N-Nitrosodimethylamine in the Kashmiri Diet and Possible Roles in the High Incidence of Gastrointestinal Cancers


The Kashmiri population is culturally distinct with special dietary features owing to the temperate climatic conditions of Kashmir valley. This has habituated the population to preserve food in smoked, pickled and sundried forms which include considerable amounts of N-nitroso compounds (NOCs). These are known to cause cytotoxicity, DNA damage, mutation, unscheduled DNA synthesis and DNA methylation. All of these changes at molecular level are known to contribute to the pathogenesis of cancer. One of the prominent NOCs found in Kashmiri food is N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Here we review the occurrence of NDMA in sundried foods, dried fish, kehwa, traditional pickle, Brassica oleracia and tobbaco. We also discuss its possible role in the high prevalence of gastrointestinal cancers in Kashmir.