Background: Increasing evidence suggests that conventional adenomas (CAs) and serrated polyps (SPs) represent two distinct groups of precursor lesions for colorectal cancer (CRC). The influence of common genetic variants on risk of CAs and SPs remain largely unknown. Methods: Among 27 426 participants within three prospective cohort studies, we created a weighted genetic risk score (GRS) based on 40 CRC-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified in previous genome-wide association studies; and we examined the association of GRS (per one standard deviation increment) with risk of CAs, SPs and synchronous CAs and SPs, by multivariable logistic regression. We also analysed individual variants in the secondary analysis. Results: During 18-20 years of follow-up, we documented 2952 CAs, 1585 SPs and 794 synchronous CAs and SPs. Higher GRS was associated with increased risk of CAs [odds ratio (OR) = 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12-1.21] and SPs (OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.03-1.14), with a stronger association for CAs than SPs (Pheterogeneity=0.01). An even stronger association was found for patients with synchronous CAs and SPs (OR = 1.32), advanced CAs (OR = 1.22) and multiple CAs (OR = 1.25). Different sets of variants were associated with CAs and SPs, with a Spearman correlation coefficient of 0.02 between the ORs associating the 40 SNPs with the two lesions. After correcting for multiple testing, three variants were associated with CAs (rs3802842, rs6983267 and rs7136702) and two with SPs (rs16892766 and rs4779584). Conclusions: Common genetic variants play a potential role in the conventional and serrated pathways of CRC. Different sets of variants are identified for the two pathways, further supporting the aetiological heterogeneity of CRC.
- Colorectal adenomas
- Colorectal cancer