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Toxicol Lett. 2010 Sep 15;198(1):63-8. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2010.04.009. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

The critical DNA damage by benzo(a)pyrene in lung tissues of smokers and approaches to preventing its formation.

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Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique, Paris, France.


Benzo(a)pyrene (BP) and cadmium are environmental pollutants found in foodstuffs, cigarette smoke, and polluted air. BP is converted in liver and lung to benzo(a)pyrene-7,8-diol-9,10-epoxide (BPDE) by the enzymes of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) superfamily, namely CYP1A1/1A2, and CYP1B1. BPDE reacts with DNA primarily at the N(2)-position of guanine, producing benzo(a)pyrene-7,8-diol-9,10-epoxide-N(2)-deoxyguanosine (BPDE-dG) adduct. BPDE reacts with DNA also at N(6) position of adenine, producing the minor N(6)-deoxyadenosine adduct, but BPDE-dG adduct is a well-established risk factor for lung cancer. We thus argue that BPDE-dG adduct could be used as a model biomarker in searching and validating of approaches to reducing lung cancer risk. If the formation of BPDE-dG adduct were to be inhibited or blocked in bronchial epithelial cells, so could lung cancer development. The best way to lower BPDE-dG formation in the lung is to stop smoking. However, the following approaches could also be considered for highly addicted smokers: (a) decrease BP and cadmium intake from food, cigarettes and other environmental sources; (b) avoid meat and other food high in BP and cadmium; (c) decrease the CYP-mediated conversion of BP in liver and lung; (d) lower free radicals and cadmium in cigarette smoke; and (e) increase BPDE detoxification.

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