GWAS-identified common variants for obesity are not associated with the risk of developing colorectal cancer

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Jun;23(6):1125-8. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-1354. Epub 2014 Mar 24.


Background: Observational studies have consistently associated obesity with colorectal cancer risk. Because both traits are genetically determined and share some metabolic biomarkers, we hypothesized that obesity-related polymorphisms could also influence the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive population-based case-control study in 1,792 German colorectal cancer cases and 1,805 controls to explore associations between 28 obesogenic variants identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and colorectal cancer risk. We also evaluated interactions between polymorphisms and body mass index (BMI), type II diabetes (T2D), and gender.

Results: No evidence of association between obesogenic variants and colorectal cancer risk was observed after correction for multiple testing. There was only a remarkable interaction between the LTArs1041981 polymorphism and gender, which modified the risk of colorectal cancer [Pinteraction = 0.002; males: odds ratio (OR), 1.14; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 1.00-1.30 vs. females: OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.71-0.97].

Conclusions: Our findings showed that obesogenic variants are not a major pathogenetic risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Impact: This comprehensive population-based case-control study does not provide evidence of a shared genetic component between obesity and colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Risk Factors