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Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Dec 1;9(16 Pt 1):6002-11.

Phase I and II carcinogen metabolism gene expression in human lung tissue and tumors.

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  • 1Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York, USA.



The regulation of carcinogen metabolism machinery may involve proximate tobacco smoke exposure, hormonal and other endogenous coregulatory factors, and an individual's underlying genetic responsiveness. The mRNA and protein expression patterns of known carcinogen metabolism genes encoding the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor Ahr; the cytochromes P450 CYP1A1 and CYP1B1; glutathione S-transferases GSTM1, GSTM3, GSTP1, and GSTT1; and NADPH quinone oxidoreductase NQO1 were examined.


Paired tumor and nontumor lung tissue from 45 subjects was subject to a recently devised RNA-specific qualitative reverse transcription-PCR strategy, as well as Western immunoblotting. Tobacco exposure measured by plasma biomarkers nicotine and cotinine, plasma estradiol levels, alpha and beta estrogen receptor (ER) expression in the lung, gender, age, and histological diagnosis were then analyzed using multivariate regression models.


In nontumor lung tissue, multivariate models identified several correlates of mRNA expression: (a) CYP1B1 in females (positively: smoke status, P=0.024; ER-beta expression, P=0.024); (b) GSTT1 in females (positively: cotinine, P=0.007; negatively: age, P=0.001; ER-beta expression, P=0.005) and in males (positively: plasma estradiol, P=0.015; ER-beta expression, P=0.025); and (c) NQO1 in females (positively: smoke status, P=0.002) and in males (positively: ER-beta expression, P=0.001). CYP1A1 (mRNA, 9.1%) and GSTM1 (mRNA, 17.5%) are uncommonly expressed in human lung. Confirmation by Western immunoassayed protein is described. The results in nontumor tissue differed from that in tumor tissue.


Regulation of carcinogen metabolism genes expressed in human lung seems impacted by hormonal and gender factors, as well as ongoing tobacco exposure. Expression differences between tumor and nontumor tissue in this pathway have both susceptibility and therapeutic implications.

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