Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Public Health. 2015 Jun;105(6):1237-45. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302492. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Biomarkers of tobacco smoke exposure in racial/ethnic groups at high risk for lung cancer.

Author information

Pebbles Fagan, Pallav Pokhrel, Thaddeus Herzog, Kevin D. Cassel, Ian Pagano, Adrian A. Franke, Alyssa Antonio, Dorothy Jorgensen, Tania Lynch, and Crissy Kawamoto are with the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu. Eric T. Moolchan is an independent consultant, Cambridge, MA. Joseph Keawe'aimoku Kaholokula is with the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Angela Sy is with the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Linda A. Alexander is with the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington. Dennis R. Trinidad and C. Anderson Johnson are with the School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, CA. Kari-Lyn Sakuma is with the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis. Mark S. Clanton is with the TMF Health Quality Institute, Austin, TX.



We examined biomarkers of tobacco smoke exposure among Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, and Whites, groups that have different lung cancer risk.


We collected survey data and height, weight, saliva, and carbon monoxide (CO) levels from a sample of daily smokers aged 18-35 (n = 179). Mean measures of nicotine, cotinine, cotinine/cigarettes per day ratio, trans 3' hydroxycotinine, the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR), and expired CO were compared among racial/ethnic groups.


The geometric means for cotinine, the cotinine/cigarettes per day ratio, and CO did not significantly differ among racial/ethnic groups in the adjusted models. After adjusting for gender, body mass index, menthol smoking, Hispanic ethnicity, and number of cigarettes smoked per day, the NMR was significantly higher among Whites than among Native Hawaiians and Filipinos (NMR = 0.33, 0.20, 0.19, P ≤ .001). The NMR increased with increasing White parental ancestry. The NMR was not significantly correlated with social-environmental stressors.


Racial/ethnic groups with higher rates of lung cancer had slower nicotine metabolism than Whites. The complex relationship between lung cancer risk and nicotine metabolism among racial/ethnic groups needs further clarification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center