Use of Poppers Associated with Immune Suppression and Tumor Growth

In a recent study reported by AIDS Treatment News, test mice were injected with cancer cells and then subjected to 45 minutes daily exposure to isobutyl nitrite inhalant (poppers). Control mice were also injected with cancer cells but not exposed to the inhalant. Three-fourths of the test mice developed tumors. Only 21% of the control mice developed tumors. The tumors in the test mice grew 4 times faster than the tumors in the control mice.

This is the first study in which tumor growth was directly associated with exposure to the inhalants. Prior studies by the same researchers found that exposure to poppers suppressed certain immune functions. For example, the killing of tumor cells by macrophages (specialized white blood cells) was reduced by 86% after 5 days exposure to poppers. The researchers found that immune function was restored 14 days after stopping exposure.