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Carcinogenesis. 1997 Jul;18(7):1351-4.

Relationship between acetylator status, smoking, and diet and colorectal cancer risk in the north-east of England.

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Department of Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.


Some previous studies have suggested that the fast phenotype of the N-acetyltransferase NAT2 may confer susceptibility to colorectal cancer because of greater activation of dietary heterocyclic amines, particularly in individuals who also consume well-done red meat, but other studies have not supported this. We describe a large case-control study examining the interaction between dietary, smoking and drinking habits, and acetylation genotype in relation to susceptibility to colorectal cancer. One-hundred-and-seventy-four incident cases and 174 matched controls were recruited. Genotyping for polymorphisms in NAT2 was performed using a method that detects >95% of slow alleles and data on personal habits were collected using a standardized questionnaire. We found no difference in the frequency of the fast acetylator genotype between cases and controls [odds ratio = 0.95 (95% CI 0.61-1.49)], and analysis by sex, age and site also revealed no difference in acetylator genotype. There was, however, considerable heterogeneity in dietary risk factors between fast and slow acetylators. Analysis by acetylator type shows that recent smoking was more frequent in slow acetylator cases than matched controls [OR = 2.31 (1.16-4.6)] and that heavy alcohol consumption was also more frequent in the slow acetylator cases than controls [OR = 2.5 (1.02-7.29)]. In contrast, frequent fried meat intake was seen more frequently in fast acetylator cases than matched controls [OR = 6.0 (1.34-55)]. The odds ratio for the combination of fast acetylator status and frequent fried meat consumption in cases was 6.04 (1.6-26). Our study suggests that there may be different risk factors for colorectal cancer in slow and fast acetylators, and reveals a new observation that slow acetylators may be at risk of colon cancer from smoking. In our community, the overall effect of acetylator status on colorectal cancer risk is neutral.

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