The genetic susceptibility to colorectal cancer (CRC) has been estimated to be around 35% and yet high-penetrance germline mutations found so far explain less than 5% of all cases. Much of the remaining variations could be due to the co-inheritance of multiple low penetrant variants. The identification of all the susceptibility alleles could have public health relevance in the near future. To test the hypothesis that what are considered polymorphisms in human CRC genes could constitute low-risk alleles, we selected eight common SNPs for a pilot association study in 1785 cases and 1722 controls. One SNP, rs3219489:G>C (MUTYH Q324H) seemed to confer an increased risk of rectal cancer in homozygous status (OR=1.52; CI=1.06-2.17). When the analysis was restricted to our 'super-controls', healthy individuals with no family history for cancer, also rs1799977:A>G (MLH1 I219V) was associated with an increased risk in both colon and rectum patients with an odds ratio of 1.28 (CI=1.02-1.60) and 1.34 (CI=1.05-1.72), respectively (under the dominant model); while 2 SNPs, rs1800932:A>G (MSH6 P92P) and rs459552:T>A (APC D1822V) seemed to confer a protective effect. The latter, in particular showed an odds ratio of 0.76 (CI=0.60-0.97) among colon patients and 0.73 (CI=0.56-0.95) among rectal patients. In conclusion, our study suggests that common variants in human CRC genes could constitute low-risk alleles.
INTRODUCTION: The CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), known as a versatile transcription factor and chromatin insulator and to be involved in X inactivation, has also been suggested to be a tumour suppressor on 16q. We investigated 153 patients with familial non-BRCA1/BRCA2 breast cancer for germline mutations in the CTCF gene. METHODS: Mutation screening of CTCF was performed by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography followed by cycle sequencing. RESULTS: We found two sequence variants, 240G-->A in the 5' untranslated region and 1455C-->T (S388S) in exon 4, in five familial breast cancer cases. Three of these five cases had both variants. Cases and controls showed the same prevalence for the two variants, which were found in linkage disequilibrium in most cases and controls. CONCLUSION: The present study suggests that germline mutations in CTCF are not important as a risk factor for breast cancer.