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

(Group 2B)

For definition of Groups, see Preamble Evaluation.

VOL.: 71 (1999) (p. 1103)

CAS No.: 57-57-8
Chem. Abstr. Name: 2-Oxetanone

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Exposure data

The main use of b-propiolactone has been as an intermediate in the production of acrylic acid and its esters. It has also been used for the sterilization of vaccines and blood products.

5.2 Human carcinogenicity data

No data were available to the Working Group.

5.3 Animal carcinogenicity data

b-Propiolactone was tested for carcinogenicity in mice by skin application and subcutaneous or intraperitoneal injection and in rats by inhalation exposure and subcutaneous injection, producing local tumours. The results obtained in studies in hamsters and guinea-pigs were equivocal.

5.4 Other relevant data

b-Propiolactone is a direct-acting alkylating agent. It forms DNA adducts. It is mutagenic in a wide variety of in-vitro and in-vivo systems, both in somatic and germ cells.

5.5 Evaluation

No epidemiological data relevant to the carcinogenicity of b-propiolactone were available.

There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of b-propiolactone.

Overall evaluation

b-Propiolactone is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Previous evaluations: Vol. 4 (1974); Suppl. 7 (1987)


Last updated: 13 April 1999

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations