Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is a key enzyme in the metabolism of folate, whose role in gastric carcinogenesis is controversial. The authors performed a meta-analysis and individual data pooled analysis of case-control studies that examined the association between C677T and A1298C polymorphisms (the former being associated with low folate serum levels) and gastric cancer (meta-analyses: 16 studies, 2,727 cases and 4,640 controls for C677T and seven studies, 1,223 cases and 2,015 controls for A1298C; pooled analyses: nine studies, 1,540 cases and 2,577 controls for C677T and five studies, 1,146 cases and 1,549 controls for A1298C). An increased risk was found for MTHFR 677 TT in the meta-analysis (odds ratio (OR) = 1.52, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.31, 1.77) and pooled analysis (OR = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.14, 1.95). No association resulted for MTHFR 1298 CC (meta-OR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.65, 1.35; pooled OR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.69, 1.34). Results from the pooled analysis of four studies on C677T stratified according to folate levels showed an increased risk for individuals with low (OR = 2.05, 95% CI: 1.13, 3.72) versus high (OR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.54, 1.67) folate levels. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis that folate plays a role in gastric carcinogenesis.
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