Aflatoxins are a class of carcinogenic mycotoxins, products of Aspergillus fungi, which are known contaminants in a large portion of the world’s food supply. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is the most potent toxin, which has been strongly linked to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), especially given coinfection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). AFB1 is catalyzed by cytochrome P450 (CYP450) into aflatoxin B1-8,9-exo-epoxide to form DNA adducts, which leads to carcinogenesis by disrupting DNA repair. AFB1-induced DNA damage is also caused by the production of excessive ROS, leading to the oxidation of DNA bases. The majority of AFB1-related to HCC carry G-to-T transversion of p53 gene. When the p53 gene is mutated, it shows a “gain of oncogenic function.” In addition, epigenetic alterations may potentially be beneficial for the treatment of HCC, because the epigenetic changes are reversible. This chapter will provide important information on the carcinogenicity of AFB1, including DNA damage checkpoint response and epigenetic alteration.
Part of the book: Aflatoxin B1 Occurrence, Detection and Toxicological Effects