Thymidylate synthase polymorphisms, folate and B-vitamin intake, and risk of colorectal adenoma

Br J Cancer. 2007 Nov 19;97(10):1449-56. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604056. Epub 2007 Oct 30.


The effects of polymorphisms in genes coding for key folate metabolism enzymes such as thymidylate synthetase (TS) on colorectal neoplasia risk are likely to be influenced by gene-gene and gene-nutrient interactions. We investigated the combined effects of three polymorphisms in the TS gene region, TSER, TS 3R G>C, and TS 1494del6, dietary intakes of folate and other B vitamins, and genotype for other folate metabolism variants, in a colorectal adenoma (CRA) case-control study. Individuals homozygous for TS 1494del6 del/del were at significantly reduced CRA risk compared to those with either ins/del or ins/ins genotypes (odds ratio 0.52; 95% confidence interval: 0.31-0.85, P=0.009). We also observed evidence of interactions between TS 1494del6 genotype and intake of folate, and vitamins B6 and B12, and MTHFR C677T genotype, with the reduction in risk in del/del homozygotes being largely confined to individuals with high nutrient intakes and MTHFR 677CC genotype (P interaction=0.01, 0.006, 0.03, and 0.07, respectively). TSER genotype, when considered either alone or in combination with TS 3R G>C genotype, did not significantly influence CRA risk. These findings support a role for TS in colorectal carcinogenesis, and provide further evidence that functional polymorphisms in folate metabolism genes act as low-risk alleles for colorectal neoplasia and participate in complex gene-gene and gene-nutrient interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / enzymology*
  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid / metabolism
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thymidylate Synthase / genetics*
  • Thymidylate Synthase / metabolism
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage*


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Folic Acid
  • Thymidylate Synthase