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Int J Mol Med. 2013 Nov;32(5):1195-203. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2013.1474. Epub 2013 Aug 23.

Association between CAG repeat polymorphisms and the risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis by race, study design and the number of (CAG)n repeat polymorphisms.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Kangwon National University School of Medicine, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do 200-701, Republic of Korea.


Although a number of studies have been conducted on the association between prostate cancer and CAG repeat polymorphisms of the androgen receptor gene, this association remains elusive and controversial. In this meta-analysis, we aimed to evaluate the effects of (CAG)n repeat genetic polymorphisms on the incidence of prostate cancer, particularly as regards race, study design and the number of (CAG)n repeats. To collect articles published on the association between CAG repeats and prostate cancer, publications were identified from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database of epidemiological studies published up to October 2011; our identification of publications was not limited by a language barrier. The following search keywords were used: prostate cancer risk, CAG repeat polymorphism, androgen receptor gene and human. Stata version 10 was used for the meta-analysis and the publication bias was measured through the Begg's test and Egger's test. This meta-analysis included 47 studies with 13,346 cases and 15,172 control or non-cases and consisted of 31 reports based on Caucasians, ten on Asians, one on Hispanics and four on combined ethnic groups. The carriers of a shorter CAG repeat sequence had an increased risk of prostate cancer (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.10-1.34 for all subjects; OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.10-1.34 for prospective studies; OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.15-1.51 for retrospective studies) regardless of the exact length of the CAG repeat, compared with carriers of a longer repeat sequence. In terms of race, the risk of carrying a shorter CAG repeat sequence was 1.10- and 1.83-fold higher than that of a longer repeat sequence in Caucasians and Asians, respectively. For the specific number of CAG repeat polymorphisms, carriers of <22 repeats were observed to have a higher risk of prostate cancer (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.04-1.29) compared with carriers with ≥ 22 CAG repeat polymorphisms, particularly for Asians (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.00-4.24). This meta-analysis suggests that a shorter CAG repeat polymorphism may increase the risk of prostate cancer compared with the longer CAG repeat; in particular, the effect of shorter CAG repeats on the increased risk of prostate cancer was predominantly observed in Caucasians and Asians.

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