Gender differences in genetic susceptibility for lung cancer

01 Dec 2000
Respiratory conditions
  • Cancer
Respiratory topics
  • Diagnosis
  • Gender
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Dresler CM, Fratelli C, Babb J, Everley L, Evans AA, Clapper ML


In contrast to men, the incidence of lung cancer among women has increased over the past decade. The basis for this increase among female smokers remains unknown. Surgical patients with a diagnosis of lung cancer and control subjects without a history of malignancy completed a smoking questionnaire and donated a blood sample. DNA was extracted from peripheral mononuclear cells and genotyped for polymorphisms in cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) (exon 7) and glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) (null). No gender differences in either age at diagnosis or histological subtype were observed among lung cancer patients. In both patients (n = 180) and controls (n = 163), females smoked significantly less than males. The pack-year history associated with adenocarcinoma was smaller than that for squamous cell carcinoma. No significant association was observed between the GSTM1 null genotype and cancer risk. However, women had a larger cancer risk than men (odds ratio 4.98 vs. 1.37) if they possessed the mutant CYP1A1 genotype. Female cancer patients were significantly more likely than female controls to have both the CYP1A1 mutation and GSTM1 null genotype. The combined variant genotypes conferred an odds ratio of 6.54 for lung cancer in women versus 2.36 for men, independent of age or smoking history. These data suggest that polymorphisms in CYP1A1 and GSTM1 contribute to the increased risk of females for lung cancer.