Predictors of dietary heterocyclic amine intake in three prospective cohorts

Celia Byrne*, Rashmi Sinha, Elizabeth A. Platz, Edward Giovannucci, Graham A. Colditz, David J. Hunter, Frank E. Speizer, Walter C. Willett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Cooking meat creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs) through pyrolysis of amino acids and creatinine. Although recognized as mutagenic, the etiological role of HCA in human cancer is unclear, due to the lack of information on the effect of typical food cooking methods on HCA concentrations and on variation in HCA exposure in populations. We estimated overall daily dietary HCA intake and variation in intake between individuals, using recent data on HCA concentrations in various meats prepared by cooking methods, temperatures, and times common in United States in the 1990s. Random samples of 250 participants from each of three large prospective cohorts were mailed a questionnaire to assess frequency of consumption, cooking method, and typical outside appearance of panfried, broiled, and grilled or barbecued chicken, fish, hamburger, and steak; fried, microwaved, and broiled bacon; fried sausage; roast beef; and homemade gravy. The 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5- f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), and 2-amino-3,4,8-trimethylimidazo[4,5,f]quinoxaline (DiMeIQx) concentrations, measured in composite samples by solid-phase extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography, were assigned to each food, cooking method, and doneness level. The dietary reports showed ~30-fold relative variation in 2-amino,3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline intake, 20-fold for 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine, and over 110-fold for 2- amino-3,4,8-trimethylimidazo[4,5,f]quinoxaline, when the 10th and 90th percentiles of HCA intake were compared (90th/10th percentile value). These reported variations in HCA exposure among participants in these three large cohorts indicates that estimation of HCA intake and determination of association with disease risk are feasible, if additional information on meat cooking methods is obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-529
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


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