Early detection of lung cancer potential among Egyptian wood workers.

Gaballah, I. F., S. F. Helal, and B. H. Mourad, "Early detection of lung cancer potential among Egyptian wood workers.", International journal of occupational and environmental health, vol. 23, issue 2, pp. 120-127, 2017 04.


Wood dust is known to be a human carcinogen, with a considerable risk of lung cancer. The increased cancer risk is likely induced through its genotoxic effects resulting from oxidative DNA damage. This study aimed at assessing the genotoxicity of wood dust and demonstrating the role of sputum PCR as a screening tool for early prediction of lung cancer among wood workers. The study was carried out in the carpentry section of a modernized factory involved with the manufacture of wooden furniture in Greater Cairo, Egypt. Environmental assessment of respirable wood dust concentrations was done. Frequency of chromosomal aberrations (CA%) and sister chromatid exchanges (SCE%) in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) was assessed and comet assays were performed in samples from among the study population (n = 86). Levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) enzymes were measured. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to study hypermethylation of p16 and ̸or O-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene promoters in sputum DNA. The concentrations of respirable wood dust exceeded the Egyptian and international permissible limits with highest levels generated by sawing operations. Laboratory investigations revealed statistically significantly higher frequencies of CA and SCE as well as increased comet tail length associated with significant decrement in the levels of SOD and GPx among exposed group. A statistically significant elevation in the extent of hypermethylation was detected for the p16 and MGMT gene promoters in the sputum DNA of studied wood workers. The study results support the conclusion that prolonged unprotected occupational exposure to wood dust is associated with possible genotoxicity and oxidative stress that might raise the risk for carcinogenesis including lung cancer.