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February 19, 1997

Genetic Polymorphisms and Breast Cancer Risk

Author Affiliations

National Cancer Institute Rockville, Md
Saint Louis University St Louis, Mo
Institute of Carcinogenesis N. N. Blokhin Cancer Research Centre Moscow, Russia

JAMA. 1997;277(7):533-534. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540310031028

In the study of breast cancer and the N-acetyltransferase genetic polymorphism by Dr Ambrosone and colleagues,1 risk of breast cancer was increased among cigarette smokers with the slow acetylator genotype. It was hypothesized that the persons with the slow acetylator genotype were less able to detoxify the carcinogenic aromatic amines found in cigarette smoke.

Aromatic amines are well-established bladder carcinogens,2 but have not previously been linked to breast cancer in humans. We evaluated the possibility that aromatic amines may play a role in the etiology of breast cancer by studying women who were occupationally exposed to aromatic amines at a dye factory in Moscow.3 The factory produced β-naphthylamine from 1930 to 1951 and benzidine from 1930 to 1988, with a lapse during World War II. Other dye production chemicals, such as sulfurous and diazo-combinations, and intermediates were also produced. A total of 2172 women who