Evaluation of the MTHFR C677T Polymorphism as a Risk Factor for Colorectal Cancer in Asian Populations


Background: Genetic and environmental factors play important roles in pathogenesis of digestive tract cancers like those in the esophagus, stomach and colorectum. Folate deficiency and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) as an important enzyme of folate and methionine metabolism are considered crucial for DNA synthesis and methylation. MTHFR variants may cause genomic hypomethylation, which may lead to the development of cancer, and MTHFR gene polymorphisms (especially C677T and A1298C) are known to influence predispositions for cancer development. Several case control association studies of MTHFR C677T polymorphisms and colorectal cancer (CRC) have been reported in different populations with contrasting results, possibly reflecting inadequate statistical power. Aim: The present meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the association between the C677T polymorphism and the risk of colorectal cancer. Materials and
Methods: A literature search of the PubMed, Google Scholar, Springer link and Elsevier databases was carried out for potential relevant articles. Pooled odds ratio (OR) with corresponding 95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) was calculated to assess the association of MTHFR C677T with the susceptibility to CRC. Cochran’s Q statistic and the inconsistency index (I2) were used to check study heterogeneity. Egger’s test and funnel plots were applied to assess publication bias. All statistical analyses were conducted by with MetaAnalyst and MIX version 1.7.
Results: Thirty four case-control studies involving a total of 9,143 cases and 11,357 controls were retrieved according to the inclusion criteria. Overall, no significant association was found between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and colorectal cancer in Asian populations (for T vs. C: OR=1.03; 95% CI= 0.92 1.5; p= 0.64; for TT vs CC: OR=0.88; 95%CI= 0.74-1.04; p= 0.04; for CT vs. CC: OR = 1.02; 95%CI= 0.93-1.12; p=0.59; for TT+ CT vs. CC: OR=1.07; 95%CI= 0.94-1.22; p=0.87).
Conclusions: Evidence from the current meta-analysis indicated that the C677T polymorphism is not associated with CRC risk in Asian populations. Further investigations are needed to offer better insight into any role of this polymorphism in colorectal carcinogenesis.