The genetically determined capacity of the cytochrome P450 CYP2D6 is suspected to be involved in the activation of tobacco carcinogens. From a multicentric case-control study carried out to analyze the interaction between host and environmental factors on tobacco-related cancers, we reported recently that the effect of tobacco on lung cancer risk rose with increasing CYP2D6 activity, and the effect of CYP2D6 activity rose with increasing tobacco consumption. The aim of the present report was to investigate whether results on lung cancer could be observed for larynx cancer, from a study on 140 cases and 157 controls. A weak interaction between increasing levels of both CYP2D6 activity and average daily consumption of tobacco was found (P = 0.12). The only significant interaction between these two factors was observed when CYP2D6 activity was considered with the two conventional phenotypes (P < 0.05). A dose-response effect of tobacco on larynx cancer risk was found only among one-third of the smokers with the highest level of CYP2D6 activity, and CYP2D6 was a risk factor only among heavy smokers. The highest risk for larynx cancer was then observed among smokers having both the highest levels of CYP2D6 activity and daily consumption of tobacco. The interaction between CYP2D6 activity and tobacco was weaker for larynx cancer than that reported previously for lung cancer. However, the similarities in the results found for these two cancers, i.e., a greater effect of tobacco among smokers with the highest CYP2D6 activity, reinforce the hypothesis that this activity could modify the effect of tobacco on cancer risk.

This content is only available via PDF.