Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified more than 50 CRC loci. However, most of the previous studies were conducted in European population, and host genetic factors among Japanese population are largely remained to be identified. To identify novel loci in the Japanese population, here, we performed a large-scale GWAS using 6692 cases and 27 178 controls followed by a replication analysis using more than 11 000 case-control samples. We found the significant association of 10 loci (P < 5 × 10-8), including 2 novel loci on 16q24.1 (IRF8-FOXF1, rs847208, P = 3.15 × 10-9 and odds ratio = 1.107 with 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.071-1.145) and 20q13.12 (TOX2, rs6065668, P = 4.47 × 10-11 and odds ratio = 0.897 with 95% CI of 0.868-0.926). Moreover, 35 previously reported single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 24 regions were validated in the Japanese population (P < 0.05) with the same risk allele as in the previous studies. SNP rs6065668 was significantly associated with TOX2 expression in the sigmoid colon. In addition, nucleotide substitutions in the regulatory region of TOX2 were predicted to alter the binding of several transcription factors, including KLF5. Our findings elucidate the important role of genetic variations in the development of CRC in the Japanese population.
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