Some epidemiological investigations have revealed that frequent consumption of well-done cooked meats and tobacco smoking are risk factors for breast cancer in women. 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) is a heterocyclic aromatic amine that is formed in well-done cooked meat, and 4-aminobiphenyl (4-ABP) is an aromatic amine that arises in tobacco smoke and occurs as a contaminant in the atmosphere. Both compounds are rodent mammary carcinogens, and putative DNA adducts of PhIP and 4-ABP have been frequently detected, by immunohistochemistry (IHC) or 32P-post-labeling methods, in mammary tissue of USA women. Because of these findings, PhIP and 4-ABP have been implicated as causal agents of human breast cancer. However, the biomarker data are controversial: both IHC and 32P-post-labeling are non-selective screening methods and fail to provide confirmatory spectral data. Consequently, the identities of the lesions are equivocal. We employed a specific and sensitive liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (MS) method, to screen tumor-adjacent normal mammary tissue for DNA adducts of PhIP and 4-ABP. Only 1 of 70 biopsy samples obtained from Minneapolis, Minnesota breast cancer patients contained a PhIP-DNA adduct. The level was three adducts per 109 nucleotides, a level that is 100-fold lower than the mean level of PhIP adducts reported by IHC or 32P-post-labeling methods. The occurrence of 4-ABP-DNA adducts was nil in those same breast tissues. Our findings, derived from a specific mass spectrometry method, signify that PhIP and 4-ABP are not major DNA-damaging agents in mammary tissue of USA women and raise questions about the roles of these chemicals in breast cancer.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grant awards (R03CA139542 to D.G., Y.T., D.Y., R.J.T.) and (R01CA122320 to D.G., Y.T., R.J.T.) from the National Cancer Institute and grant number (2007/58 to D.G., Y.T., R.J.T.) from the World Cancer Research Fund International, (P30 CA077598 to J.-M.Y., D.Y.) Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute, and Inserm, la Ligue contre le cancer, the region Bretagne and Anses to G.N., S.L. for financial aid and College Doctoral International of the université Européenne de Bretagne for travel fellowship (G.N.).