Black (air-cured) and blond (flue-cured) tobacco cancer risk IV: Molecular dosimetry studies implicate aromatic amines as bladder carcinogens

H. Bartsch, C. Malaveille, M. Friesen, F. F. Kadlubar, P. Vineis

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118 Scopus citations


Tobacco smoking causes a major fraction of male urinary bladder cancers and the relative risk of bladder cancer is reported to be two to three times higher for smoking of black (air-cured) than for smoking of blond (flue-cured) tobacco. In molecular dosimetry studies to examine the hypothesis that aromatic amines in tobacco smoke are primarily responsible for bladder cancer, the higher bladder cancer risk in smokers of black tobacco was correlated with two to five times higher exposure to carcinogenic aromatic amines present in black tobacco smoke, notably 4-aminobiphenyl (ABP). For the same amount of smoking, black tobacco smokers had levels of ABP-haemoglobin (Hb) adducts 1.5 times higher and excreted a 1.8-fold higher level of urinary mutagens. These mutagens were characterised as aromatic amines, and included the heterocyclic amine 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), a known mutagen and multiorgan/species carcinogen. In smoking volunteers, the ABP-Hb adduct level depended significantly on the acetylator and P-450IA2 phenotypes, being 1.3- to 1.5-fold lower in fast acetylators, slow/intermediate P-450IA2 individuals. The N-(deoxyguanosin-8-yl)-ABP adduct was a major smoking-related DNA adduct in bladder biopsies from surgical patients. It was also tentatively identified in exfoliated urothelial cells of smoking volunteers, who showed a significant and linear correlation between adduct levels of ABP with Hb and with deoxyguanosine in urothelial DNA; both were related to number of cigarettes smoked per day. Levels of several smoking-related DNA adducts in urothelial cells were 2-20 times elevated in smokers. Similar convex dose-response relationships have been found between the number of cigarettes smoked and the relative risk for bladder cancer and between the levels of ABP-Hb adducts and markers of recent smoking. A possible explanation is that fast and slow acetylators have different susceptibility to aromatic amine carcinogens. Case-control studies have consistently revealed an excess of variable magnitude of slow acetylators in subgroups exposed occupationally to carcinogenic aromatic amines. Altogether, results from these studies reinforce the association between cigarette smoking, carcinogen-DNA adducts in urothelial cells, and implicate primary aromatic and possibly heterocyclic amines as bladder carcinogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1199-1207
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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