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J Hum Genet. 2008;53(4):340-8. doi: 10.1007/s10038-008-0262-6. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene polymorphisms and lung cancer: a meta-analysis.

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Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150081, China.


So far, case-control studies on the association between methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene polymorphisms and lung cancer provide controversial or inconclusive results. To clarify the effect of MTHFR polymorphisms on the risk of lung cancer, a meta-analysis of all case-control observational studies was performed. The studies provided 5,111/6,415 cases/controls for C677T and 5,087/6,232 cases/controls for A1298C. The heterogeneity (P=0.0001, I(2)=76.6%) for C677T among the eight studies was extreme. Cluster analyses based on the frequencies of the C677T genotype of the control group in each study revealed that the studies could not cluster together according to their ethnicity. The random effects (RE) model showed that the 677T allele was not associated with the risk of lung cancer compared with the C allele [OR=1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.97-1.28), P=0.12]. The contrast of homozygotes, recessive model, dominant model produced the same pattern of results as the allele contrast. In regard to the A1298C polymorphism, there was no heterogeneity among the seven studies comparing the C versus the A allele (P=0.24, I(2)=24.4%), but no significant association was detected by the RE model or the fixed effects model [FE odds ratio (OR)=0.99 (0.93-1.05) and RE OR=1.00 (0.92-1.08)]. The effect of MTHFR polymorphisms (C677T, A1298C) on the risk of lung cancer was undetectable, even though analyzed on a relatively good number of subjects (totally 11,526 subjects) by meta-analysis (statistical power = 93.9%). Although MTHFR polymorphisms were associated with the risk of colorectal cancer, leukemia, and gastric cancer supported by other meta-analysis, our pooled data suggest no evidence for a major role of these two variants in carcinogenesis of lung cancer. The results implied that different tumors evolve by different pathological pathways and the roles of MTHFR in cancer is determined by its target genes.

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