Genetic polymorphism of cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) and colorectal adenomas: Self Defense Forces Health Study

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Bile acids have long been implicated in colorectal carcinogenesis, but epidemiological evidence is limited. Cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) is the rate-limiting enzyme producing bile acids from cholesterol. A recent case-control study showed a decreased risk of proximal colon cancer associated with the CC genotype of the CYP7A1 A-203C polymorphism. The present study examined the relationship between the CYP7A1 A-203C polymorphism and colorectal adenoma, which is a well-established precursor lesion of colorectal cancer. The study subjects comprised 446 cases of colorectal adenomas and 914 controls of normal total colonoscopy among men receiving a preretirement health examination at two hospitals of the Self Defense Forces (SDF). The CYP7A1 genotype was determined by the polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Statistical adjustment was made for age, hospital, rank in the SDF, smoking, alcohol use, body mass index, physical activity and parental history of colorectal cancer. The CYP7A1 polymorphism was not measurably related to the overall risk of colorectal adenomas. However, the CC genotype was associated with a decreased risk of proximal colon adenomas, but not of distal colon and rectal adenomas. Adjusted odds ratios of proximal colon adenomas (95% confidence intervals) for the AC and CC genotype versus AA genotype were 0.82 (0.54–1.24) and 0.56 (0.34–0.95), respectively. The findings add to evidence for the role of bile acids in colorectal carcinogenesis. The CC genotype of the CYP7A1 A-203C polymorphism probably renders lower activity of the enzyme synthesizing bile acids.

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