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Journal of Cancer Epidemiology
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 147905, 8 pages
Research Article

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Selected Apoptotic Genes and BPDE-Induced Apoptotic Capacity in Apparently Normal Primary Lymphocytes: A Genotype-Phenotype Correlation Analysis

1Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2Department of Head and Neck Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA

Received 31 December 2007; Accepted 23 August 2008

Academic Editor: Paolo Vineis

Copyright © 2008 Zhibin Hu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Apoptotic capacity (AC) in primary lymphocytes may be a marker for cancer susceptibility, and functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in apoptotic pathways may modulate cellular AC in response to DNA damage. To further examine the correlation between apoptotic genotypes and phenotype, we genotyped 14 published SNPs in 11 apoptosis-related genes (i.e., p53, Bcl-2, BAX, CASP9, DR4, Fas, FasL, CASP8, CASP10, CASP3, and CASP7) and assessed the AC in response to benzo[a]pyrene-7,8-9,10-diol epoxide (BPDE) in cultured primary lymphocytes from 172 cancer-free subjects. We found that among these 14 SNPs, R72P, intron 3 16-bp del/ins, and intron 6 G>A in , −938C>A in Bcl-2, and I522L in CASP10 were significant predictors of the BPDE-induced lymphocytic AC in single-locus analysis. In the combined analysis of the three variants, we found that the individuals with the diplotypes carrying 0-1 copy of the common R-del-G haplotype had higher AC values compared to other genotypes. Although the study size may not have the statistical power to detect the role of other SNPs in AC, our findings suggest that some SNPs in genes involved in the intrinsic apoptotic pathway may modulate lymphocytic AC in response to BPDE exposure in the general population. Larger studies are needed to validate these findings for further studying individual susceptibility to cancer and other apoptosis-related diseases.