Validation and Evaluation of Biomarkers in Workers Exposed to Benzene in China

Dr. Qingshan Qu and colleagues at the New York University School of Medicine recruited 181 healthy workers in several factories in the Tianjin region of China. These subjects formed part of a cohort of thousands identified by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the China Academy of Preventive Medicine for a study to evaluate tumor incidence in benzene exposed workers (NCI/China study). In phase 1 of their study, Qu and colleagues evaluated the suitability of using urinary metabolites, blood adducts, or chromosomal aberrations in polymorphonuclear leukocytes and lymphocytes as benzene biomarkers in 25 heavily exposed and 25 unexposed workers. In phase 2, the investigators used biomarkers validated in phase 1 of the study to evaluate relations between benzene exposures and levels of these biomarkers in another 105 benzene-exposed workers and 26 unexposed workers.