• Article

Polymorphisms in the DNA repair genes XRCC1 and ERCC2, smoking, and lung cancer risk

XRCC1 (X-ray cross-complementing group 1) and ERCC2 (excision repair cross-complementing group 2) are two major DNA repair proteins. Polymorphisms of these two genes have been associated with altered DNA repair capacity and cancer risk. We have described statistically significant interactions between the ERCC2 polymorphisms (Asp312Asn and Lys751Gln) and smoking in lung cancer risk. In this case-control study of 1091 Caucasian lung cancer patients and 1240 controls, we explored the gene-environment interactions between the XRCC1 Arg399Gln polymorphism, alone or in combination with the two ERCC2 polymorphisms, and cumulative smoking exposure in the development of lung cancer. The results were analyzed using logistic regression models, adjusting for relevant covariates. Overall, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) of XRCC1 Arg399Gln polymorphism (Gln/Gln versus Arg/Arg) was 1.3 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0-1.8]. Stratified analyses revealed that the ORs decreased as pack-years increased. For nonsmokers, the adjusted OR was 2.4 (95% CI, 1.2-5.0), whereas for heavy smokers (>/=55 pack-years), the OR decreased to 0.5 (95% CI, 0.3-1.0). When the three polymorphisms were evaluated together, the adjusted ORs of the extreme genotype combinations of variant alleles (individuals with 5 or 6 variant alleles) versus wild genotype (individuals with 0 variant alleles) were 5.2 (95% CI, 1.7-16.6) for nonsmokers and 0.3 (95% CI, 0.1-0.8) for heavy smokers, respectively. Similar gene-smoking interaction associations were found when pack-years of smoking (or smoking duration and smoking intensity) was fitted as a continuous variable. In conclusion, cumulative cigarette smoking plays an important role in altering the direction and magnitude of the associations between the XRCC1 and ERCC2 polymorphisms and lung cancer risk


Zhou, W., Liu, G., Miller, D., Thurston, S. W., Xu, L. L., Wain, J. C., ... Christiani, D. C. (2003). Polymorphisms in the DNA repair genes XRCC1 and ERCC2, smoking, and lung cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 12(4), 359-365.