Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23(1):37-40    pdf


Elevated serum levels of pantropic p53 proteins in chromium workers

by Hanaoka T, Yamano Y, Katsuno N, Kagawa J, Ishizu S

Objectives This study investigated the possibility of applying serum pantropic p53 proteins in molecular epidemiologic studies, as a biomarker of environmental carcinogenesis. The serum levels of pantropic p53 proteins were determined in workers with past exposure to hexavalent chromium compounds.

Methods Thirty-one male workers occupationally exposed to hexavalent chromium compounds in the production of chromium compounds for 0 to 23 years served as the exposed group. The referents were 10 volunteers without work-related exposure to chemicals. In the determination of pantropic p53 proteins, commercially available kits for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were used which quantitatively detected both mutant and wild-type human p53 proteins.

Results The serum level of pantropic p53 proteins was in the range of 116.4 to 1122.6 pg/ml for the exposed workers and of 117.4 to 305.8 pg/ml for the referents. Nineteen percent of the exposed workers had a high p53 protein level (6 out of 31) when compared with the referents. All but 1 of the 6 workers had been occupationally exposed to chromium compounds for more than 11 years. Two of the 3 workers with a past history of lung cancer also showed high levels.

Conclusions Our findings confirm that the application of p53 proteins as a biomarker of environmental carcinogenesis merits further exploration.