Well-done meat intake, heterocyclic amine exposure, and cancer risk.Nutr Cancer 2009; 61(4):437-46NC
High intake of meat, particularly red and processed meat, has been associated with an increased risk of a number of common cancers such as breast, colorectum, and prostate in many epidemiological studies. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are a group of mutagenic compounds found in cooked meats, particularly well-done meats. HCAs are some of most potent mutagens detected using the Ames/salmonella tests and have been clearly shown to induce tumors in experimental animal models. Over the past 10 years, an increasing number of epidemiological studies have evaluated the association of well-done meat intake and meat carcinogen exposure with cancer risk. The results from these epidemiologic studies were evaluated and summarized in this review. The majority of these studies have shown that high intake of well-done meat and high exposure to meat carcinogens, particularly HCAs, may increase the risk of human cancer.