Exploring SNP-SNP interactions and colon cancer risk using polymorphism interaction analysis

Int J Cancer. 2006 Apr 1;118(7):1790-7. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21523.


Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes derived from distinct pathways are associated with colon cancer risk; however, few studies have examined SNP-SNP interactions concurrently. We explored the association between colon cancer and 94 SNPs, using a novel approach, polymorphism interaction analysis (PIA). We developed PIA to examine all possible SNP combinations, based on the 94 SNPs studied in 216 male colon cancer cases and 255 male controls, employing 2 separate functions that cross-validate and minimize false-positive results in the evaluation of SNP combinations to predict colon cancer risk. PIA identified previously described null polymorphisms in glutathione-S-transferase T1 (GSTT1) as the best predictor of colon cancer among the studied SNPs, and also identified novel polymorphisms in the inflammation and hormone metabolism pathways that singly or jointly predict cancer risk. PIA identified SNPs that may interact with the GSTT1 polymorphism, including coding polymorphisms in TP53 (Arg72Pro in p53) and CASP8 (Asp302His in caspase 8), which may modify the association between this polymorphism and colon cancer. This was confirmed by logistic regression, as the GSTT1 null polymorphism in combination with either the TP53 or the CASP8 polymorphism significantly alter colon cancer risk (p(interaction) < 0.02 for both). GSTT1 prevents DNA damage by detoxifying mutagenic compounds, while the p53 protein facilitates repair of DNA damage and induces apoptosis, and caspase 8 is activated in p53-mediated apoptosis. Our results suggest that PIA is a valid method for suggesting SNP-SNP interactions that may be validated in future studies, using more traditional statistical methods on different datasets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Apoptosis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Caspase 8
  • Caspases / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • DNA Damage
  • Genes, p53
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Risk Factors


  • glutathione S-transferase T1
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • CASP8 protein, human
  • Caspase 8
  • Caspases