Colorectal adenomas and the C677T MTHFR polymorphism: evidence for gene-environment interaction?Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1999; 8(8):659-68CE
5,10-Methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), an enzyme in folate metabolism, may play a role in the etiology of colorectal adenomas via effects on DNA methylation and nucleotide synthesis. We investigated the association between a common polymorphism (C677T, reduced MTHFR activity) and colorectal adenomas within the Minnesota CPRU case-control study. Cases (n = 527) were diagnosed with colonoscopically confirmed adenomas; controls (n = 645) were derived from the same gastroenterology practice and were polyp free at colonoscopy. Dietary intakes were obtained from a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire prior to colonoscopy. Age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals for the MTHFR genotype were 0.9 (0.7-1.2; CT versus CC wild-type) and 0.8 (0.6-1.3; TT versus CC). The associations between dietary intakes of folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, or methionine and risk of adenomas showed consistent patterns dependent upon MTHFR genotype. Individuals with the TT genotype and intakes of any of these nutrients in the lowest tertile were at elevated risk for adenomas (about 2-3-fold when compared with TT genotype with high intakes). These trends were more pronounced among individuals over age 60, resulting in a 3-6-fold increase for low intakes of folate, B12, and B6. An increased risk with increasing alcohol consumption was observed only among those with the CC genotype (P-trend = 0.005); among those with the TT genotype, those with moderate alcohol consumption were at lowest risk (P for interaction P = 0.02). In conclusion, nutrients involved in the MTHFR metabolic pathway may modify the relationship between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and colorectal adenomas. Low intakes of folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 increase risk among those (particularly the elderly) with the MTHFR TT genotype.