In vitro studies on the tumorigenic potential of the halonitromethanes trichloronitromethane and bromonitromethane

Alicia Marsà, Constanza Cortés, Elisabet Teixidó, Alba Hernández, Ricard Marcos

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13 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Epidemiological data indicate that chronic exposure to water disinfection by-products (DBPs) may result in increased risk of cancer. However, the real carcinogenic potential of individual DBPs is not well known. In this study, we assessed the in vitro carcinogenic potential of trichloronitromethane (TCNM) and bromonitromethane (BNM), two halonitromethanes (HNMs) commonly found in DBPs’ mixtures at comparably high concentrations. Human lung BEAS-2B cells were exposed for 8 weeks to TCNM and BNM, and the acquisition of different in vitro cancer-like features was evaluated. The results indicate that long-term exposure to non-cytotoxic doses of TCNM and BNM did not cause carcinogenic transformation as indicated by the absence of morphological changes, no effects on cell growth, no changes in the level of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) secretion, and no increased anchorage-independent cell growth capacity. Furthermore, TCNM- and BNM-exposed BEAS-2B cells were unable to enhance tumour growth directly or by indirect influence of the surrounding stroma. Our results indicate that the carcinogenic effects of DBP mixtures cannot be attributed to the evaluated HNMs. This is the first study evaluating the cell transformation effects of TCNM and BNM under a long-term exposure scenario using suitable hallmarks of the cancer process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • BEAS-2B cells
  • Bromonitromethane
  • Cancer biomarkers
  • Cell transformation
  • Halonitromethanes
  • Trichloronitromethane


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