DNA repair activity for oxidative damage and risk of lung cancer

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Sep 3;95(17):1312-9. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djg033.


Background: Although smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, only a proportion of smokers develop lung cancer, suggesting a genetic predisposition in some individuals. Because tobacco smoking is associated with the increased formation of DNA lesions, including those induced from oxidative damage, we investigated whether the activity of the DNA repair enzyme 8-oxoguanine DNA N-glycosylase (OGG), which repairs the oxidative DNA lesion 8-oxoguanine, is associated with lung cancer.

Methods: We conducted a molecular epidemiologic case-control study that included 68 case patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and 68 healthy control subjects, frequency matched for age and sex. Enzymatic OGG activity was determined in protein extracts prepared from peripheral blood mononuclear cells or lung tissue by assaying the cleavage product of a radiolabeled synthetic DNA oligonucleotide containing an 8-oxoguanine residue. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined by conditional logistic regression. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: OGG activity was lower in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from case patients than in those from control subjects. After adjustment for age and smoking status, individuals in the lowest tertile of OGG activity had an increased risk of non-small-cell lung cancer compared with individuals in the highest tertile (OR = 4.8, 95% CI = 1.5 to 15.9). The adjusted OR associated with a unit decrease in OGG activity was statistically significantly increased (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3 to 2.8). There was no interaction between OGG activity and smoking status. The estimated relative risk of lung cancer for smokers with low OGG activity was 34- or 124-fold higher for smokers with a low OGG activity of 6.0 or 4.0 U/ micro g protein, respectively, than for nonsmokers with a normal OGG activity of 7.0 U/ micro g protein, illustrating the cumulative effect of low OGG activity and smoking.

Conclusions: Low OGG activity is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Although prospective studies are needed to validate the results, they suggest that smoking cessation in individuals with reduced OGG activity might be an effective strategy in lung cancer prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA-Formamidopyrimidine Glycosylase
  • Female
  • Guanine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Guanine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • 8-hydroxyguanine
  • Guanine
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases
  • DNA-Formamidopyrimidine Glycosylase