Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Carcinogenic Nitrosamines formed by Drug/Nitrite Interactions


NITROSAMINES are compounds with broad carcinogenic activity in many animal species, but have seldom been detected in the environment in significant quantities. Man may nevertheless be exposed to nitrosamines formed in vivo from ingested nitrite and secondary amines1–3. Nitrite is a common constituent of the diet, as are several secondary amines4. Since tertiary amines can also react with nitrite5 in the mildly acid conditions of the mammalian stomach, the exposure of man to the many tertiary nitrogen compounds which are drugs6 must also be considered.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Sander, J., and Bürkle, G., Z. Krebsforsch., 73, 54 (1969).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Greenblatt, M., Mirvish, S., and So, B. T., J. Nat. Cancer Inst., 46, 1029 (1971).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Greenblatt, M., Kommineni, V., Conrad, E., Wallcave, L., and Lijinsky, W., Nature New Biology, 236, 25 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Lijinsky, W., and Epstein, S. S., Nature, 225, 21 (1970).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Smith, P. A. S., and Loeppky, R. N., J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 89, 1147 (1967).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Hearings, H. R., Ninety-second Congress, Stock Number 5270–1144, 63 (1971).

  7. 7

    Lijinsky, W., and Greenblatt, M., Nature New Biology, 236, 177 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Goodall, C. M., Lijinsky, W., and Tomatis, L., Cancer Res., 28, 1217 (1968).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Smith, P. A. S., and Pars, H. G., J. Org. Chem., 24, 1325 (1959).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

LIJINSKY, W., CONRAD, E. & VAN DE BOGART, R. Carcinogenic Nitrosamines formed by Drug/Nitrite Interactions. Nature 239, 165–167 (1972).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing