Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) polymorphisms and promoter methylation in cervical oncogenic lesions and cancer


Correspondence to: Gabriela ANTON, Viral Genetic Engineering Laboratory, Romanian Academy “Stefan S. Nicolau” Virology Institute, Bucharest 285 Mihai Bravu Ave, Bucharest 030304, Romania.

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The aim of this study was to investigate the role of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) polymorphisms and MTHFR methylation pattern in cervical lesions development among women from Romania, a country with high prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) cervical infections. To achieve this goal, blood samples and cervical cytology specimens (n = 77)/tumour tissue specimens (n = 23) were investigated. As control, blood and negative cytological smears (n = 50) were used. A statistically significant association was found between T allele of C677T polymorphism and cervical lesions, heterozygote women presenting a threefold increased risk (normal/cervical lesions and tumours: wild homozygote 34/41 (0.68/0.41), heterozygote 14/51 (0.28/0.51), mutant homozygote 2/8 (0.04/0.08); OR = 3.081, P = 0.0035). Using χ square test for the control group, the HPV-negative and HPV-positive patients with cervix lesions, a significant correlation between viral infection and T allele of C677T polymorphism (P = 0.0287) was found. The MTHFR promoter was methylated in all HGSIL and tumour samples, significant differences being noted between HPV-positive samples, control group and cases of cervical dysplastic lesions without HPV DNA (P < 0. 0001) and between samples from patients with high-risk (hr)HPV versus low-risk (lr)HPV (P = 0.0026). No correlations between polymorphisms and methylation were observed. In Romania, individuals carrying T allele are susceptible for cervical lesions. MTHFR promoter methylation is associated with cervical severity lesions and with hrHPV.