Background: The formation of bulky DNA adducts caused by diol epoxide derivatives of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons has been associated with tobacco-induced cancers, and inefficient repair of such adducts by the nucleotide excision repair (NER) system has been linked to increased risk of tobacco-induced lung and head and neck (H&N) cancers. The human excision repair cross-complementation group 1 (ERCC1) protein is essential for a functional NER system and genetic variation in ERCC1 may contribute to impaired DNA repair capacity and increased lung and H&N cancer risk. Methods: In order to comprehensively capture common genetic variation in the ERCC1 gene, Caucasian data from the International HapMap project was used to assess linkage disequilibrium and choose four tagSNPs (rs1319052, rs3212955, rs3212948, and rs735482) in the ERCC1 gene to genotype 452 lung cancer cases, 175 H&N cancer cases, and 790 healthy controls. Haplotypes were estimated using expectation maximization (EM) algorithm, and haplotype association with cancer was investigated using Haplo.stats software adjusting for known covariates. Results: The genotype and haplotype frequencies matched previous estimates from Caucasians. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of rs1319052, rs3212955, rs3212948, and rs735482 when comparing lung or H&N cancer cases with controls (p-values > 0.05). Similarly, there was no association between ERCC1 haplotypes and lung or H&N cancer susceptibility in this Caucasian population (p-values > 0.05). No associations were found when stratifying lung cancer cases by histology, sex, smoking status, or smoking intensity. Conclusions: This study suggests that ERCC1 polymorphisms and haplotypes do not play a role in lung and H&N cancer susceptibility in Caucasians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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