Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphisms increase risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in a Chinese population

Chunying Song, Deyin Xing, Wen Tan, Qingyi Wei, Dongxin Lin

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225 Scopus citations


Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) plays a central role in folate metabolism that affects DNA methylation and synthesis. Because germ-line mutations at nucleotides 677 (C→T) and 1298 (A→C) in the MTHFR gene cause diminished enzyme activity, and aberrant DNA methylation is oncogenic, we examined the relationship between these two MTHFR polymorphisms and susceptibility to esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in 240 ESCC cases and 360 age- and sex-matched controls in northern China. We found that the allele frequency of MTHFR 677T was significantly higher among cases than among controls (63% versus 41%, P < 0.001). Subjects with the 677TT genotype had a more than 6-fold increased risk of developing ESCC [adjusted odds ratio (OR), 6.18; 95% confidence interval (CT), 3.32-11.51] compared with those who had the 677CC genotype. Furthermore, the elevated ESCC risk associated with the 677 polymorphism was in an allele-dose relationship (trend test, P = 0.0001) with ORs of 1.00, 3.14 (95% CI, 1.94-5.08), and 6.18 (95% CI, 3.32-11.51) for the CC, CT, and TT genotype, respectively, after adjustment for age, sex, smoking status, and the MTHFR 1298 polymorphism. The allele frequency for the MTHFR 1298C was 14% among cases and 17% among controls. The 1298CC genotype was extremely rare in both controls (1.4%) and cases (2.9%) and was also associated with an elevated risk of ESCC (adjusted OR, 4.43; 95% CI, 1.23-16.02) compared with the 1298AA genotype, whereas the 1298AC genotype had no effect on the risk of ESCC. Thus, our findings support the hypothesis that genetic polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene may contribute to susceptibility to carcinogenesis of the esophagus in the at-risk Chinese population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3272-3275
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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