The etiology of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is complex, linked with both environmental exposures and genetic factors. Functional variants of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene result in disturbance in folate metabolism and may affect susceptibility to cancer. The study was performed to evaluate whether MTHFR C677T and A1298C polymorphisms, analyzed separately and together, are associated with the development of ALL in a population under 18 years of age of Caucasian ancestry.
The study included 117 pediatric patients (59% males, mean age at diagnosis 7.4 ± 5.2 years) with ALL, confirmed by conventional immunophenotyping surface-marker analysis and 404 healthy control subjects (48.5% men, mean age 37.7 ± 11.3 years). The MTHFR C677T and A1298C genotypes were analyzed using allele discrimination tests with Taq-Man fluorescent probes.
The MTHFR 677TT genotype was related to a 2-fold increase in risk of ALL (P = .014). The 677T-1298C haplotype was found in ALL patients but not in controls (frequency 0.598%; P <.0001). The observed frequency of carriers of this rare haplotype was 12%, including 677CT/1298CC (1.7%), 677TT/1298AC (6.0%), and 677CT/1298AC (4.3%) genotypes.
The MTHFR 677T allele alone or in combination with the MTHFR 1298C allele significantly increases the risk of development of ALL in Polish population under 18 years of age. Further studies of haplotype composition in subjects with the 677CT/1298AC genotype are necessary to assess the risk of childhood ALL.