• 1 Inflammation and Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NCI) (Retired), NIH, Bethesda, MD 20817, USA
  • 2 Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H2X 2P2, Canada
  • 3 Department of Biochemistry, Rush University, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
  • 4 Prevention and Cancer Control, Cancer Care Ontario, 620 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2L3, Canada
  • 5 Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Sejong University, Seoul 143-747, Republic of South Korea
  • 6 Department of Pathology, Kuwait University, Safat 13110, Kuwait
  • 7 Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Public Health, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1680, USA
  • 8 Center for Environmental Carcinogenesis and Risk Assessment, Environmental Protection and Health Prevention Agency, 40126 Bologna, Italy
  • 9 The Institute of Molecular Genetics, National Research Council, 27100 Pavia, Italy
  • 10 Toxicology Research Division, Bureau of Chemical Safety Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A0K9, Canada
  • 11 Molecular Oncology Program, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC 20057, USA
  • 12 Advanced Molecular Science Research Centre, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226003, India
  • 13 Mediterranean Institute of Oncology, 95029 Viagrande, Italy
  • 14 Urology Department, kasr Al-Ainy School of Medicine, Cairo University, El Manial, Cairo 12515, Egypt
  • 15 Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Firenze, 50134 Florence, Italy
  • 16 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra, Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor 43400, Malaysia
  • 17 Getting to Know Cancer, Room 229A, 36 Arthur St, Truro, Nova Scotia B2N 1X5, Canada
  • 18 Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Via Francesco Selmi, 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy Center for Applied Biomedical Research, S. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Via Massarenti, 9, 40126 Bologna, Italy, National Institute of Biostructures and Biosystems, Viale Medaglie d' Oro, 305, 00136 Roma, Italy and
  • 19 Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Environmental Health Sciences Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA
Carcinogenesis, 2015 Jun;36 Suppl 1:S232-53.
PMID: 26106141 DOI: 10.1093/carcin/bgv038


An emerging area in environmental toxicology is the role that chemicals and chemical mixtures have on the cells of the human immune system. This is an important area of research that has been most widely pursued in relation to autoimmune diseases and allergy/asthma as opposed to cancer causation. This is despite the well-recognized role that innate and adaptive immunity play as essential factors in tumorigenesis. Here, we review the role that the innate immune cells of inflammatory responses play in tumorigenesis. Focus is placed on the molecules and pathways that have been mechanistically linked with tumor-associated inflammation. Within the context of chemically induced disturbances in immune function as co-factors in carcinogenesis, the evidence linking environmental toxicant exposures with perturbation in the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory responses is reviewed. Reported effects of bisphenol A, atrazine, phthalates and other common toxicants on molecular and cellular targets involved in tumor-associated inflammation (e.g. cyclooxygenase/prostaglandin E2, nuclear factor kappa B, nitric oxide synthesis, cytokines and chemokines) are presented as example chemically mediated target molecule perturbations relevant to cancer. Commentary on areas of additional research including the need for innovation and integration of systems biology approaches to the study of environmental exposures and cancer causation are presented.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.