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Int J Cancer. 1991 Jul 30;48(6):821-5.

Opisthorchis viverrini infestation and endogenous nitrosamines as risk factors for cholangiocarcinoma in Thailand.

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National Cancer Institute of Thailand, Bangkok.


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is one of the most common cancers in north-east Thailand and has been associated with infestation by the liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini (OV). Two samples of 12-hr overnight urine (after dosing with proline and ascorbic acid or proline alone) were collected from 20 inhabitants from each of 5 contrasting incidence areas for CCA. The incidence of CCA was not correlated with either the amount of NPRO or other nitrosamino acids, endogenous nitrosation potential (difference in NPRO levels between proline dose and proline and ascorbic dose), or nitrate level. However, when urinary levels of nitrosamino acids were compared in subjects living in high-risk areas, subjects who were positive for OV antibody excreted significantly more (p less than 0.01) NPRO (12.3 +/- 18.7 micrograms/12 hr) after proline ingestion than those who were negative (3.5 +/- 3.2 micrograms/12 hr). After ingestion of ascorbic acid, the NPRO levels in the positive subjects were significantly reduced (p less than 0.01) to 2.4 +/- 2.0 micrograms/12 hr, suggesting that endogenous nitrosation of proline was inhibited. Thus, endogenous nitrosation potential estimated from the difference between NPRO and the sum of nitrosamino acids excreted in the 2 urine samples was significantly higher in subjects positive for the OV antibody. Small amounts of pre-formed nitrosamines were found in fermented fish and pork food items, which are consumed frequently in the high-risk area for CCA. These results suggest that the interaction between chemical carcinogens, especially nitrosamines, and OV infestation may play a role in the development of cholangiocarcinoma in Thailand.

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