Some Parameters Affecting DNA Damage and Their Relevance to the Action of Chemical Carcinogens

  • P. J. O’Connor
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 40)


The observation that chemical carcinogens will react with the genetic material of cells has provided a rational basis on which to build an understanding of their mutagenic action and possibly also of their carcinogenic action. In this paper the interactions of carcinogenic methylating and ethylating agents with nucleic acids will be considered in some detail. Over the past decade or so these compounds have been investigated extensively. Firstly, because of the extent to which they react with macromolecules, with the relative ease of their detection by radioactive tracer techniques, and secondly, because the transfer of a simple alkyl group seemed to offer probably the best long term possibilities for the interpretation of the actions of these carcinogens at the molecular level1. Further, their potential as mutagens and the remarkable tissue-specificity of tumour formation by the N-nitroso compounds makes them vry suitable as probes in studies of the initiation of malignant change2.


Chemical Carcinogen Mongolian Gerbil Carcinogenic Action Dimethyl Sulphate Alkylation Product 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. O’Connor
    • 1
  1. 1.Paterson LaboratoriesChristie Hospital and Holt Radium InstituteManchesterUK

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