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PLoS One. 2015 Dec 18;10(12):e0144955. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144955. eCollection 2015.

Interaction between Red Meat Intake and NAT2 Genotype in Increasing the Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Japanese and African Americans.

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Epidemiology Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America.
Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, National Cancer Center, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine and Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.
Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.


Heterocyclic aromatic amines formed in cooked meat may be an underlying mechanism for the red meat-colorectal cancer (CRC) association. These compounds require bioactivaction by N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2). An interaction effect between red meat consumption and NAT2 in increasing CRC risk has been inconsistently reported in whites. We investigated this interaction in two populations in which the high-activity rapid NAT2 phenotype is 10- and 2-fold more common than in whites. We meta-analyzed four studies of Japanese (2,217 cases, 3,788 controls) and three studies of African Americans (527 cases, 4,527 controls). NAT2 phenotype was inferred from an optimized seven-SNP genotyping panel. Processed and total red meat intakes were associated with an increased CRC risk in Japanese and in both ethnic groups combined (P's ≤ 0.002). We observed an interaction between processed meat intake and NAT2 in Japanese (P = 0.04), African Americans (P = 0.02), and in both groups combined (P = 0.006). The association of processed meat with CRC was strongest among individuals with the rapid NAT2 phenotype (combined analysis, OR for highest vs. lowest quartile: 1.62, 95% CI: 1.28-2.05; Ptrend = 8.0×10-5), intermediate among those with the intermediate NAT2 phenotype (1.29, 95% CI: 1.05-1.59; Ptrend = 0.05) and null among those with the slow phenotype (Ptrend = 0.45). A similar interaction was found for NAT2 and total red meat (Pinteraction = 0.03). Our findings support a role for NAT2 in modifying the association between red meat consumption and CRC in Japanese and African Americans.

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