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Jpn J Cancer Res. 2001 Mar;92(3):367-76.

Psychosocial factors as a potential trigger of oxidative DNA damage in human leukocytes.

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Department of Mental Health, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu 807-8555, Japan.


Although numerous studies have been carried out on the stress-cancer linkage, the results are still inconclusive. One of the useful, but rarely applied, methods to assess this linkage is to examine the relationship between psychosocial stress and cancer-predisposing genetic alterations simultaneously. We investigated whether various psychosocial factors can be associated with the levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG), a biomarker of cancer-related oxidative DNA damage, in peripheral blood leukocytes in 362 healthy workers (276 males and 86 females). After adjustments for age, body mass index, cigarette smoking, and alcohol use, female subjects showed positive relationships between the amount of 8-OH-dG and the Tension-Anxiety, Depression-Rejection, Anger-Hostility, Fatigue, and Confusion scores of the Profile of Mood States, respectively. The levels of 8-OH-dG also increased reliably in the female subjects who had poor stress-coping behaviors, particularly wishful thinking strategy, in the NIOSH general job stress instrument. There were positive relationships of the 8-OH-dG levels to average working hours, a self-blame coping strategy, and recent loss of a close family member in male subjects. These findings in a nonclinical sample of healthy adults not only provide evidence of a stress-cancer linkage, but also suggest possible sex differences in the mechanisms of stress-related cancer initiation.

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