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Open Access Research article

Genetic factors associated with intestinal metaplasia in a high risk Singapore-Chinese population: a cohort study

Feng Zhu1, Marie Loh2, Jeffrey Hill3, Sumarlin Lee2, King Xin Koh2, Kin Wai Lai2, Manuel Salto-Tellez24, Barry Iacopetta5, Khay Guan Yeoh1, Richie Soong24* and the Singapore Gastric Cancer Consortium

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

2 Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

3 Experimental Therapeutics Centre, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, Singapore

4 Department of Pathology, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

5 School of Surgery, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

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BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:76  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-76

Published: 13 October 2009



Intestinal metaplasia (IM) is an important precursor lesion in the development of gastric cancer (GC). The aim of this study was to investigate genetic factors previously linked to GC risk for their possible association with IM. A total of 18 polymorphisms in 14 candidate genes were evaluated in a Singapore-Chinese population at high risk of developing GC.


Genotype frequencies were compared between individuals presenting with (n = 128) or without (n = 246) IM by both univariate and multivariate analysis.


Carriers of the NQO1 609 T allele showed an association with IM in individuals who were seropositive for Helicobacter pylori (HP+; OR = 2.61, 95%CI: 1.18-5.80, P = .018). The IL-10 819 C allele was also associated with IM in HP+ individuals (OR = 2.32, 95%CI: 1.21-4.43, P = 0.011), while the PTPN11 A allele was associated with IM in HP- individuals (OR = 2.51, 95%CI: 1.16-5.40, P = 0.019), but showed an inverse association in HP+ subjects (OR = 0.46, 95%CI: 0.21-0.99, P = 0.048).


Polymorphisms in NQO1, IL-10 and PTPN11, in combination with HP status, could be used to identify individuals who are more likely to develop IM and therefore GC.