Smoking intensity varies across smokers and is influenced by individual variability in the metabolism of nicotine, the major addictive agent in tobacco. Therefore, lung cancer risk, which varies by racial ethnic group, is influenced by the primary catalyst of nicotine metabolism, cytochrome P450 2A6 (CYP2A6). In smokers, CYP2A6 catalyzes nicotine 5′-oxidation. In vitro, CYP2A6 also catalyzes, to a much lower extent, 2′-oxidation, which leads to the formation of 4-hydroxy-4-(3-pyridyl) butanoic acid (hydroxy acid). The urinary concentration of hydroxy acid has been quantified in only a few small studies of White smokers. To quantitatively assess the importance of nicotine 2′-oxidation in smokers, an LC-MS/MS-based method was developed for the analysis of nicotine and ten metabolites in urine. The concentrations of nicotine and these metabolites were measured in 303 smokers (99 Whites, 99 Native Hawaiians, and 105 Japanese Americans), and the relative metabolism of nicotine by four pathways was determined. Metabolism by these pathways was also compared across quartiles of CYP2A6 activity (measured as the plasma ratio of 3-hydroxycotinine to cotinine). As reported previously and consistent with their average CYP2A6 activity, nicotine 5′-oxidation was highest in Whites and lowest in Japanese Americans. Nicotine N-glucuronidation and N-oxidation increased with decreasing CYP2A6 activity. However, the relative urinary concentration of hydroxy acid (mean, 2.3%; 95% CI, 2.2-2.4%) did not vary by ethnic group or by CYP2A6 activity. In summary, CYP2A6 is not an important catalyst of nicotine 2′-oxidation in smokers, nor does nicotine 2′-oxidation compensate for decreased CYP2A6 activity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by grant P01 CA-138338 from the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Mass Spectrometry was carried out in the Analytical Biochemistry shared Resource of the Masonic Cancer Center, supported in part by Cancer Center Support Grant CA-077578.
© 2023 American Chemical Society.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural