Chromosome instability and risk of squamous cell carcinomas of head and neck.
In 895 subjects with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and 898 cancer-free controls matched by age, sex, and ethnicity, we validated our previous finding that mutagen sensitivity as measured by the frequency of chromatid breaks in vitro induced by benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE) is an independent risk factor for SCCHN. Using a previously established concentration of 4 micromol/L BPDE to treat short-term cultured primary lymphocytes for 5 hours, we evaluated chromatid breaks in 50 well-spread metaphases for each blood sample. The mean frequency of BPDE-induced chromatid breaks was significantly higher in cases than in controls in non-Hispanic Whites (P = 0.0003) but not in other ethnic groups (P = 0.549 for Hispanic Americans and 0.257 for African Americans). The odds ratio associated with risk of SCCHN for the frequency of chromatid breaks greater than median value of controls was 1.56 (95% confidence interval, 1.27-1.91) in non-Hispanic Whites (767 cases and 763 controls) after adjustment for age, sex, smoking status, and drinking status. When the quartiles of the controls were used as the cutoff values, there was a dose response between the degree of mutagen sensitivity and risk of SCCHN in non-Hispanic Whites (P(trend) = 0.0001). However, none of these associations in non-Hispanic Whites was identified in Hispanic Americans (69 cases and 70 controls) or African Americans (59 cases and 65 controls), possibly because of the small samples of these ethnic groups or ethnic difference in genetic variation, which needs to be confirmed in future studies.
Wang, L-E; Xiong, P; Zhao, H; Spitz, MR; Sturgis, EM; Wei, Q
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