Effects of a 6-month vitamin intervention on DNA damage in heavy smokers

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000 Dec;9(12):1303-11.


Because their formation is associated with tumor development in specific tissues, DNA adducts have potential usefulness as intermediate end points in chemoprevention studies. To determine the efficacy of a combination of antioxidant vitamins (vitamins C and E and beta-carotene), a randomized clinical trial was conducted among heavy smokers using DNA damage as the end point. Immunological methods were used to measure polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts and oxidative DNA damage (8-oxo or hydroxydeoxyguanosine) in mononuclear and oral cells. A total of 121 subjects were randomized to the 6-month intervention and received either vitamins or placebo. Dropout rates were higher in the placebo than in the vitamin group; 65% of subjects in the vitamin group, but only 47% in the placebo group, provided specimens at 6 months. Plasma levels of all three antioxidants rose significantly in the vitamin group but not in the placebo group. All four measures of DNA damage decreased in both groups; the between-group differences were not statistically significant. These data do not provide clear evidence that antioxidant vitamin intake prevents DNA damage. However, the study demonstrates that DNA damage is a useful end point in chemoprevention trials.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • DNA Adducts / analysis
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxyguanosine / analysis
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glutathione Transferase / analysis
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use*


  • DNA Adducts
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Deoxyguanosine
  • Ascorbic Acid