Benzo(a)pyrene was found to bind to DNA in human endometrial tissue in vitro. Among specimens from 41 individuals examined, there was a 70-fold range in the observed specific activities of carcinogen binding to DNA. To determine whether this interindividual variability was correlated with the hormonally determined state of differentiation of the endometrial tissue, this population was subdivided to separate postmenopausal patients from premenopausal patients; among premenopausal patients, further division was made according to location within the menstrual cycle. Tissue obtained late in the proliferative phase or early in the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle had the highest mean specific activity of benzo(a)pyrene binding. In spite of the relatively small group sizes, the observed difference between this and the level of benzo(a)pyrene binding in the mid- and late secretory phases was statistically significant. The average binding level among the small number of patients studied who had entered a natural menopause was lower than the average binding for any of the subgroups of premenopausal patients and significantly lower than the mean for the whole population of premenopausal patients.

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This work was supported by Contract N01-CP75956 from the National Cancer Institute.

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