Target Organ Metabolism, Toxicity, and Mechanisms of Trichloroethylene and Perchloroethylene: Key Similarities, Differences, and Data Gaps. Academic Article uri icon


  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene (PCE) are high-production volume chemicals with numerous industrial applications. As a consequence of their widespread use, these chemicals are ubiquitous environmental contaminants to which the general population is commonly exposed. It is widely assumed that TCE and PCE are toxicologically similar; both are simple olefins with three (TCE) or four (PCE) chlorines. Nonetheless, despite decades of research on the adverse health effects of TCE or PCE, few studies have directly compared these two toxicants. Although the metabolic pathways are qualitatively similar, quantitative differences in the flux and yield of metabolites exist. Recent human health assessments have uncovered some overlap in target organs that are affected by exposure to TCE or PCE, and divergent species- and sex-specificity with regard to cancer and noncancer hazards. The objective of this minireview is to highlight key similarities, differences, and data gaps in target organ metabolism and mechanism of toxicity. The main anticipated outcome of this review is to encourage research to 1) directly compare the responses to TCE and PCE using more sensitive biochemical techniques and robust statistical comparisons; 2) more closely examine interindividual variability in the relationship between toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics for TCE and PCE; 3) elucidate the effect of coexposure to these two toxicants; and 4) explore new mechanisms for target organ toxicity associated with TCE and/or PCE exposure.

published proceedings

  • J Pharmacol Exp Ther

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Cichocki, J. A., Guyton, K. Z., Guha, N., Chiu, W. A., Rusyn, I., & Lash, L. H.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Cichocki, Joseph A||Guyton, Kathryn Z||Guha, Neela||Chiu, Weihsueh A||Rusyn, Ivan||Lash, Lawrence H

publication date

  • October 2016