Predisposing Genes and Increased Chromosome Aberrations in Lung Cancer Cigarette Smokers

Mutat Res. 1997 Sep 5;379(1):53-9. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(97)00106-1.


Genotoxic effects linking cigarette smoking with lung cancer have not been consistently demonstrated, therefore claims for the cause-effect relationships are vigorously contested. Using matched populations of 22 lung cancer patients who have been cigarette smokers (LCP), 22 non-cancerous cigarette smokers (SC) and 13 non-smokers (NSC), we have applied the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) tanden probe assay to elucidate the frequency of chromosome breakage among the participants. Two probes were used, a classical satellite probe which hybridizes to the large heterochromatin region of chromosome 1, and an alpha-satellite probe which targets a small region adjacent to the heterochromatin probe. The highest frequency of structural aberrations was observed in LCP (1.4 +/- 0.1) followed by SC (1.25 +/- 0.1) and NSC (0.4 +/- 0.1). Aberration frequencies were not significantly different between LCP and SC (p > 0.05), however, a statistically significant difference was detected between the smoker populations combined (LCP and SC) and the NSC (p < 0.001). The breakage frequencies showed a positive correlation with duration of smoking for LCP (r = 0.5; p < 0.01), but not for SC (P > 0.05). In addition, the aberration frequencies were influences by the inheritance of polymorphic glutathione S-transferase (GST) genes. LCPs missing one or the other GST (GSTM1 or GSTT1) genes were found to have significantly higher chromosome breaks compared to LCPs with both genes present (p < 0.05). Our data indicate that genetic predisposition and chromosome aberrations may be mechanistically related to the initiation of lung carcinogenesis; therefore, they may be useful biomarkers for lung cancer among cigarette smokers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chromosome Aberrations / genetics*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Genes*
  • Genotype
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / genetics*


  • Glutathione Transferase