GSTT1 and CYP2E1 polymorphisms and trihalomethanes in drinking water: effect on childhood leukemia

Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Jun;110(6):591-3. doi: 10.1289/ehp.02110591.


The purpose of the study was to determine whether the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) associated with drinking water disinfection by-products was modified in the presence of variants in genes involved in the metabolism of trihalomethanes (THMs). We included a subset of cases from a population-based case-control study in a case-only study to estimate the interaction odds ratios (IORs) between prenatal and postnatal exposure to THMs and polymorphisms in the GSTT1 and CYP2E1 genes. We compared cases with and without a given variant regarding their exposure to THMs using unconditional logistic regression. The IOR for a postnatal average of total THM above the 95th percentile with GSTT1 null genotype was 9.1 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.4-57.8]. With CYP2E1 (variant G-1259C, known as the allele CYP2E1*5), the effect of exposure during pregnancy for an average exposure to total THM at or above the 75th percentile was 9.7 (95% CI, 1.1-86.0). These results contrast strongly with those from our case-control analysis, in which we considered the exposure to THMs only in relation with ALL, and observed no increase in risk or very moderate ones. The present preliminary study shows suggestive but imprecise results. We found no similar results in the literature, underscoring the need for other studies as well as the potential usefulness of combining exposure and relevant genetic information in such studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / biosynthesis*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / genetics
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Glutathione Transferase / biosynthesis*
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / chemically induced*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Trihalomethanes / adverse effects*
  • Water Supply*


  • Trihalomethanes
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • glutathione S-transferase T1
  • Glutathione Transferase