It is uncertain whether smoking is related to colorectal cancer risk. Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1, glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) are important enzymes in the metabolism of tobacco carcinogens, and functional genetic polymorphisms are known for these enzymes. We investigated the relation of cigarette smoking and related genetic polymorphisms to colorectal cancer risk, with special reference to the interaction between smoking and genetic polymorphism.
We used data from the Fukuoka Colorectal Cancer Study, a population-based case-control study, including 685 cases and 778 controls who gave informed consent to genetic analysis. Interview was conducted to assess lifestyle factors, and DNA was extracted from buffy coat.
In comparison with lifelong nonsmokers, the odds ratios (OR) of colorectal cancer for <400, 400-799 and ≥800 cigarette-years were 0.65 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45-0.89), 1.16 (0.83-1.62) and 1.14 (0.73-1.77), respectively. A decreased risk associated with light smoking was observed only for colon cancer, and rectal cancer showed an increased risk among those with ≥400 cigarette-years (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.04-2.45). None of the polymorphisms under study was singly associated with colorectal cancer risk. Of the gene-gene interactions studied, the composite genotype of CYP1A1*2A or CYP1A1*2C and GSTT1 polymorphisms was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, showing a nearly statistically significant (Pinteraction = 0.06) or significant interaction (Pinteraction = 0.02). The composite genotypes of these two polymorphisms, however, showed no measurable interaction with cigarette smoking in relation to colorectal cancer risk.
Cigarette smoking may be associated with increased risk of rectal cancer, but not of colon cancer. The observed interactions between CYP1A1 and GSTT1 polymorphisms warrant further confirmation.