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


VOL.: 32 (1983) (p. 225)

CAS No.: 192-97-2
Chem. Abstr. Name: Benzo(e)pyrene

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Experimental data

Benzo[e]pyrene was tested for carcinogenicity in mice by skin application in two studies, and skin tumours were observed in one experiment. Benzo[e]pyrene was also tested in various studies in mice in the mouse-skin initiation-promotion assay; promoting activity was detected after initiation with 9,10-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene in one study; the initiating activity was not clearly evident in other studies in which 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate was used as a promoting agent.

Multiple intraperitoneal administrations of benzo[e]pyrene to newborn mice did not result in a significant increase of tumours in two studies.

In rats, pulmonary injection of benzo[e]pyrene at various dose levels resulted in one squamous-cell carcinoma of the lung at the highest dose level and one pulmonary sarcoma at the mid-dose level.

No data on the teratogenicity of this chemical were available.

Benzo[e]pyrene was mutagenic to Salmonella typhimurium in the presence of an exogenous metabolic system. It did not induce mitotic recombination in yeast. It did not induce mutations or sister chromatid exchange in cultured mammalian cells and was negative in assays for morphological transformation. It induced unscheduled DNA synthesis in HeLa cells in the presence of an exogenous metabolic system, but not in primary rat hepatocytes. In the one available report, it did not induce chromosomal aberrations in vitro. In the one available in-vivo study, it induced sister chromatid exchange, but not chromosomal aberrations in hamster bone marrow.

There is limited evidence that benzo[e]pyrene is active in short-term tests.

5.2 Human data

Benzo[e]pyrene is present as a major component of the total content of polynuclear aromatic compounds in the environment. Human exposure to benzo[e]pyrene occurs primarily through the smoking of tobacco, inhalation of polluted air and by ingestion of food and water contaminated by combustion effluents.

5.3 Evaluation

The available data are inadequate to permit an evaluation of the carcinogenicity of benzo[e]pyrene to experimental animals.

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Previous evaluation: Vol. 3 (1973)

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 58: Group 3)


Last updated: 17 April 1998

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       Toxicological Abbreviations