Azathioprine Induction of Lymphomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas in Rats

Samuel M. Cohen, George T. Bryan, Erdogan Erturk, Joseph L. Skibba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The carcinogenicity of azathioprine was evaluated in weanling female noninbred Sprague-Dawley rats by feeding it in the diet. Due to toxicity, the dose had to be changed during the course of the experiments and ranged from 0.015 to 0.04% of the diet by weight. In the first experiment, the estimated maximal cumulative consumption of azathioprine was 1.5 g/rat. Of the 14 rats evaluated, six developed thymic lymphomas, and four developed squamous cell carcinomas of the ear duct. When the experiment was repeated with a slightly lower daily consumption but with a cumulative total dose of 2.2 g/rat, there were seven of 19 rats with thymic lymphoma and two rats with ear duct carcinoma. These data support the hypothesis that azathioprine is a carcinogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2768-2772
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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