• Open Access

Low-serum GTA-446 anti-inflammatory fatty acid levels as a new risk factor for colon cancer

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Abstract

Gastrointestinal tract acid-446 (GTA-446) is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid present in the serum. A reduction of GTA-446 levels in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients has been reported previously. Our study compared GTA-446 levels in subjects diagnosed with CRC at the time of colonoscopy to the general population. Serum samples and pathology data were collected from 4,923 representative subjects undergoing colonoscopy and from 964 subjects from the general population. Serum GTA-446 levels were determined using a triple-quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry method. A low-serum GTA-446 level was based on the bottom tenth percentile of subjects with low risk based on age (40–49 years old) in the general population. Eighty-six percent of newly diagnosed CRC subjects (87% for stages 0–II and 85% for stages III–IV) showed low-serum GTA-446 levels. A significant increase in the CRC incidence rate with age was observed in subjects with low GTA-446 levels (p = 0.019), but not in subjects with normal levels (p = 0.86). The relative risk of CRC given a low GTA-446 level was the highest for subjects under age 50 (10.1, 95% confidence interval [C.I.] = 6.4–16.4 in the reference population, and 7.7, 95% C.I. = 4.4–14.1 in the colonoscopy population, both p < 0.0001), and declined with age thereafter. The CRC incidence rate in subjects undergoing colonoscopy with low GTA-446 levels was over six times higher than for subjects with normal GTA-446 levels and twice that of subjects with gastrointestinal symptoms. The results show that a low-serum GTA-446 level is a significant risk factor for CRC, and a sensitive predictor of early-stage disease.

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