HCAs (Heterocyclic Amines) are carcinogenic chemical compounds that accumulate in well-cooked meat at high temperatures. The chemicals are formed when amino acids and creatine react at high cooking temperatures and found in larger quantities when meat is overcooked. HCAs pose a threat developing a carcinogenic potential after being activated by cytochrome P450 1A2-mediated oxidation of the amino group which is followed by acetylation or sulfation to form direct-acting reactive mutagens that attack key elements in DNA.
- ↑ S.-W.Choi, J.B.Mason. Cancer of the colon. Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition 2003;second edition, pages 1543-1550