Volatile N-nitrosamines in gastric juice of patients with various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and related to intragastric pH and nitrate and nitrite levels

Cancer Lett. 1998 Feb 27;124(2):119-25. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3835(97)00467-9.


Gastric juice samples of 71 patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy were collected as well as saliva samples from 40 of these patients. Age, sex, endoscopic diagnosis and medication were recorded. The gastric juice samples were analyzed for the presence and quantity of individual volatile N-nitrosamines, which were detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, without prior derivatization. The samples were screened for eight nitrosamines, i.e. N-nitrosodimethylamine, N-nitrosoethylmethylamine, N-nitrosodiethylamine, N-nitrosodi-n-propylamine, N-nitrosodi-n-butylamine, N-nitrosopyrrolidine, N-nitrosopiperidine and N-nitrosomorpholine. The pH of the fresh gastric juice as well as nitrate and nitrite levels of gastric juice and saliva were determined. The mean total level of volatile N-nitrosamines in gastric juice was found to be 4.84 nmol/l (range 0-17.7 nmol/l). The main N-nitrosamines found were N-nitrosodiethylamine (mean concentration 3.1 nmol/l), N-nitrosodimethylamine (mean concentration 0.90 nmol/l) and N-nitrosopyrrolidine (mean concentration 0.38 nmol/l). Significant correlations between mean intragastric pH values and mean N-nitrosodi-n-butylamine level (P = 0.005) and total volatile N-nitrosamine contents (P = 0.009) were observed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Gastric Juice / chemistry*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / metabolism*
  • Nitrites / metabolism*
  • Nitrosamines / analysis*
  • Saliva / chemistry


  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nitrosamines