N-acetyltransferase 2: Slow, intermediate or fast? A booming question of the molecular epidemiology in cancer research


Throughout history, humanity has referred to reactions occurring with food, plants and, recently, medicines or drugs. The increase in pulmonary tuberculosis cases and the availability of treatment showed that genetic human differences can interfere in the capacity to metabolize drugs. There are remarkable genetic polymorphisms of N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) activity that have been associated with different levels of susceptibility to developing many kinds of cancers. This review considers the field as an open window for the application of molecular epidemiology tools that led to the development of pharmacogenomics. We cover historical data and the most recent knowledge about NAT2 genetic polymorphisms and its distribution in different populations, which is an important concept being incorporated in epidemiological studies of cancer risk. We present up to date information about these studies, including meta-analysis based on the NAT2 distribution in different types of cancer. A critical broad at advances in NAT2 research, high-lighting recent studies related to NAT2 alleles in cancer susceptibility. Although there are multifactorial aspects involved in cancer risk, the variability in NAT2 allelic frequency can be related to carcinogenesis through alterations in the metabolic rate after exposure to carcinogens.

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Pietro, G. , Gadelha, S. , Sousa, S. , Melo, P. and Santos, F. (2012) N-acetyltransferase 2: Slow, intermediate or fast? A booming question of the molecular epidemiology in cancer research. Open Journal of Genetics, 2, 221-235. doi: 10.4236/ojgen.2012.24028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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