A methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphism and the risk of colorectal cancer.

Article Details


Chen J, Giovannucci E, Kelsey K, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Spiegelman D, Willett WC, Hunter DJ

A methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphism and the risk of colorectal cancer.

Cancer Res. 1996 Nov 1;56(21):4862-4.

PubMed ID
8895734 [ View in PubMed

We examined the relationship of a common polymorphism (667C-->T) of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene with the risk of colorectal cancer in a case-control study conducted in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. MTHFR genotypes were ascertained from blood samples among 144 men previously diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 627 controls. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for the MTHFR variant homozygous (val/val) genotype was 0.57 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.30-1.06]. High dietary intake of methionine (OR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.06-1.20) and low consumption of alcohol (OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.01-0.85) were associated with reduced incidence of colorectal cancer. Alcohol intake was a stronger risk factor among men with the val/val genotype (P, trend = 0.01), and consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks per week abolished the reduced risk of colorectal cancer among val/val individuals (P, interaction = 0.02). The inverse association of methionine with colorectal cancer risk was slightly stronger among individuals with the MTHFR val/val genotype. These data suggest that dietary methyl supply is particularly critical among MTHFR val/val individuals. When dietary methyl supply is high, MTHFR val/val individuals may be at reduced risk of colorectal cancer probably because higher levels of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate may prevent imbalances of nucleotide pools during DNA synthesis. In contrast, when 5-methyltetrahydrofolate is depleted by alcohol consumption, val/val individuals may be less able to compensate, leading to potentially oncogenic alterations in DNA methylation.

DrugBank Data that Cites this Article

NameUniProt ID
Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductaseP42898Details