Glutathione S-transferase μ polymorphism and gastric cancer in the Portuguese population

Gisela Martins, Margarida Alves, Joana Dias, Ricardo Santos, Beatriz Costa Neves, Manuela Mafra, Ana Paula Martins, Sância Ramos, Madalena Ramos, João Mexia, Mário Quina, José Rueff, Carolino Monteiro

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The glutathione S-transferases appear to form part of a protective mechanism against the development of cancer where environmental chemical carcinogens are involved. In humans one member of the mu class gene family (GSTM1) has been shown to be polymorphic and is only expressed in ~50% of individuals. Previous studies have shown a possible link between the null phenotype and susceptibility to cancer but have been equivocal regarding stomach cancer. To evaluate any association in Portuguese gastric cancer individuals with GSTM1 variability, we performed GSTM1 polymorphism by PCR amplification in 148 gastric cancer patients and in 84 healthy control individuals. We found no statistical differences between the gastric cancer and control populations (wild type phenotype: 52%, 48%; null phenotype: 48%, 52%, respectively). A subset analysis into site of tumour also revealed no significant differences between the groups, although we found a slight increase of the wild type phenotype in the samples of the antrum compared with the control population (57% vs 48%, respectively; χ2=1.18; p≤0.28) and a slight increase of the null phenotype in the signet ring cells/mucocellular group (χ2=1.05; p≤0.3). However, in both cases it did not reach statistical significance. A subset analysis of the histological groups following the WHO criteria revealed a statistically significant difference (χ2=3.704; p≤0.05) between the moderately differentiated gastric adenocarcinoma and the presence of the wild type phenotype. These results do not support the hypothesis that the GSTM1 null phenotype predisposes to gastric cancer in the Portuguese population and the moderately differentiated gastric adenocarcinoma seems to be associated with the presence of the GSTM1 wild type phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1998


  • Cancer epidemiology
  • Cancer susceptibility
  • Gastric cancer
  • Glutathione S-transferase
  • GSTM1 polymorphism
  • Null allele
  • Portuguese population


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