Background: Genetic variation in xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes may explain differing susceptibilities to the cancer causing effects of tobacco and alcohol.
Methods: We compared 203 oral squamous cell carcinoma cases and 416 controls for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 8 genes (CYP1A1, CYP2E1, MPO, mEH, GSTM1, GSTT1, GSTP1, and NAT2). Except for NAT2, genotype frequencies were similar in the 2 groups. We classified subjects as fast or slow NAT2 acetylators genotyping 13 NAT2 SNPs.
Results: Fast acetylators were overrepresented in cases (53.7%) compared with controls (43.9%; odds ratio (OR) 1.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-2.20; p value = .03). Gene-gene interaction testing suggested several cancer-NAT2 associations, with association strongest among persons without a CYP1A1 variant (*2C or *4) allele (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.20-2.60, p value = .03) or with a variant MPO (463A) allele (OR 2.38, 95% CI 1.34-4.21, p value = .05).
Conclusion: These results implicate fast NAT2 acetylation as a risk factor for oral cancer.