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Open Access Research article

Effects of polymorphisms in ERCC1, ASE-1 and RAI on the risk of colorectal carcinomas and adenomas: a case control study

Camilla F Skjelbred12, Mona Sæbø2, Bjørn A Nexø3, Håkan Wallin4, Inger-Lise Hansteen1, Ulla Vogel4 and Elin H Kure25*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Section of Medical Genetics, Telemark Hospital, N-3710 Skien, Norway

2 Telemark University College, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Environmental and Health Studies, Hallvard Eikas plass, N-3800 Bø i Telemark, Norway

3 Institute of Human Genetics, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark

4 National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark

5 Department of Pathology, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:175  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-175

Published: 3 July 2006



The risk of sporadic colorectal cancer is mainly associated with lifestyle factors and may be modulated by several genetic factors of low penetrance. Genetic variants represented by single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes encoding key players in the adenoma carcinoma sequence may contribute to variation in susceptibility to colorectal cancer. In this study, we aimed to evaluate whether the recently identified haplotype encompassing genes of DNA repair and apoptosis, is associated with increased risk of colorectal adenomas and carcinomas.


We used a case-control study design (156 carcinomas, 981 adenomas and 399 controls) to test the association between polymorphisms in the chromosomal region 19q13.2-3, encompassing the genes ERCC1, ASE-1 and RAI, and risk of colorectal adenomas and carcinomas in a Norwegian cohort. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated by binary logistic regression model adjusting for age and gender.


The ASE-1 polymorphism was associated with an increased risk of adenomas, OR of 1.39 (95% CI 1.06–1.81), which upon stratification was apparent among women only, OR of 1.66 (95% CI 1.15–2.39). The RAI polymorphism showed a trend towards risk reduction for both adenomas (OR of 0.70, 95% CI 0.49–1.01) and carcinomas (OR of 0.49, 95% CI 0.21–1.13) among women, although not significant. Women who were homozygous carriers of the high risk haplotype had an increased risk of colorectal cancer, OR of 2.19 (95% CI 0.95–5.04) compared to all non-carriers although the estimate was not statistically significant.


We found no evidence that the studied polymorphisms were associated with risk of adenomas or colorectal cancer among men, but we found weak indications that the chromosomal region may influence risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma development in women.