Journal Article

Interferon-signaling pathway: associations with colon and rectal cancer risk and subsequent survival

Martha L. Slattery, Abbie Lundgreen, Kristina L. Bondurant and Roger K. Wolff

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 32, issue 11, pages 1660-1667
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Interferon-signaling pathway: associations with colon and rectal cancer risk and subsequent survival

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  • Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics


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Interferons (IFNs) are proteins involved in many functions including antiviral and antimicrobial response, apoptosis, cell cycle control and mediating other cytokines. IFN gamma (IFNG) is a proinflammatory cytokine that modulates many immune-related genes. In this study we examine genetic variation in IFNG, IFNGR1, IFNGR2 and interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) to determine associations with colon and rectal cancer and survival after diagnosis. We include data from two population-based incident studies of colon cancer (1555 cases and 1956 controls) and rectal cancer (754 cases and 959 controls). Five tagSNPs in IFNG, IRF2 and IRF3 were associated with colon cancer and eight tagSNPs in IFNGR1, IFNGR2, IRF2, IRF4, IRF6 and IRF8 were associated with rectal cancer. IRF3 rs2304204 was associated with the strongest direct association and IRF2 3775554 with the strongest inverse association for colon cancer [odds ratios (ORs) 1.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12–1.82 for recessive model and 0.52, 95% CI 0.28–0.97 for unrestricted model]. For rectal cancer, IFNGR1 rs3799488 was directly associated with risk (OR 2.30, 95% CI 1.04–5.09 for recessive model), whereas IRF6 rs861020 was inversely associated with risk (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.34–0.95). Several single-nucleotide polymorphisms interacted significant with both NF-κB1 and IL6 and with aspirin/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cigarette smoking. Using a summary score to estimate mutational load, we observed a hazard rate ratio (HRR) close to 5.00 (95% CI 2.73–8.99) for both colon and rectal (HRR 4.83, 95% CI 2.34–10.05) cancer for those in the category having the most at-risk genotypes. These data suggest the importance of IFN-signaling pathway on colon and rectal cancer risk and survival after diagnosis.

Journal Article.  4969 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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