Genetic susceptibility and dietary patterns in lung cancer

Ya Yu Tsai, Katherine A. McGlynn, Ying Hu, Anna B. Cassidy, John Arnold, Paul F. Engstrom, Kenneth H. Buetow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Cigarette smoking is the dominant risk factor for lung cancer, but only a minority of smokers ever develops tumors. Though genetic susceptibility is likely to explain some of the variability in risk, results from previous studies of genetic polymorphisms have been inconclusive. As diet may also affect the risk of lung cancer, it is possible that the degree of risk produced by smoking and genetic susceptibility varies, depending on diet. To assess this hypothesis, we conducted a case-control study to examine the effect of cigarette smoking, dietary patterns and variation in genes involved in phase II metabolism. A total of 254 individuals with lung cancer and 184 healthy controls were recruited for the study. To identify persons with similar dietary patterns, cluster analysis was performed using nutrient densities of four major dietary constituents: protein, carbohydrate, animal fat, and dietary fiber. Two groups of individuals were identified with distinct dietary patterns: (1) a group (n=2241) with a high intake of animal fat and protein and a low intake of carbohydrates and dietary fiber (the 'healthy' pattern) (2) a group (n=197) with a high intake of fiber and carbohydrate and a low intake of protein and animal fat (the 'unhealthy' pattern). On stratified analysis, several genotype/dietary pattern combinations were found to affect risk of lung cancer. Smokers who were not homozygous for the most common GSTP1 allele and had a healthy dietary pattern were at significantly lower risk than smokers who were homozygous for the GSTP1 common allele and who had an unhealthy dietary pattern (OR=0.16, 95%CI: 0.04-0.57). Among smokers who were GSTM1 null, persons with a healthy dietary pattern were at lower risk than persons with an unhealthy dietary pattern (OR: 0.46, 95%CI: 0.21-1.01). Among smokers with an unhealthy dietary patterns, persons with a His/His genotype in the exon 3 polymorphism of EPHX1 were at significantly lower risk that persons who were not homozygous. These data suggest that dietary factors may affect the risk imposed by genetic susceptibility at detoxification loci. Adjustments using dietary pattern may be useful in elucidating the effects of polymorphisms in genes responsible for carcinogen metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cluster analysis
  • Detoxification enzymes
  • Dietary patterns
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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