Bulky DNA adducts and breast cancer risk in the prospective EPIC-Italy study

Calogero Saieva, Marco Peluso, Giovanna Masala, Armelle Munnia, Marco Ceroti, Sara Piro, Francesco Sera, Benedetta Bendinelli, Valeria Pala, Sabina Sieri, Rosario Tumino, Maria Concetta Giurdanella, Salvatore Panico, Amalia Mattiello, Paolo Vineis, Silvia Polidoro, Giuseppe Matullo, Domenico Palli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of environmental carcinogen exposure in breast cancer development has long been suspected, but no specific association has been identified so far. A few molecular epidemiology studies reported that DNA adducts detected by different methods are associated with a modest increase of breast cancer risk. We aimed to evaluate the association between bulky DNA adducts, detected by the 32P-postlabelling method in peripheral leukocytes, and the risk of developing breast cancer in the female Italian cohorts of the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition) study. By using a nested case-control design, breast cancer cases identified in the follow-up of over 30,000 women of EPIC-Italy study have been matched to controls by specific criteria. We measured the levels of bulky DNA adducts by the 32P-postlabelling method in peripheral leukocytes donated at enrolment. Conditional regression analyses adjusted for selected potential confounders were used. Results on DNA adduct levels were available for 292 cases and 292 matched controls. The mean DNA adduct levels were similar in both groups (P = 0.62). Multivariate regression analyses failed to show any significant association between bulky DNA adducts and breast cancer. Our results do not support any association of breast cancer risk with exposure to environmental carcinogens as measured through the levels of bulky DNA adducts in pre-diagnostic white blood cells. Larger studies by using different methods and/or biomarkers are needed to better evaluate the role of specific environmental carcinogens in breast carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-484
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • Breast cancer
  • Case-control study
  • DNA adducts
  • Follow-up
  • Nested design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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