, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 554-559

Polymorphisms in the glutathione S-transferase class mu and theta genes interact and increase susceptibility to lung cancer in minority populations (Texas, United States)

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The genes coding for separate isoforms of both the human glutathioneS-transferase class mu and class theta enzymes (GSTM1and GSTT1) arepolymorphic with a variable ethnic distribution. These enzymes detoxifyreactive epoxides, including carcinogens produced by tobacco smoke. Becauseof this, the null polymorphism in the GSTM1 gene (coding for the glutathioneS-transferase class mu enzyme) has been studied widely as a possible sourceof inherited susceptibility to smoking-related lung cancer. The more recentlydescribed null polymorphism in the GSTT1 gene also could contribute to anincreased risk of smoking-related lung cancer. As the incidence of lungcancer is known to differ by ethnicity, we have conducted a case-controlstudy in the United States of 108 African-Americans (Blacks) and 60Mexican-Americans (Hispanics) with lung cancer and 132 African-American(Black) and 146 Mexican-American (Hispanic) controls to investigate theassociation of the GSTT1 and GSTM1 polymorphi sms with lung cancer inminority populations. In the unadjusted data, there was a borderlinesignificant association of the GSTM1 null polymorphism with lung cancer inMexican-Americans (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8, 95 percent confidence interval [CI]= 1.0-3.3 ) that was not observed in African-Americans. The GSTT1 nullpolymorphism also had a higher prevalence in cases than controls in bothracial/ethnic groups, but this increase was not statistically significant.When the data were analyzed using logistic regression controlling for age,gender, race, and smoking, no significant association of either trait withlung cancer was observed, with ORs for both traits of approximately 1.3.However, when the prevalence of individuals who were null for bothpolymorphisms was compared by case status, a significant interaction wasobserved. Logistic regression models showed the OR for the association oflung cancer and the presence of both null polymorphisms compared with one(either GSTT1 or GSTM1) or no null genotype to be 2.9 (P < 0.04). Theseresults suggest that there may be carcinogenic intermediates in cigarettesmoke that are substrates for both the GSTT1 and GSTM1 enzymes, and that lungcancer risk is increased more than additively for individuals who have bothGSTT1 and GSTM1 null polymorphisms.