Arsenic-induced epigenetic changes in cancer development

Wesley N. Saintilnord, Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Arsenic is a ubiquitous metalloid whose high levels of toxicity pose major health concerns to millions of people worldwide by increasing susceptibility to various cancers and non-cancer illnesses. Since arsenic is not a mutagen, the mechanism by which it causes changes in gene expression and disease pathogenesis is not clear. One possible mechanism is through generation of reactive oxygen species. Another equally important mechanism still very much in its infancy is epigenetic dysregulation. In this review, we discuss recent discoveries underlying arsenic-induced epigenetic changes in cancer development. Importantly, we highlight the proposed mechanisms targeted by arsenic to drive oncogenic gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) grants R01ES030233 and 1R01ES024478 (YNF-M).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Alternative splicing
  • Carcinogen
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Heavy metal
  • Inorganic arsenic
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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