Background: Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) use has been consistently associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) in women. Our aim was to use a genome-wide gene-environment interaction analysis to identify genetic modifiers of CRC risk associated with use of MHT.
Methods: We included 10 835 postmenopausal women (5419 cases and 5416 controls) from 10 studies. We evaluated use of any MHT, oestrogen-only (E-only) and combined oestrogen-progestogen (E+P) hormone preparations. To test for multiplicative interactions, we applied the empirical Bayes (EB) test as well as the Wald test in conventional case-control logistic regression as primary tests. The Cocktail test was used as secondary test.
Results: The EB test identified a significant interaction between rs964293 at 20q13.2/CYP24A1 and E+P (interaction OR (95% CIs) = 0.61 (0.52-0.72), P = 4.8 x 10(-9)). The secondary analysis also identified this interaction (Cocktail test OR = 0.64 (0.52-0.78), P = 1.2 x 10(-5) (alpha threshold = 3.1 x 10(-4)). The ORs for association between E+P and CRC risk by rs964293 genotype were as follows: C/C, 0.96 (0.61-1.50); A/C, 0.61 (0.39-0.95) and A/A, 0.40 (0.22-0.73), respectively.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that rs964293 modifies the association between E+P and CRC risk. The variant is located near CYP24A1, which encodes an enzyme involved in vitamin D metabolism. This novel finding offers additional insight into downstream pathways of CRC etiopathogenesis.