Genetic polymorphisms of glutathione S-transferases M1 and T1 associated with susceptibility to aflatoxin-related hepatocarcinogenesis among chronic hepatitis B carriers: a nested case-control study in Taiwan

Carcinogenesis. 2001 Aug;22(8):1289-94. doi: 10.1093/carcin/22.8.1289.


This study was conducted to investigate the modifying effect of glutathione S-transferase (GST) M1 and T1 polymorphisms on aflatoxin-induced hepatocarcinogenesis among chronic hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers. A total of 79 HBsAg-positive cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) diagnosed between 1991 and 1997 were identified and individually matched to one or two HBsAg-positive controls on age, gender, residence and date of recruitment from the same cancer screening cohort in Taiwan. Blood samples were tested for hepatitis B and C viral markers by enzyme immunoassay and for aflatoxin B(1) (AFB(1))-albumin adducts by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. GSTM1 and GSTT1 genotypes were determined by PCR. There was a statistically significant relationship between detectable levels of AFB(1)-albumin adducts in serum and risk of HCC among chronic HBsAg carriers, with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 2.0 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-3.7]. In addition, the effect of aflatoxin exposure on HCC risk was more pronounced among chronic HBsAg carriers with the GSTT1 null genotype (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.5-9.3) than those who were non-null (OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.3-2.4). The interaction between serum AFB(1)-albumin adduct level and GSTT1 genotype was statistically significant (P = 0.03). For GSTM1 the effect of aflatoxin exposure on HCC risk in those with the null genotype was also greater (adjusted OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.0-7.8) than in those with the gene present (adjusted OR 1.8, 95% CI 0.8-4.5), but the difference was not significant (P = 0.91). Notably, when the interaction between aflatoxin exposure and GSTT1 genotype was considered, aflatoxin exposure by itself was not a significant determinant of HCC risk among chronic HBsAg carriers. These results demonstrate the importance of gene-environment interactions in the multifactorial development of HCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aflatoxin B1 / toxicity*
  • Carrier State
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Aflatoxin B1
  • Glutathione Transferase