Background: Sporadic colorectal cancers (CRC) are multifactorial diseases resulting from the combined effects of numerous genetic, environmental and behavioral risk factors. Genetic association studies have suggested low-penetrance alleles of extremely varied genes to be involved in susceptibility to CRC in Caucasian populations.
Methods: Through a large genetic association study based on 1023 patients with sporadic CRC and 1121 controls, we tested a panel of these low-penetrance alleles to find out whether they could determine "genotypic profiles" at risk for CRC among individuals of the French population. We examined 52 polymorphisms of 35 genes - drawn from inflammation, xenobiotic detoxification, one-carbon, insulin signaling, and DNA repair pathways - for their possible contribution to colorectal carcinogenesis. The risk of cancer associated with these polymorphisms was assessed by calculation of odds ratios (OR) using multivariate analyses and logistic regression.
Results: Whereas all these polymorphisms had previously been found to be associated with CRC risk, especially in Caucasian populations, we were able to replicate the association for only five of them. Three SNPs were shown to increase CRC risk: PTGS1 c.639C>A (p.Gly213Gly), IL8 c.-352T>A, and MTHFR c.1286A>C (p.Ala429Glu). On the contrary, two other SNPs, PLA2G2A c.435+230C>T and PPARG c.1431C>T (p.His477His), were associated with a decrease in CRC risk. Further analyses highlighted genotypic combinations having a greater predisposing effect on CRC (OR 1.97, 95%CI 1.31-2.97, p = 0.0009) than the allelic variants that were examined separately.
Conclusion: The identification of CRC-predisposing combinations, composed of alleles PTGS1 c.639A, PLA2G2A c.435+230C, PPARG c.1431C, IL8 c.-352A, and MTHFR c.1286C, highlights the importance of inflammatory processes in susceptibility to sporadic CRC, as well as a possible crosstalk between inflammation and one-carbon pathways.