The HUman MicroNucleus project on eXfoLiated buccal cells (HUMN XL): The role of life-style, host factors, occupational exposures, health status, and assay protocol

Stefano Bonassi, Erdem Coskun, Marcello Ceppi, Cecilia Lando, Claudia Bolognesi, Sema Burgaz, Nina Holland, Micheline Kirsh-Volders, Siegfried Knasmueller, Errol Zeiger, Deyanira Carnesoltas, Delia Cavallo, Juliana da Silva, Vanessa M. de Andrade, Gonca Cakmak Demircigil, Aníbal Domínguez Odio, Hamiyet Donmez-Altuntas, Gilka Gattas, Ashok Giri, Sarbani GiriBelinda Gómez-Meda, Sandra Gómez-Arroyo, Valeria Hadjidekova, Anja Haveric, Mala Kamboj, Kemajl Kurteshi, Maria Grazia Martino-Roth, Regina Montero Montoya, Armen Nersesyan, Susana Pastor-Benito, Daisy Maria Favero Salvadori, Alina Shaposhnikova, Helga Stopper, Philip Thomas, Olivia Torres-Bugarín, Abhay Singh Yadav, Guillermo Zúñiga González, Michael Fenech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human buccal micronucleus cytome assay (BMCyt) is one of the most widely used techniques to measure genetic damage in human population studies. Reducing protocol variability, assessing the role of confounders, and estimating a range of reference values are research priorities that will be addressed by the HUMN XL collaborative study. The HUMN XL project evaluates the impact of host factors, occupation, life-style, disease status, and protocol features on the occurrence of MN in exfoliated buccal cells. In addition, the study will provide a range of reference values for all cytome endpoints. A database of 5424 subjects with buccal MN values obtained from 30 laboratories worldwide was compiled and analyzed to investigate the influence of several conditions affecting MN frequency. Random effects models were mostly used to investigate MN predictors. The estimated spontaneous MN frequency was 0.74‰ (95% CI 0.52-1.05). Only staining among technical features influenced MN frequency, with an abnormal increase for non-DNA-specific stains. No effect of gender was evident, while the trend for age was highly significant (pXL project identified priorities for validation studies, increased the basic knowledge of the assay, and contributed to the creation of a laboratory network which in perspective may allow the evaluation of disease risk associated with MN frequency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-97
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Reviews in Mutation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Assay standardization
  • Buccal micronucleus cytome assay (BMCyt)
  • Exfoliated cell
  • Genetic instability
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Pooled analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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