A US study of saliva samples from a small group of electronic-cigarette users confirmed that vaping produces chemicals capable of damaging DNA and potentially increasing cancer risk, reports Salynn Boyles for MedPage Today.
After collecting saliva before and after a 15-minute vaping session from five e-cigarette users, the researchers from the University of Minnesota analysed the samples for the chemical compounds known to damage DNA, using a previously validated mass spectrometry method to assess DNA damage in the cells of the volunteers' mouths.
The levels of formaldehyde, acrolein and methylglyoxal all increased after vaping in the study volunteers. And compared with non-vapers, four out of five study subjects showed evidence of increased DNA damage related to acrolein exposure.
Findings from the preliminary study were presented at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Boston.
"Depending on the e-liquid and the devices that the subjects used, we found acrolein levels that were 30- to 60-times higher after vaping," Romel Dator, PhD, of the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Center said at a 21 August press conference.
Human saliva and oral cell samples from e-cigarette users and non-user controls were obtained to screen reactive carbonyls and DNA adducts. DNA from oral cells were isolated, hydrolyzed to nucleosides, and analyzed by both targeted and non-targeted DNA adductomics approaches.
Using the NL loss screening strategy, the team saw increased levels of acrolein, methylglyoxal, and formaldehyde after the participants' vaping, while the levels of acetaldehyde and glyoxal were found to vary within subjects, possibly due to variations in composition of the e-liquid used.
The research confirmed increased levels of DNA bound to carcinogenic chemicals in oral cells of e-cigarette users, the investigators reported. Specifically, increased levels of the acrolein-derived DNA adduct gamma-OH-Acro-dG were seen in e-cigarette users compared with non-users.
Notably, the study did not determine what components of e-cigarette vapor were responsible for the putative effects, nor the actual cancer risk associated with those effects.
The team is currently examining other DNA adducts that could be related to e-cigarette exposure in a larger group of subjects, and also hopes to study how DNA adducts differ between e-cigarette users and smokers of combustible cigarettes.
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