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Br J Cancer. 2002 Jul 15;87(2):212-7.

Surfactant protein B gene variations enhance susceptibility to squamous cell carcinoma of the lung in German patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Philipps-University of Marburg, Baldingerstrasse, 35043 Marburg, Germany.


Genetic factors are thought to influence the risk for lung cancer. Since pulmonary surfactant mediates the response to inhaled carcinogenic substances, candidate genes may be among those coding for pulmonary surfactant proteins. In the present matched case-control study a polymorphism within intron 4 of the gene coding for surfactant specific protein B was analysed in 357 individuals. They were divided into 117 patients with lung cancer (40 patients with small cell lung cancer, 77 patients with non small cell lung cancer), matched controls and 123 healthy individuals. Surfactant protein B gene variants were analysed using specific PCR and cloned surfactant protein B sequences as controls. The frequency of the intron 4 variation was similar in both control groups (13.0% and 9.4%), whereas it was increased in the small cell lung cancer group (17.5%) and the non small cell lung cancer group (16.9%). The gene variation was found significantly more frequently in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (25.0%, P=0.016, odds ratio=3.2, 95%CI=1.24-8.28) than in the controls. These results indicate an association of the surfactant protein B intron 4 variants and/or its flanking loci with mechanisms that may enhance lung cancer susceptibility, especially to squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.

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