Lung cancer is more prevalent in African Americans as compared to European Americans, and cigarette smoking is the major risk factor in both these groups. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines are among the most significant carcinogens in tobacco products. One ofthe most prevalent of these compounds, 4- (methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), is present in both unburned tobacco and cigarette smoke, and is a remarkably effective lung carcinogen in laboratory animals, inducing lung tumors in rodents independent ofthe route of administrafion. 4-(Methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL), a metabolite of NNK, is also a pulmonary carcinogen, and its serum levels are related to lung cancer in smokers. Metabolism and DNA adduct formafion are crifical in cancer inducfion by NNK. Our goal is to understand whether the observed ethnic/racial differences in lung cancer incidence are due to variafions in NNK metabolism. Our overall hypothesis is that cancer susceptibility relates to carcinogen dose and to the balance between carcinogen metabolic acfivafion and detoxificafion.
Our specific aims are: 1) Conduct a comprehensive analysis of urinary biomarkers of NNK metabolic acfivafion and detoxificafion in African American and European American smokers. This research builds on our recently developed methodology based on the use of deuterium-labeled NNK. 2) Measure in exfoliated oral mucosa cells of African American and European American smokers DNA adducts formed as a result of NNK metabolic activafion. This is crifical to an understanding of the balance between the urinary excrefion of NNK metabolites and the extent of NNK DNA binding. In the future, this balance could serve as a direct indicator of cancer suscepfibility in humans. 3) Investigate the relationship between levels of NNK-derived DNA adducts measured in oral mucosa cells and the rates of repair of these adducts in cultured lymphocytes from our subjects. This research will complement the results obtained in Specific Aims 1 and 2. In summary, the results of these experiments will provide excifing new data on differences in NNK metabolic activation and detoxification, as well as formation of NNK-derived DNA adducts and related DNA repair capacity in African Americans and European Americans. This will also help to test the overall hypothesis that differences in the mechanisms of NNK carcinogenesis are related to lung cancer susceptibility in humans.

Public Health Relevance

Smoking-related lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide, and is more prevalent in African Americans as compared to European Americans. The proposed study is to examine whether the observed ethnic/racial differences in lung cancer incidence are due to variations in metabolism of a tobacco-specific lung carcinogen. Findings of this study will contribute to the development of preventive measures against lung cancer development in smokers

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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