Nitrative DNA damage in inflammation and its possible role in carcinogenesis

Tomohiro Sawa, Hiroshi Ohshima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic inflammation has long been recognized as a risk factor for human cancer at various sites. Examples include Helicobacter pylori-induced gastritis for gastric cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) for colorectal cancer and chronic viral hepatitis for liver cancer. Here we review the role in carcinogenesis of nitrative damage to nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, which occurs during inflammation through the generation of reactive nitrogen species, such as peroxynitrite, nitroxyl, and nitrogen dioxide. Enhanced formation of 8-nitroguanine, representative of nitrative damage to nucleobases, has been detected in various inflammatory conditions. The biochemical nature of DNA damage mediated by reactive nitrogen species is discussed in relation to its possible involvement in mutations, genetic instability, and cell death. Better understanding of the mechanisms and role of such nitrative damage in chronic inflammation-associated human cancer is a necessary basis to develop new strategies for cancer prevention by modulating the process of inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalNitric Oxide - Biology and Chemistry
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar


  • 3-Nitrotyrosine
  • 8-Nitroguanine
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Chronic inflammation
  • DNA damage
  • Inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • Nitrative stress
  • Nitroxyl
  • Peroxynitrite
  • Reactive nitrogen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research


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