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Carcinogenic Activity of Apocholic Acid


THE production of cancer by bile acids is a topic of far-reaching interest, because of the natural occurrence and biosynthesis of these substances in the body and of their molecular structure, which places them in the biologically essential family of steroids. In view of this, the two main bile acids, namely, cholic acid and deoxycholic acid, have often been tested for carcinogenicity, but results have so far been either negative or controversial. Thus, while both Ghiron1, and Cook et al. 2, were able to produce sarcomas in mice by subcutaneous injection of deoxycholic acid, Shear et al. recorded negative results with both cholic and deoxycholic acid and attributed the sarcomas described in the literature to the possible influence of the solvent used3; more recently, Klein also reported negative results using the intramuscular route4. It was, therefore, evident that if these acids were carcinogenic, their activity was weak in degree and not constantly reproducible.

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  1. 1

    Ghiron, V., Proc. Third Internat. Cancer Congress, 116 (1939).

  2. 2

    Cook, J. W., Kennaway, E. L., and Kennaway, N. M., Nature, 145, 627 (1940). Badger, G. M., Cook, J. W., Hewett, C. L., Kennaway, E. L., Kennaway, N. M., Martin, R. H., and Robinson, A. M., Proc. Roy. Soc., B, 139, 439 (1940).

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    Shear, M. J., Amer. J. Cancer, 33, 499 (1938). Shear, M. J., Leiter, J., and Perrault, A., J. Nat. Cancer Inst., 2, 99 (1941).

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LACASSAGNE, A., BUU-HOÏ, N. & ZAJDELA, F. Carcinogenic Activity of Apocholic Acid. Nature 190, 1007–1008 (1961).

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