Authors report the results of four meta-analyses of studies that examined the association between methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T and A1298C polymorphisms and head and neck cancer (nine studies, 2076 cases and 4834 controls for C677T; four studies, 1439 cases and 3941 controls for A1298C), and lung cancer (ten studies, 5274 cases and 7435 controls for C677T; seven studies, 5098 cases and 6243 controls for A1298C). The summary odds ratio (OR) of head and neck cancer was 0.92 (95% CI: 0.76-1.11) for MTHFR 677 TT and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.37-1.26) for MTHFR 1298 CC. The OR of lung cancer was 1.22 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.95-1.55] for MTHFR 677 TT and 1.07 (95% CI: 0.83-1.38) for MTHFR 1298 CC. Results from the meta-analysis of three studies on C677T stratified according to dietary folate intake showed an increased risk for individuals with low folate intake (OR = 1.37, 95% CI: 0.92-2.06 for head and neck and OR = 1.28, 95% CI: 0.97-1.68 for lung) versus high folate intake (OR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.63-1.16 for head and neck, and OR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.79-1.12 for lung). Despite the lack of formal statistical significance, these findings are consistent with the hypothesis that folate play a role in lung and head/neck carcinogenesis, and show the need to incorporate data on folate intake when interpreting results of MTHFR polymorphisms in relation to cancer risk.

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Keywords Genetic susceptibility, Head and neck cancer, Lung cancer, Meta-analysis, Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR)
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Journal Cancer Letters
Boccia, S, Boffetta, P, Brennan, P, Ricciardi, G, Gianfagna, F, Matsuo, K, … Hung, R.J. (2009). Meta-analyses of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase C677T and A1298C polymorphisms and risk of head and neck and lung cancer. Cancer Letters, 273(1), 55–61. doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2008.07.026