Tobacco smoke-induced DNA damage and an early age of smoking initiation induce chromosome loss at 3p21 in lung cancer

Tomoko Hirao, Heather H. Nelson, Tara Devi S. Ashok, John C. Wain, Eugene J. Mark, David C. Christiani, John K. Wiencke, Karl T. Kelsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The short arm of chromosome 3 is thought to harbor a novel oncogenic locus that is important in the genesis of lung cancer. The region at 3p21 is believed to contain a distinct locus that is sensitive to loss from the action of tobacco smoke carcinogens and has been reported to be specifically targeted for deletion in lung cancer. To investigate whether 3p21 alteration in lung cancer is associated with carcinogen exposure, PCR-based analysis was performed to detect loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on chromosome 3 at 3p21 in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). We also measured instability at the BAT-26 locus, because the mismatch DNA repair gene, hMLH1, is found at 3p21. LOH at 3p21 was analyzed for association with the clinical features of NSCLC, p53 mutation status, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adduct levels (measured using 32P-postlabeling) and carcinogen exposure information including cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure. Of 219 lung cancers, 150 cases (68.5%) were informative at the D3S1478 locus, and 44.2% of squamous cell carcinoma cases and 30.2% of adenocarcinoma cases showed 3p21 LOH. None of the cancers showed BAT-26 instability. The prevalence of 3p21 LOH was higher in both current and former smokers compared with never smokers and was higher in p53 mutated cases. Among squamous cell carcinoma cases, there was a strong association of increased 3p21 LOH with increasing polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts levels (P = 0.03), as well as an increased prevalence LOH with earlier age of smoking initiation (P = 0.02). Our results confirm that 3p21 LOH is strongly associated with measures of biologically effective dose of exposure to tobacco carcinogens. Our results also suggest that alterations of hMLH1 are not related to any of the reported associations, because there was no evidence of microsatellite instability. Finally, LOH in 3p21 may be an early molecular event in NSCLC, because it is significantly associated with a tendency to start smoking at a young age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-615
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2001


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