The relative contribution of, and possible mechanism of interaction between, aflatoxin and hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the development of primary hepatocellular carcinoma can be better investigated now that markers of individual exposure to both factors are available. In this study, blood samples were collected over a 1-month period from 117 children aged 3 to 4 years, resident in Kuntair or Kerr Cherno in the Upper Niumi District of The Gambia. Samples were analyzed for aflatoxin-albumin (AF-alb) adducts, markers of HBV infection, liver enzymes [serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT)] as markers of liver damage, and glutathione S-transferase M1 genotype. All but two children showed detectable serum AF-alb with levels ranging from 2.2 to 250.4 pg aflatoxin B1-lysine equivalent/mg albumin. There was a significant positive correlation between AF-alb and ALT (r = 0.4; P < 0.001). HBV carriers showed moderately higher levels of AF-alb than noncarriers but the difference was not statistically significant and the association between AF-alb and ALT was unchanged when the HBV carriers were excluded from the analysis, suggesting that factors other than HBV infection contributed to the association. The null glutathione S-transferase M1 genotype was infrequent (17.7%) in this population and was not associated with any difference in AF-alb adduct levels compared to glutathione S-transferase M1-positive individuals. However, the percentage of individuals with the null genotype varied significantly between ethnic groups with 32.1% in Fula, 8.8% in Mandinka, and 13.3% in Wollof.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

This content is only available via PDF.