Rapid and sensitive methods to detect DNA lesions are essential in order to understand their role in carcinogenesis and for potential diagnosis of cancers. The 8-nitroguanine DNA lesion, which is closely associated with inflammation-induced cancers, has been characterised for the first time by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). This lesion has been studied as the free base, as well as part of a dinucleotide and oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) at 5 different excitation wavelengths in the range 785-488 nm. All nitrated samples produced distinctly different spectra from their control guanine counterparts, with nitro bands being assigned by DFT calculations. Additional resonance enhancement was observed at the shorter excitation wavelengths, these SERRS measurements allowed the detection of one nitrated guanine in over 1,300 bases. In addition, SER(R)S can be used to detect whether the unstable lesion is covalently attached to the ODN or has been released by hydrolytic depurination.