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J Epidemiol. 2012;22(1):64-71. Epub 2011 Dec 17.

Genetic polymorphisms of XRCC1, alcohol consumption, and the risk of colorectal cancer in Japan.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Japan.



X-ray cross-complementing group 1 (XRCC1) polymorphisms affect DNA repair capacity and may therefore be of importance in colorectal carcinogenesis. Alcohol consumption, an important risk factor for colorectal cancer, may induce carcinogenesis through DNA damage caused by the toxic effects of alcohol or its metabolites. Therefore, we examined the associations of XRCC1 Arg399Gln, Arg280His, and Arg194Trp polymorphisms with colorectal cancer and the impact of the association between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer risk.


This case-control study in Fukuoka, Japan including 685 cases and 778 controls. The cases were incident patients with histologically confirmed colorectal adenocarcinoma. The controls were randomly selected community subjects.


The XRCC1 399Gln/Gln genotype was significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.57, 95% CI 1.01-2.42; relative to 399Arg/Arg genotype). The association was strongest in individuals with high alcohol consumption. The Arg280His polymorphism modified the association between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer risk (interaction P = 0.049). The OR of colorectal cancer in individuals with the 280His allele was 0.45 (95% CI 0.26-0.78) as compared with the 280Arg/Arg genotype limited to the 399Gln allele (interaction P = 0.001). The adjusted ORs for 399Gln/Gln-280Arg/Arg-194Arg/Arg and 399Arg/Gln-280Arg/Arg-194Arg/Trp were 1.71 (95% CI 1.02-2.87) and 1.57 (95% CI 1.05-2.33), respectively, with 399Arg/Arg-280Arg/Arg-194Arg/Arg as reference (interaction P = 0.418).


The findings are additional evidence that individuals with the XRCC1 399Gln/Gln genotype have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, and that XRCC1 polymorphisms have an important role in colorectal cancer risk associated with alcohol consumption or gene-gene interaction.

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