, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 319-325

Laryngeal and oropharyngeal cancer, and alcohol dehydrogenase 3 and glutathione S-transferase M1 polymorphisms

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In this study the GSTμ phenotype and ADH genotype at the ADH3 locus were investigated in a group of 39 alcoholic men with upper respiratory/digestive tract cancer: 21 with oropharyngeal cancer and 18 with laryngeal cancer. The results are compared with those of a control group of 37 alcoholic men without alcohol-related medical complications. Of the control subjects, 48% were found to be GSTμ deficient [GSTμ(–)] and 19% carried the ADH3 1/ADH3 1 genotype. In the laryngeal cancer patients, a significantly elevated frequency of both the GSTμ(–) (78%) and ADH3 1/ADH3 1 genotype (56%) was observed, relative to the control group. On the basis of this result, the risk of laryngeal cancer associated with the GSTμ(–) and ADH3 1/ ADH3 1 genotypic combination within the population of alcoholics was estimated to be 12.9 with a 95% confidence interval of 1.8–92 (P < 0.01) relative to alcoholic individuals who have GSTμ [GSTμ(+)] and are not ADH3 1/ADH3 1. Thus, alcoholics who are GSTμ(–) and ADH3 1/ADH3 1 have at least an 80% greater risk of developing laryngeal cancer than alcoholics who are GSTμ(+) and who are not ADH3 1/ ADH3 1. In addition, the oropharyngeal cancer patients had excess frequencies of both GSTμ(–) (62%) and ADH3 1/ ADH3 1 (43%) relative to the control group, but these excess frequencies were not statistically significant. The GSTμ(–) and ADH3 1/ADH3 1 genotypic combination may be a constitutional risk factor for laryngeal cancer among alcoholics.

Received: 5 July 1996 / Revised: 15 October 1996