Glutathione S-transferase M1 and susceptibility to nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Valle Nazar-Stewart, Thomas L. Vaughan, Richard D. Burt, Chu Chen, Marianne Berwick, G. Marie Swanson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    73 Scopus citations


    Genetic polymorphisms for enzymes that metabolize tobacco smoke have been reported to determine susceptibility to several smoking-related cancers, including cancers of the lung, bladder, and head and neck. Glutathione S- transferase M1 (GSTM1) detoxifies benzo(a)pyrene and other carcinogens in tobacco smoke. Approximately 50% of Caucasians lack the GSTM1 gene. Because the most common type of nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC), squamous cell carcinoma, is related to smoking, we sought to determine whether GSTM1 is associated with risk for NPC. Cases (n = 83) were from a population-based study conducted from 1987 to 1993 at five cancer registries in the United StateS. Random-digit dialing controls (n = 114) were matched to the cases for age, sex, and registry. Subjects participated in a phone interview and blood draw. Absence of GSTM1 was associated with increased risk for NPC (odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval = 1.0-3.3 for all cases; and odds ratio = 1.7, 95% confidence interval = 0.8-3.5 for squamous cell cases). This relationship was not modified by smoking history, but stronger relationships between glutathione S-transferase and NPC were suggested among subjects who used alcohol more frequently than others, older subjects (50 or more years of age), and women relative to men. These data indicate that absence of GSTM1 moderately increases risk for NPC and add to growing evidence that GSTM1 is a determinant of risk for several smoking-related cancers.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)547-551
    Number of pages5
    JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Jun 1999

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology
    • Oncology

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