Received January 21, 2008
In this review the role of molecular markers for the assessment of individual exposure to carcinogenic agents was analyzed. Examples of the studies describing mutation patterns related to specific carcinogenic exposures are presented. The results of epidemiological studies of gene polymorphism and its role in the interaction between inheritance, environmental factors, and lifestyles are analyzed in detail. Adequate planning and performance of the epidemiological component of a study is a requirement for obtaining reproducible results reflecting molecular mechanisms of interest. Individual information on lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, nutrition, physical activity, reproductive anamnesis) and environmental factors (occupational activity and carcinogen load at workplace), which influence not only the risk of developing cancer, but also the molecular features of a tumor, is crucial for adequate analysis and proper assessment of the results.
KEY WORDS: molecular markers, carcinogen-specific mutations, genetic polymorphism, interaction of genetic and environmental factors in carcinogenesis