Polymorphisms in Thymidylate Synthase and Methylenetetra-hydrofolate Reductase Genes and the Susceptibility to Esophageal and Stomach Cancer with Smoking and Drinking Habits


Thymidylate synthetase (TS) and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) are major enzymes in the ‍metabolism of folates, involved in DNA ‘breaks’, instability and hypomethylation.To investigate the possible relations ‍between the TS 3’-UTR and MTHFR C677T polymorphisms and environmental factors impacting on risk of ‍esophageal and stomach cancers, we conducted a case-control study in a high incidence region of China for these ‍cancers. We recruited 138 esophageal and 155 stomach cancer cases, and 223 controls. The TS 3’-UTR and MTHFR ‍C677T genotypes were detected by RFLP assay, using PCR products. The frequency of the -6 bp homozygous TS 3’- ‍UTR genotype was 37.7 % in controls, higher than in Caucasians, although the present distribution was not in ‍Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Ever-smoking with the -6 bp/-6 bp TS genotype elevated the ORs (2.61, 1.24-5.49; ‍3.54, 1.60-7.82) for cases of esophageal and stomach cancers, respectively, when compared with never-smoking with ‍the +6 bp/+6 bp and +6 bp/-6 bp genotypes. No combination between the TS and MTHFR genotypes gave increased ‍ORs. The present results suggest that TS polymorphism may modify the risk of esophageal and stomach cancer with ‍smoking, pointing to the necessity for further investigations with information on folate and methionine intake with ‍a larger population. ‍