Sulfotransferase (SULT) 1A1 detoxifies and bioactivates a broad spectrum of substrates including xenobiotics. It has been suggested that the SULT1A1 his (histidine) allele, which is caused by a his for arg (arginine) substitution due to a G-->A transition at codon 213, carries a significantly higher risk for women to develop breast cancer. We investigated the association between the SULT1A1 arg/his genotype and esophageal cancer in men, 187 cases of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and 308 controls from 3 medical centers in Taiwan. Cigarette smoking, areca chewing and alcohol consumption were the major risks for developing esophageal cancer. The frequencies of arg/his in cases and controls were 27.8% (52/187) and 11.0% (34/308), respectively (p < 0.0001). No subjects carried his/his. After adjusting for substance use and other covariates, individuals with arg/his had a 3.53-fold higher risk (95% CI = 2.12-5.87) of developing esophageal cancer than those with arg/arg. Unexpectedly, this positive association was found to be even stronger (adjusted OR = 4.04-4.80) among non-smokers, non-drinkers or non-chewers. Our findings suggest that the SULT1A1 his(213) allele is important in the development of esophageal cancer in men.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.