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Molecular Cancer Epidemiology: The Use of New Laboratory Methods in Studies on Human Cancer Causation.

Weinstein IB
NIOSH 1985 May:14 pages
The field of molecular cancer epidemiology was reviewed in terms of laboratory methods. A group of specific laboratory procedures that can assist the epidemiologist in defining the etiology of human cancers has been developed, including biomarkers of genetic or acquired host susceptibility, of metabolism and tissue levels of carcinogens, of levels of covalent adducts formed between carcinogens and cellular macromolecules, and markers of early cellular responses to carcinogen exposure. The author suggests that new methods need to be developed in order to measure the parameters, biologically effective doses, early markers of response, and background levels of carcinogens. Many inconclusive epidemiological studies have lacked information on these three factors. The author points out that many chemical carcinogens, including aflatoxin (1402682), vinyl-chloride (75014), and nitrosamines, must be activated by metabolic reactions before they become biologically active. The activated compounds may form adducts with cellular DNA and thereby distort its structure. DNA adducts are considered the results of recent carcinogen exposure because damaged DNA will be excised and repaired, probably within weeks or months after exposure. In a mixture of environmental toxic substances, the most carcinogenic of them may be determined by measuring the type and abundance of DNA adducts in the cells of exposed animals or individuals. Immunoassays are considered the most promising of the detection methods. The author concludes that it is important in epidemiological studies to bring different types of specialists together.
Diagnostic-techniques; Deoxyribonucleic-acids; Genes; Carcinogenesis; Environmental-exposure; Humans; Immunochemistry; Biochemistry;
1402-68-2; 75-01-4;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
Priority Area
Infectious Diseases; Disease and Injury;
Source Name
Proceedings of a Symposium on Epidemiology and Health Risk Assessment, Columbia, Maryland, May 14-16, 1985, Centers for Disease Control/NIOSH, 14 pages, 18 references
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division