The causal roles of vitamin B(12) and transcobalamin in prostate cancer: can Mendelian randomization analysis provide definitive answers?
Collin SM., Metcalfe C., Palmer TM., Refsum H., Lewis SJ., Smith GD., Cox A., Davis M., Marsden G., Johnston C., Lane JA., Donovan JL., Neal DE., Hamdy FC., Smith AD., Martin RM.
Circulating vitamin B(12) (cobalamin/B(12)) and total transcobalamin (tTC) have been associated with increased and reduced risk, respectively, of prostate cancer. Mendelian randomization has the potential to determine whether these are causal associations. We estimated associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms in B(12)-related genes (MTR, MTRR, FUT2, TCN2, TCN1, CUBN, and MUT) with plasma concentrations of B(12), tTC, holo-transcobalamin, holo-haptocorrin, folate, and homocysteine and with prostate cancer risk in a case-control study (913 cases, 895 controls) nested within the UK-wide population-based ProtecT study of prostate cancer in men age 45-69 years. Instrumental variable (IV) analysis was used to estimate odds ratios for effects of B(12) and tTC on prostate cancer. We observed that B(12) was lower in men with FUT2 204G>A (rs492602), CUBN 758C>T (rs1801222) and MUT 1595G>A (rs1141321) alleles (P(trend)<0.001); tTC was lower in men with the TCN2 776C>G (rs1801198) allele (P(trend)<0.001). FUT2 204G>A and CUBN 758C>T were selected as instruments for B(12); TCN2 776C>G for tTC. Conventional and IV estimates for the association of log(e)(B(12)) with prostate cancer were: OR=1.17 (95% CI 0.90-1.51), P=0.2 and OR=0.60 (0.16-2.15), P=0.4, respectively. Conventional and IV estimates for the association of loge(tTC) with prostate cancer were: OR=0.81 (0.54-1.20), P=0.3 and OR=0.41 (0.13-1.32), P=0.1, respectively. Confidence intervals around the IV estimates in our study were too wide to allow robust inference. Sample size estimates based on our data indicated that Mendelian randomization in this context requires much larger studies or multiple genetic variants that explain all of the variance in the intermediate phenotype.