International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer, 2004; 109 (1) doi:10.1002/ijc.11687
Affiliation: CSPO-Scientific Institute of Tuscany, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Abstract: Ozone (O(3)), the major oxidant component in photochemical smog, mostly derives from photolysis of nitrogen dioxide. O(3) may have biologic effects directly and/or via free radicals reacting with other primary pollutants and has been reported to influence daily mortality and to increase lung cancer risk. Although DNA damage may be caused by ozone itself, only other photochemical reaction products (as oxidised polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) may form bulky DNA adducts, a reliable biomarker of genotoxic damage and cancer risk, showing a seasonal trend. In a large series consisting of 320 residents in the metropolitan area of Florence, Italy, enrolled in a prospective study for the period 1993-1998 (206 randomly sampled volunteers, 114 traffic-exposed workers), we investigated the correlation between individual levels of DNA bulky adducts and a cumulative O(3) exposure score. The average O(3) concentrations were calculated for different time windows (0-5 to 0-90 days) prior to blood drawing for each participant, based on daily measurements provided by the local monitoring system. Significant correlations between DNA adduct levels and O3 cumulative exposure scores in the last 2-8 weeks before enrollment emerged in never smokers. Correlations were highest in the subgroup of never smokers residing in the urban area and not occupationally exposed to vehicle traffic pollution, with peak values for average concentrations 4-6 weeks before enrollment (r = 0.34). Our current findings indicate that DNA adduct formation may be modulated by individual characteristics and by the cumulative exposure to environmental levels of ozone in the last 4-6 weeks, possibly through ozone-associated reactive pollutants.
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