Journal Article

<i>GSTM1</i>, <i>GSTT1</i> and <i>GSTP1</i> polymorphisms, environmental tobacco smoke exposure and risk of lung cancer among never smokers: a population-based study

A.S. Wenzlaff, M.L. Cote, C.H. Bock, S.J. Land and A.G. Schwartz

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 26, issue 2, pages 395-401
Published in print February 2005 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online February 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1 polymorphisms, environmental tobacco smoke exposure and risk of lung cancer among never smokers: a population-based study

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  • Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics


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Glutathione S-transferases detoxify polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in tobacco smoke by glutathione conjugation. Polymorphisms within the GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1 genes, coding for enzymes with deficient or reduced activity, have been studied as potential modifiers of lung cancer risk. It is hypothesized that risk associated with potential susceptibility gene polymorphisms might be most evident at low levels of exposure. Never smokers developing lung cancer represent a highly susceptible subset of the population, exposed to tobacco carcinogens only through environmental tobacco smoke. This population-based case-control study examines the association between GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1 genotypes and lung cancer in one of the largest samples of never smokers to date. Cases (n = 166) were identified through the metropolitan Detroit Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program and age- and race-matched population-based controls (n = 181) were identified using random digit dialing. Overall, there was no significant association between single or combinations of genotypes at GSTM1, GSTT1 or GSTP1 and lung cancer risk after adjustment for age, race, sex and household ETS exposure in years. However, in never smokers exposed to 20 or more years of household ETS, carrying the GSTM1 null genotype was associated with a 2.3-fold increase in risk [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05–5.13]. Individuals in this high ETS exposure category carrying the GSTM1 null and the GSTP1 Val allele were at over 4-fold increased risk of developing lung cancer (OR = 4.56, 95% CI: 1.21–17.21). These findings suggest that in the presence of ETS, the GSTM1 genotype both alone and in combination with the GSTP1 genotype alters the risk of developing lung cancer among never smokers.

Keywords: CI, confidence interval; ETS, environmental tobacco smoke; ITC, isothiocyanates; OR, odds ratio

Journal Article.  5461 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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