Tobacco use is causally associated with head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC). Here, we present the results of a case-control study that investigated the effects that the genetic variants of the cytochrome (CYP)1A1, CYP1B1, glutathione-S-transferase (GST)M1, GSTT1, and GSTP1 genes have on modifying the risk of smoking-related HNSCC. Allelisms of the CYP1A1, GSTT1, GSTM1, and GSTT1 genes alone were not associated with an increased risk. CYP1B1 codon 432 polymorphism was found to be a putative susceptibility factor in smoking-related HNSCC. The frequency of CYP1B1 polymorphism was significantly higher (P < 0.001) in the group of smoking cases when compared with smoking controls. Additionally, an odds ratio (OR) of 4.53 (2.62-7.98) was discovered when investigating smoking and nonsmoking cases for the susceptible genotype CYP1B1*2/*2, when compared with the presence of the genotype wild type. In combination with polymorphic variants of the GST genes, a synergistic-effect OR was observed. The calculated OR for the combined genotype CYP1B1*2/*2 and GSTM1*2/*2 was 12.8 (4.09-49.7). The calculated OR for the combined genotype was 13.4 (2.92-97.7) for CYP1B1*2/*2 and GSTT1*2/*2, and 24.1 (9.36-70.5) for the combination of CYP1B1*2/*2 and GSTT1-expressors. The impact of the polymorphic variants of the CYP1B1 gene on HNSCC risk is reflected by the strong association with the frequency of somatic mutations of the p53 gene. Smokers with susceptible genotype CYP1B1*2/*2 were 20 times more likely to show evidence of p53 mutations than were those with CYP1B1 wild type. Combined genotype analysis of CYP1B1 and GSTM1 or GSTT1 revealed interactive effects on the occurrence of p53 gene mutations. The results of the present study indicate that polymorphic variants of CYP1B1 relate significantly to the individual susceptibility of smokers to HNSCC.
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