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Indoor coal combustion emissions, GSTM1 and GSTT1 genotypes, and lung cancer risk: a case-control study in Xuan Wei, China.

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  • 1Center for Environmental Medicine and Lung Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7315, USA.


The lung cancer mortality rate in Xuan Wei County, China is among the highest in the country and has been associated with exposure to indoor smoky coal emissions that contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This risk may be modified by variation in metabolism genes, including GSTM1, which encodes an enzyme known to detoxify polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. To investigate the relationship between GST genotypes and lung cancer risk in Xuan Wei County, we analyzed GSTM1 and GSTT1 genotypes in a population-based case-control study. A total of 122 lung cancer patients and 122 controls, individually matched by age, sex, and home fuel type, were studied. Compared to subjects who used less than 130 tons of smoky coal during their lifetime, heavier users (> or =130 tons) had a 2.4-fold (95% confidence interval, 1.3-4.4) increased risk of lung cancer. The GSTM1-null genotype was associated with a 2.3-fold (95% confidence interval, 1.3-4.2) increased risk of lung cancer. Furthermore, there was some evidence that smoky coal use was more strongly associated with lung cancer risk among GSTM1-null versus GSTM1-positive individuals. In contrast, the GSTT1 genotype was not significantly associated with lung cancer risk. Our data suggest that the GSTM1-null genotype may enhance susceptibility to air pollution from indoor coal combustion emissions.

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