OBJECTIVE: N-Acetylation polymorphism is a representative genetic trait related to an individual's susceptibility to several cancers. However, there remains a controversy and no consensus concerning whether there is a true association between esophageal cancer and N-acetylation polymorphism. METHODS: To analyze the distribution of N-acetyltransferase 2 polymorphism in Japanese patients with esophageal squamous cell cancer, a molecular genotyping method using a polymerase chain reaction-based restriction fragment length polymorphism was used. RESULTS: Based on an analysis of 71 Japanese patients with esophageal squamous cell cancer and 329 healthy control subjects, the distribution of the slow acetylator phenotype was significantly higher in esophageal cancer patients than in the controls (19.7% and 9.4%, respectively, p = 0.040). The odds ratio of esophageal cancer for the slow phenotype was 2.55 (95% CI = 1.15-5.65, p = 0.023) compared with the rapid type. Furthermore, a significant difference between the distribution of acetylator phenotype and the incidence of lymph node metastasis and lymphatic involvement was found based on the clinicopathological features of these cancers. Esophageal cancer patients with a higher smoking exposure history tended to have the rapid acetylator phenotype. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that N-acetylation polymorphism may be implicated as a genetic trait affecting an individual's susceptibility and biological behavior of esophageal squamous cell cancer.
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