Study in JAMA implicated the rs266729 variation in the ADIPOQ gene, which codes for adiponectin.

A mutation in a gene for a protein hormone that is secreted by fat cells has been linked to a decreased risk of developing colorectal cancer by investigators at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

Several preceding studies have shown an association between obesity and risk of developing colorectal cancer. Additionally, there has been evidence that circulating adiponectin hormone levels are related to colorectal cancer risk. No association between genes of the adiponectin pathway and colorectal cancer had been reported before now, according to the research team.

The research consisted of two case-control studies evaluating two adiponectin genes – adiponectin (ADIPOQ) and adiponectin receptor 1 (ADIPOR1). The first included a total of 441 patients with colorectal cancer and 658 controls. Both of these groups were of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and from New York. The second involved 199 patients with colorectal cancer and 199 controls from Chicago, matched for sex, age, and ethnicity.

The researchers note that they found an association between the SNP rs266729 of the ADIPOQ gene and decreased colorectal cancer risk in each of the case-control studies as well as in the combined analysis of both studies after adjustment for age, sex, and other SNPs.

The scientists add that the findings suggest that the ADIPOQ gene may harbor mutations susceptible to modification of colorectal cancer risk.

The study can be found in the October 1 issue of JAMA.

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