Laboratoire de radioanalyse, Centre Antoine-Lacassagne, 33, avenue Valombrose, 06189 Nice Cedex 2, France.
Glutathione S-transferases mu (GSTM) are dimeric cytosolic isoenzymes. They catalyze glutathione conjugation upon a large variety of electrophiles as carcinogens, trans-stilbene peroxide or benzo(a)pyrene. The gene GSTM1 is localized on chromosome 1p13, it has drawn attention because it is absent approximately in 50% of the white population. GSTM1 null genotype seems linked with susceptibility to cancers as lung, colon and bladder cancers. We have studied GSTM1 genotype from 373 primary breast tumours. The GSTM1 null genotype was found in 50% of the cases (185/373). The incidence study of GSTM1 copy number on clinical and biological variables displayed a significant difference (p < 0.01) of the GSTM1 genotype, showed by the tumour, according to the patient age at diagnosis. The patients younger than 55 years had a percentage more important of primary tumours (65%) with a copy number of GSTM1 gene, inferior or equal at one, compared to the patients older than 55 years (52%). The tumours, whose cathepsin D level was high, presented few copies of GSTM1 gene (p < 0.03). There was no other relationship, particularly, with tumour size, node status, histological type, hormonal receptors, pS2 cytosolic level. GSTM1 gene seems protect the mammary gland from cancerogenesis with its detoxification role. This result had not, pointed out in breast cancer, yet.