Genetic susceptibility, cigarette smoking, and wood dust exposure in lung cancer: Case control analyses

Xifeng Wu, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This case control study was conducted to assess the association between lung cancer risk, mutagen sensitivity (a marker of cancer susceptibility), and a putative lung carcinogen, wood dust exposure. There were 165 cases (98 African-Americans, 67 Mexican-Americans) with newly diagnosed, previously untreated lung cancer, and 239 controls, frequency-matched on age, sex, and ethnicity. Mutagen sensitivity ($\ge$1 break/cell) was associated with a statistically significant elevated risk for lung cancer (odds ratio (OR) = 4.1, 95% confidence limits (CL) = 2.3,7.2). Wood dust exposure was also a significant predictor of risk (OR = 2.8, 95% CL = 1.2,6.6) after controlling for smoking and mutagen sensitivity. When stratified by ethnicity, wood dust exposure was a significant risk factor for African-Americans (OR = 4.0, 95% CL = 1.4,11.5), but not for Mexican-Americans (OR = 1.5, 95% CL = 0.3,7.1). Stratified analysis suggested a greater than multiplicative interaction between wood dust exposure and both mutagen sensitivity and smoking. The cases had significantly more breaks on chromosomes 4 and 5 than the controls did with ORs of 4.9 (95% CL = 2.0, 11.7) and 3.9 (95% CL = 1.6, 9.3), respectively. Breaks at 4p14, 4q27, 4q31, 5q21-22, 5q31, and 5q33 were significantly more common in lung cancer patients than in controls. Lung cancer risk had a dose-response relationship with breaks on chromosomes 4 and 5. Cigarette smoking had a strong interaction with breaks on chromosomes 2, 4, and 5. In a molecular cytogenetic study, using chromosome painting and G-banding, we showed that: (1) the proportion of chromosome 5 abnormalities surviving as chromosome-type aberrations remained significantly higher in cells of lung cancer cases (14%) than in controls (5%) (P $<$ 0.001). However, no significant differences were detected in chromosome 4 abnormalities between cases and controls; (2) the proportion of chromosome 5q13-22 abnormalities was 5.3% in the cases and 0.7% in the controls (P $<$ 0.001). 5q13-22 regions represented 40% of all abnormalities on chromosome 5 in the cases and only 14% in the controls. This study suggests that mutagen sensitivity, wood dust exposure, and cigarette smoking were independent risk factors for lung cancer, and the susceptibility of particular chromosome loci to mutagenic damage may be a genetic marker for specific types of lung cancer.

Subject Area

Public health|Occupational safety|Genetics

Recommended Citation

Wu, Xifeng, "Genetic susceptibility, cigarette smoking, and wood dust exposure in lung cancer: Case control analyses" (1994). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9528255.