Journal Article

Contribution of genetic and nutritional factors to DNA damage in heavy smokers.

L A Mooney, D A Bell, R M Santella, A M Van Bennekum, R Ottman, M Paik, W S Blaner, G W Lucier, L Covey, T L Young, T B Cooper, A H Glassman and F P Perera

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 18, issue 3, pages 503-509
Published in print March 1997 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online March 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/18.3.503
Contribution of genetic and nutritional factors to DNA damage in heavy smokers.

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Prior epidemiological evidence suggests that genes controlling the metabolism of carcinogens and antioxidant/nutritional status are associated with lung cancer risk, possibly through their ability to modulate DNA damage by carcinogens. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 159 heavy smokers from a cohort of subjects enrolled in a smoking cessation program. A total of 159 blood samples were analyzed to determine the relative contributions of genetic polymorphisms [CYP1A1 MspI and exon 7 and glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1)] and plasma micronutrients to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA (PAH-DNA) adduct levels. DNA damage in smokers was affected by genetic polymorphisms and nutritional status. Smokers with the CYP1A1 exon 7 valine polymorphism had significantly higher (2-fold, P < or = 0.03) levels of DNA damage than those without. In parallel models, PAH-DNA adducts were inversely associated with plasma levels of retinol (beta = -0.93, P = 0.01), beta-carotene (beta = -0.18, P = 0.09), and alpha-tocopherol (beta = -0.28, P = 0.21) in 159 subjects. The association between smoking-adjusted plasma beta-carotene levels and DNA damage was only significant in those subjects lacking the GSTM1 detoxification gene (beta = -0.30, P = 0.05, n = 75). There was a statistical interaction between beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol; when beta-carotene was low, alpha-tocopherol had a significant protective effect (beta = -0.78, P = 0.04) on adducts, but not when beta-carotene was high (beta = -0.16, P = 0.57). Plasma alpha-tocopherol was significantly correlated with beta-carotene (r = 0.36, P = 0.0005) and less strongly with retinol (r = 0.20, P = 0.0005). These results suggest that several micronutrients may act in concert to protect against DNA damage and highlight the importance of assessing overall antioxidant status. In conclusion, a subset of smokers may be at increased risk of DNA damage and possibly lung cancer due to the combined effect of low plasma micronutrients and genetic susceptibility factors. The use of biological markers to assess efficacy of interventions and to study mechanisms of micronutrients is timely given the current debate regarding the use of chemopreventive agents in high risk populations.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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