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Associations between vitamin D, vitamin D receptor gene and the androgen receptor gene with colon and rectal cancer

The transcriptional activity of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene is regulated, at least in part, by the androgen receptor (AR) gene. We evaluate how the number of polyglutamine (CAG) repeats of the AR gene influence colorectal cancer in conjunction with vitamin D, sunshine exposure and VDR. Studies of colon (1,580 cases and 1,968 controls) and rectal (797 cases and 1,016 controls) cancer were used. Vitamin D intake and average hours of sunshine exposure interacted with AR genotype in men. Men with low vitamin D intake or low levels of sunshine exposure who had 23+ CAG repeats of the AR gene had the greatest risk of colon cancer. ORs for men with 23 or more CAG repeats of the AR gene and in the lowest tertile of vitamin D intake or sunshine exposure were 1.71 (95% CI 1.14, 2.56) and 1.51 (95% CI 1.09, 2.09). Men with high levels of sunshine exposure were at reduced risk of developing rectal cancer if they had 23 or more CAG repeats (OR 0.62 95% CI 0.39, 0.97) than if they had fewer than 23 CAG repeats. The FF genotype of the Fok1 VDR gene was associated with reduced risk of colon cancer among women with any allele of 23+ CAG repeats (OR 0.62 95% CI 0.44, 0.88), whereas men with the LL/bb VDR genotypes were at reduced risk of rectal cancer if they also had 23+ CAG repeats (OR 0.71 95% CI 0.48, 1.05) relative to men with fewer than 23 CAG repeats of the AR gene. These data provide support for the role of vitamin D and sunshine exposure in the etiology of colorectal cancer and suggest that AR gene may modulate the association.

Authors: Slattery ML; Sweeney C; Murtaugh M; Ma KN; Caan BJ; Potter JD; Wolff R

Int J Cancer. 2006 Jun 15;118(12):3140-6.

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