The Association Between the FTO rs9939609 Variant and Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Risk: A Case-Control Study

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2018 Feb;22(2):79-84. doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2017.0146. Epub 2017 Dec 20.


Aims: Despite the established link between malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) and asbestos exposure, genetic risk factors may play a key role in MPM pathogenesis. The rs9939609 polymorphism in the FTO gene has recently been implicated as a risk factor for some types of cancer, such as breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. FTO variation is associated with altered adipocytokine expression and oxidative stress inflammation, which may influence asbestos mediated-carcinogenesis. This is the first study to investigate a possible association between this polymorphism and MPM risk.

Materials and methods: FTO rs9939609 (T >A) genotypes were screened using a TaqMan® Genotyping Assay in a total of 235 Egyptian subjects (86 MPM patients versus 149 controls). The chi-square test and logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between the candidate variant and MPM risk using a case-control design.

Results: In the additive genetic model, the AT and AA genotypes were associated with a 2.48-fold (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 1.04-5.92, p = 0.04) and a 3.46-fold (95% CI = 0.99-12.01, p = 0.051) increase in the odds of developing MPM, respectively, when compared to the TT genotype after adjustment for body mass index, age, and gender. Additionally, in the dominant genetic model AT/AA genotypes were associated with a 2.63-fold increase in the odds of developing MPM (95% CI = 1.13-6.12, p = 0.025).

Conclusions: The present study shows for the first time that rs9939609 polymorphism in the FTO gene may be a genetic risk factor for MPM. This study highlights the association of this genetic polymorphism with cancer susceptibility, and therefore, it should be investigated in various other populations, in relation to different types of cancer, and with larger sample sizes.

Keywords: FTO; association; cancer; genotyping; mesothelioma; polymorphism.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / genetics*
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleural Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Risk
  • Young Adult


  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO
  • FTO protein, human