The number of women in the workforce in increasing. A substantial proportion are in the reproductive age which brings to attention the problem of work exposures that adversely affect reproductive outcome. These exposures include chemicals, radiation, strenuous physical activity and infections. They affect reproduction by effect on the germ cells, through hormonal distribution which in turn affects transport of germ cells or zygote, implantation and development. Some of these exposures are teratogenic. At present, some regulations and policies seem to be directed at women workers while there is evidence to show that women are not the only victims. Paternal exposures have also been reported to be associated with infertility, spontaneous abortions and other adverse outcomes. There is insufficient information about reproductive effects of work exposures and hence further research is required in this area.
Nurses are an integral component of the health care delivery system. In discharging their duties, nurses encounter a variety of occupational health problems which may be categorized into biological hazards, chemical hazards, physical hazards, and psychosocial hazards. A review of some examples of each of these four types of hazards is presented in this article. Particular attention has been devoted to hepatitis B, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, tuberculosis, cytotoxic drugs, anesthetic agents, needlestick injury, back pain, and stress.
Lifestyle factors are responsible for a considerable portion of cancer incidence worldwide, but credible estimates from the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) suggest that the fraction of cancers attributable to toxic environmental exposures is between 7% and 19%. To explore the hypothesis that low-dose exposures to mixtures of chemicals in the environment may be combining to contribute to environmental carcinogenesis, we reviewed 11 hallmark phenotypes of cancer, multiple priority target sites for disruption in each area and prototypical chemical disruptors for all targets, this included dose-response characterizations, evidence of low-dose effects and cross-hallmark effects for all targets and chemicals. In total, 85 examples of chemicals were reviewed for actions on key pathways/mechanisms related to carcinogenesis. Only 15% (13/85) were found to have evidence of a dose-response threshold, whereas 59% (50/85) exerted low-dose effects. No dose-response information was found for the remaining 26% (22/85). Our analysis suggests that the cumulative effects of individual (non-carcinogenic) chemicals acting on different pathways, and a variety of related systems, organs, tissues and cells could plausibly conspire to produce carcinogenic synergies. Additional basic research on carcinogenesis and research focused on low-dose effects of chemical mixtures needs to be rigorously pursued before the merits of this hypothesis can be further advanced. However, the structure of the World Health Organization International Programme on Chemical Safety 'Mode of Action' framework should be revisited as it has inherent weaknesses that are not fully aligned with our current understanding of cancer biology.
As part of the Halifax Project, this review brings attention to the potential effects of environmental chemicals on important molecular and cellular regulators of the cancer hallmark of evading growth suppression. Specifically, we review the mechanisms by which cancer cells escape the growth-inhibitory signals of p53, retinoblastoma protein, transforming growth factor-beta, gap junctions and contact inhibition. We discuss the effects of selected environmental chemicals on these mechanisms of growth inhibition and cross-reference the effects of these chemicals in other classical cancer hallmarks.
Carcinogenesis is thought to be a multistep process, with clonal evolution playing a central role in the process. Clonal evolution involves the repeated 'selection and succession' of rare variant cells that acquire a growth advantage over the remaining cell population through the acquisition of 'driver mutations' enabling a selective advantage in a particular micro-environment. Clonal selection is the driving force behind tumorigenesis and possesses three basic requirements: (i) effective competitive proliferation of the variant clone when compared with its neighboring cells, (ii) acquisition of an indefinite capacity for self-renewal, and (iii) establishment of sufficiently high levels of genetic and epigenetic variability to permit the emergence of rare variants. However, several questions regarding the process of clonal evolution remain. Which cellular processes initiate carcinogenesis in the first place? To what extent are environmental carcinogens responsible for the initiation of clonal evolution? What are the roles of genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens in carcinogenesis? What are the underlying mechanisms responsible for chemical carcinogen-induced cellular immortality? Here, we explore the possible mechanisms of cellular immortalization, the contribution of immortalization to tumorigenesis and the mechanisms by which chemical carcinogens may contribute to these processes.
One of the important 'hallmarks' of cancer is angiogenesis, which is the process of formation of new blood vessels that are necessary for tumor expansion, invasion and metastasis. Under normal physiological conditions, angiogenesis is well balanced and controlled by endogenous proangiogenic factors and antiangiogenic factors. However, factors produced by cancer cells, cancer stem cells and other cell types in the tumor stroma can disrupt the balance so that the tumor microenvironment favors tumor angiogenesis. These factors include vascular endothelial growth factor, endothelial tissue factor and other membrane bound receptors that mediate multiple intracellular signaling pathways that contribute to tumor angiogenesis. Though environmental exposures to certain chemicals have been found to initiate and promote tumor development, the role of these exposures (particularly to low doses of multiple substances), is largely unknown in relation to tumor angiogenesis. This review summarizes the evidence of the role of environmental chemical bioactivity and exposure in tumor angiogenesis and carcinogenesis. We identify a number of ubiquitous (prototypical) chemicals with disruptive potential that may warrant further investigation given their selectivity for high-throughput screening assay targets associated with proangiogenic pathways. We also consider the cross-hallmark relationships of a number of important angiogenic pathway targets with other cancer hallmarks and we make recommendations for future research. Understanding of the role of low-dose exposure of chemicals with disruptive potential could help us refine our approach to cancer risk assessment, and may ultimately aid in preventing cancer by reducing or eliminating exposures to synergistic mixtures of chemicals with carcinogenic potential.
Cell death is a process of dying within biological cells that are ceasing to function. This process is essential in regulating organism development, tissue homeostasis, and to eliminate cells in the body that are irreparably damaged. In general, dysfunction in normal cellular death is tightly linked to cancer progression. Specifically, the up-regulation of pro-survival factors, including oncogenic factors and antiapoptotic signaling pathways, and the down-regulation of pro-apoptotic factors, including tumor suppressive factors, confers resistance to cell death in tumor cells, which supports the emergence of a fully immortalized cellular phenotype. This review considers the potential relevance of ubiquitous environmental chemical exposures that have been shown to disrupt key pathways and mechanisms associated with this sort of dysfunction. Specifically, bisphenol A, chlorothalonil, dibutyl phthalate, dichlorvos, lindane, linuron, methoxychlor and oxyfluorfen are discussed as prototypical chemical disruptors; as their effects relate to resistance to cell death, as constituents within environmental mixtures and as potential contributors to environmental carcinogenesis.
Genome instability is a prerequisite for the development of cancer. It occurs when genome maintenance systems fail to safeguard the genome's integrity, whether as a consequence of inherited defects or induced via exposure to environmental agents (chemicals, biological agents and radiation). Thus, genome instability can be defined as an enhanced tendency for the genome to acquire mutations; ranging from changes to the nucleotide sequence to chromosomal gain, rearrangements or loss. This review raises the hypothesis that in addition to known human carcinogens, exposure to low dose of other chemicals present in our modern society could contribute to carcinogenesis by indirectly affecting genome stability. The selected chemicals with their mechanisms of action proposed to indirectly contribute to genome instability are: heavy metals (DNA repair, epigenetic modification, DNA damage signaling, telomere length), acrylamide (DNA repair, chromosome segregation), bisphenol A (epigenetic modification, DNA damage signaling, mitochondrial function, chromosome segregation), benomyl (chromosome segregation), quinones (epigenetic modification) and nano-sized particles (epigenetic pathways, mitochondrial function, chromosome segregation, telomere length). The purpose of this review is to describe the crucial aspects of genome instability, to outline the ways in which environmental chemicals can affect this cancer hallmark and to identify candidate chemicals for further study. The overall aim is to make scientists aware of the increasing need to unravel the underlying mechanisms via which chemicals at low doses can induce genome instability and thus promote carcinogenesis.
The aim of this work is to review current knowledge relating the established cancer hallmark, sustained cell proliferation to the existence of chemicals present as low dose mixtures in the environment. Normal cell proliferation is under tight control, i.e. cells respond to a signal to proliferate, and although most cells continue to proliferate into adult life, the multiplication ceases once the stimulatory signal disappears or if the cells are exposed to growth inhibitory signals. Under such circumstances, normal cells remain quiescent until they are stimulated to resume further proliferation. In contrast, tumour cells are unable to halt proliferation, either when subjected to growth inhibitory signals or in the absence of growth stimulatory signals. Environmental chemicals with carcinogenic potential may cause sustained cell proliferation by interfering with some cell proliferation control mechanisms committing cells to an indefinite proliferative span.
Potentially carcinogenic compounds may cause cancer through direct DNA damage or through indirect cellular or physiological effects. To study possible carcinogens, the fields of endocrinology, genetics, epigenetics, medicine, environmental health, toxicology, pharmacology and oncology must be considered. Disruptive chemicals may also contribute to multiple stages of tumor development through effects on the tumor microenvironment. In turn, the tumor microenvironment consists of a complex interaction among blood vessels that feed the tumor, the extracellular matrix that provides structural and biochemical support, signaling molecules that send messages and soluble factors such as cytokines. The tumor microenvironment also consists of many host cellular effectors including multipotent stromal cells/mesenchymal stem cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cell precursors, antigen-presenting cells, lymphocytes and innate immune cells. Carcinogens can influence the tumor microenvironment through effects on epithelial cells, the most common origin of cancer, as well as on stromal cells, extracellular matrix components and immune cells. Here, we review how environmental exposures can perturb the tumor microenvironment. We suggest a role for disrupting chemicals such as nickel chloride, Bisphenol A, butyltins, methylmercury and paraquat as well as more traditional carcinogens, such as radiation, and pharmaceuticals, such as diabetes medications, in the disruption of the tumor microenvironment. Further studies interrogating the role of chemicals and their mixtures in dose-dependent effects on the tumor microenvironment could have important general mechanistic implications for the etiology and prevention of tumorigenesis.
An increasing number of studies suggest an important role of host immunity as a barrier to tumor formation and progression. Complex mechanisms and multiple pathways are involved in evading innate and adaptive immune responses, with a broad spectrum of chemicals displaying the potential to adversely influence immunosurveillance. The evaluation of the cumulative effects of low-dose exposures from the occupational and natural environment, especially if multiple chemicals target the same gene(s) or pathway(s), is a challenge. We reviewed common environmental chemicals and discussed their potential effects on immunosurveillance. Our overarching objective was to review related signaling pathways influencing immune surveillance such as the pathways involving PI3K/Akt, chemokines, TGF-β, FAK, IGF-1, HIF-1α, IL-6, IL-1α, CTLA-4 and PD-1/PDL-1 could individually or collectively impact immunosurveillance. A number of chemicals that are common in the anthropogenic environment such as fungicides (maneb, fluoxastrobin and pyroclostrobin), herbicides (atrazine), insecticides (pyridaben and azamethiphos), the components of personal care products (triclosan and bisphenol A) and diethylhexylphthalate with pathways critical to tumor immunosurveillance. At this time, these chemicals are not recognized as human carcinogens; however, it is known that they these chemicalscan simultaneously persist in the environment and appear to have some potential interfere with the host immune response, therefore potentially contributing to promotion interacting with of immune evasion mechanisms, and promoting subsequent tumor growth and progression.
Chemical classification and labelling systems may be roughly similar from one country to another but there are significant differences too. In order to harmonize various chemical classification systems and ultimately provide consistent chemical hazard communication tools worldwide, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Several countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia, are now in the process of implementing GHS. It is essential to ascertain the comprehensibility of chemical hazard communication tools that are described in the GHS documents, namely the chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Comprehensibility Testing (CT) was carried out with a mixed group of industrial workers in Malaysia (n=150) and factors that influence the comprehensibility were analysed using one-way ANOVA. The ability of the respondents to retrieve information from the SDS was also tested in this study. The findings show that almost all the GHS pictograms meet the ISO comprehension criteria and it is concluded that the underlying core elements that enhance comprehension of GHS pictograms and which are also essential in developing competent persons in the use of SDS are training and education.