Correlation of DNA adduct levels in human lung with cigarette smoking

Nature. 1988 Dec 22-29;336(6201):790-2. doi: 10.1038/336790a0.


Lung cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United Kingdom and the second most common in women, accounting for between 25 and 40% of all cancer deaths. Cigarette smoking is widely accepted as the major cause of lung cancer and linear relationships have been established between the number of cigarettes smoked and lung cancer risk. Although approximately 50 carcinogenic chemicals have been identified in cigarette smoke, a causal link between specific compounds and lung cancer has yet to be made. Studies on cigarette smokers' urine, blood and placenta have provided indications of carcinogen exposure, and although the presence of covalently-bound adducts in human DNA provides evidence of exposure to carcinogens, there have been no reports of systematic studies on the levels of DNA adducts in human lung. We report here, using the 32P-post-labelling technique, that cigarette smokers have higher adduct levels than non-smokers, that there is a linear relationship between adduct levels and daily or lifetime cigarette consumption, and that people who have given up smoking for at least five years have adduct levels similar to those of non-smokers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Autoradiography
  • DNA / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors


  • DNA