Background: Sulfonation catalyzed by sulfotransferase enzymes plays an important role in chemical defense mechanisms against various xenobiotics but also bioactivates carcinogens. A major human sulfotransferase, SULT1A1, catalyzes the sulfation of a variety of phenolic and estrogenic compounds. A functional polymorphism of the SULT1A1 gene has been implicated in a decreased activity and thermostability when the wild-type arginine (Arg) at codon 213 is substituted by a histidine (His).
Methods: We investigated the association between the His allele and the risk breast cancer in 213 cases and 430 matched controls in Chinese women, and the interaction between His allele and endogenous estrogen and dietary mutagens exposure factors were also determined by use of logistic regression analysis.
Results: There was no significant difference in genotypes between the cancer patients and control populations. However, the frequency of the His allele in cases (13.6%) were significant higher than that in controls (9.5%), P = 0.03. Compared with women carrying the Arg/Arg genotype, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) of Arg/His was 1.48 (95% CI = 0.59-3.31) and His/His was 2.28 (95% CI = 0.69-9.58), P trend was 0.04. The adjusted OR of Arg/His + His/His was 2.60 (95% CI = 1.12-6.05). His allele strengthen the effect of endogenous estrogen exposure with interaction index r > 1, and weaken the effect of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons derived from dietary with interaction index r > 1, both were multiplicative interaction model.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the SULT1A1 His allele was positively associated with the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women. And there was interaction between SULT1A1 polymorphism and related exposure factors.