To elucidate a relationship between lung cancer and tumor induction of environmental chemicals, the presence of 1-nitropyrene (1-NP) and benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) in 137 Japanese (97 male and 40 female), and 21 Chinese lung specimens was examined by HPLC, and GC-MS and environmental exposure discussed. Mortality due to lung cancer in Fuyuan County, China, is much higher than that of other cancers. We investigated 21 patients who were residents of Fuyuan County. All were female aged 28-64 years and were non-smoking farmers and cooks. The histological features of the tumors were adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and small cell carcinoma. The incidence of cancer was due to inhaling soot from the combustion of coal used for cooking and indoor heating. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chrysene, benzo[k]fluor-anthene, B[a]P, benzo[g,h,i]perylene and pyrene, but not their nitrated derivatives, were detected in substantial amounts in the resected lungs. These mutagens and carcinogens normally originate in combustion products of coal, and are discussed as the possible initiators of the tumors in the lungs of these patients. All the Japanese lung specimens were also obtained from non-smokers. The concentrations of 1-NP averaged 21.3 ± 12.4 and 5.9 ± 2.4 pg/g of Japanese and Chinese samples respectively. The concentrations of B[a]P averaged 180.2 ± 103.7 and 608.7 ± 477.1 pg/g of Japanese and Chinese samples respectively. Thus, Japanese and Chinese lung specimens were mainly contaminated by 1-NP and B[a]P, respectively. Typical tissues from a carcinomatous human lung were examined. The patient was a 64-year-old Japanese male non-smoker and farmer who had raised chickens over a period of 40 years. The histological features of the tumor were those of keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma. 1-Nitropyrene, 1-nitro-3-hydroxypyrene, 1,3-dinitropyrene and chrysene were detected at concentrations of 0.11, 0.036, 0.095 and 0.16 ng respectively per gram of lung tissue. This cancer was due to long-term exposure to the combustion products of heavy oil used in a chicken house.
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