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Cancer Res. 1995 Dec 15;55(24):6017-20.

O6-methylguanine DNA adduct formation and modulation by ethanol in placenta and fetal tissues after exposure of pregnant patas monkeys to N-nitrosodimethylamine.

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  • 1Perinatal Carcinogenesis Section, National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Maryland 21702, USA.


Perinatal nitrosamine exposures may contribute to childhood cancer risk. To test primate fetal susceptibility to formation of cancer initiation-related DNA adducts from nitrosamines, pregnant patas monkeys were given 1.0 or 0.1 mg/kg N-nitrosodimethylamine. Appreciable levels of the promutagenic O6-methylguanine adduct occurred in placental and fetal liver DNA after both doses and were lower but detectable in other fetal tissues after the higher dose. Coadministered ethanol (1.6 g/kg) reduced adducts in placenta and fetal liver by one-half and increased levels in other fetal tissues to the same degree. Thus, primate placenta and fetal tissues have a significant, ethanol-modulated capacity to activate N-nitrosodimethylamine, supporting implication of nitrosamines in human perinatal carcinogenesis and of alcohol as a modulating factor.

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