Assessment of cumulative evidence for the association between glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms and lung cancer: application of the Venice interim guidelines

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ObjectiveThere is an overwhelming abundance of genetic association studies available in the literature, which can often be collectively difficult to interpret. To address this issue, the Venice interim guidelines were established for determining the credibility of the cumulative evidence. The objective of this report is to evaluate the literature on the association of common glutathione S-transferase (GST) variants (GSTM1 null, GSTT1 null and GSTP1 Ile105Val polymorphism) and lung cancer, and to assess the credibility of the associations using the newly proposed cumulative evidence guidelines.MethodsInformation from the literature was enriched with an updated meta-analysis and a pooled analysis using data from the Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Carcinogens database.ResultsThere was a significant association between GSTM1 null and lung cancer for the meta-analysis (meta odds ratio=1.17, 95% confidence interval: 1.10–1.25) and pooled analysis (adjusted odds ratio=1.10, 95% confidence interval: 1.04–1.16), although substantial heterogeneity was present. No overall association between lung cancer and GSTT1 null or GSTP1 Ile105Val was found. When the Venice criteria was applied, cumulative evidence for all associations were considered ‘weak’, with the exception of East Asian carriers of the G allele of GSTP1 Ile105Val, which was graded as ‘moderate’ evidence.ConclusionDespite the large amounts of studies, and several statistically significant summary estimates produced by meta-analyses, the application of the Venice criteria suggests extensive heterogeneity and susceptibility to bias for the studies on association of common genetic polymorphisms, such as with GST variants and lung cancer.

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