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Cancer Lett. 2008 Jul 18;266(1):84-97. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.02.030. Epub 2008 Mar 25.

Air pollution, oxidative damage to DNA, and carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Institute of Public Health, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Copenhagen, Oster Farimagsgade 5, Build 5, 2nd Floor, P.O. 2099, DK-1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark.


There is growing concern that air pollution exposure increases the risk of lung cancer. The mechanism of action is related to particle-induced oxidative stress and oxidation of DNA. Humans exposed to urban air with vehicle emissions have elevated levels of oxidized guanine bases in blood cells and urine. Animal experimental studies show that pulmonary and gastrointestinal exposure is associated with elevated levels of oxidized guanines in the lung and other organs. Collectively, there is evidence indicating that exposure to traffic-related air pollution particles is associated with oxidative damage to DNA and this might be associated with increased risk of cancer.

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