Aristolochic acid exposure in Romania and implications for renal cell carcinoma

Robert J. Turesky, Byeong Hwa Yun, Paul Brennan, Dana Mates, Viorel Jinga, Patricia Harnden, Rosamonde E. Banks, Helene Blanche, Marie Therese Bihoreau, Priscilia Chopard, Louis Letourneau, G. Mark Lathrop, Ghislaine Scelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Background:Aristolochic acid (AA) is a nephrotoxicant associated with AA nephropathy (AAN) and upper urothelial tract cancer (UUTC). Whole-genome sequences of 14 Romanian cases of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) recently exhibited mutational signatures consistent with AA exposure, although RCC had not been previously linked with AAN and AA exposure was previously reported only in localised rural areas.Methods:We performed mass spectrometric measurements of the aristolactam (AL) DNA adduct 7-(deoxyadenosin-N 6 -yl) aristolactam I (dA-AL-I) in nontumour renal tissues of the 14 Romanian RCC cases and 15 cases from 3 other countries.Results:We detected dA-AL-I in the 14 Romanian cases at levels ranging from 0.7 to 27 adducts per 10 8 DNA bases, in line with levels reported in Asian and Balkan populations exposed through herbal remedies or food contamination. The 15 cases from other countries were negative.Interpretation:Although the source of exposure is uncertain and likely different in AAN regions than elsewhere, our results demonstrate that AA exposure in Romania exists outside localised AAN regions and provide further evidence implicating AA in RCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-80
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2016



  • DNA adducts
  • aristolochic acid
  • environment
  • mutational signatures
  • renal cell carcinoma

Cite this

Turesky, R. J., Yun, B. H., Brennan, P., Mates, D., Jinga, V., Harnden, P., Banks, R. E., Blanche, H., Bihoreau, M. T., Chopard, P., Letourneau, L., Lathrop, G. M., & Scelo, G. (2016). Aristolochic acid exposure in Romania and implications for renal cell carcinoma. British Journal of Cancer, 114(1), 76-80.