Mechanisms of DNA-reactive and epigenetic chemical carcinogens: applications to carcinogenicity testing and risk assessment
Chemicals with carcinogenic activity in either animals or humans produce increases in neoplasia through diverse mechanisms. One mechanism is reaction with nuclear DNA. Other mechanisms consist of epigenetic effects involving either modifications of regulatory macromolecules or perturbation of cellular regulatory processes. The basis for distinguishing between carcinogens that have either DNA reactivity or an epigenetic activity as their primary mechanism of action is detailed in this review. In addition, important applications of information on these mechanisms of action to carcinogenicity testing and human risk assessment are discussed.