Home » Tobacco » Level 3 » Question 3

Tobacco Active and Passive Smoking

3. Does tobacco cause cancer in test animals?

    The source document for this Digest states:

    Animal carcinogenicity data Cigarette smoke has been tested for carcinogenicity by inhalation studies in rodents, rabbits and dogs. The model systems for animal exposure to tobacco smoke do not fully simulate human exposure to tobacco smoke, and the tumours that develop in animals are not completely representative of human cancer. Nevertheless, the animal data provide valuable insights regarding the carcinogenic potential of tobacco smoke. The most compelling evidence for a positive carcinogenic effect of tobacco smoke in animals is the reproducible increase observed in several studies in the occurrence of laryngeal carcinomas in hamsters exposed to whole tobacco smoke or to its particulate phase. In four of five studies in rats, exposure to whole smoke led to modest increases in the occurrence of malignant and/or benign lung tumours. Similarly, in four of eight studies in mice of varying susceptibility to lung tumour development, exposure to whole smoke led to a modest increase in the frequency of lung adenomas. An increased incidence of lung 'tumours' has also been reported in dogs exposed to tobacco smoke, but it is uncertain whether the histopathological features of the lesions are consistent with malignancy. In hamsters exposed to both cigarette smoke and chemical carcinogens (N-nitrosodiethylamine and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene), the tumour response in the respiratory tract was higher than in hamsters exposed to either agent alone. The same is true in rats exposed simultaneously to cigarette smoke and radionuclides (radon progeny and plutonium oxide). Cigarette smoke condensate both initiates and promotes tumour development in animals. It reproducibly induces both benign and malignant skin tumours in mice following topical application. Similarly, it produces skin tumours in rabbits following topical application. Topical application to the oral mucosa also produced an increased incidence of lung tumours and lymphomas in mice. In rats, cigarette smoke condensate produced lung tumours after intrapulmonary injection. In initiation/promotion assays in mouse skin, a single topical application of cigarette smoke condensate followed by application of croton oil was sufficient to initiate both benign and malignant skin tumours. Smoke condensates of Indian bidi administered to mice by gavage were found to induce tumours in a number of organs. Collectively, these data provide evidence of the carcinogenic effect of mainstream tobacco smoke in experimental animals.

    Source & ©: IARC "  Tobacco Smoking and Tobacco Smoke, Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation"
    Volume 83 - Chapter 5.3: Animal carcinogenicity data, 2004

    Themes covered
    Publications A-Z