Open Access Open Badges Research article

Polymorphisms in NFkB, PXR, LXR and risk of colorectal cancer in a prospective study of Danes

Vibeke Andersen1*, Jane Christensen2, Kim Overvad3, Anne Tjønneland2 and Ulla Vogel456

Author Affiliations

1 Medical Department, Viborg Regional Hospital, Heibergs Allé 4, DK-8800 Viborg, Denmark

2 Danish Cancer Society, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

3 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

4 National Research Centre for the Working Environment, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

5 National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2860 Soborg, Denmark

6 Institute of Science, Systems and Models, University of Roskilde, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:484  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-484

Published: 13 September 2010



Transcription factors and nuclear receptors constitute a link between exposure to heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from meat and tobacco smoke and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. The aim of this study was to investigate if polymorphisms in nuclear factor kappa-B, pregnane X receptor, and liver X receptor were associated with risk of CRC, and to investigate possible interactions with lifestyle factors such as smoking, meat consumption, and NSAID use.


The polymorphisms nuclear factor kappa-B (NFkB, NFKB1) -94 insertion/deletion ATTG (rs28362491), pregnane X receptor (PXR, NR1I2) A-24381C (rs1523127), C8055T (rs2276707), A7635G (rs6785049), liver X receptor (LXR-β, NR1H3) C-rs1405655T, T-rs2695121C were assessed together with lifestyle factors in a nested case-cohort study of 378 CRC cases and 756 random participants from the Danish prospective Diet, Cancer and Health study of 57,053 persons.


Carriers of NFkB -94deletion were at 1.45-fold higher risk of CRC than homozygous carriers of the insertion allele (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 1.45, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.10-1.92). There was interaction between this polymorphism and intake of red and processed meat in relation to CRC risk. Carriers of NFkB -94deletion were at 3% increased risk pr 25 gram meat per day (95% CI: 0.98-1.09) whereas homozygous carriers of the insertion were not at increased risk (p for interaction = 0.03). PXR and LXR polymorphisms were not associated with CRC risk. There was no interaction between use of nonsteroid antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID) or smoking status and NFkB, PXR or LXR polymorphisms.


A polymorphism in NFkB was associated with CRC risk and there was interaction between this polymorphism and meat intake in relation to CRC risk. This study suggests a role for NFkB in CRC aetiology.