Next to cigarette smoking, genetic factors may contribute to lung cancer risk. Pulmonary surfactant components may mediate response to inhaled carcinogenic substances and/or play a role in lung function and inflammation. We studied associations between surfactant protein (SP) genetic variants and risk in lung cancer subgroups. Samples (n = 308) were genotyped for SP-A1, -A2, -B, and -D marker alleles. These included 99 patients with small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC, n = 31), or non-SCLC (NSCLC, n = 68) consisting of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC, n = 35), and adenocarcinoma (AC) (n = 23); controls (n = 99) matched by age, sex, and smoking status (clinical control) to SCLC and NSCLC; and 110 healthy individuals (population control). We found (a) no significant marker associations with SCLC, (b) rare SP-A2 (1A9) and SP-A1 (6A11) alleles associate with NSCLC risk when compared with population control, (c) the same alleles (1A9, 6A11) associate with risk for AC when compared with population (6A11) or clinical control (1A9), and (d) the SP-A1-6A4 allele (found in approximately 10% of the population) associates with SCC, when compared with population or clinical control. A correlation between SP-A variants and lung cancer susceptibility appears to exist, indicating that SP-A alleles may be useful markers of lung cancer risk.
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