Risk modification of colorectal adenoma by CYP7A1 polymorphisms and the role of bile acid metabolism in carcinogenesis

Betsy C. Wertheim, Jeffrey W. Smith, Changming Fang, David S. Alberts, Peter Lance, Patricia A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), the rate-limiting enzyme in the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids, is a postulated gene modifier of colorectal cancer risk and target for the therapeutic bile acid, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). We investigated associations between CYP7A1 polymorphisms and fecal bile acids, colorectal adenoma (CRA), and UDCA efficacy for CRA prevention. Seven tagging, singlenucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in CYP7A1 were measured in 703 (355 UDCA, 348 placebo) participants of a phase III chemoprevention trial, of which 495 had known baseline fecal bile acid concentrations. In the placebo arm, participants with two minor G rs8192871 alleles (tag for a low activity promoter polymorphism at -204) had lower odds of high secondary bile acids (OR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.10-0.69), and CRA at 3 years' follow-up (OR = 0.41, 95%CI: 0.19-0.89), than AA carriers. Haplotype construction from the six polymorphic SNPs showed participants with the third most common haplotype (C rs10957057C rs8192879G rs8192877T rs11786580A rs8192871G rs13251096) had higher odds of high primary bile acids (OR = 2.34, 95% CI: 1.12-4.89) and CRA (OR = 1.89, 95% CI: 1.00-3.57) than those with the most common CTACAG haplotype. Furthermore, three SNPs (rs8192877, rs8192871, and rs13251096) each modified UDCA efficacy for CRA prevention, and CCGTAG-haplotype carriers experienced 71% lower odds of CRA recurrence with UDCA treatment, an effect not present for other haplotypes (test for UDCA-haplotype interaction, P = 0.020). Our findings support CYP7A1 polymorphisms as determinants of fecal bile acids and risk factors for CRA. Furthermore, UDCA efficacy for CRA prevention may be modified by genetic variation in CYP7A1, limiting treatment benefit to a subgroup of the population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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