International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations
VOL.: 3 (1973) (p. 45)
5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation
5.1 Animal carcinogenicity data
Benz(a)anthracene given by several routes of administration has proved to be
carcinogenic in the mouse. It produced hepatomas and lung adenomas
following repeated oral administration to young mice. In a parallel
experiment with 3-methylcholanthrene, the carcinogenic effect upon
the liver and lung was similar for the two compounds at the same dose
level. In the same experiment, benz(a)anthracene did not produce tumours of the
gastrointestinal tract, whereas 3-methylcholanthrene induced them
Benz(a)anthracene is a complete carcinogen for the mouse skin. The fact that the
tumour yield was higher when using a dodecane solution than with
toluene is related to the co-carcinogenic effect of dodecane.
Benzo(a)pyrene given at a lower dose level produced more skin tumours
with a shorter latency period than did benz(a)anthracene. Benz(a)anthracene is also an initiator of
skin carcinogenesis in mice.
Benz(a)anthracene produced tumours in mice following s.c. injections. Fifty
mg benz(a)anthracene was the lowest dose tested, and it was effective in
newborn and in adult animals. It produced bladder tumours in mice
It has not been adequately tested in other species.
5.2 Human carcinogenicity data
No case reports or epidemiological studies on the significance of benz(a)anthracene
exposure to man are available. However, coal-tar and other materials
which are known to be carcinogenic to man may contain benz(a)anthracene. The
substance has also been detected in other environmental situations.
The possible contribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from
some environmental sources to the overall carcinogenic risk to man is
discussed in the General Remarks.
Subsequent evaluations: Vol. 32 (1983); Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 58: Group 2A)
For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.
Last updated: 16 March 1998