Fox Chase Cancer Center Study: People With MPO Gene Less Likely to Develop Lung Cancer

Research Funded by Pennsylvania's Tobacco Master Settlement

Apr 07, 2003, 01:00 ET from Fox Chase Cancer Center

    PHILADELPHIA, April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A preliminary study funded with
 money from Pennsylvania's portion of the tobacco settlement indicates that
 people who have a gene called MPO may be less likely to develop lung cancer.
 The Fox Chase Cancer Center study was published in the Proceedings for the
 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
     There are three versions (polymorphisms) of the myeloperoxidase, or MPO
 gene.  Scientists say about 8 percent of the population has a version of the
 gene called MPO A/A.  Previous studies have reported that possession of at
 least one copy of the A version appears to have a protective effect against
 lung cancer, whereas the G/G form does not.
     At Fox Chase, Agnes B. Baffoe-Bonnie, M.D., Ph.D., and her colleagues are
 comparing the frequency of polymorphisms in 10 genes in people with lung
 cancer and those who do not have cancer (controls).  To date, two genes have
 been examined:  XRCC1 and MPO.  In an ongoing study, the researchers have
 collected data from 96 lung cancer patients, matching them with controls of
 the same age and gender.
     "We didn't find a difference between the two groups concerning the
 presence of XRCC1 variants, but the findings regarding MPO are significant,"
 explained Baffoe-Bonnie, an associate member in the population science
 division at Fox Chase.
     In the control group 51.0 percent of people had at least one copy of MPO
 (A/-), only 37.5 percent of people with lung cancer had at least one MPO (A/-)
     "What this tells us is that people who have one or two copies of the MPO A
 gene are less likely to develop lung cancer," explained Baffoe-Bonnie.  "We
 hope to put our result in the context of other genes and environmental factors
 that relate to lung cancer risk."
     The MPO polymorphism influences the amount of myeloperoxidase produced by
 cells in the lung.  Everyone produces this enzyme but people with a MPO A gene
 produce less.  MPO activates the potent carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene, which is a
 product of tobacco smoke, as well as the burning of most fuels and most other
 kinds of combustion.  In the case of the MPO enzyme, less may be better.
 Baffoe-Bonnie's research was funded by money received from the Commonwealth of
 Pennsylvania's portion of the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 with tobacco
     Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer
 centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic
 and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of
 cancer; and community outreach.  For more information about Fox Chase
 activities, visit the Center's web site at or call
 1-888-FOX CHASE.
     CONTACT:  Karen Carter Mallet of the Fox Chase Cancer Center,

SOURCE Fox Chase Cancer Center