Tobacco smoke biomarkers and cancer risk among male smokers in the Shanghai Cohort Study.

Tobacco smoke constituent metabolites are established biomarkers of cigarette smoke exposure. ► This paper demonstrates that some of these metabolites are also biomarkers of cancer risk in male smokers from Shanghai. ► The biomarkers of cancer risk are total cotinine, total NNAL, PheT, and total NNN.


Metabolites of tobacco smoke constituents can be quantified in urine and other body fluids providing a realistic measure of carcinogen and toxicant dose in a smoker. Many previous studies have demonstrated that these metabolites – referred to as biomarkers in this paper – are related to tobacco smoke exposure. The studies reviewed here were designed to answer another question: are these substances also biomarkers of cancer risk? Using a prospective study design comparing biomarker levels in cancer cases and controls, all of whom were smokers, the results demonstrate that several of these biomarkers – total cotinine, total 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL), r-1-,t-2,3,c-4-tetrahydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydrophenanthrene (PheT), and total N′-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) – are biomarkers of cancer risk. Therefore, these biomarkers have the potential to become part of a cancer risk prediction algorithm for smokers.


Source: cancer letters