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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Jan;19(1):89-100. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0727.

Genetic variability in the MTHFR gene and colorectal cancer risk using the colorectal cancer family registry.

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USC Keck School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, Genetic Epidemiology, NRT 1450 Biggy Street, Room 1509A, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.



The MTHFR C677T TT genotype is associated with a 15% to 18% reduction in colorectal cancer risk, but it is not clear if other variants of the gene are associated with colorectal cancer risk.


We used a tagSNP approach to comprehensively evaluate associations between variation in the MTHFR gene and colorectal cancer risk using a large family-based case-control study of 1,750 population-based and 245 clinic-based families from the Colon Cancer Family Registry. We assessed 22 TagSNPs, selected based on pairwise r(2) >95%, using the Haploview Tagger and genotyped the TagSNPs on the Illumina GoldenGate or Sequenom platforms. The association between single nucleotide polymorphisms and colorectal cancer was assessed using log-additive, codominant, and recessive models.


From studying the population-based families, the C677T (rs1801133) and A1298C (rs1801131) polymorphisms were associated with a decreased colorectal cancer risk overall [odds ratio (OR), 0.81; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.63-1.04; and OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.64-1.07, respectively]. The 677 TT genotype was associated with a decreased risk of microsatellite-stable/microsatellite-low tumors (OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.49-0.97) and an increased risk of microsatellite-high tumors (OR, 2.22; 95% CI, 0.91-5.43; P(interaction) = 0.01), as well as an increased risk of proximal cancers and a decreased risk of distal and rectal cancers (P(interaction) = 0.02). No other single nucleotide polymorphism was associated with risk overall or within subgroups.


The 677 TT and 1298 CC genotypes may each be associated with a decrease in colorectal cancer risk. We observed little evidence of additional genetic variability in the MTHFR gene relevant to colorectal cancer risk.

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