Genetic Polymorphisms in the Hmong Population: Implications for Cancer Etiology and Survival

William R. Kiffmeyer, Erica Langer, Stella M. Davies, Julie Envall, Leslie L. Robison, Julie A. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The Hmong, an isolated, agrarian people from southern China, migrated to the mountainous regions of what are today Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Minnesota has the second largest Hmong population in the United States. The authors compared frequencies of common genetic polymorphisms believed to influence risk of malignancy to determine whether frequencies in the Hmong are different from those in other Asian populations and in white Minnesotans. METHODS. Genotyping for glutathione S-transferase μ1 (GSTM1), glutathione S-transferase θ1 (GSTT1), myeloperoxidase (MPO) (C- 463T), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate:quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1) (C609T), 5,10-methyl-enetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) (C677T), MTHFR (A1298C), methionine synthase reductase (MTRR) (A66G), X-ray repair cross complementing 1 (XRCC1) 194 (Arg194Trp), XRCC1 280 (Arg280His), and XRCC1 399 (Arg399Gln) alleles was performed by TaqMan analysis using DNA isolated from newborn heel-stick spots provided by the Minnesota Department of Health. RESULTS. The Hmong had significantly higher frequencies of the NQO1 T allele and the XRCC1 Trp polymorphism (Arg194Trp) and had significantly lower frequencies of the G allele in MTRR (A66G) and the T allele in MTHFR (C677T) compared with white Minnesotans. The Hmong also were significantly more likely to lack the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes compared with whites (82% vs. 54% and 61% vs. 18%, respectively). Genotype frequencies were similar for MTHFR (A1298C), MPO (C-463T), and XRCC1 (Arg280His, Arg399Gln). Genotype frequencies at these loci also were compared with those reported for other Asian populations and showed notable differences between the Hmong and Chinese/Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese populations. CONCLUSIONS. The genetic differences identified have implications for both cancer etiology and prognosis in this unique population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-417
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2004


  • Ethnicity
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Glutathione S-transferase
  • Hmong
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate:quinone oxidoreductase
  • X-ray repair cross complementing 1, 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase


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