Background & aims: Genetic variations in proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine genes influence individual response to carcinogenic exposures. Polymorphisms in interleukin (IL)-1 beta and its endogenous receptor antagonist are associated with risk of Helicobacter pylori-related gastric cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of proinflammatory cytokine gene polymorphisms in gastric and esophageal cancers defined by anatomic subsite.
Methods: We assessed polymorphisms of the IL-1 gene cluster and 4 other cytokine genes in a population-based case-control study of upper gastrointestinal cancers, including gastric cardia (n = 126) and noncardia adenocarcinoma (n = 188), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (n = 53), and adenocarcinoma (n = 108), and frequency-matched controls (n = 212). ORs for the different cancers were computed from logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounding factors.
Results: Proinflammatory genotypes of tumor necrosis factor alpha and IL-10 were each associated with more than doubling of the risk of noncardia gastric cancer. Carriage of multiple proinflammatory polymorphisms of IL-1B(o) IL-1 receptor antagonist, tumor necrosis factor A, and IL-10 conferred greater risk, with ORs (and 95% confidence intervals) of 2.8 (1.6-5.1) for one, 5.4 (2.7-10.6) for 2, and 27.3 (7.4-99.8) for 3 or 4 high-risk genotypes. In contrast, these polymorphisms were not consistently related to the risks of esophageal or gastric cardia cancers. Polymorphisms in IL-4 and IL-6 were not associated with any of the cancers studied.
Conclusions: A proinflammatory cytokine genetic profile increases the risk of noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma but not other upper gastrointestinal cancers, possibly by inducing a hypochlorhydric and atrophic response to gastric H. pylori infection.