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


VOL.: 32 (1983) (p. 431)

CAS No.: 129-00-0

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Experimental data

Pyrene was tested for carcinogenicity in several experiments by skin application to mice, and no skin tumour was observed. It was also tested in several studies in the mouse-skin initiation-promotion assay, with inconclusive results. When tested on mice skin simultaneously with benzo[a]pyrene it enhanced the carcinogenic effects of benzo[a]pyrene.

A study in mice by subcutaneous injection was inadequate for evaluation of carcinogenicity.

Intratracheal administration to hamsters of pyrene attached to haematite did not produce tumours.

No data on the teratogenicity of this compound were available.

Pyrene has been tested extensively in both in-vitro and in-vivo short-term tests. It was negative in assays for differential survival in DNA-repair-proficient/-deficient strains of bacteria and was mutagenic in some assays in Salmonella typhimurium in the presence of an exogenous metabolic system. Tests for genetic activity in yeast were negative. It was not mutagenic to Drosophila melanogaster. It did induce mutations and unscheduled DNA synthesis in some in-vitro assays in mammalian cells. Pyrene did not induce morphological transformation. In tests in mammals in-vivo it did not induce sister chromatid exchange or micronuclei.

There is limited evidence that pyrene is active in short-term tests.

5.2 Human data

Pyrene is present as a major component of the total content of polynuclear aromatic compounds in the environment. Human exposure to 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 provide no evidence that pyrene per se is carcinogenic to experimental animals.

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987) (p. 71: Group 3)


Last updated: 17 April 1998

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Pyrene (ICSC)