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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Jan;18(1):267-74. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0702.

Methionine synthase A2756G polymorphism interacts with alcohol and folate intake to influence the risk of colorectal adenoma.

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Epidemiology and Prevention Division, Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, National Cancer Center, 5-1-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan.


Genomic DNA hypomethylation has been associated with colorectal carcinogenesis. Methionine synthase A2756G (MTR A2756G) is a common nonsynonymous polymorphism in the gene that encodes methionine synthase, a key enzyme in the pathway leading to DNA methylation. Several studies, but not all, have reported relatively lower plasma homocysteine among individuals with the AG or GG genotype. Meanwhile, higher plasma homocysteine was associated with genomic DNA hypomethylation in healthy volunteers. We therefore hypothesized that minor allele carriers possess a decreased risk of colorectal adenoma, and examined this hypothesis in a case-control study of colorectal adenoma in Japan involving 723 cases and 670 controls. An unconditional logistic regression model was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for colorectal adenoma after adjustment for potential confounders. Despite the lack of an overall association, we observed a significant interaction between MTR A2756G and alcohol intake (P for interaction = 0.007). Compared with never drinkers with the AA genotype, never drinkers with the AG or GG genotype exhibited a significantly decreased risk (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.34-0.90) whereas heavy drinkers with the same genotypes showed a substantially increased risk (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.04-3.46). In addition, a marginally significant interaction was observed with folate intake (P for interaction = 0.07). The G allele may confer protection against colorectal adenoma in the presence of a considerably good folate status. Our findings add to increasing evidence that DNA methylation plays an important role even at an early stage of colorectal carcinogenesis.

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