Genetic predictors of bladder cancer with an emphasis on methylation-related genes

Aditi Hazra, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Although tobacco exposure remains the prevailing risk factor for bladder cancer (BC), only a small percentage of exposed individuals develop cancer, suggesting that tobacco-related carcinogenesis is modulated by genetic susceptibility and possibly by DNA methylation-related events. Methylation patterns established by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) are influenced by dietary folate and genetic polymorphisms in the methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR). Therefore, we hypothesized that DNA methylation-related genes, such as DNMT3B and MTHFR, might modulate BC risk. In a study of 514 Caucasian BC cases and 498 healthy Caucasian controls examining the DNMT3B C46359T polymorphism, CC genotype was found to be a risk factor in women (Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.79), but not in men. This risk was further increased among women who were never smokers, consumed low dietary folate, and had adverse variants of MTHFR. In addition, higher DNMT3B expression among smokers was a risk factor (OR = 4.27) and correlated with genetic variants of the DNMT3B C46359T polymorphism, providing salient evidence for the risk associated with the CC variant. This suggests that the DNMT3B CC variant may confer a predisposition toward aberrant de novo methylation of CpG islands in critical tumor suppressor genes. The convergence of alterations in DNMT3B, associated with promoter methylation, and reduced dietary folate consumption, accompanying global hypomethylation and genetic instability, may act synergistically to promote bladder carcinogenesis, especially in women. The results of this study unveiled new gender-specific paradigms of BC risk for women and demonstrated that this risk can be modified by folate consumption as well as polymorphisms in the folate pathway.

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Hazra, Aditi, "Genetic predictors of bladder cancer with an emphasis on methylation-related genes" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3160418.