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Environ Health Perspect. 1998 Feb;106(2):67-70.

Models of interaction between metabolic genes and environmental exposure in cancer susceptibility.

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Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine and Kaplan Cancer Center, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY 10010, USA.


Polymorphic metabolic genes that confer enhanced genetic susceptibility to the carcinogenic effects of certain environmental carcinogens act according to a type 2 interaction between genetic and environmental risk factors. This type of interaction, for which the gene has no effect on disease outcome by itself but only modifies the risk associated with exposure, must be treated differently from other types of gene-environment interaction. We present a method to analyze different dose effects often seen in studies involving these genes. We define a low exposure-gene effect, when a greater degree of gene environment interaction appears at lower doses of exposure (the interaction follows an inverse dose function), and a converse high exposure-gene effect, when the interaction increases as a function of dose. Using a standard logistic regression model, we define a new term, alpha, that can be determined asa function of exposure dose in order to analyze epidemiological studies for the type of exposure-gene effect. These models are illustrated by the use of hypothetical case-control data as well as examples from the literature.

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