Tobacco Research Biorepository and Biomarker Data | SRI International

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Tobacco Research Biorepository and Biomarker Data

SRI Biosciences offers data and biospecimens to the research community from the Total Exposure Study (TES). TES compared biomarkers of exposure (BOE) and biomarkers of potential harm (BOPH) in smokers and non-users of tobacco products.

This unique biorepository includes biospecimens and HIPAA-compliant demographics, medical histories, concomitant medications, clinical chemistries, and exposure measures from 4,662 adults. Funded by a large tobacco company, the data and biospecimens were collected independently by an internationally recognized contract research organization and are one of the largest collections of tobacco exposure measures in the world.

There are 21,000 well-maintained biospecimens (urine, plasma, white and red cells) for analyte preparation and analysis from 2,355 cigarette smokers and 718 non-smokers. Aliquots of biospecimens and large-scale genomic and proteomic assays can be provided to researchers.

SRI seeks research sponsors and clients and partners to leverage this unique biospecimen resource related to the health effects of tobacco exposure; examples of potential research applications include: 

  • Targeted or genome-wide analyses of tobacco exposures
  • Targeted or epigenome-wide analyses of tobacco exposures
  • Targeted or global metabolome studies of tobacco exposures
  • Evaluation of novel biomarkers

Background on the Dataset

TES subject recruitment, clinical data, and biospecimen collection were implemented in 31 U.S. states in 2002 and 2003. TES biorepository data and biospecimens were donated to the Virginia Tobacco and Health Research Repository and then transferred to SRI for the purposes of independent analysis and dissemination to the research community.

What Was Collected?

Vital signs, demographics, smoking, other exposures, and medical and concomitant medical histories were collected from 3,585 cigarette smokers, and 1,077 individuals not using tobacco- or nicotine-containing products for the preceding five years. Smokers underwent smoking topography assessment, and all participants provided blood and urine biospecimens for biomarker assays at the time of collection. A subset of participants consented to have blood and urine biospecimens archived for future biomarker testing.

Types of Data and Biospecimen Types Available for Research

Clinical interview and laboratory data are available from 4,662 TES participants. Biospecimens are available from a subset of individuals who provided consent for future genetic and biomarker testing. Peripheral blood monocytes, red blood cells, plasma, and urine biospecimens from more than 3,000 individuals are available for processing (e.g., DNA extraction from peripheral blood monocytes, aliquoting of plasma and urine samples) and molecular analyses.

Table of current Total Exposure Study biospecimen aliquots, by biospecimen type

Aliquots per Participant






1 Aliquot






2 Aliquots






3 Aliquots






Total N Aliquots






Total N Participants with Aliquots






1From one 8.5-mL ACDA tube processed in two vials.

2From one 10-mL K2EDTA tube processed into three vials.

3From one 10-mL K2EDTA tube of whole blood processed into two vials.

4Aliquots of 100 mL from a 24-hour urine sample.

Availability of Dataset and Biospecimens

SRI is making the TES data and biospecimens available to the research community for the generation of further knowledge related to smoking and health issues to be shared in the scientific peer-reviewed literature. SRI’s goal is to conduct further work with the biorepository to advance understanding of the effects of smoking on biomarkers of potential harm with the addition of novel biomarkers to the dataset—through its own research and in collaboration with other investigators and organizations.

Due to the large size of the TES and the possibilities for integrative analysis, SRI is particularly interested in collaborative projects to process biospecimens, to perform molecular analyses, and to analyze the contribution of the genome to exposure susceptibility and the response of multiple -omic domains (genomic, epigenomic, metabolomic, and proteomic) to tobacco exposures.

Contact Us

Investigators interested in collaborating with SRI or in accessing TES data and biospecimens for their own investigations are encouraged to contact SRI Biosciences for more information.

SRI’s clients and partners in tobacco and addiction research include the National Institutes of Health, including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; and the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Fund.


Roethig HJ, Munjal S, Feng S, Liang Q, Sarkar M, Walk RA, Mendes PE: Population estimates for biomarkers of exposure to cigarette smoke in adult U.S. cigarette smokers. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2009, 11(10):1216-1225.

Mendes P, Liang Q, Frost-Pineda K, Munjal S, Walk RA, Roethig HJ: The relationship between smoking machine derived tar yields and biomarkers of exposure in adult cigarette smokers in the US. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2009, 55(1):17-27.

Lee DJ, Messiah A: Population biomarker estimates and tobacco exposure: comment on the article by Roethig et al. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2010, 12(5):540; author reply 541-542.

Sarkar M, Liang Q: Explanation of the design of the total exposure study. Nicotine and Tobacco Research : Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 2010, 12(5):541-542.

Wang J, Roethig HJ, Appleton S, Werley M, Muhammad-Kah R, Mendes P: The effect of menthol containing cigarettes on adult smokers' exposure to nicotine and carbon monoxide. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2010, 57(1):24-30.

Warner JH, Liang Q, Sarkar M, Mendes PE, Roethig HJ: Adaptive regression modeling of biomarkers of potential harm in a population of U.S. adult cigarette smokers and nonsmokers. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2010, 10:19.

Frost-Pineda K, Liang Q, Liu J, Rimmer L, Jin Y, Feng S, Kapur S, Mendes P, Roethig H, Sarkar M: Biomarkers of potential harm among adult smokers and nonsmokers in the total exposure study. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2011, 13(3):182-193.

Liu J, Liang Q, Frost-Pineda K, Muhammad-Kah R, Rimmer L, Roethig H, Mendes P, Sarkar M: Relationship between biomarkers of cigarette smoke exposure and biomarkers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and platelet activation in adult cigarette smokers. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2011, 20(8):1760-1769.

Muhammad-Kah RS, Hayden AD, Liang Q, Frost-Pineda K, Sarkar M: The relationship between nicotine dependence scores and biomarkers of exposure in adult cigarette smokers. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2011, 60(1):79-83.

Muhammad-Kah R, Liang Q, Frost-Pineda K, Mendes PE, Roethig HJ, Sarkar M: Factors affecting exposure to nicotine and carbon monoxide in adult cigarette smokers. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2011, 61(1):129-136.

Sarkar M, Wang J, Liang Q: Metabolism of Nicotine and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-l-(3-pyridyl)-lbutanone (NNK) in menthol and non-menthol cigarette smokers. Drug Metabolism Letters 2012, 6(3):198-206.


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