Induction of SCE by opium pyrolysates in CHO cells and human peripheral blood lymphocytes

Carcinogenesis. 1983;4(2):227-30. doi: 10.1093/carcin/4.2.227.


The induction of sister chromatid exchange (SCE) by opium pipe scrapings (sukhteh, Su) and the pyrolysis products of opium (Op) and of its major alkaloids, morphine (Mo), have been compared with that of cigarette smoke condensate (CSC). All pyrolysates induced SCE and the frequency was further increased by the inclusion of S9-mix in the protocol. The pyrolysates of Op induced considerably more SCE than CSC when the same concentrations were compared on a weight basis, and the rank in order of potency in CHO cells was MO greater than Op greater than CSC greater than Su. The Op pyrolysates may therefore contribute a significant risk factor to the observed high incidence of oesophageal cancer in areas of Iran where heavy Op usage occurs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Crossing Over, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Opium / analogs & derivatives*
  • Opium / pharmacology*
  • Ovary
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange / drug effects*


  • Opium