The use of the comet assay in the study of human nutrition and cancer

Gillian R Wasson, Valerie McKelvey-Martin, Stephen Downes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    62 Citations (Scopus)


    The influence of diet on carcinogenesis is a hugely complex area; not only is the consumption of major dietary factors such as meat, fat and fruits and vegetables associated with increased or decreased risk of a range of cancers but also an increasing number of specific nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals are being proposed as the next `superfoods' to combat the development of cancer. As well as epidemiological studies to determine the association of these dietary factors with cancer risk, it is also essential to investigate the underlying mechanisms through which these factors may causally influence carcinogenesis. The comet assay provides a relatively simple, cheap and rapid method to examine DNA damage and repair and is, therefore, an ideal biomarker for the study of the effects of nutrition on cancer. This review focuses on the use of the comet assay in studies involving human subjects or human cell lines, which investigate the effects of various nutrients on biomarkers relevant to carcinogenesis, and discusses the potential of the comet assay and its various modifications for use as cancer-related biomarkers suitable for use in nutritional studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)153-162
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - May 2008


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