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Br J Cancer. 2011 Feb 15;104(4):735-40. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6606079.

No association between germline allele-specific expression of TGFBR1 and colorectal cancer risk in Caucasian and Ashkenazi populations.

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Translational Research Laboratory, Catalan Institute of Oncology, IDIBELL, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Av. Gran Vía 199-203, Barcelona 08908, Spain.



Germline allele-specific expression (ASE) of the TGFBR1 gene has been reported as a strong risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC) with an odds ratio close to 9. Considering the potential implications of the finding, we undertook the task of validating the initial results in this study.


Allele-specific expression was measured using the highly quantitative and robust technique of pyrosequencing. Individuals from two different populations were studied, one Caucasian-dominated and the other of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, with different sources of non-tumoral genetic material in each.


Our results showed no statistically significant differences in the degree of ASE between CRC patients and controls, considering ASE as either a quantitative or a binary trait. Using defined cutoff values to categorise ASE, 1.0% of blood lymphocytes from informative Israeli cases (total n=96) were ASE positive (median 1.00; range 0.76-1.31) and 2.2% of informative matched controls (total n=90) were ASE positive (median 1.00; range 0.76-1.87). Likewise, normal mucosae from Spanish patients (median 1.03; range: 0.68-1.43; n=75) did not show significant differences in the degree of ASE when compared with the Israeli patients or controls.


Taken together, these results suggest that ASE of TGFBR1 does not confer an increased risk of CRC.

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