There is an association between exposure to aromatic amines and the development of bladder cancer. Aromatic amines such as are known to occur in tobacco smoke are polymorphically acetylated. One hundred bladder cancer patients have been acetylator phenotyped. Only three of them were non-smokers at the time of diagnosis. This new series, together with four previous series (each with its own control), have been statistically analysed together. The results show a significant association between the slow acetylator phenotype and bladder cancer. The slow acetylator phenotype is associated about 39% more with bladder cancer than is the rapid acetylator phenotype. This association can be interpreted in one of two ways: (1) rapid acetylators may be protected against developing bladder cancer because they are better able to render amines non-carcinogenic by acetylation, or (2) slow acetylators have greater survival with bladder cancer than rapid acetylators. Further evidence will be required to differentiate between these alternatives.
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