Letter | Published:

Carcinogenic Effect of Aminoazobenzene

Nature volume 154, pages 668669 (25 November 1944) | Download Citation



SINCE Kinosita1 first showed that rats developed malignant tumours of the liver when fed a deficient diet containing N,N-dimethyl-p-aminoazobenzene (butter-yellow), much work has been done in an attempt to elucidate the mechanism whereby this azo-dye brings about neoplastic changes in liver tissue. One aspect studied has been the metabolism of the dye itself; Stevenson, Dobriner and Rhoads2 were able to isolate p-aminophenol and p-phenylenediamine, and also their N-acetylation products, from the urine of rats receiving the dye orally. Thus the azo-link is split as in the case of o-aminoazotoluene3 and other azo-compounds in the animal body. However, the absence of N,N-dimethyl-p-phenylene-diamine from fractions prepared without addition of sodium hydrosulphite suggested that complete demethylation occurs at some stage prior to the acetylation of the p-phenylenediamine. This lability of the N-methyl groups has been neatly demonstrated by Jacobi and Baumann4, who found butter-yellow could function like other methyl-donors in protecting young rats against kidney lesions when on a choline-free diet.

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  1. Research Department, Glasgow Royal Cancer Hospital, 132 Hill Street, Glasgow, C.3. Oct. 5.

    • A. H. M. KIRBY


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