Combined effect of polymorphic GST genes on individual susceptibility to lung cancer

Int J Cancer. 1998 Aug 12;77(4):516-21. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19980812)77:4<516::aid-ijc7>;2-x.


Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are known to take part in detoxification of many potentially carcinogenic compounds. Therefore, polymorphisms of the GST genes have been considered as potentially important modifiers of individual risk of environmentally induced cancers. The association between lack of glutathione S-transferase M1 gene (GSTM1 null genotype) and susceptibility to smoking-related lung cancer has been actively studied, with contradictory results. In contrast, little is known about the more recently found polymorphisms in GSTM3, GSTP1 and GSTT1 genes with respect to individual responses to environmental exposures. In this study, we determined the genotype distribution of all these genes, and their combinations, among 208 Finnish lung cancer patients and 294 population controls. None of the genotypes studied had a statistically significant effect on lung cancer risk, when studied separately. However, a significant association was observed for concurrent lack of the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes and susceptibility to squamous cell carcinoma. For that cell type, the risk was more than 2-fold when compared with that of individuals having other genotype combinations (OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.0-5.3; p = 0.05). Moreover, the risk was mostly attributable to patients with smoking history of 40 pack-years or less (OR = 2.9; 95% CI = 1.1-7.7; p = 0.03). In contrast, this genotype combination did not affect the risk for other histological types of lung cancer, and the other genotype combinations had no effects on individual susceptibility to this malignancy. The overall role of GST polymorphisms in modifying the lung cancer risk may therefore be more limited than has been so far anticipated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / enzymology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*


  • Glutathione Transferase