Higher plasma homocysteine is associated with increased risk of developing colorectal polyps

Nutr Cancer. 2013;65(2):195-201. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2013.756532.


Colorectal adenomas are considered to be precursors of colorectal cancer. B-vitamins (i.e., folate, vitamin B(6) and B(12)) are involved in homocysteine metabolism and play an important role as coenzymes in 1-carbon metabolism, which is thought to have a critical role in the progression of colorectal polyps. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of B-vitamins and homocysteine on the risk of developing colorectal polyps. Forty-eight participants with colorectal polyps [29 adenomatous polyps (AP), 19 hyperplastic polyps (HP)], and 96 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were recruited. Fasting blood was drawn from each participant to measure hematological parameters, plasma pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), serum folate and vitamin B(12), and plasma homocysteine. Participants with AP and HP had significantly higher plasma homocysteine levels than did healthy controls. There was no significant difference in serum folate and vitamin B(12) and plasma PLP among the 3 groups. B-vitamins had no significant effect on the risk of colorectal polyps. However, participants with higher plasma homocysteine [odds ratio (OR) = 1.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.13, 3.08) level exhibited significantly increased risk of colorectal polyps after adjusting for potential confounders. Plasma homocysteine was a strong predictor of the risk of colorectal polyps in participants with adequate B-vitamins status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonic Polyps / blood
  • Colonic Polyps / etiology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate / blood
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood
  • Vitamin B Complex / blood*


  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12