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Original article Interaction between vitamin E intake and a COMT gene variant on colorectal cancer risk: a case-control study
Shinyoung Jun1orcid , Madhawa Gunathilake1orcid , Jeonghee Lee1orcid , Jae Hwan Oh2orcid , Hee Jin Chang2orcid , Dae Kyung Sohn2orcid , Aesun Shin3,4orcid , Jeongseon Kim1orcid
Epidemiol Health 2023;e2023100
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023100 [Accepted]
Published online: November 14, 2023
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1National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, Goyang-si, Korea
2Center for Colorectal Cancer, National Cancer Center, Goyang-si, Korea
3Seoul National University of College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
4Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding author:  Jeongseon Kim,
Email: jskim@ncc.re.kr
Received: 3 July 2023   • Revised: 10 October 2023   • Accepted: 30 October 2023

Previous human trials have not supported the anticarcinogenic effect of vitamin E despite biological plausibility and considerable epidemiological evidence. A possible explanation for this inconsistency is the interactive effect of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene and supplemental vitamin E on cancer. We examined whether a COMT gene variant modulates the effect of dietary vitamin E intake on colorectal cancer (CRC) risk.
In this case-control study of Korean adults (975 cases and 975 age- and sex-matched controls), dietary vitamin E density (mg/1,000 kcal) was measured using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire, COMT SNP rs740603 (A>G) was genotyped, and CRC was verified histologically. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using unconditional logistic regression models with adjustments for potential confounders.
Higher vitamin E density was associated with a lower risk of CRC (highest vs. lowest quartiles; OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.96; p-for-trend=0.0018). When stratified by COMT SNP rs740603 genotype, the inverse association between vitamin E density and CRC risk was confined to those with at least 1 A allele (≥median vs. <median; OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.78). The interaction between rs740603 and vitamin E density was significant (p-for-interaction=0.0204). No direct association was observed between COMT SNP rs740603 and CRC risk (OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.71 to 1.20).
Our findings support a role for a genetic polymorphism in COMT modifies the association between dietary vitamin E intake and CRC.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health