C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation, has been shown to be influenced by genetic variation in the CRP gene. In this study, we test the hypothesis that genetic variation in CRP influences both the risk of developing colon and rectal cancer and survival. Two population-based studies of colon cancer (n = 1,574 cases, 1,970 controls) and rectal (n = 791 cases, 999 controls) were conducted. We evaluated four CRP tagSNPs: rs1205 (G > A, 3' UTR); rs1417938 (T > A, intron); rs1800947 (G > C, L184L); and rs3093075 (C > A, 3' flanking). The CRP rs1205 AA genotype was associated with an increased risk of colon cancer (OR 1.3, 95%CI 1.1-1.7), whereas the rs3093075 A allele was associated with a reduced risk of rectal cancer (OR 0.7, 95%CI 0.5-0.9). The strongest association for the rs1205 polymorphism and colon cancer was observed among those with KRAS2 mutations (OR 1.5, 95%CI 1.1-2.0). The CRP rs1205 AA genotype also was associated with an increased risk of CIMP+ rectal tumors (OR 2.5, 95%CI 1.2-5.3); conversely, the rs1417938 A allele was associated with a reduced risk of CIMP+ rectal tumors (OR 0.5, 95%CI 0.3-0.9). We observed interactions between CRP rs1800947 and BMI and family history of CRC in modifying risk of both colon and rectal cancer. These data suggest that genetic variation in the CRP gene influences risk of both colon and rectal cancer development.
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