Relationship between the GSTM1 genetic polymorphism and susceptibility to bladder, breast and colon cancer

Carcinogenesis. 1993 Sep;14(9):1821-4. doi: 10.1093/carcin/14.9.1821.


Mammalian cytosolic glutathione S-transferases (GSTs; EC form a supergene family consisting of four distinct families, named alpha, mu, pi and theta. In humans one member of the mu class gene family (GSTM1) has been shown to be polymorphic and is only expressed in 55-60% of individuals. Previous studies have shown a possible link with the null phenotype and susceptibility to cancer, in particular to lung cancer. In this study we genotyped individuals with breast, bladder and colorectal cancer. A total of 490 individuals with cancer were studied, and consisted of 97 bladder, 197 breast and 196 colorectal cancers. No significant differences were observed in the frequency of nulled individuals in bladder or breast cancer patients when compared with a control population of 225 individuals. However, a significant excess of nulled individuals were seen in colorectal cancer: 56.1% compared with the control group value of 41.8%. This was shown to be highly significant depending on the site of the tumours and > 70% of individuals with a tumour in the proximal colon were GSTM1 nulled. This is an approximately 2-fold increase in colon cancer risk in these individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics*


  • Glutathione Transferase