The p53 tumor suppressor gene is mutated in diverse types of human cancer, and the normal allele encodes a nuclear protein that regulates expression of cell cycle-related genes as a transcription factor. The wild-type of p53 protein exists as at least two forms of variants among human populations, ascribed to amino acid replacement at codon 72 of Arg by Pro. In this study, we show that this germ line Arg-Pro polymorphism at codon 72 of the p53 gene is associated with genetically determined susceptibility to smoking-induced lung cancer; a susceptible genotype Pro/Pro has a 1.7-fold higher risk of this cancer compared with other genotypes. This p53 polymorphism modulates risk to smoking-induced lung cancer independently of other genetic risk factors such as germ line polymorphism of CYP1A1 or GST1 genes.
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