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BMC Cancer. 2008 Feb 25;8:60. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-8-60.

Do genetic factors protect for early onset lung cancer? A case control study before the age of 50 years.

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  • 1Department of Genetic Epidemiology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Medical School, Germany.



Early onset lung cancer shows some familial aggregation, pointing to a genetic predisposition. This study was set up to investigate the role of candidate genes in the susceptibility to lung cancer patients younger than 51 years at diagnosis.


246 patients with a primary, histologically or cytologically confirmed neoplasm, recruited from 2000 to 2003 in major lung clinics across Germany, were matched to 223 unrelated healthy controls. 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms of genes with reported associations to lung cancer have been genotyped.


Genetic associations or gene-smoking interactions was found for GPX1(Pro200Leu) and EPHX1(His113Tyr). Carriers of the Leu-allele of GPX1(Pro200Leu) showed a significant risk reduction of OR = 0.6 (95% CI: 0.4-0.8, p = 0.002) in general and of OR = 0.3 (95% CI:0.1-0.8, p = 0.012) within heavy smokers. We could also find a risk decreasing genetic effect for His-carriers of EPHX1(His113Tyr) for moderate smokers (OR = 0.2, 95% CI:0.1-0.7, p = 0.012). Considered both variants together, a monotone decrease of the OR was found for smokers (OR of 0.20; 95% CI: 0.07-0.60) for each protective allele.


Smoking is the most important risk factor for young lung cancer patients. However, this study provides some support for the T-Allel of GPX1(Pro200Leu) and the C-Allele of EPHX1(His113Tyr) to play a protective role in early onset lung cancer susceptibility.

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