Cigarette smoking, N-acetyltransferase genes and the risk of advanced colorectal adenoma

Roxana Moslehi, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Timothy R. Church, Jinbo Chen, Meredith Yeager, Joel Weissfeld, David W. Hein, Richard B. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: Cigarette use is associated with greater risk for colorectal adenoma, a colorectal cancer precursor. N-acetyltransferases, NAT1 and NAT2, are important enzymes involved in the metabolism of aromatic amine carcinogens present in cigarette smoke. Our interest is in the polymorphisms within the NAT1 and NAT2 genes that influence the tobacco-colorectal tumor relationship by impacting on the metabolic activation and detoxification of tobacco smoke-derived carcinogens. Methods: In the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) cancer screening trial, we compared NAT1 and NAT2 gene variant distributions for 772 cases with left-sided advanced adenoma and 777 gender and age-matched controls. Individual NAT1 and NAT2 diplotypes were assigned and NAT2 acetylator phenotypes were derived. Results: Risks for advanced colorectal adenoma were significantly increased among recent smokers (current smokers or those who quit less than 10 years ago) (odds ratio [OR] = 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7-3.1) and among those who smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day (OR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.3-2.2), compared with nonsmokers. Risk decreased with increasing NAT2 phenotypic activity (0: slow, 1: intermediate, and 2: rapid) (OR trend: 0.8; 95% CI: 0.7-1.0, p-trend = 0.04) overall. When stratified by smoking status, significant phenotype-associated trends were observed among recent smokers (OR trend = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.3-0.7, p trend <0.001) (p-interaction = 0.02), but not among past or nonsmokers. Diplotypes most strongly associated with lower risks in smokers were NAT2*4/*5B (OR = 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1-0.8, p = 0.01) and NAT2*4/*4 (OR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.04-0.7, p = 0.02), categorized as intermediate and rapid acetylators, respectively. One NAT1 diplotype, NAT1*4/*10 (OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3-0.9, p = 0.03), was also associated with a decreased risk in smokers. Conclusions: Our study indicated that NAT2 gene variants associated with a slow acetylator phenotype were more susceptible to the effects of tobacco smoking with respect to adenoma risk, providing leads for disease prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-829
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer precursor
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Colorectal adenoma
  • N-acetyltransferase
  • NAT1
  • NAT2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology


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