Factors affecting human heterocyclic amine intake and the metabolism of PhIP

Mark G. Knize, Kristen S. Kulp, Cynthia P. Salmon, Garrett A. Keating, James S. Felton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We are working to understand possible human health effects from exposure to heterocyclic amines that are formed in meat during cooking. Laboratory-cooked beef, pork, and chicken are capable of producing tens of nanograms of MeIQx, IFP, and PhIP per gram of meat and smaller amounts of other heteroyclic amines. Well-done restaurant-cooked beef, pork, and chicken may contain PhIP and IFP at concentrations as high as tens of nanograms per gram and MeIQx at levels up to 3ng/g. Although well-done chicken breast prepared in the laboratory may contain large amounts of PhIP, a survey of flame-grilled meat samples cooked in private homes showed PhIP levels in beef steak and chicken breast are not significantly different (P=0.36). The extremely high PhIP levels reported in some studies of grilled chicken are not seen in home-cooked samples. Many studies suggest individuals may have varying susceptibility to carcinogens and that diet may influence metabolism, thus affecting cancer susceptibility. To understand the human metabolism of PhIP, we examined urinary metabolites of PhIP in volunteers following a single well-done meat exposure. Using solid-phase extraction and LC/MS/MS, we quantified four major PhIP metabolites in human urine. In addition to investigating individual variation, we examined the interaction of PhIP with a potentially chemopreventive food. In a preliminary study of the effect of broccoli on PhIP metabolism, we fed chicken to six volunteers before and after eating steamed broccoli daily for 3 days. Preliminary results suggest that broccoli, which contains isothiocyanates shown to induce Phases I and II metabolism in vitro, may affect both the rate of metabolite excretion and the metabolic products of a dietary carcinogen. This newly developed methodology will allow us to assess prevention strategies that reduce the possible risks associated with PhIP exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
StatePublished - Sep 30 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Food mutagen
  • Heterocyclic amine
  • IFP
  • MeIQx
  • PhIP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Molecular Biology


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