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


VOL.: 32 (1983) (p. 105)

CAS No.: 120-12-7

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Experimental data

Anthracene was tested for carcinogenicity in mice by skin application in several studies, and in the mouse-skin initiation-promotion assay in two studies. The results were not indicative of a carcinogenic effect or of initiating activity.

It was tested in rats by oral, subcutaneous, intraperitoneal and intrapulmonary administration, and in rabbits by implantation into the brain or eyes. The studies involving oral or intrapulmonary administration produced no evidence of carcinogenicity. The studies in rats by subcutaneous or intraperitoneal administration and in rabbits by implantation into the brain or eyes were inadequate for evaluation.

When anthracene was administered by skin application to mice together with exposure to ultraviolet radiation, contradictory results were obtained.

No data on the teratogenicity of this compound were available.

Anthracene was negative in an assay for differential survival using DNA repair-proficient/-deficient strains of Bacillus subtilis. It did not induce mutations in bacteria or yeast nor unscheduled DNA synthesis or mutations in cultured mammalian cells. No cytogenetic effect in mammalian cells was observed in vitro or in vivo, and assays for morphological transformation were negative.

There is no evidence that anthracene is active in short-term tests.

5.2 Human data

Anthracene is present as a major component of the total content of polynuclear aromatic compounds in the environment and has been produced in commercial quantities. Human exposure to anthracene occurs primarily through the smoking of tobacco, inhalation of polluted air and ingestion of food or water contaminated by combustion effluents.

No relevant case report or epidemiological study on exposure to anthracene alone was available to the Working Group.

5.3 Evaluation

The available data provide no evidence that anthracene is carcinogenic to experimental animals.

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 57: Group 3)


Last updated: 17 April 1998

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Anthracene (ICSC)