Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the cancers that reveal increased risk of mortality and incidence in atomic bomb survivors. The incidence of gastric cancer in the Life Span Study cohort of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) increased with radiation dose (gender-averaged excess relative risk per Gy = 0.28) and remains high more than 65 years after exposure. To assess a possible role of gene-environment interaction, we examined the dose response for gastric cancer incidence based on immunosuppression-related IL-10 genotype, in a cohort study with 200 cancer cases (93 intestinal, 96 diffuse and 11 other types) among 4,690 atomic bomb survivors participating in an immunological substudy. Using a single haplotype block composed of four haplotype-tagging SNPs (comprising the major haplotype allele IL-10-ATTA and the minor haplotype allele IL-10-GGCG, which are categorized by IL-10 polymorphisms at −819A>G and −592T>G, 1177T>C and 1589A>G), multiplicative and additive models for joint effects of radiation and this IL-10 haplotyping were examined. The IL-10 minor haplotype allele(s) was a risk factor for intestinal type gastric cancer but not for diffuse type gastric cancer. Radiation was not associated with intestinal type gastric cancer. In diffuse type gastric cancer, the haplotype-specific excess relative risk (ERR) for radiation was statistically significant only in the major homozygote category of IL-10 (ERR = 0.46/Gy, P = 0.037), whereas estimated ERR for radiation with the minor IL-10 homozygotes was close to 0 and nonsignificant. Thus, the minor IL-10 haplotype might act to reduce the radiation related risk of diffuse-type gastric cancer. The results suggest that this IL-10 haplotyping might be involved in development of radiation-associated gastric cancer of the diffuse type, and that IL-10 haplotypes may explain individual differences in the radiation-related risk of gastric cancer.
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