The obesity gene and colorectal cancer risk: a population study in Northern Italy.

Research paper by E E Tarabra, G C GC Actis, M M Fadda, P P De Paolis, A A Comandone, R R Coda, F F Rosina

Indexed on: 14 Dec '11Published on: 14 Dec '11Published in: European Journal of Internal Medicine


Representing the second cause of cancer-related death after lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women, colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major health problem in Italy. Obesity is reckoned to favor CRC; however, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Recently, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene was found to be significantly associated with obesity.To establish whether the FTO SNP rs9939609 may represent a risk factor for CRC and adenoma in the Italian population.1,037 subjects were enrolled in the study and divided in 3 groups: CRC (341 pts., M/F=197/144, mean age=65.17±11.16 years), colorectal adenoma (385 pts., M/F=247/138, mean age=62.49±13.01 years), healthy controls (311 pts., M/F=150/161, mean age=57.31±13.84 years). DNA was extracted from whole blood, and stored frozen for rs9939609 genotyping by real-time PCR.The frequency of the obesity-associated mutated A allele (AA+AT) on the FTO gene was 69.77% among controls, and 71.85% and 65.71% respectively among CRC and polyp patients. Compared to control subjects the AA+AT genotype had no significant effect on the risk for either CRC (OR=1.106; CI 95%=0.788-1.550; p=0.561) or colorectal adenomas (OR=0.830; CI 95%=0.602-1.144; p=0.255). We did not observe any association between the AA genotype and CRC/polyp localization and age at diagnosis. As measured in a patient subset, carriership of the risk alleles did not reflect in a significantly altered BMI.The obesity-linked FTO variants do not play a significant role in modulating the colorectal cancer risk in the Italian population.

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