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Int J Cancer. 2003 May 10;104(6):758-63.

Association between self-reported environmental tobacco smoke exposure and lung cancer: modification by GSTP1 polymorphism.

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Department of Environmental Heath, Occupational Health Program, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) exposure has been associated with lung cancer risk. ETS is composed of emissions from cigarette smoke and contains a higher concentration of tobacco smoke carcinogens than mainstream smoke. Polymorphisms in genes that metabolize tobacco smoke carcinogens have been studied as effect modifiers of the association between active smoking and lung cancer risk. GSTP1 is a polymorphic gene that encodes for GST pi, a detoxification enzyme and has a high expression in the lung. We investigated the association between ETS and lung cancer risk and the modification of this association by the GSTP1 polymorphism. Using a case-control design, individuals were genotyped for GSTP1 using PCR-RFLP techniques. All analyses were carried out using multiple logistic regression. The association between ETS exposure and lung cancer risk was evaluated in different strata based on smoking habits to evaluate the consistency of results. The effect of the GSTP1 polymorphisms on lung cancer risk was evaluated by considering the joint effect of having both an ETS exposure and the GSTP1 GG genotype compared to the absence of ETS exposure and the GSTP1 AA genotype as a reference group as well as doing stratified analysis by genotype. ETS exposure was associated consistently with higher lung cancer risk in all the strata considered. The adjusted odds ratios (AOR) evaluating the association between ETS and lung cancer risk for the different strata were: nonsmokers (Cases/Controls 66/413; AOR = 1.38; 95% CI = 0.78-2.43), ex-smokers (Cases/Controls 560/527; AOR = 1.66; 95% CI = 1.22-2.25), current smokers (Cases/Controls 415/219; AOR = 1.56; 95% CI = 1.00-2.41). The AORs for ex-smokers and light smoking subgroups were: ex-smokers who quit for 19 years or more (Cases/Controls 144/244; AOR = 2.64; 95% CI = 1.55-4.50), ex-smokers who quit for 10-19 years (Cases/Controls 141/128; AOR = 1.16; 95% CI = 0.66-2.04), ex-smokers who quit for 10 years or less (Cases/Controls 247/122; AOR = 1.45; 95% CI = 0.83-2.55) and participants who had <15 packyears and nonsmokers combined (Cases/Controls 143/640; AOR = 1.52; 95% CI = 1.02-2.28). Among those with the GSTP1 GG genotype the ETS-lung cancer risk association was greater than those with the GSTP1 AA genotype: nonsmokers (GSTP1 GG AOR = 7.84; 95% CI = 0.80-76.68; GSTP1 AA AOR = 1.15; 95% CI = 0.46-2.90), ex-smokers (GSTP1 GG AOR = 2.32; 95% CI = 0.90-5.96; GSTP1 AA AOR = 2.15; 95% CI = 1.34-3.44), current smokers (GSTP1 GG AOR = 1.75; 95% CI = 0.42-7.32; GSTP1 AA AOR = 1.32; 95% CI = 0.67-2.58) and participants who had <15 packyears and nonsmokers (GSTP1 GG AOR = 1.93; 95% CI = 0.54-6.97; GSTP1 AA AOR = 1.58; 95% CI = 0.83-3.01). We found that ETS exposure is associated with higher lung cancer risk. Furthermore, the presence of the GSTP1 GG genotype appears to enhance the magnitude of the association between ETS exposure and lung cancer. Larger studies will be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

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