Objective: The acetylation polymorphism is a common inherited variation in human drug and carcinogen metabolism. Because N-acetyltransferase (NAT2) is important for the detoxification and/or bioactivation of drugs and carcinogens, this polymorphism has important implications in therapeutics and cancer susceptibility. A high correlation between acetylation phenotype and genotype has been demonstrated in several studies. However, no such data exist for Chinese females. The aim of the present study was to compare acetylation phenotype with NAT2 genotype in a population of primarily non-smoking Chinese females.
Methods: In the present study, the correlation between N-acetyltransferase activity and NAT2 genotype was evaluated in 103 unrelated Chinese female controls derived from a hospital-based case-control study of lung cancer in Singapore. Acetylation phenotype and genotype were respectively determined using caffeine and an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results: The proportions of rapid and slow phenotypes were 78% and 22%, respectively, while the distribution of rapid (heterozygotes and homozygotes combined) and slow acetylator genotypes was 76% and 24%, respectively. The distribution of the various NAT2 genotypes did not differ significantly (chi2 = 1.45, P > 0.05) from that predicted by the Hardy-Weinberg Law. All slow acetylators were accurately predicted (100%), whereas 2 of 80 rapid acetylators were erroneously predicted as slow (2.5%). The overall prediction rate of the PCR-based test for the acetylation phenotype was at 98.1% in our Chinese population.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that genotyping with PCR may well become the preferred method for the determination of acetylation polymorphism in epidemiological studies in this Asian population.