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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Dec;16(12):2756-62.

Joint effects of dietary trace metals and DNA repair capacity in lung cancer risk.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer, 1155 Pressler Boulevard, CPB4.3247, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


In a large case-control study, we previously reported that dietary intakes of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu), but not selenium (Se), were inversely associated with lung cancer risk. Because Zn, Cu, Se, iron (Fe), and calcium (Ca) are important for maintaining DNA stability, we examined their associations with DNA repair capacity (DRC) measured by the lymphocyte host-cell reactivation assay in 1,139 cases and 1,210 of the controls. Dietary intake was reported in a food frequency questionnaire. In multivariate analyses, compared to those with high dietary Cu + proficient DRC, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) [OR (95% CI)] for lung cancer for low Cu + suboptimal DRC was 2.54 (1.97-3.27). Similar results were observed for men and women. These effects were more pronounced in older and lean subjects, those with late-stage disease, and those with a family history of cancer in first-degree relatives. Compared to subjects with high Zn + proficient DRC, the OR for lung cancer for low Zn + suboptimal DRC was 1.82 (95% CI, 1.41-2.34), with pronounced effects in men, current smokers, subjects with longer duration of smoking, those with late-stage disease, or those with a family history of cancer. An OR of 1.94 (95% CI, 1.51-2.48) was observed for low Fe + suboptimal DRC compared with high Fe + proficient DRC, and pronounced effects appeared in older, lean subjects, those with longer duration of smoking, are heavier smokers, those with a late-stage disease, and those with a family history of cancer. No significant joint associations were seen for Se or Ca and DRC. Our joint associations between Cu-DRC, Zn-DRC and Fe-DRC and lung cancer risk require confirmation in prospective studies.

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