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Cancer Res. 2007 Oct 1;67(19):9248-57.

Glutathione transferase pi plays a critical role in the development of lung carcinogenesis following exposure to tobacco-related carcinogens and urethane.

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Cancer Research UK Molecular Pharmacology Unit, Biomedical Research Centre, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, United Kingdom.


Human cancer is controlled by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Such environmental factors are well defined for smoking-induced lung cancer; however, the roles of specific genes have still to be elucidated. Glutathione transferase pi (GSTP) catalyzes the detoxification of electrophilic diol epoxides produced by the metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a common constituent of tobacco smoke. Activity-altering polymorphisms in Gstp have therefore been speculated to be potential risk modifiers in lung cancer development. To clearly establish a role for GSTP in lung tumorigenesis, we investigated whether deletion of the murine Gstp genes (Gstp1 and Gstp2) alters susceptibility to chemically induced lung tumors following exposure to BaP, 3-methylcholanthrene (3-MC), and urethane. Gstp-null mice were found to have substantially increased numbers of adenomas relative to wild-type mice following exposure to all three compounds (8.3-, 4.3-, and 8.7-fold increase for BaP, 3-MC, and urethane, respectively). In Gstp-null mice, the capacity of pulmonary cytosol to catalyze conjugation of the BaP diol epoxide was significantly reduced. Concomitant with this, a significant increase in the level of BaP DNA adducts was measured in the lungs of null animals; however, no increase in DNA adducts was measured in the case of 3-MC exposure, suggesting that an alternative protective pathway exists. Indeed, significant differences in pulmonary gene expression profiles were also noted between wild-type and null mice. This is the first report to establish a clear correlation between Gstp status and lung cancer in vivo.

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