A correlation study on urinary excretion of N-nitroso compounds and cancer mortality in China: interim results.
Chen J., Ohshima H., Yang H., Li J., Campbell TC., Peto R., Bartsch H.
Samples of 12-h overnight urine were collected from approximately 40 male adults in each of the 26 counties of China. Two urine specimens were collected from each subject--one after a loading dose of proline and ascorbic acid and another after a loading dose of proline only. Levels of N-nitrosamino acids, nitrite and nitrate were measured in urine samples and correlated with cancer mortality per 100,000 male subjects in the truncated age range 35-64 years. Preliminary results show no clear correlation between presence of stomach cancer or liver cancer and nitrosation potential [as measured by the urinary level of N-nitrosoproline (NPRO) after the proline load test or of nitrate]. There was a moderate, although not clearly significant, tendency for oesophageal cancer mortality rates to be associated positively with nitrosation potential and negatively with background ascorbate levels in plasma. This result was due chiefly to the inclusion of one county (Song Xian) in which there is a fairly high oesophageal mortality rate, an average nitrosation potential three times greater than that of any other county, and the lowest ascorbate index of any county. Further study of this county is planned.