Gender difference in DNA adduct levels among nonsmoking lung cancer patients

Ya Wen Cheng, Ling Ling Hsieh, Pin Pin Lin, Chao Pin Chen, Chih Yi Chen, Ton Sen Lin, Jan Ming Su, Huei Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Taiwanese women. Cigarette smoking cannot explain the high lung cancer mortality in this population because less than 10% of women in Taiwan are smokers. Therefore, environmental factors other than smoking may play an important role in lung cancer development in female nonsmokers. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the role of environmental carcinogen exposure in lung cancer development in Taiwanese female nonsmokers, based on DNA adduct formation. We collected nontumorous lung tissues resected from 62 nonsmoking lung cancer patients and 20 noncancer controls to investigate whether differences in susceptibility to DNA adduct formation exist between men and women. 32P-postlabeling and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) with polyclonal antibody against BPDE (7,8-dihydroxy-anti-9,10-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene)-DNA adduct were used to evaluate DNA adduct levels in lung tissues of study subjects. Our data showed that the DNA adduct levels of lung cancer patients determined by both assays were significantly higher than those of noncancer controls (P = 0.0001 for 32p-postlabeling; P = 0.01 for ELISA). Moreover, DNA adduct levels in females were markedly greater than those in males (P = 0.014 for 32p-postlabeling; P = 0.001 for ELISA). The difference in DNA adduct levels could not be explained by genetic polymorphisms of cytochrome P-4501A1 (CYP1A1) or glutathione S-transferase (GSTM1), as determined by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism. These results demonstrate that lung cancer patients have a higher susceptibility to DNA damage than that of noncancer controls. In addition, differences in susceptibility to DNA damage derived from environmental carcinogen exposure were observed between male and female nonsmokers. In conclusion, high susceptibility to DNA damage in females may partially explain the high mortality rate of lung cancer in nonsmoking Taiwanese women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-310
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Aromatic/hydrophobic DNA adducts
  • Lung cancer
  • Mortality rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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