Cancer risk assessment is a multidisciplinary process that goes beyond the scope of classical epidemiology to include the biological evaluation of individual differences to carcinogenic exposures. The inclusion of genetic biomarkers such as mutagen sensitivity or cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus (CBMN) assay end points into risk assessment models allows for a more comprehensive determination of cancer risk that includes known demographic (age and gender), lifestyle exposures (smoking and alcohol) and occupational or environmental exposures. The CBMN assay generates multiple correlated end points that, after applying data reduction methods, could be combined into a summary measure that incorporates information from each individual variable into a single (or possible multiple, uncorrelated) measure of risk. In this article, we highlight the use of the CBMN assay in radiosensitivity assessment. In addition, we demonstrate the potential use of the combined summary measures in cancer risk assessment as a result of chronic exposure to tobacco carcinogens. The simplicity, rapidity and sensitivity of the CBMN assay not only make it a valuable tool for screening but also the multiple end points simultaneously generated lead to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in the carcinogenic process that could in turn substantially improve risk predictions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis