Figure 13. Major carcinogenic heterocyclic amines in cooked foods.

PhIP Trp-P-1 Glu-P-1

Figure 13. Major carcinogenic heterocyclic amines in cooked foods.

Figure 14. Mechanism of metabolic activation of IQ.

As animal carcinogens, heterocyclic amines are not as potent as would be expected from their impressive mutagenic activity. However, HCAs are still potent rodent carcinogens, causing tumors in a wide variety of tissues, mainly the liver, blood vessels, intestines, and fore-stomach. The most abundant HCA in cooked food, PhIP, causes tumors primarily of the large intestines, mammary gland, and lymphoid tissue (36).

Although the intake of HCAs is unavoidable, the average amount consumed in people varies dramatically. In the general population, the average intake of HCAs has been calculated to be between 0.4 and 16 /zg/day (37). Urinary HCAs have been isolated in all healthy volunteers who eat normal diets. Whether HCAs are in fact carcinogenic in people at the nominal exposure levels is uncertain and is difficult to ascertain. Amounts of individual HCAs in the human diet are probably insufficient to cause cancer per se. Differences in diet, meat intake, and cooking methods can result in 50,000 to 100,000-fold differences in HCA exposure among individuals (38). Animal studies seem to indicate that HCAs act additively, or perhaps synergistically. Therefore, mixtures of HCAs, which would be present in most cooked foods, may be associated with human cancer risk.

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