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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e29634. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029634. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

Prognostic significance of vitamin D receptor polymorphisms in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

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Division of Molecular Epidemiology, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



In patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms and haplotypes are reported to be associated with survival. We hypothesized that a similar association would be observed in patients with head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma (HNSCC).


In a post-hoc analysis of our previous prospective cohort study, VDR polymorphisms including Cdx2 G/A (rs11568820), FokI C/T (rs10735810), BsmI A/G (rs1544410), ApaI G/T (rs7976091), and TaqI T/C (rs731236) were genotyped by sequencing in 204 consecutive patients with HNSCC who underwent tumor resection. Progression-free survival was compared between VDR polymorphisms using Kaplan-Meier survival curves with log-rank tests and Cox proportional hazard models adjusting for age, gender, smoking status, primary tumor sites, postoperative stages, existence of residual tumor, and postoperative treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.


During a median follow-up of 1,047 days, tumor progression and death occurred in 76 (37.3%) and 27 (13.2%) patients, respectively. The FokI T/T genotype was associated with poor progression-free survival: median survival for T/T was 265 days compared with 1,127 days for C/C or C/T (log-rank test: P = 0.0004; adjusted hazard ratio, 3.03; 95% confidence interval, 1.62 to 5.67; P = 0.001). In contrast, the other polymorphisms (Cdx2, BsmI, ApaI, TaqI) showed no significant association with progression-free survival. The A-T-G (Cdx2-FokI-ApaI) haplotype demonstrated a significant association with a higher progression rate (P = 0.02).


These results suggest that VDR polymorphisms and haplotypes may be associated with prognosis in patients with HNSCC, although the sample size is not large enough to draw definitive conclusions.

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