Association between asbestos exposure, cigarette smoking, myeloperoxidase (MPO) genotypes, and lung cancer risk.


As observed in tobacco-associated carcinogenesis, genetic factors such as the polymorphic metabolic/oxidative enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO) could modulate individual susceptibility to asbestos-associated carcinogenesis.

RFLP-PCR analysis identified the MPO genotypes in 375 Caucasian lung cancer cases and 378 matched controls. An epidemiological interview elicited detailed information regarding smoking history and occupational history and exposures.

Asbestos exposure was associated with a significantly elevated risk estimate (OR = 1.45; 95% CI 1.04-2.02). On stratified analysis, we found the MPO genotypes modified the effect of asbestos exposure on lung cancer risk. Specifically, G/G carriers who were exposed to asbestos had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.72 (95% CI; 1.09-2.66), while A-allele carriers (G/A + A/A) exposed to asbestos exhibited a reduced OR of 0.89 (95% CI; 0.56-1.44). The OR was further reduced to 0.73 (0.49-1.06) for A-allele carriers not exposed to asbestos. A similar trend was observed for the joint effects between the MPO genotypes and pack-years smoking. Next, all three risk factors (MPO genotypes, asbestos exposure, and smoking) were analyzed simultaneously for joint effects. Heavy smokers with the G/G genotype and a history of asbestos exposure demonstrated a statistically significant elevated risk estimate (OR = 2.19; 95% CI 1.16-4.11), while the A-allele carriers with the same exposure profile were at a lower risk for lung cancer (OR = 1.18; 95% CI 0.58-2.38). The A-allele genotypes demonstrated similar protective effects for the other three exposure profiles.

For a similar level of exposure to established carcinogens, individuals with the MPO A-allele genotypes appear to have a reduced risk of lung cancer.

  • Delclos GL
  • Gunn GB
  • Schabath MB
  • Spitz MR
  • Whitehead LW
  • Wu X
PubMed ID
Appears In
Am J Ind Med, 2002, 42 (1)