The association between glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) deficiency and lung cancer risk has been controversial in the published literature. To examine this controversy, 12 case-control studies of GSTM1 status and lung cancer risk were identified in the published English literature. These studies included a total of 1593 cases and 2135 controls. We conclude that GSTM1 deficiency is a moderate risk factor for lung cancer development with an odds ratio of 1.41 (95% confidence interval = 1.23-1.61; P < 0.0001) by using Mantel-Haenszel methods for stratified analysis. This increased risk is evident for all the major histological subtypes of lung cancer. Although the increased risk is small, GSTM1 deficiency accounts for approximately 17% of lung cancer cases because of the high prevalence of GSTM1 deficiency.

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