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Carcinogenesis. 1996 Sep;17(9):2081-3.

Evidence of anti-benzo[a]pyrene diolepoxide-DNA adduct formation in human colon mucosa.

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  • 1Deutsches Krebsforchungszentrum, Division of Toxicology and Cancer Risk Factors, Heidelberg, Germany.


As risk factors for colorectal cancer include consumption of foods potentially contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the level of (+)-r-7,t-8-dihydroxy-t-9,10-oxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene [(+)-anti-BPDE] bound to DNA of human colon mucosa samples was quantified by a sensitive and specific HPLC/fluorescence method (Alexandrov et al., Cancer Res. 51, 6248-6253, 1992). (+)-anti-BPDE-DNA adducts were detected in four out of seven colon mucosa samples but not in any of 11 human pancreas samples from smokers and non-smokers. Adduct levels in human colon varied between 0.2 and 1.0 (+)-anti-BPDE-DNA adducts/10(8) nucleotides. Our results provide evidence that: (i) the DNA in human colon cells can be damaged by benzo[a]pyrene, possibly derived from diet and/or tobacco smoke; (ii) DNA adduct formation in human colon epithelium proceeds via the diol epoxide pathway; (iii) benzo[a]pyrene and other PAHs could play a role in the etiology of human colorectal cancer.

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