Washington, October 1 : While a hormone secreted by fat tissue called adiponectin is known to be associated with the risk of colorectal cancer, American scientists have for the first time shown that mutations in a gene for this protein can decrease the likelihood of contracting the disease.
"While there is evidence of an association between circulating adiponectin levels and colorectal cancer risk, no association between genes of the adiponectin pathway and colorectal cancer have been reported to date," write the authors of the study, conducted at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago.
Research leader Dr. Virginia G. Kaklamani has revealed that the study aimed at determining the association between variations of the adiponectin (ADIPOQ) and adiponectin receptor 1 (ADIPOR1) genes with colorectal cancer risk.
The study consisted of two case-control studies including patients with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and controls without cancer.
Case-control study 1 included a total of 441 patients with colorectal cancer and 658 controls; both groups were of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and from New York.
Case-control study 2 included 199 patients with colorectal cancer and 199 controls from Chicago, matched 1:1 for sex, age and ethnicity.
"In this clinic-based case-control analysis, we found an association between 1 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP; a gene variation) of the ADIPOQ gene (rs266729) and colorectal cancer risk in 2 separate case-control studies, as well as in the combined analysis of both studies after adjustment for age, sex and other SNPs," the researchers write.
The authors further state that the new findings indicate that the ADIPOQ gene may harbor SNPs/mutations susceptible to modify colorectal cancer risk.
"If these exciting results can be confirmed in other studies, the adiponectin axis may emerge as an important modifier of colorectal cancer risk. Future studies will need to address the potential impact of adiponectin and its SNPs in the prognosis of colorectal cancer and also may be incorporated in genetic risk models for the disease," they write.
The study has been published in the October 1 issue of JAMA.