Carcinogen-DNA adducts as tools in risk assessment

L. Airoldi, R. Pastorelli, C. Magagnotti, R. Fanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genotoxic chemicals are known to react with DNA either directly or after metabolic activation to form adducts, a step thought to be relevant with respect to chemical carcinogenesis. Evaluation of cancer risk due to exposure to chemicals requires information about the internal dose which depends on individual variation in rates of metabolic activation and detoxification. The presence and the amount of specific DNA adducts provide a good indication of chemical exposure and genetic damage resulting from exposure to carcinogens and account for some of the factors affecting individual susceptibility to cancer. Analysis of DNA adducts requires that the sensitivity of the methods be sufficiently high to allow the detection of about 1 adduct/109 normal nucleotides. Most suitable methods are based on 32P-postlabelling, immunoassays or physico-chemical techniques such as HPLC coupled to synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy or gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. These methods have been used to assess human exposure to a variety of chemical carcinogens including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aromatic amines, heterocyclic aromatic amines or aflatoxins. In some instances, the use of DNA-adducts has given accurate estimates of risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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