Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2008;61:1119-1121. [Link]

Klaunig JE.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Center for Environmental Health, Indiana University School of Medicine, MS A503, 635 Barnhill Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA.


The induction of cancer by chemicals is a multiple-stage process. Acrylamide is carcinogenic to experimental mice and rats, causing tumors at multiple organ sites in both species when given in drinking water or by other means. In mice, acrylamide increased the incidence and multiplicity of lung tumors and skin tumors. In two bioassays in rats, acrylamide administered in drinking water consistently induced mesotheliomas of the testes, thyroid tumors, and mammary gland tumors. In addition, brain tumors appeared to be increased. In one of the rat bioassays, pituitary tumors, pheochromocytomas, uterine tumors, and pituitary tumors were noted. The conversion of acrylamide metabolically to the reactive, mutagenic, and genotoxic product, glycidamide, can occur in both rodent and humans. Glycidamide and frequently acrylamide have been positive for mutagenicity and DNA reactivity in a number of in vitro and in vivo assays. The effects of chronic exposure of glycidamide to rodents have not been reported. Epidemiologic studies of workers for possible health effects from exposures to acrylamide have not shown a consistent increase in cancer risk. Although an increase in the risk for pancreatic cancer (almost double) was seen in highly exposed workers, no exposure response relationship could be determined. The mode of action remains unclear for acrylamide-induced rodent carcinogenicity, but support for a genotoxic mechanism based on in vitro and in vivo DNA reactivity assays cannot be ruled out. In addition, the pattern of tumor formation in the rat following chronic exposure supports a genotoxic mode of action but also suggests a potential role of endocrine modification.