Psychological mediation of a type of oxidative DNA damage, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine, in peripheral blood leukocytes of non-smoking and non-drinking workers

Psychother Psychosom. Mar-Apr 2002;71(2):90-6. doi: 10.1159/000049351.


Background: The present study investigates whether the formation of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG), a known oxidative DNA damage relevant to carcinogenicity, can be associated with psychological factors, in order to clarify the possible stress-cancer linkage from a genetic viewpoint.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study in which we examined the relationships of the levels of 8-OH-dG in peripheral blood leukocytes to various psychological factors, including the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) in 38 non-smoking and non-drinking workers (19 males and 19 females).

Results: The levels of 8-OH-dG in male subjects were negatively correlated with the Tension-Anxiety scores of the POMS. In contrast, the levels of 8-OH-dG in female subjects were positively correlated with the Depression-Rejection scores of the POMS and the CES-D scores, and negatively associated with the Vigor scores of the POMS, respectively. Male subjects who had self-blame coping strategy displayed significantly high levels of 8-OH-dG. Moreover, the worse the subjective closeness to parents in childhood, the higher the levels of 8-OH-dG became in male subjects. The levels of 8-OH-dG increased reliably in subjects who had experienced the loss of a close family member within 3 years, when compared with non-bereaved subjects.

Conclusions: Psychological distress may be associated with cancer risk, although sex difference influences them. Inadequate coping styles, possibly resulting from a poor interpersonal relationship with parents since childhood, and experience of a relatively recent loss of a close family member also appear to influence the pathogenesis of cancer.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • DNA Damage*
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxyguanosine / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Leukocytes
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological*


  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Deoxyguanosine