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Nutr Cancer. 1997;27(1):69-73.

Relationship between plasma concentrations of beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol and life-style factors and levels of DNA adducts in lymphocytes.

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Department of Community Health Science, Saga Medical School, Japan.


beta-Carotene and alpha-tocopherol have been thought to reduce risk of lung cancer. Whether beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol influence human DNA adducts, indicators of biologically effective doses of carcinogens, has been seldom studied. In this cross-sectional study, we measured plasma beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol in 192 healthy men and DNA adducts in lymphocytes in 104 of the subjects. Because genetic polymorphism of cytochrome P-4501A1 (CYP1A1) and glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) has been associated with interference in formation of reactive intermediates and detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, we also obtained data concerning genetic polymorphism of CYP1A1 and GSTM1. In multiple regression analysis, parameters such as alcohol consumed per day, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, Quetelet index, and cigarettes smoked per day were correlated inversely, whereas age, plasma alpha-tocopherol, and intake frequency of fruits were correlated positively with plasma beta-carotene concentration. DNA adduct levels of high plasma beta-carotene or alpha-tocopherol groups were not significantly different from the DNA adduct levels of low plasma beta-carotene or alpha-tocopherol groups among current smokers or nonsmokers. In variant states of CYP1A1 or GSTM1 polymorphism, after controlling for effect of cigarettes smoked per day, no significant correlation was found between plasma beta-carotene or alpha-tocopherol and DNA adduct levels. These results indicated that alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and plasma alpha-tocopherol have a close relationship with plasma beta-carotene. The plasma beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol were not likely to influence the level of DNA adducts in lymphocytes.

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