Associations Between Glycemic Traits and Colorectal Cancer: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2021
Murphy N, Song M, Papadimitriou N, Carreras-Torres R, Langenberg C, Martin RM, Tsilidis KK, Barroso I, Chen J, Frayling T, Bull CJ, Vincent EE, Cotterchio M, Gruber SB, Pai RK, Newcomb PA, Perez-Cornago A, van Duijnhoven FJB, Van Guelpen B, Vodicka P, Wolk A, Wu AH, Peters U, Chan AT, and Gunter MJ
DOI : 10.1093/jnci/djac011
PubMed ID : 35048991
PMCID : PMC9086764
Glycemic traits-such as hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and type-2 diabetes-have been associated with higher colorectal cancer risk in observational studies; however, causality of these associations is uncertain. We used Mendelian randomization (MR) to estimate the causal effects of fasting insulin, 2-hour glucose, fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and type-2 diabetes with colorectal cancer.
Genome-wide association study summary data were used to identify genetic variants associated with circulating levels of fasting insulin (n = 34), 2-hour glucose (n = 13), fasting glucose (n = 70), HbA1c (n = 221), and type-2 diabetes (n = 268). Using two-sample MR, we examined these variants in relation to colorectal cancer risk (48,214 cases and 64,159 controls).
In inverse-variance models, higher fasting insulin levels increased colorectal cancer risk (odds ratio [OR] per 1-standard deviation [SD]=1.65, 95% CI = 1.15-2.36). We found no evidence of any effect of 2-hour glucose (OR per 1-SD = 1.02, 95% CI = 0.86-1.21) or fasting glucose (OR per 1-SD = 1.04, 95% CI = 0.88-1.23) concentrations on colorectal cancer risk. Genetic liability to type-2 diabetes (OR per 1-unit increase in log odds = 1.04, 95% CI = 1.01-1.07) and higher HbA1c levels (OR per 1-SD = 1.09, 95% CI = 1.00-1.19) increased colorectal cancer risk, although these findings may have been biased by pleiotropy. Higher HbA1c concentrations increased rectal cancer risk in men (OR per 1-SD = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.05-1.40), but not in women.
Our results support a causal effect of higher fasting insulin, but not glucose traits or type-2 diabetes, on increased colorectal cancer risk. This suggests that pharmacological or lifestyle interventions that lower circulating insulin levels may be beneficial in preventing colorectal tumorigenesis.