Epigenetic carcinogens

Epigenetic carcinogens do not damage DNA, but act at a later stage through non-genotoxic mechanisms. They are frequently promoters.

Covalent binding to macromolecules

Their mode of action is based on induction of cell division. They may be mitogenic agents, cytotoxic agents, or immunosuppressive agents.

Peroxisome proliferators are an interesting class of epigenetic carcinogens, a chemically heterogeneous group of compounds, including the lipid-lowering fibrate drugs and plasticizers such as di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate and di-(2-ethylhexyl)adipate. They induce an increase in the number of peroxisomes in hepatocytes, and also increase liver DNA synthesis and cell proliferation in the rat, but the effect is not seen in man, possibly due to a lower expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR).

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