Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 2000; 24(Supplement 1).

Ethnic differences in anti-HMdU autoantibodies, biomarkers of oxidative stress

JM Eckard MS 1, J Karkoszka MS 1, A Akhmedkhanov MD 1, LA Mooney PhD 2, RM Santella PhD 2, E Taioli MD PhD 1, K Frenkel PhD 1

1 Dept Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and, 2 School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY,, 3 IRCCS, Milano, Italy,

Oxidative stress, oxidative DNA base damage, and biological responses to that damage contribute to cancer development. Autoantibodies (aAb) recognizing 5-hydroxymethyl-2’-deoxyuridine (HMdU, an oxidized thymidine) are present in human sera and their levels are comparable in healthy, non-smoking men and women. However, there is a pronounced gender difference, with anti-HMdU aAb increased in women but decreased in men in response to cigarette smoking, high risk for cancer, and in cancer. AIM: To test the hypothesis that ethnic background influences anti-HMdU aAb levels. METHODS: The study population consisted of healthy African-Americans (n=93) and Caucasians (n=145), of which 123 were females and 115 males, 56 and 29 non-smoking females and males, respectively. Sera were analyzed by ELISA for anti-HMdU aAb, and the significance of differences assessed by the Student’s t-test (ln-transformed data; unequal variances) after stratification by ethnicity, gender, age, and smoking status. RESULTS: Anti-HMdU aAb were significantly higher in the non-smoking African-American females <50 years old (P<0.014) and in males >50 years old (P<0.009) than in the corresponding Caucasian groups. In contrast, anti-HMdU aAb were lower in the non-smoking African-American males <50 years old than in a respective group of Caucasians, with difference approaching significance (P=0.065). CONCLUSIONS: In addition to gender, age, and smoking, ethnicity also should be considered when the effects of oxidative stress and cancer risk are evaluated. Larger study of a non-smoking ethnically diverse group should be conducted to verify the results.

KEY WORDS: African-Americans, Anti-HMdU autoantibodies, Biomarkers of cancer risk, Biomarkers of oxidative stress, Ethnic differences, Caucasians, Gender differences, Smoking effects.

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Paper presented at the International Symposium on Impact of Biotechnology on Cancer Diagnostic & Prognostic Indicators; Geneva, Switzerland; October 28 - 31, 2000; in the section on genetic risk assessment.