Background: L-myc polymorphism has been documented to be a representative genetic trait which is related an individual's susceptibility to several cancers. However, there have been no reports concerning any significant association between susceptibility to gastric cancer and L-myc polymorphism. Methods: The distribution of L-myc polymorphism in 61 patients with gastric cancer was determined by polymerase chain reaction-based restriction fragment length polymorphism and compared with that of 107 healthy control subjects. Results: There was a significant difference in the distribution of both genotypes (P = 0.024) and allele frequencies (P = 0.026) between the two groups. The relative risk of gastric cancer for genotypes with the shorter (S) allele was 3.09 compared with the longer (L) allele homozygote. No significant correlation with clinicopathological features of the cancers except for prognosis was found. The patients with SS genotypes had a worse prognosis than those with LL or LS genotypes (P = 0.029). Conclusion: L-myc polymorphism may be significant in an individual's susceptibility to gastric cancer in Japan, and may be a useful marker for identifying patients at high risk of developing gastric cancer.
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