Dichloroacetic Acid Maybe Linked With the Promotion of Liver Cancer

An illustration showing radioactive beads in the artery feeding a liver tumour

Dichloroacetic acid is related to acetic acid, which is commonly known as vinegar.  It has been found to increase the risk of liver cancer in an animal model. It has been used in mice to cause liver cancer.

In one study (1), dichloroacetic acid and trichloroacetic acid were given to mice to see if they caused liver cancer in female mice.  It was believed that the dichloroacetic acid would promote liver cancer, but that trichloroacetic acid would not affect the mice.

They found that, by giving the mice dichloroacetic acid, cancerous lesions were found in the livers of the mice but that giving trichloroacetic acid did not cause this problem.  Interestingly, the malignant lesions went away after the dichloroacetic acid was withdrawn.  The implications of this in humans is not yet clear.


  1. Pereira MA, et al. Promotion by dichloroacetic acid and trichloroacetic acid of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-initiated cancer in the liver of female B6C3F1 mice. Cancer Letters. Volume 102, Issues 1–2, 19 April 1996, Pages 133-141.

    Dr. Adem Gunes

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