5. IARC Monographs, Suppl. 6, 83-85, 1987

Synonyms for Auramine

Last updated: 6 February 1998

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       Toxicological Abbreviations