Glutathione S-transferase GSTM1 phenotypes and protection against cutaneous tumours

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Multiple allelism at loci encoding detoxicating enzymes is associated with cancer risk.We have studied genetic variation at the glutathione S-transferase GSTM1 locus to see whether phenotypes confer altered susceptibility to basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), malignant melanoma (MM), or multiple skin tumours of different histological types. The frequency of GSTM1 null in cases and controls (52%) was similar, except for patients with two or more tumours of different types (71%, p=0.033). GSTM1 A/B was reduced in frequency (p<0.05) in patients with single or multiple BCC. Thus GSTM1 A/B may be protective, and effectiveness of detoxication may be a factor determining susceptibility to skin cancer.

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