Caspase-3 (CASP-3) is a primary effector CASP that executes programmed cell death, and it plays an important role in the development and progression of cancer. Polymorphisms in the CASP-3 gene may influence CASP-3 production and/or activity, thereby modulating the susceptibility to lung cancer. To test this hypothesis, we first screened for polymorphisms in the CASP-3 gene by direct sequencing of genomic DNA samples from 27 healthy Koreans, and then evaluated their associations with lung cancer in a case-control study that consisted of 582 lung cancer patients and 582 healthy controls. Individuals with at least one variant allele of the -928A > G, 77G > A, and 17532A > C polymorphisms were at a significantly decreased risk for lung cancer in comparison to the carriers with each homozygous wild-type allele [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.62-1.00, P = 0.05; adjusted OR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.61-0.99, P = 0.04; and adjusted OR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.58-0.95, P = 0.02, respectively]. Consistent with the results of genotyping analysis, the GAGC haplotype carrying the variant allele at all of the -928A > G, 77G > A, and 17532A > C loci was associated with a significantly decreased risk of lung cancer compared to the AGGA haplotype carrying no variant alleles at the three loci (adjusted OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.51-0.86, P = 0.002 and Bonferroni corrected P = 0.008). These results suggest that the CASP-3 polymorphisms and their haplotypes contribute to the genetic susceptibility to lung cancer.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.