Recent studies on DNA adducts resulting from human exposure to tobacco smoke

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DNA adducts are believed to play a central role in the induction of cancer in cigarette smokers and are proposed as being potential biomarkers of cancer risk. We have summarized research conducted since 2012 on DNA adduct formation in smokers. A variety of DNA adducts derived from various classes of carcinogens, including aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, alkylating agents, aldehydes, volatile carcinogens, as well as oxidative damage have been reported. The results are discussed with particular attention to the analytical methods used in those studies. Mass spectrometry-based methods that have higher selectivity and specificity compared to 32P-postlabeling or immunochemical approaches are preferred. Multiple DNA adducts specific to tobacco constituents have also been characterized for the first time in vitro or detected in vivo since 2012, and descriptions of those adducts are included. We also discuss common issues related to measuring DNA adducts in humans, including the development and validation of analytical methods and prevention of artifact formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work cited in this review conducted by the Hecht laboratory has been supported by Grants CA-81301 and CA-138338 from the National Cancer Institute; The work cited in this review conducted by the Stepanov laboratory has been supported by Grants CA-179246 and CA-180880 from the National Cancer Institute. Mass spectrometry was carried out in Analytical Biochemistry Shared Resources of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, funded in part by Cancer Center Support Grant CA-077598.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Biomarkers
  • Cancer risk
  • DNAadducts
  • Human carcinogen
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Tobacco smoke


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