Background: The drug-metabolizing enzyme CYP2E1 is of great interest in environmental medicine because of its involvement in the bioactivation of multiple procarcinogens. Aim: This study is aimed at determining the frequency of genetic polymorphisms of the three restriction fragment length polymorphisms: PstI and RsaI (CYP2E1*5B) and DraI (CYP2E1*6) in 216 cancer-free Lebanese individuals, as well as assessing potential association with morbid diseases in this specific population. Results: The frequency of C-T allele of CYP2E*5B was 0.7% and that of A CYP2E1*6 was 6.3%. All those who carried the CYP2E1*5B allele also carried the CYP2E1*6 allele. There was a significant decrease in coronary artery disease incidence in patients carrying a CYP2E1*6 genetic polymorphism (39.7% of the noncarriers vs. 13.6% of the carriers had coronary artery disease; p=0.019); similar results were found with the haplotype analysis (p=0.03) but not with CYP2E1*5B alone. Conclusion: This is the first study on the genetic polymorphism of CYP2E1 in a Lebanese population. These data will be useful for future assessment of the role of CYP2E1 polymorphisms in the cancer population in Lebanon. It is recommended that careful population selection be performed in designing case-control studies that evaluate the association between CYP2E1 and cancer incidence. The most important factors to be controlled for are sex, body mass index, environmental exposure, lifestyle habits, and possibly, history of coronary artery disease.
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