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Cancer Sci. 2012 Sep;103(9):1651-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2012.02360.x. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Combination of ADH1B*2/ALDH2*2 polymorphisms alters acetaldehyde-derived DNA damage in the blood of Japanese alcoholics.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.


The acetaldehyde associated with alcoholic beverages is an evident carcinogen for the esophagus. Genetic polymorphisms of the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) genes are associated with the risk of esophageal cancer. However, the exact mechanism via which these genetic polymorphisms affect esophageal carcinogenesis has not been elucidated. ADH1B*2 is involved in overproduction of acetaldehyde due to increased ethanol metabolism into acetaldehyde, and ALDH2*2 is involved in accumulation of acetaldehyde due to the deficiency of acetaldehyde metabolism. Acetaldehyde can interact with DNA and form DNA adducts, resulting in DNA damage. N(2)-ethylidene-2'-deoxyguanosine (N(2)-ethylidene-dG) is the most abundant DNA adduct derived from acetaldehyde. Therefore, we quantified N(2)-ethylidene-dG levels in blood samples from 66 Japanese alcoholic patients using liquid chromatography/electrospray tandem mass spectrometry, and investigated the relationship between N(2)-ethylidene-dG levels and ADH1B and ALDH2 genotypes. The median N(2)-ethylidene-dG levels (25th percentile, 75th percentile) in patients with ADH1B*1/*1 plus ALDH2*1/*1, ADH1B*2 carrier plus ALDH2*1/*1, ADH1B*1/*1 plus ALDH2*1/*2, and ADH1B*2 carrier plus ALDH2*1/*2 were 2.14 (0.97, 2.37)/10(7) bases, 2.38 (1.18, 2.98)/10(7) bases, 5.38 (3.19, 6.52)/10(7) bases, and 21.04 (12.75, 34.80)/10(7) bases, respectively. In the ALDH2*1/*2 group, N(2)-ethylidene-dG levels were significantly higher in ADH1B*2 carriers than in the ADH1B*1/*1 group (P < 0.01). N(2)-ethylidene-dG levels were significantly higher in the ALDH2*1/*2 group than in the ALDH2*1/*1 group, regardless of ADH1B genotype (ADH1B*1/*1, P < 0.05; ADH1B*2 carriers, P < 0.01) N(2)-ethylidene-dG levels in blood DNA of the alcoholics was remarkably higher in individuals with a combination of the ADH1B*2 and ALDH2*2 alleles. These results provide a new perspective on the carcinogenicity of the acetaldehyde associated with alcoholic beverages, from the aspect of DNA damage.

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