Glutathione S-transferases are possibly related to the detoxification of many xenobiotics involved in the etiology of cancer. To investigate the role of the glutathione S-transferase M1 deletion (GSTM1-null) in lung cancer, the polymerase chain reaction was used to determine the GSTM1 genotypes of lung cancer patients (n = 101) and hospital (n = 206) in a Turkish population. The prevalence of the GSTM1-null genotype in the case group was 48%, compared to 18% in the control group, giving an odds ratio (OR) of 4.14 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.36-7.27). The analysis of patients by histologic type of lung cancer (10% adenocarcinoma, 43% squamous cell carcinoma, 26% small cell carcinoma, and 11% large cell carcinoma) showed no association between histopathologic type of lung cancer and GSTM1-null genotype. When the interaction between the GSTM1-null genotype and smoking status was analyzed, among the 67 smokers, the GSTM1-null genotype was found in 37 (55%) with an OR of 2.58 (95% CI 1.00-6.73) indicating a significant association. However, no association was found between smoking exposure (<30 and greater than or equal to30packs/ year) and GSTM1-null genotype. We conclude that, in this study the null GSTM1 genotype is an independent risk factor for the development of lung cancer for Turkish population. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.