Abstract The modifying effects of dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), the major metabolite of ingested arsenicals in most mammals, on chemical carcinogenesis were investigated using rat in vivo models and reviewed here. In a multi-organ bioassay, rats pretreated with 5 carcinogens were administered DMA at various concentrations in their drinking water. Significantly increased tumor induction due to DMA was observed in the urinary bladder, kidney, liver, and thyroid gland. This was associated with significantly elevated ornithine decarboxylase activity in the kidneys of DMA-treated animals. To estimate the hazard levels of its promoting influence, further examinations were carried out concerned with urinary bladder and liver carcinogenesis. Doses of 25 and 50 ppm, respectively, of DMA were found capable of enhancing lesion development in the two organs. In conclusion, our data indicate that DMA is a carcinogen or promoter in the urinary bladder, liver, kidney and thyroid gland, in line with previous epidemiological findings.