DNA adducts in peripheral leukocytes are considered a reliable indicator of internal dose exposure to genotoxic agents and, possibly, of cancer risk. We investigated their association with diet and other individual characteristics in healthy adults. The prospective study EPIC-Italy, a section of a larger European project, enrolled 47,749 men and women, aged 35-64 years, in 5 centres: all provided individual information about dietary and life-style habits and a blood sample. In a cross-sectional study, approximately 100 volunteers were randomly selected from each of the three main geographical study areas (Northern, Central and Southern Italy). DNA adducts and four polymorphic metabolic genotypes were determined in peripheral leukocytes by using (32)P-postlabelling technique and PCR methods. Among 309 subjects (153 men), 72.8% had detectable levels of DNA adducts (mean: 8.1 +/- 0.6 per 10(9) nucleotides). Strong negative associations emerged with the reported frequency of consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil, and the intake of antioxidants. DNA adducts were higher in subjects with GSTT1 null genotype (p = 0.05). Significant differences between study centres emerged in multivariate analyses (mean levels: 11.0, 10.0, 7.2, 6.5 and 5.2 for Florence, Naples, Turin, Varese and Ragusa, respectively). A possible opposite seasonal variation was found according to latitude: adduct levels tended to be lower in winter in Florence and the southern centres, and during summer in the two northern centres. Frequent consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is associated with reduced levels of DNA adducts, possibly contributing to the role of diet in modulating cancer risk.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.