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Carcinogen Database

The Carcinogen  Database is made with the view that a thorough knowledge of the existing carcinogenic agents will help mankind globally, to be aware of substances or agents that can cause cancer and thus prevent or minimize their usage and exposure to them.  Also, this will enable development of more cancer surveillance programs in United States and the world. The carcinogen database is developed by procuring data from published material such as research articles, books and other validated resources.

(NOTE: Remaking of this Carcinogen database in any form without the consent from this organization will be considered as a copyright violation) 



Carcinogen Name (Substance or agent which can cause cancer)

Type(s) of Cancer

Carcinogen prevalence (in different sources)


Oral microbiota

Colorectal, pancreatic, lung cancer

Oral bacteria in our mouth can give rise to cancer development. These bacteria (viz. Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, etc.) first stimulate chronic inflammation. The next mechanism influences cancer pathogenesis which leads to production of substances that act like carcinogens. 

Microorganisms. 2019; 7: 20

Scented candles

Bladder cancer

A recent study reveals that scented candles can contain substances which are unrecognized factors for increasing the risk of bladder cancer.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2019.  [Epub ahead of print]

N-Nitroso compounds

Oral, Oesophagus, nasopharyngeal and respiratory cancer

Different N-Nitroso compounds or derivatives (e.g. N-Nitrosoamines, N-Nitroso derivatives of piperidones, etc.) are constantly reported as carcinogens.  Studies reveal that N-Nitroso compounds such as Tobacoo-specific nitrosamines (TSNA), 4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and N'-Nitrosonornicotine (NNN), probably cause oral and respiratory cancers in human. Nitrosoamine contaminants in some pesticides, are also found to cause cancer in laboratory animals, even if present at low levels (in parts per million).

IARC Sci Publ. 1987; (84):477-84

A.Nallini. Structural and Conformational Studies of Some Medicinally and Biologically Important Molecules (Ph.D. Thesis). May 2002; Section A-Piperidine Derivatives: 17.

Mol. Cryst. Liq. Cryst. 2003; 403:49-56

N-Nitroso Compounds. 1981; Chapter 25, ACS Symposium Series; 174:363-382



Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

Kidney and testical cancer

Occupational exposures to chemical plants with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) is found to cause cancer in adults, in Mid-Ohio valley (USA).

Environ Health Perspect. Nov-Dec 2013; 121(11-12): 1313-1318


Bladder cancer

Kidney transplant patients have a higher risk factor of this type of cancer.  Risk factors are seen increased in those patients who are smokers.

Transplantation. 2017 Jun; 101(6): 1488-1494

Carbon Tetrachloride

Lung cancer

It was widely used in the past as a degreasing agent, cleaning fluid, fumigant to kill insects in grain, choroflurocarbon propellants, refrigents and fire extinguishers.  However, its us has declined steadily, as long-term exposure can cause liver and kidney damage and is as well associated with lung cancer.

Occup Environ Med. 2013 Feb; 70(2): 81-5


Breast cancer

Paraben is a chemical widely found in cosmetics (viz. hair care an shaving products, moisturizers, makeup), food additives and preservatives. Traces of parabens found in breast cancer tumors have made them linked to cancer risk and points out the necessity for furthermore research and evaluation.

J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Sep; 34(9): 925-38


Brain cancer

A recent study correlates the long term use of Benzodiazepine (BZD) drug, with the chances of occurrence of brain cancer. But in their studies they have  reported that Diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, medazepam, nitrazepam and oxazepam are safe among BZDs use, for cancer risk. Selection of safer BZDs which are non-carcinogenic, by physicians is pointed out in their study.

Int J Cancer. 2017 Feb 1; 140(3): 513-525

Hepatitis B virus

Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer)

Chronic hepatitis B infection in majority of patients is found to be the leading cause of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hepatocellular carcinoma is a primary malignancy of the liver. HCC is a cancer affecting asians at large. It is transmitted  when blood from an infected person enters the body of the non-infected person through some means.

Biomed Imaging Interv J. 2006 Jul-Sep; 2(3): e7

Hepatitis C virus

Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer)

Hepatitis C virus which spreads through contact with blood of an infected person increase the risk of Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). 

J Glob Infect Dis. 2009 Jan-Jun; 1(1): 33-37

Choledochal cyst excision

Biliary cancer

Sporadic reports indicate chances for the development of biliary cancer in patients with a history of primary choledochal cyst exicision. There is a possibility for the cancer to develop up to 10 years after such a treatment.  Choledochal cyst represent congenital cystic dilations or enlargements of the bile ducts.

Surg Today. 2017 Jun; 47(6): 660-667

Liver fluke

Liver cancer

Chlolangiocarcinoma (CCA) which is a hepatic malignancy, can be caused by liver flukes (which includes Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis). Liver fluke is a parasite. This is principally a parasite of the liver of various mammals. 

Parasitol Res. 2017 Jan; 116(1): 11-19

Heavy metals

Different cancers

Heavy metals (viz. arsenic, cadmium, lead, chromium, copper, nickel, etc.) are well known environmental pollutants and are regarded as carcinogens. They enter the environment by human activities. The different sources of heavy metals include waste water, mining, industrial effluents, insect or disease control agents applied to crops, urban runoff, sewage discharge, etc.

Interdiscip Toxicol. 2014 Jun; 7(2):60-72

EXS. 2012; 101:133-164

Red meat

Cancer of the colon and rectum, esophagus, liver, lung and pancreas

Red meat intake seems to be a positively associated risk factor correlated with the occurrence of difffernt cancers (viz.  caner of  the colon and rectum, liver, pancreas, esophagus and lung cancers).

 PLoS Med. 2007 Dec; 4(12): e345

Coke oven emission

Lung cancer

Employees who are exposed to coke oven emissions which occur in coke producing workplaces, have the risk of developing lung cancer.  Actually, coke oven emission occurs in the process of producing coke by heating coal in large ovens. The use of coke thus produced, is seen in iron and steel manufacture. These coke oven emissions contain carcinogens such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Risk Analysis. 1998 Dec; 18(6): 813-825

Fuel. 1991 Dec; 70(12): 1383-1389


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia 

An increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia is predicted for workers occupationally exposed to 1.3-Butadiene, through epidemiologic studies.  Also, 1,3-Butadiene which is a volatile and colorless gas, is known to be present in large quantities in cigarette smoke. 

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Nov; 23(11): 2240-2249

International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1,3-Butadiene, ethylene oxide and vinyl halides (vinyl fluoride, vinyl chloride and vinyl bromide). Lyon, France: IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. 2008; Vol.97.

Nicotine Tob Res. 2009; 11: 1216-25


Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)

Pesticides are well known for their use in agriculture to destroy insects.  Studies reveal increased risk for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) with the exposures to pesticides classified as carcinogens. HL is a cancer that arises from white blood cells of the lymphocyte kind (i.e. it is a type of cancer of the lymph system).

Cancer Causes Control. 2013; 24(9): 1661-1673

Vinyl chloride

Hepatocellular carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of primary liver cancer seen in adults. Some pathology reports support  the probable occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after high expsoures to vinyl chloride.

Liver Int. 2017 May; 37(5): 630-633

Diesel exhaust

Lung cancer

Diesel exhaust exposure assessment shows that non-metal miners, truck drivers and those who are  extensively exposed to diesel exhaust, are at the risk of developing lung cancer.

Prev Med. 1984 Mar; 13(2): 207-18

Occup Environ Med. 2017 Mar; 74(4): 233-234

Carbonated soft drinks

Pancreatic cancer

There is a slight correlation between risk of pancreatic cancer and carbonated soft drinks.  However, much more investigation is required to confirm the results. Carbonated soft drinks are available in almost all parts of the world. 

Cancer Treat Res. 2014; 159: 97-120


Head and neck cancer

Most mouthwashes contain alcohol and hence its use is associated with head and neck cancer. The carcinogenic activity of acetaldehyde from alcohol is a well established fact.

Eur J Cancer Prev. 2016 Jul; 25(4): 344-8

Nat Rev Cancer. 2007; 7: 599-612


Oral cancer

Gutkha consumption is a habit practiced by chewing it (by placing a pinch of it inbetween cheek and gum) and sucking it slowly, so that it changes into deep red color upon dissolution. Gutkha  is a light brownish to white substance and is a dry mixture of crushed areca nut, catechu, tobacco, calcium hydroxide (in nut products lime), together with flavorings and other additives.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016 Nov; 17(11): 5005-5009

Areca (betel) nut 

Oral cancer

The practice of chewing betel nut which comes from the areca catechu palm tree, leads to oral cancer (i.e. tumors of the oral cavity and oropharynx). This is a leading cause of oral cancer in parts of Asia and Pacific.

PLoS One. 2017 Feb 22; 12(2): e0172196 

Humans IWGotEoCRt. A review of human carcinogens. 2012. Part E: Personal habits and indoor combustions. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer



Environmental pollutants contain methylcholanthrene (MCA), which is one type of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. Methylcholanthrene is a noted carcinogen which is found to induce tumor in mice, at the site of injection itself.

J Exp Med. 2002 Jun 3; 195(11): 1479-1490


Skin cancer and lymphoma

Employees in chemical and pharmaceutical industry which produce products for immunosuppressive therapy, can inhale immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine. This can lead to skin cancer, when exposed to concentrations above the safe level. Skin cancer or lymphoma is seen to develop in transplant patients also, when immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine are used.

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Oct; 70(1): 122-4

Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP)

Gastric cancer

Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is characterized as a group I carcinogen. It occurs in some foods of animal origin. This substance is found as an environmental pollutant (i.e. found in ar ambient air, water, smoke (including cigarette or tobacco smoke), sediments and soil in trace levels) and also in some pharmaceutical products. It is also seen as a widespread environmental contaminant, which is formed during incomplete combustion or pyrolysis of organic material. 

Int J Oncol. 2016 Nov; 49(5): 2055-2063

Chemical agents and related occupations. Vol. 100F (A review of Human Carcinogens). IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, Lyon (FR): International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2012) World Health Organization (WHO)



Urinary bladder cancer and bladder tumor

A report confirms occurrence of cancer of the urinary bladder and bladder tumours in male workers engaged in the production and exposure, respectively of 4-aminobiphenyl.

Chemical agents and related occupations. Vol. 100F (A review of Human Carcinogens). IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, Lyon (FR): International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2012) World Health Organization (WHO)


Leukemia, pancreatic, kidney, liver and bladder cancers

Patients with Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) showed an increased overall cancer risk for different cancers.

PLoS One. 2015; 10(3): e0119647

Coal-tar pitch

Lung and skin cancer 

Working with coal-tar pitch for the purposes such as electrode manufacture, roofing and paving of roads can lead to mainly to lung and skin cancers. 

Chemical agents and related occupations. Vol. 100F (A review of Human carcinogens). IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, Lyon (FR): International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2012) World Health Organization (WHO)

Biochem J. 1914 Jun; 8(3): 253-260



Bladder tumor

There is a risk for bladder cancer for industrial workmen who are exposed to xenylamine.

Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1956 Jun; 18(6): 366-383

Oral sepsis

Oral cancer

Dental surgeons have observed that the common starting point for oral cancer lies in the margin of the gum adjacent to a tooth which has been the seat of a long-continued sepsis (a condition seen when the body's response to infection causses damage to its own tissues and organs).

Proc R Soc Med. 1914; 7(Odontol Sect): 37-48


Bladder tumor

Exposure to benzidine by workmen in industry is a risk factor for the occurrence of bladder tumor.

Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1956 Jun; 18(6): 366-383



Thyroid cancer

Several studies link Iodine-131 (I-131) exposure and thyroid cancer. This was proved in Chernobyl accident in 1986 when large number of people exposed to I-131. Some of the sources of I-131 are associated with nuclear energy (as a radioactive isotope present in nuclear fission products; open air atomic bomb testing), natural gas production and medical diagnostic and treatment procedures. 

Int J Radiat Biol. 2009 Jun; 85(6): 467-482


Lung cancer

Exposure to radon occurs for underground miners and also in residences, buildings, etc. (actually radon gas moves into permeable soil and gravel bed; enters into buildings through cracks and openings). Epidemilogic studies show exposure to radon as a risk factor for lung cancer.

Int J Radiat Biol. 2009 Jun; 85(6): 467-482

2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo-[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP)

Colon cancer

PhIPs are one amongst the Hetererocylic Aromatic Amines (HAAs) shown to cause cancer. High levels were found in chicken breasts when panfried, oven-broiled and grilled/barbecued. It is to be noted that the same was not found in whole roasted or stewed chicken.

Cancer Res. 1995 Oct 15; 55(20):4516-9

Oral contraceptive pills

Breast  and Cervical cancer 

Studies disclose higher probability in incidence of breast cancer among patients who had used oral contraceptives. The use of oral contraceptive (mainly combined monophasic pills) are probably promoters and not initiators of breast cancers.  There is also a projection of a low risk of cervical cancer for recent oral contraceptives users.

Med Pregl. 2010 Sep-Oct; 63 (9-10):657-61

Perchloroethylene (PCE)

Laryngeal and lung cancer

High occupational exposure to the chlorinated solvent Perchloroethylene (PCE) increases the risk of laryngeal and lung cancer. Such a chorinated solvent is commonly used for metal cleaning and degreasing, in particular in dry cleaning sector.

Environmental Health. 2017; 16:77


Lung and Bronchial cancer

Tobacco smoking (or Cigarette smoking), passive exposure to Second Hand Smoke (SHS) and chewing tobacco can lead to lung and Bronhial cancer, as they are full of carcinogens.  Smoking damages the cells that line the lungs and thus can cause cancer. Tobacco is being used in two forms - smoking and smokeless.  Either way it is causative of cancer. Tobacoo is present in bidi, hookah, cigarattes, cigars, gutkha, misri, chutta, khaini, paan masala, chillum, mawa, gul, etc. 

JNCI. 1999; 91(14):1194-1210

Cancer Cell. 2003 Sep; 4(3): 191-6

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev.2016 Nov; 17(11): 5005-5009


Bladder tumour

Industrial workmen exposed to this chemical are at risk for the development of bladder tumour.

Ann R Coll Surg Eng. 1956 Jun; 18(6): 366-383

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Stomach cancer

Stomach cancers, are reported to occur predominantly from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons present in home-smoked meat products, when they are consumed.

Bibl Nutr Dieta. 1980;(29):57-61

Lead [Pb]

Breast cancer

Lead (Pb) is known to contaminatinate the environment and water supplies. It is time and again reported to cause cancer.

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2010 Aug;136(2):127-39


Bone marrow cancer

Benzene exposure from industries and chemical laboratories could damage bone marrow and lead to cancer.

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Aug; 9(8): 2875-2893


Lung cancer

Occupational expore to berryllium is studied and reported as a risk factor for developing cancer in human.

Crit Rev Toxicol. 2012 Feb;42(2):107-18


Liver, Large intestine and Breast cancers

Acetaldehyde (AA) concentrations are associated with increased cancer risk.

Genes Nutr. 2010 Jun; 5(2): 121-128

Ultra Violet (UV) rays

Skin cancer

UV radiation is the major etiologic agent in the development of skin cancer. UV radiation cause DNA damages and genetic mutations

Int J Dermatol. 2010 Sep;49(9):978-86


Tumors of Kidney and Liver

They are chemicals in the oil refining and petrochemical industry and is an occupational hazard that could lead to cancer.

Environ Res. 1992 Oct;59(1):238-49

Ionizing radiation


People who have been exposed to it regularly, for medical, occupational or environmental reasons can have the risk of getting cancer.

Int J Radiat Biol. 2009 June; 85(6): 467-482


Oral cancer

The use of zolpidem is associated with subsequent cancer risk in Taiwanese patients.

Mayo Clin Proc. 2012 May; 87(5): 430-436


Lung cancer

Long term cannabis use increase the risk of getting lung cancer

Eur Respir J. 2008 Feb; 31(2): 280-286


Cell formation and Tumor

Lipid-oxidation products, ingested with food or produced endogenously represent a risk.

Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 May;57(5 Suppl):779S-785S

Hot drinks (Coffee,tea and mate)

Esophageal Cancer (EC)

Thermal injury to the esophageal mucosa due to consuming large amounts of hot drinks has been suspected to be a risk factor for EC.

Int J Cancer. 2009 Aug 1; 125(3): 491-524

Hair dye


Scientific report(s) show the association between maternal hair dye used and neurobalstoma (a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissues) in offspring.

Cancer Causes Control. 2005 Aug;16(6):743-8


Tumor in bladder, lungs, ovary, kidney and pancreas

Workmen exposed to this chemical Xenylamin in industries may lead to cancer.

Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1956 Jun; 18(6): 366–383


Oesophagal squamous cell carcinoma

It is published that traditional beers contains the carcinogen nitrosamines which are produced from the brewing process.

S Afr Med J. 2015 Sep 21;105(8):656-8

Polychlorinated biphenyls

Testicular cancer

Industrialization results in the production of potentially carcinogenic environmental toxins such as polychorinated biphenyls.

Int J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Oct;1(4):160-70


Pancreatic cancer

All Alcoholic beverages and alcohol manufacturing industry are major sources. It is found that regular intake of high concentrations of alcohol could lead to cancer.

Gastroenterology. 2013 Jun; 144(6): 1252–1261


Stomach cancer

High levels of nitrates are harmful and can act as carcinogens causing stomach cancer. Sources of nitrates may include runoff from fertilized agricultural lands and industrial waste water, septic tanks and private sewage disposal systems.

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 May 14; 15(18): 2204–2213 . Illinois Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Fact Sheet

Coal and wood smoke

Lung cancer and Bronchial cancer

Indoor emissions or smoke from household coal combustion  of coal and wood are classified as group 1 carcinogen. Frequent environmental expore to this smoke are found to be causing lung cancer.

Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Dec; 118(12): 1743–1747


Skin cancer

Kasmiri people have a portable fire blanket called kangri under their clothes in order to keep them warn during heavy winter season.  This has led to skin cancer in a number of individuals.  

Br Med J. 1910 Sep 3; 2(2592): 589–591

Fat food

Colon cancer

In take of regular fat food can cause obesity. This may give chances of developing colon cancer. Reports say that insulin acts as a biochemical mediator between obesity and colon caner. Hyperinsulinaemia, which occurs in type II diabetes, plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of colon cancer.

Gut. 2006 Feb; 55(2): 285–291

Herpes virus

Human cancer

Herpes virus infections in humans are associated with carcinogesis. This virus can cause cancer in human.

Yale J Biol Med. 2008 Mar; 81(1): 52–53

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Breast cancer 

The incidence of breast cancer following the decline in use of Harmone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is reported in scientific publications. 

J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2013 Apr;39(2):80-8

Simian virus 40

Bone and Breast cancer

Simian virus 40 is also found to be an infectious carcinogen. When people are infected by such viruses, there is a possibility to develop cancer. 

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2004 Jul; 17(3): 495–508

Helicobacter pylori

Gastric cancer

Proven reservoir (source) for Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) development (colonization), is the human stomach; Transmission of H. pylori infection from other sources such as faeces, vomitus, contaminated water (due to poor sanitation conditions in developing nations), etc. have been reported.

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2010 Oct; 23(4): 713-739. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2000; 14 (Suppl. 3): 7-12. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jul; 19(3): 449-490. J R Soc Med 1996; 89:674-678. Book: Helicobacter pylori: Physiology and Genetics, Chapter 40: Gastric Cancer.

Human papilloma virus

Cervical cancer and cancers of the head and neck (caused by Oral HPV).

Human Papilloma Virus (HPVs) infections which cause cancer is a sexually transmitted virus (especially transmitted through gential contact, such as vaginal and anal sex). It could also be transmitted through mouth and throat. However not all HPVs are harmful. Only some of them can cause cancer.

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2012 Nov;22(9):1570-6. Cervical Cancer Overview, National cervical cancer coalition.


Cancers of skin, liver, lung, kidney and bladder

Arsenic is an element present in various compounds throughout the earth's crust. However, mainly ingestion of water supply and medicinal preparation, containing arsenic can cause cancer. Fish contains high concentrations of organic arsenic, which is less toxic when compared to inorganic arsenic.

Environ Health Perspect. 1992 Jul; 97: 259-267

Heterocyclic amines[HCAs]

Colon and Breast cancer

The carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines are produced during cooking of meat and fish at high temperatures.

Cancer Sci. 2004 Apr;95(4):290-9. Environ Health Perspect. 1996; 104:280-288


Lungs, Brain tumor and many other cancers

Harmful exposure to Asbestos happens in occupational settings. Some developing countries have sheds or even construct rooms and houses with Asbestos as roofs. Long-term exposure or living under Asbestos roofs may lead to cancer.

Acupunct Electrother Res. 2006;31(1-2):61-125