Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arsenic's Link to Cancer

Being the tox nerd that I am, I actually enjoy learning about how drugs are metabolized in the body, finding out what makes tetrodotoxin (puffer fish venom) so deadly, and speculating as to why I developed an eye twitch ever since I accidently spilled atrazine on my arm last Friday (true story). I'll get that checked out...after more blogging! I'd like to take this time to impart some toxicological knowledge upon the masses. It's well known that Arsenic is detrimental to one's health. It has been used as a pesticide because it inhibits several essential metabolic enzymes. However, this must not have always been the case as women in the Victorian Era would mix arsenic with chalk and vinegar to improve make their skin complexion lighter. Pain is beauty I suppose. But I digress, arsenic exposure has also been linked to cancer. The mechanism as to why arsenic causes tumor growth has been unknown up until a recent discovery published in the journal Cancer Research. They found that arsenic causes tumors in mice and bladder cancer patients by affecting the awesomely named "Sonic Hedgehog Signaling Pathway". Chronic exposure to low arsenic levels in water can over-activate the signaling pathway which can cause tumors to form in the bladder. Stay thirsty my friends.


  1. Cancer is such bad thing. But I listen what new 'cancer cure' revolution is coming soon.

  2. That is the best signaling pathway ever, until it gives you cancer.