Gastrointestinal cancer, such as gastric, colon and rectal cancer, is a major medical and economic burden worldwide. However, the exact mechanism of gastrointestinal cancer development still remains unclear. RAS genes have been elucidated as major participants in the development and progression of a series of human tumours and the single nucleotide polymorphism at H-RAS cDNA position 81 was demonstrated to contribute to the risks of bladder, oral and thyroid carcinoma. Therefore, we hypothesized that this polymorphisms in H-RAS could influence susceptibility to gastrointestinal cancer as well, and we conducted this study to test the hypothesis in Chinese population.
A population based case-control study, including 296 cases with gastrointestinal cancer and 448 healthy controls selected from a Chinese population was conducted. H-RAS T81C polymorphism was genotyped by Polymerase Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay.
In the healthy controls, the TT, TC and CC genotypes frequencies of H-RAS T81C polymorphism, were 79.24%, 19.87% and 0.89%, respectively, and the C allele frequency was 10.83%. Compared with TT genotype, the TC genotype was significantly associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer (adjusted OR = 3.67, 95%CI = 2.21–6.08), while the CC genotype showed an increased risk as well (adjusted OR = 3.29, 95%CI = 0.54–19.86), but it was not statistically significant. In contrast, the frequency of TC genotype was not significantly increased in colon cancer and rectal cancer patients. Further analysis was performed by combining TC and CC genotypes compared against TT genotype. As a result, a statistically significant risk with adjusted OR of 3.65 (95%CI, 2.22–6.00) was found in gastric cancer, while no significant association of H-RAS T81C polymorphism with colon cancer and rectal cancer was observed.
These findings indicate, for the first time, that there is an H-RAS T81C polymorphism existing in Chinese population, and this SNP might be a low penetrance gene predisposition factor for gastric cancer.