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Lifestyle and cancer prevention: Making choices that change cancer risk
Date:12/7/2007

ich represent a pathway by which the liver metabolizes nicotine and cotinine, preparing these chemicals for urinary excretion. A low blood level of glucuronide can indicate an inefficient excretion pathway for nicotine, cotinine, and other substances such as pharmaceutical drugs, Berg says.

At the beginning of the study and after the participants started using the patch, nicotine metabolites were measured in urine samples. Both when subjects were smoking (baseline urine sample at the start of the study) or when they were on the nicotine patch, the percentage of cotinine in the glucuronide form was significantly lower among African Americans compared to Caucasian participants (at the start of the study: 66 percent versus 82 percent; on patch: 41 percent versus 62 percent). Glucuronidation of nicotine was also lower among African Americans compared to white participants on the patch (16 percent versus 30 percent).

The higher levels of free cotinine seen in past studies between race groups could be explained by lower levels of glucuronide, which helps break down cotinine, Berg said. If cotinine is a marker of nicotine in the blood, people with higher levels are more likely to have trouble giving up cigarettes.

Researchers are continuing the study by examining racial variation in two glucuronide enzymes in liver samples. The differences we have seen could be explained by a number of factors, including environmental causes, and we hope to tease these influences apart, Berg said.


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Contact: Greg Lester
greg.lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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