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Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Mar;39(3):2615-24. doi: 10.1007/s11033-011-1014-9. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

The CAG repeat polymorphism of androgen receptor gene and prostate cancer: a meta-analysis.

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Key Laboratory of Genome Science and Information, Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


The association between the polymorphic CAG repeat in androgen receptor gene (AR) and prostate cancer susceptibility has been studied extensively. However, the results are contradictory. The purpose of our meta-analysis was to investigate whether CAG repeat related to prostate cancer risk and had genetic heterogeneity across different geographic regions and study designs. Random-effects model was performed irrespective of between-study heterogeneity. Data and study quality were assessed in duplicate. Publication bias was assessed by the fail-safe number and Egger's test. There were 16 (patients/controls: 2972/3792), 19 (3835/4908) and 12 (3372/2631) study groups for comparisons of ≥ 20, 22 and 23 repeats of CAG sequence, respectively. Compared with CAG repeat <20, 22 or 23, carriers of ≥ 20, 22 or 23 repeats had 21% (95% CI: 0.61-1.02; P = 0.076), 5% (95% CI: 0.81-1.11; P = 0.508) and 5% (95% CI: 0.76-1.20; P = 0.681) decreased risk of prostate cancer. After classifying studies by geographic areas, carriers of ≥ 20 repeats had 11% decreased risk in populations from USA, 53% from Europe, and 20% from Asia (P > 0.05), whereas comparison of ≥ 23 repeats with others generated a significant prediction in European populations (OR = 1.17; P = 0.039). Stratification by study designs revealed no material changes in risk estimation. Meta-regression analysis found no significant sources of between-study heterogeneity for age, study design and geographic region for all comparisons. There was no identified publication bias. Taken together, our results demonstrated that AR CAG repeat polymorphism with ≥ 20 repeats might confer a protective effect among the prostate cancer patients with 45 years older but not all the prostate cancer patients.

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