Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the major human cancers, causing at least 250,000 deaths each year. Two of the major risk factors for this disease are aflatoxin exposure and hepatitis B virus. This study was undertaken to explore the relationship between dietary exposure to aflatoxins and the excretion of the major aflatoxin-DNA adduct and other metabolites into the urine of chronically exposed people who were either hepatitis B virus surface antigen-positive or -negative. The diets of 20 individuals, 10 males and 10 females, with ages ranging from 15 to 56 years, were monitored for 1 week, and aflatoxin intake levels were determined for each day. Starting on the fourth day, total 24-h urines were consecutively obtained for 4 days. The subjects were generally paired for hepatitis B virus status. Preparative monoclonal antibody affinity chromatography/high-performance liquid chromatography and competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were carried out on each of the urine samples, and the relationship between aflatoxin intake values and the excretion of (a) total aflatoxin metabolites and (b) aflatoxin-N7-guanine (AFB-N7-guanine) was determined. The average intake of total aflatoxins was 12.0 micrograms for the entire study group during the 1-week collection period. However, there was considerable day-to-day variation in exposures, from a low of zero to a high of 29.6 micrograms total aflatoxins/day. Initial efforts to characterize total aflatoxin metabolites in the urine samples were made by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The correlation coefficient for the analysis was 0.65, with P < 0.001.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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