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Toxicology. 2007 Jan 5;229(1-2):157-64. Epub 2006 Oct 29.

Hemoglobin adducts of the human bladder carcinogen o-toluidine after treatment with the local anesthetic prilocaine.

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  • 1Walther Straub Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Goethestr 33, D-80336 Munich, Germany.


Prilocaine, a widely used local anesthetic, is metabolized to o-toluidine which is classified as human carcinogen. We aimed to assess the impact of prilocaine-treatment on hemoglobin adducts from o-toluidine. Blood samples were obtained before and 24h after receiving prilocaine local anesthesia (Xylonest, 100mg) from 20 head and neck surgery patients and 6 healthy volunteers. Hemoglobin adducts of o-toluidine and 4-aminobiphenyl were determined by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Hemoglobin adducts of o-toluidine were significantly increased 24h after 100mg prilocaine-treatment by 21.6+/-12.8ng/g hemoglobin (mean+/-S.D., N=26; P<0.0001). This corresponds to a 6-360-fold increase of o-toluidine adduct levels in 25 patients from 0.54+/-0.95ng/g before treatment to 22.0+/-13.2ng/g 24h after surgery (mean+/-S.D.). Because of an extremely high background level the increase was only 1.6-fold in one patient (40.9ng/g before and 64.4ng/g 24h after prilocaine injection). Current smoking had no influence on background values and on the increase of o-toluidine adducts. No treatment-related differences were seen in mean hemoglobin adduct levels of 4-aminobiphenyl which were significantly higher in smokers, 0.149+/-0.096ng/g (mean+/-S.D., N=8) as compared to nonsmokers 0.036+/-0.035ng/g (mean+/-S.D., N=16; P<0.01). In conclusion, prilocaine anesthesia leads to a massive increase of hemoglobin adducts of the carcinogenic arylamine o-toluidine. This implies a carcinogenic risk which should be taken into account in preventive hazard minimization.

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