Urinary markers for measuring exposure to endogenous and exogenous alkylating agents and precursors

D. E.G. Shuker, V. Prevost, M. D. Friesen, D. Lin, H. Ohshima, H. Bartsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Noninvasive methodologies for measuring carcinogen exposure in humans, based on the use of urinary markers, are being developed and validated for use in molecular epidemiological studies. A range of 3-alkyladenines can be determined in urine samples by an immunoaffinity purification-GC/MS approach [3-methyladenine, 3-ethyladenine, 3-(2-hydroxyethyl)adenine, and 3-benzyladenine]. Using this method, recent results in human subjects suggest that urinary 3-alkyladenines are potentially useful markers of alkylating agent exposure, particularly where the backgrounds of such adducts are much lower than 3-methyladenine. Urinary excretion of S-benzylmercapturic acid has been studied in experimental animals as a marker of exposure to benzylating agents such as N-nitroso-methylbenzylamine, 3-Nitrotyrosine (NTyr) is formed in vivo in tissue or blood proteins after exposure to nitrosating and/or nitrating agents such as tetranitromethane. After turnover of proteins, NTyr is released and excreted in urine as metabolites 3-nitro-4- hydroxyphenylacetic acid and 3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, which are determined by GC with a thermal energy analyzer. The sensitivity and specificity, combined with ease of use, of these noninvasive biomonitoring approaches means that they may be readily incorporated into molecular epidemiological studies in which exposure to nitrosating and alkylating agents may be important risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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