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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1996 Apr 17;88(8):496-509.

Molecular epidemiology: insights into cancer susceptibility, risk assessment, and prevention.

Author information

1
Columbia University School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

Recent molecular epidemiologic research provides compelling new evidence that environmental factors are major contributors to human cancer and that their risks are strongly influenced by genetic and acquired susceptibility. In particular, molecular epidemiology has demonstrated substantial variability in biologic response to carcinogens and suggests that certain groups-such as the very young, those with predisposing genetic traits or nutritional deficits, and even certain ethnic groups-are likely to have greater risk from selected exposures than other members of the population. This work implies that major gains in prevention of cancer, which will claim more than 554 000 American lives this year, will necessitate health and regulatory policies that protect these more susceptible groups and individuals from risks of man-made and naturally occurring environmental carcinogens. The specific implication from this research is that, to be effective in prevention, risk assessments developed in support of these policies by regulatory bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, should reflect the available scientific data on individual variability in both exposure and susceptibility.

PMID:
8606378
DOI:
10.1093/jnci/88.8.496
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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