Synergistic effects of UV radiation and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the development of squamous cell carcinoma - systematic rewiev and machanistic study

Project No. FF-FB 0275




Systematic review:

The aim is to examine if there are synergistic effects of UV radiation and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the development of squamous cell carcinoma. If there is scientific evidence for synergistic effects, it will be examined, if exposure ratios for certain groups of persons can be defined. Possible synergistic effects would affect the majority of so-called outdoor workers (bricklayers, civil engineering, farmers) who were exposed not only to UV radiation but also to substances associated with the German occupational disease BK 5102 (tar, bitumen, carbolineum i.a.).

Mechanistic study:

In order to assess the risk of possible synergistic effects of UV radiation and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), multiple cellular endpoints related to toxicity and in particular cancer shall be investigated in an integrated approach. In addition, concentrations of UV radiation and PAH will be determined on the basis of dose-response relationships, which mark the transition from an adaptive to an adverse state.


Systematic review:

A systematic literature research on synergistic effects of PAH and UV radiation is carried out using computer data bases PubMed, Web of Science and EMBASE. In addition, occupational dermatological publications in German are considered. Afterwards a systematic review considering the PRISMA-statement will be created to answer these questions: -

  • Is there any scientific evidence for synergistic effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and UV-radiation?
  • Is there any scientific evidence or argument against this?
  • In case of affirmation, can exposure ratios be defined for certain groups of workers?

Mechanistic study:

Ex vivo human skin will be exposed to different concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), the key substance of PAH, in presence and absence of UV radiation. Uptake, metabolism and localization of B[a]P will be investigated. Various assays should provide information on a possible carcinogenic effect and oxidative stress as a possible underlying mechanism. The benchmark approach is used to evaluate the data.

Last Update:



Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut und Poliklinik für Arbeits-, Sozial-, und Umweltmedizin der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

muliple exposures multiple strain


occupational disease, radiation, chemical working substances

Description, key words:

syncancerogenesis, UV-radiation, hydrocarbon, squamous cell carcinoma