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Pharmacogenetics. 2003 Jul;13(7):399-407.

NAT2 slow acetylation and GSTM1 null genotypes may increase postmenopausal breast cancer risk in long-term smoking women.

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  • 1Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


N-acetyltransferase (NAT) 1 and 2 and glutathione S-transferase (GST) M1 and T1 are phase II enzymes that are important for activation and detoxification of carcinogenic heterocyclic and aromatic amines, as present in cigarette smoke. We studied whether genetic polymorphisms in these genes modifies the relationship between smoking and breast cancer. A nested case-control study was conducted among participants in a Dutch prospective cohort. Breast cancer cases (n=229) and controls (n=264) were frequency-matched on age, menopausal status and residence. Compared to never smoking, smoking 20 cigarettes or more per day increased breast cancer risk statistically significant only in postmenopausal women [odds ratio (OR)=2.17; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04-4.51]. Neither NAT1 slow genotype, or GSTT1 null genotype, alone or in combination with smoking, affected breast cancer risk. However, compared to individuals with rapid NAT2 genotype, women with the very slow acetylator genotype (NAT2*5), who smoked for 20 years showed an increased breast cancer risk (OR=2.29; 95% CI 1.06-4.95). Similarly, the presence of GSTM1 null genotype combined with high levels of cigarette smoking (OR=3.00; 95% CI 1.46-6.15) or long duration (OR=2.53; 95% CI 1.24-5.16), increased rates of breast cancer. The combined effect of GSTM1 null genotype and smoking high doses was most pronounced in postmenopausal women (OR=6.78; 95% CI 2.31-19.89). In conclusion, our results provide support for the view that women who smoke and who have a genetically determined reduced inactivation of carcinogens (GSTM1 null genotype or slow NAT2 genotype (especially very slow NAT2 genotype)) are at increased risk of breast cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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