Effect of delivered dosage of cigarette smoke toxins on the levels of urinary biomarkers of exposure

Assieh A. Melikian, Mirjana V. Djordjevic, Shuquan Chen, John Richie, Steven D. Stellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Urinary metabolites of tobacco smoke toxins are often used as biomarkers for the evaluation of active and passive exposure to cigarette smoke toxins. In a study of healthy smokers, we investigated concentrations of urinary biomarkers in relation to concentrations of selected toxins in mainstream cigarette smoke as determined by machine smoking of cigarettes in a manner that mimics an individual's smoking behavior (topography). Concentrations of nicotine, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone, and benzo(a)pyrene, in mainstream smoke determined under human smoking conditions, and their urinary metabolites cotinine, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol, and 1-hydroxypyrene were established for 257 individuals who smoked low-yield (0.1-0.8 mg Federal Trade Commission nicotine/cigarette; mean, 0.66; n = 87), medium-yield (0.9-1.2 mg nicotine/cigarette; mean, 1.1; n = 109), and high-yield cigarettes (nicotine, >1.3 mg nicotine/cigarette; mean, 1.41; n = 61). Levels of urinary metabolites expressed per unit of delivered parent compounds decreased with increased smoke emissions. In smokers of low-, medium-, and high-yield cigarettes, the respective cotinine (ng/mg creatinine)-to-nicotine (mg/d) ratios were 89.4, 77.8, and 57.1 (low versus high; P = 0.06); the 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (pmol/mg creatinine)-to-4- (methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (ng/d) ratios were 0.81, 0.55, and 0.57 (low versus high; P = 0.05); and the 1-hydroxypyrene (pg/mg creatinine)-to-benzo(a)pyrene (ng/d) ratios were 1.55, 1.13, and 0.97 (low versus high; P = 0.008). Similarly, means of cotinine per unit of delivered nicotine in smokers who consumed <20 cigarettes per day was 3.5-fold higher than in those who smoked >20 cigarettes per day. Likewise, a negative correlation was observed between cotinine-to-nicotine ratios and delivered doses of nicotine in subgroups of smokers who used the identical brand of cigarette, namely a filter tip-vented Marlboro (r = -0.59), which is a popular brand among Euro-Americans, and Newport (r = -0.37), a menthol-flavored cigarette without filter tip vents that is preferred by African-Americans. Thus, the intensity of the exposures significantly affects the levels of urinary biomarkers of exposure and should be taken into account in the evaluation of human exposure to cigarette smoke toxins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1408-1415
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of delivered dosage of cigarette smoke toxins on the levels of urinary biomarkers of exposure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this