Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) polymorphisms and reduced risk of malignant lymphoma

Am J Hematol. 2004 Dec;77(4):351-7. doi: 10.1002/ajh.20215.


Folate and methionine are important nutrients in the "one-carbon" metabolism that is closely associated with DNA synthesis and DNA methylation. Genetic variation in these pathways may change susceptibility to cancer development. We have previously reported associations between lymphoma risk and germline polymorphisms in genes of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR C677T and A1298C) and methionine synthase (MTR A2756G), finding the genotype other than the MTHFR 677CC/1298AA to confer a half-risk compared to the MTHFR 677CC/1298AA and a 3-fold higher risk with the MTR GG genotype than the AA/AG genotypes. To confirm the association and explore the histological difference, we extended the previous case series. A case-control study was conducted in Japan with a total of 372 lymphoma cases and 500 noncancer controls examined for genotypes. The relative risks were estimated by unconditional logistic regression analysis. In overall analyses, the age-sex adjusted odds ratio (OR) for the subjects harboring MTHFR 677T or 1298C alleles relative to 677CC/1298AA genotype was 0.58 (95% confidence interval: 0.41-0.83, P = 0.002). The MTR GG genotype showed an OR of 1.75 (0.87-3.52, P = 0.114). These findings were validated in separate analyses of the 273 new incident cases. Subgroup analyses according to histological subtype [diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLB), follicular lymphoma (FL), low-grade lymphoma of mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), and others] illustrated similar associations with certain exceptions for FL and MALT. Our data showed an association between the MTHFR polymorphisms and malignant lymphoma risk for all histological subtypes, although the extent of contribution of these polymorphisms may differ somewhat with histological subtype. Lack of association with MTR polymorphism was also confirmed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymphoma / enzymology
  • Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Male
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2) / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Risk


  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2)
  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase