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Arch Iran Med. 2020;23(11): 757-760.
doi: 10.34172/aim.2020.95
  Abstract View: 223
  PDF Download: 42

Mini Review

Fifty Years of Research and One Conclusion: Opium Causes Cancer

Mahdi Sheikh 1,2, Farin Kamangar 3, Reza Malekzadeh 2,4*

1 Genetic Epidemiology Group, Section of Genetics, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France
2 Digestive Oncology Research Center, Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Biology, School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, United States
4 Digestive Disease Research Center, Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
*Corresponding Author: Reza Malekzadeh, MD; Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Shariati Hospital, Kargar-e-shomali Ave., Tehran 14117, Iran. Tel: +98-21-82415204; Fax: +98-21-82415400; Email: Malek@tums.ac.ir

Abstract

In September 2020, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that opium consumption causes cancer in humans – a conclusion drawn after reviewing data from five decades of research. Given the widespread use of opium and its derivatives by millions of people across the world, the classification of opium consumption as a “Group 1” carcinogen has important public health ramifications. In this mini-review, we offer a short history of opium use in humans and briefly review the body of research that led to the classification of opium consumption as carcinogenic. We also discuss possible mechanisms of opium’s carcinogenicity and potential avenues for future research.
Keywords: Carcinogen, Case-control studies, Cohort studies, Neoplasm, Opiate, Opioids
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Submitted: 08 Oct 2020
Accepted: 14 Oct 2020
ePublished: 17 Oct 2020
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