- Research article
- Open Access
- Open Peer Review
Common NOD2/CARD15 variants are not associated with susceptibility or the clinicopathologic characteristics of sporadic colorectal cancer in Hungarian patients
© Lakatos et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007
- Received: 18 October 2006
- Accepted: 27 March 2007
- Published: 27 March 2007
Epidemiological observations suggest that cancer arises from chronically inflamed tissues. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a typical example as patients with longstanding IBD are at an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer (CRC) and mutations of the NOD2/CARD15 gene increase the risk for Crohn's disease (CD). Recently, NOD2/CARD15 has been associated with a risk for CRC in some studies, which stemmed from ethnically diverse populations. Our aim was to identify common NOD2/CARD15 mutations in Hungarian patients with sporadic CRC.
A total of 194 sporadic CRC patients (m/f: 108/86, age at diagnosis of CRC: 63.2 ± 9.1 years old) and 200 healthy subjects were included. DNA was screened for SNP8, SNP12 and SNP13 NOD2/CARD15 mutations by denaturing-HPLC and confirmed by direct sequencing.
NOD2/CARD15 mutations were found in 28 patients (14.4%) and in 23 controls (11.5%, p = NS). Allele frequencies for SNP8/R702W (1.8% vs. 1.5%) SNP12/G908R (1.8% vs. 1.8%) and SNP13/3020insC (3.6% vs. 2.5%) were also not statistically different between patients and controls. The clinicopathologic characteristics of CRC patients with or without NOD2/CARD15 mutations were not significantly different.
Our results suggest that common NOD2/CARD15 mutations alone do not contribute to CRC risk in the Hungarian population.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patient
- Paneth Cell
- Variant Allele Frequency
- Hungarian Population
Colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRC) is the second most common cause of death in developed countries. It is preceded only by lung cancer in mortality statistics as the leading cause of malignant deaths. Approximately 700,000 new cases are discovered and almost half a million patients die of the disease each year . In Hungary, CRC mortality has almost tripled in the past four decades, with a great proportion of the patients being diagnosed only in advanced stages . The pathogenesis of sporadic CRCs is thought to be multifactorial, with multiple genetic and various environmental factors involved [3–5].
Epidemiological studies have suggested that chronic continuous inflammation predisposes to cancer . A typical example is the association between inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC) . Although CRC, complicating ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, accounts for only 1–2% of all cases of CRC in the general population, it is considered a serious complication of the disease accounting for 1 in 6 of all deaths in IBD patients [8, 9]. Precursor lesions of CRC may often have inflammatory histological features . Inflammation may favour tumorigenesis by inducing DNA damage  stimulating continuous cell proliferation or apoptosis  and stimulating angiogenesis.
Assuming that the underlying chronic inflammation in IBD may be implicated in the progression of CRC, genetic factors, known to be involved in the chronic inflammatory process in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, may simultaneously hasten the development of CRC in IBD patients. Several studies have shown that NOD2/CARD15, a gene that overlaps with the IBD1 locus on chromosome 16q12, is significantly associated with susceptibility to IBD . The physiological role of the CARD15/NOD2 protein remains under detailed examination. It is a cytoplasmic protein expressed in peripheral blood monocytes, Paneth cells and intestinal epithelial cells, and is structurally related to the well-described R proteins in plants, which mediate host resistance to microbial pathogens . Variant alleles result in altered NF-κB activity [15, 16]. Variant NOD2/CARD15 alleles are also associated with reduced α-defensin secretion from Paneth cells in response to bacteria . Finally, NOD2/CARD15 was found to be involved in the regulation of TLR2  and carriers of the variant alleles exhibited increased intestinal permeability .
Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms of NOD2/CARD15 (SNP8: R702W and SNP12: G908R) and a frameshift mutation (SNP13: 3020insC) were shown by independent groups to be associated with susceptibility to CD [20, 21]. The presence of one variant allele increases the risk of developing CD 1.5–4.3-fold, and of two copies by up to 20–40-fold [22, 23], yet rates are lower in Northern Europe .
Recently, NOD2/CARD15 was found to increase the risk for colorectal cancer (CRC). Kurzawski et al.  found that the presence of 3020insC mutation increased the risk of developing CRC by 2.23-fold in Polish patients with an older average age at diagnosis. This was however not confirmed in a Finnish study by Alhopuro et al. . Noteworthy, in the most recent Greek study, all three common variants were found to be associated with an increased risk for CRC (OR: 2.4–5.2) .
In light of these findings, and given that the frequency of the mutations varies in different populations, our aim was to investigate the presence of the three common NOD2/CARD15 variants in a large cohort of patients with sporadic CRC in Hungary, a country with a high CRC incidence rate, comparable to that observed in Poland.
NOD2/CARD15 SNP8, 12 and 13 in patients with sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC) and (CD) and controls
G908R (SNP 12)
3020insC (SNP 13)
CRC n (%)
Controls n (%)
CRC n (%)
controls n (%)
CRC n (%)
controls n (%)
P value for carriers
OR carrier (95%CI)
Clinicopathologic characteristics of colorectal cancer patients (CRC) with respect to the presence or absence of NOD2/CARD15 mutations
Total (n = 194)
Carrier (n = 28)
Non-carrier (n = 166)
Age at diagnosis (years)
63.2 ± 9.1
64.5 ± 7.9
63.0 ± 9.3
Symptoms at diagnosis*
N stage #
1 or 2
The control group for mutation analysis consisted of 200 gender-matched healthy Caucasian subjects (male/female: 102/98), without any known gastrointestinal disease. Also colorectal cancer was absent in the family history of controls . The study was approved by the Semmelweis University Regional and Institutional Committee of Science and Research Ethics. Each patient was informed on the nature of the study and signed the informed consent form.
Detection of NOD2/CARD15 SNP8, SNP12 and 13 mutations
Genomic DNA was isolated from whole blood according to the QIAamp DNA blood mini kit (QIAGEN GmbH, Germany). Each exon was amplified by PCR using previously published primer sequences . The initial denaturation step (at 94°C for 7 min) was necessary in order to activate the AmpliTaq Gold (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA), followed by 33 cycles (at 94°C for 20 s, at 61°C for 30 s, at 72°C for 25 s) with a final extension step at 72°C for 7 min. Then, denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (dHPLC, wave DNA fragment analysis system, Transgenomic Limited, UK) was performed to analyze the exons. In the final step, PCR products were denatured at 94°C for 5 min to induce heteroduplex formation during the subsequent step of slowly cooling down to room temperature, over thirty minutes. Five microliters of these PCR products was then automatically loaded onto the DNASep cartridge (Transgenomic Limited, UK) in the wave system. The specific acetonitrile gradient to elute each exon was established by using the WaveMaker 3.4.4 software. The particular run temperature for the detection of each SNP was determined using positive controls, which were kindly provided by Dirk Seegert from Kiel, Germany.
Finally, when a sequence variation was observed in the dHPLC profile, the relevant PCR product was sequenced on both strands to confirm the alteration. Sequencing reactions were performed with the ABI BigDye terminator cycle sequencing kit v1.1 (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA) and samples were sequenced on an ABI Prism 310 genetic analyzer (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA).
Variables were tested for normality by Shapiro Wilk's W test. T-test with separate variance estimates, χ2-test and χ2-test with Yates correction were used to test differences between patients with CRC and controls, as well as within subgroups of CRC patients. Odds ratios (OR) and logistic regression were calculated to compare genetic and clinical data. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. For the statistical analysis, SPSS12.0 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA) was used with the help of a statistician (Dr. Peter Vargha).
A large number of CRC patients were diagnosed at an advanced stage (T stage III-IV: 76.2%) and with clinical symptoms (57.7%) as shown in Table 2. NOD2/CARD15 mutations were found in 28 patients (14.4%) and in 23 controls (11.5%, p = 0.45, OR: 1.29 (95%CI: 0.72–2.34). Allele frequencies for SNP8/R702W (1.8% vs 1.5%), SNP12/G908R (1.8% vs. 1.8%) and SNP13/3020insC (3.6% vs. 2.5%) were also not statistically different between CRC patients and controls (see Table 1). All patients and controls were heterozygous for a particular mutation, no homozygous or compound heterozygous carriers were identified.
There was no difference between the age at diagnosis in the group of patients harboring at least one mutation (mean age 64.5 ± 7.9 years old) compared to the patients without the mutations (mean age 63.0 ± 9.3 years old). Furthermore, the CARD15/NOD2 variants carrier status was not associated with any of the examined clinicopathologic variables (Table 2).
Contrary to previous reports, in the present study we were unable to detect an association between the prevalence of common NOD2/CARD15 mutations and the risk for sporadic CRC in a Hungarian population. Comparable variant allele frequencies were observed in both, the patient and control groups.
A possible explanation for the differences between the previous studies and the present one may be the differences in carrier frequencies among the controls. An association between NOD2/CARD15 was initially reported by a Polish study in 2004 . The incidence of CRC in Poland is high, similar to Hungary. An association between the 3020insC mutation and the risk for CRC (OR: 2.23) was reported in 250 Polish CRC patients older than 50 years, at the time of time diagnosis. The carrier frequency was 14.4% in this subgroup of patients, however, it was only 7% in controls. This was not confirmed in patients who were younger than 50 years, at the time of diagnosis or in patients with HNPCC or a family history of CRC. In addition, no other common NOD2/CARD15 mutations were examined in the study.
In contrast, no association was found between the above mutation and the risk for CRC cases with or without family history in 926 CRC cases analyzed in a Finnish study. We have to note though, that the carrier (3.7%) as well as allele frequencies (1.9%) for both CRC patients and controls was lower in the Finnish study compared to the previous study as well as the present one. Variant allele frequencies in Finland (which by language is related to Hungary) were comparable to those previously reported in IBD patients . The prevalence of R702W, G908R and 3020insC was 3.3%, 0.6% and 4.8%, respectively, in the Finnish IBD study (in controls it was 1.8%, 0 and 1.7%) with only 3020insC being more common in CD compared to controls. Noteworthy, unlike in the Polish study in the study by Alhopuro et al.,  patients with an age older than 50 years at diagnosis did not have an increased frequency of 3020insC mutation (4.3%) compared to patients with an age <50 years at the time of CRC diagnosis. In addition, no differences in the variant NOD2/CARD15 alleles were found between with any clinico-pathological characteristics.
The more recent study, from Greece, reported an association between all three common NOD2/CARD15 variants and the risk for sporadic CRC in 104 consecutive patients and 100 controls. Carrier frequencies in CRC patients were surprisingly high; 23% for 3020insC, 9.6% for R702W and 13% for G908R compared to much lower rates in the controls (12%, 2% and 7%, respectively). In addition, carrier rates in CRC patients were comparable to the rates previously reported in Greek IBD patients . Nonetheless, variant allele frequencies were much higher compared to the present study. In the most recent study by Roberts et al , not only SNP8 (OR: 2.3) were associated with the risk of sporadic CRC but also the presence of any common variant alleles (OR:2.8, 95%CI: 1.5–5.4). In addition, two homozygous SNP8 carriers were detected in the CRC patient group. Male gender was associated to the carriage of variant allele.
In concordance with a previous report from Finland , we did not find any association between clinicopathological characteristics or the location of the CRC and the presence of NOD2/CARD15 variants. In contrast, in the Greek study , an association was found between the TNM stage at diagnosis and the presence of the variant NOD2/CARD15 allele. NOD2/CARD15 variant alleles were associated with a more advanced TNM stage; however, partly due to the small number of patients, results were not corrected for other possible confounding factors (e.g. age at diagnosis or tumor differentiation). Finally, we have to note that according to previously published data (Polish-Greek study) a patient number of between 175–280 would be necessary to detect the reported association with a type I error of 0.05 and a type II error of 0.10, thus the present study had enough statistical power to detect the above differences in NOD2/CARD15 polymorphisms if present.
In summary, common NOD2/CARD15 mutations were not associated with disease susceptibility for sporadic CRC in a Hungarian population. This, in concordance with previous reports, suggests that it is unlikely that NOD2/CARD15 mutations alone are responsible for the development of sporadic CRC.
- Parkin DM: Global cancer statistics in the year 2000. Lancet Oncol. 2001, 2: 533-543. 10.1016/S1470-2045(01)00486-7.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Fuszek P, Horvath HC, Speer G, Papp J, Haller P, Fischer S, Halasz J, Jaray B, Szekely E, Schaff Z, Papp A, Bursics A, Harsanyi L, Lukovich P, Kupcsulik P, Hitre E, Lakatos PL: Location and Age at Onset of Colorectal Cancer in Hungarian Patients between 1993–2004. The High Number of Advanced Cases Supports the Need for a Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in Hungary. Anticancer Res. 2006, 26: 527-32.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lakatos PL, Lakatos L: Current concepts on the genetics of hereditary and sporadic colorectal cancer and the role of genetics in the patient management. Orv Hetil. 2006, 147: 449-56.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Popat S, Wort R, Houlston RS: Inter-relationship between microsatellite instability, thymidylate synthase expression, and p53 status in colorectal cancer: implications for chemoresistance. BMC Cancer. 2006, 6: 150-10.1186/1471-2407-6-150.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Fuszek P, Lakatos P, Tabak A, Papp J, Nagy Z, Takacs I, Horvath HC, Lakatos PL, Speer G: Relationship between serum calcium and Ca19-9 levels in colorectal cancer. World J Gastroenterol. 2004, 10: 1850-52.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Balkwill F, Mantovani A: Inflammation and cancer: back to Virchow?. Lancet. 2001, 357: 539-45. 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)04046-0.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rhodes JM, Campbell BJ: Inflammation and colorectal cancer: IBD associated and sporadic cancer compared. Trends Mol Med. 2002, 8: 10-6. 10.1016/S1471-4914(01)02194-3.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Eaden JA, Abrams KR, Mayberry JF: The risk of colorectal cancer in ulcerative colitis: a meta-analysis. Gut. 2001, 48: 526-35. 10.1136/gut.48.4.526.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Lakatos L, Mester G, Erdelyi Z, David G, Pandur T, Balogh M, Fischer S, Vargha P, Lakatos PL: Risk factors for ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal cancer in a Hungarian cohort of ulcerative colitis patients. Results of a population-based study. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2006, 12: 205-11. 10.1097/01.MIB.0000217770.21261.ce.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Higaki S, Akazawa A, Nakamur H, Yanai H, Yoshida T, Okita K: Metaplastic polyp of the colon develops in response to inflammation. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999, 17: 709-14. 10.1046/j.1440-1746.1999.01938.x.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Jaiswal M, LaRusso NF, Burgart LJ, Gores GJ: Inflammatory cytokines induce DNA damage and inhibit DNA repair in cholangiocarcinoma cells by a nitric oxide-dependent mechanism. Cancer Res. 2000, 60: 184-90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sipos F, Molnar B, Zagoni T, Berczi L, Tulassay T: Growth in Epithelial Cell Proliferation and Apoptosis Correlates Specifically to the Inflammation Activity of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Ulcerative Colitis Shows Specific p53- and EGFR Expression Alterations. Dis Colon Rectum. 2005, 48: 775-86. 10.1007/s10350-004-0831-5.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lakatos PL, Fischer S, Lakatos L, Gal I, Papp J: Current concept on the pathogenesis of IBD: crosstalk between genetic and microbial factors. Pathogenic bacteria, altered bacterial sensing or changes in mucosal integrity take "toll"?. World J Gastroenterol. 2006, 12: 1829-40.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Berrebi D, Maudinas R, Hugot JP, Chamaillard M, Chareyre F, De Lagausie P, Yang C, Desreumaux P, Giovannini M, Cezard JP, Zouali H, Emilie D, Peuchmaur M: CARD15 gene overexpression in mononuclear and epithelial cells of the inflamed Crohn's disease colon. Gut. 2003, 52: 840-846. 10.1136/gut.52.6.840.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Bonen DK, Ogura Y, Nicolae DL, Inohara N, Saab L, Tanabe T, Chen FF, Foster SJ, Duerr RH, Brant SR, Cho JH, Nunez G: Crohn's disease-associated NOD2 variants share a signalling defect in response to lipopolysaccharide and peptidoglycan. Gastroenterology. 2003, 124: 140-146. 10.1053/gast.2003.50019.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Maeda S, Hsu LC, Liu H, Bankston LA, Iimura M, Kagnoff MF, Eckmann L, Karin M: NOD2 mutation in Crohn's disease potentiates NF-kB activity and IL-1b processing. Science. 2005, 307: 734-738. 10.1126/science.1103685.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wehkamp J, Harder J, Weichenthal M, Schwab M, Schaffeler E, Schlee M, Herrlinger KR, Stallmach A, Noack F, Fritz P, Schroder JM, Bevins CL, Fellermann K, Stange EF: NOD2 (CARD15) mutations in Crohn's disease are associated with diminished mucosal a-defensin expression. Gut. 2004, 53: 1658-1664. 10.1136/gut.2003.032805.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Netea MG, Kullberg BJ, de Jong DJ, Franke B, Sprong T, Naber TH, Drenth JP, Van der Meer JW: NOD2 mediates anti-inflammatory signals induced by TLR2 ligands: implications for Crohn's disease. Eur J Immunol. 2004, 34: 2052-9. 10.1002/eji.200425229.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Buhner S, Buning C, Genschel J, Kling K, Herrmann D, Dignass A, Kuechler I, Krueger S, Schmidt HH, Lochs H: Genetic basis for increased intestinal permeability in families with Crohn's disease: role of CARD15 3020insC mutation?. Gut. 2006, 55: 342-7. 10.1136/gut.2005.065557.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Hugot JP, Chamaillard M, Zouali H, Lesage S, Cezard JP, Belaiche J, Almer S, Tysk C, O'Morain CA, Gassull M, Binder V, Finkel Y, Cortot A, Modigliani R, Laurent-Puig P, Gower-Rousseau C, Macry J, Colombel JF, Sahbatou M, Thomas G: Association of NOD2 leucine-rich repeat variants with susceptibility to Crohn's disease. Nature. 2001, 411: 599-603. 10.1038/35079107.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ogura Y, Bonen DK, Inohara N, Nicolae DL, Chen FF, Ramos R, Britton H, Moran T, Karaliuskas R, Duerr RH, Achkar JP, Brant SR, Bayless TM, Kirschner BS, Hanauer SB, Nunez G, Cho JH: A frameshift mutation in NOD2 associated with susceptibility to Crohn's disease. Nature. 2001, 411: 603-6. 10.1038/35079114.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ahmad T, Armuzzi A, Bunce M, Mulcahy-Hawes K, Marshall SE, Orchard TR, Crawshaw J, Large O, de Silva A, Cook JT, Barnardo M, Cullen S, Welsh KI, Jewell DP: The molecular classification of the clinical manifestations of Crohn's disease. Gastroenterology. 2002, 122: 854-866. 10.1053/gast.2002.32413.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lakatos PL, Lakatos L, Szalay F, Willheim-Polli C, Osterreicher C, Tulassay Z, Molnar T, Reinisch W, Papp J, Mozsik G, Ferenci P: Toll-like receptor 4 and NOD2/CARD15 mutations in Hungarian patients with Crohn disease: phenotype-genotype correlations. World J Gastroenterol. 2005, 11: 1489-1495.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Helio T, Halme L, Lappalainen M, Fodstad H, Paavola-Sakki P, Turunen U, Farkkila M, Krusius T, Kontula K: CARD15/NOD2 gene variants are associated with familially occurring and complicated forms of Crohn's disease. Gut. 2003, 52: 558-562. 10.1136/gut.52.4.558.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Kurzawski G, Suchy J, Kladny J, Grabowska E, Mierzejewski M, Jakubowska A, Debniak T, Cybulski C, Kowalska E, Szych Z, Domagala W, Scott RJ, Lubinski J: The NOD2 3020insC mutation and the risk of colorectal cancer. Cancer Res. 2004, 64: 1604-6. 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-03-3791.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Alhopuro P, Ahvenainen T, Mecklin JP, Juhola M, Jarvinen HJ, Karhu A, Aaltonen LA: NOD2 3020insC is not sufficient for colorectal cancer predisposition. Cancer Res. 2004, 64: 7245-7. 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-2364.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Papaconstantinou I, Theodoropoulos G, Gazouli M, Panoussopoulos D, Mantzaris GJ, Felekouras E, Bramis J: Association between mutations in the CARD15/NOD2 gene and colorectal cancer in a Greek population. Int J Cancer. 2005, 114: 433-35. 10.1002/ijc.20747.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Gazouli M, Mantzaris G, Kotsinas A, Zacharatos P, Papalambros E, Archimandritis A, Ikonomopoulos J, Gorgoulis VG: Association between polymorphisms in the toll-like receptor4, CD14 and CARD15/NOD2 and inflammatory bowel disease in Greek population. World J Gastroenterol. 2005, 11: 681-685.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Roberts RL, Gearry RB, Allington MDE, Morrin HR, Robinson BA, Frizelle FA: Caspase Recruitment Domain-Containing Protein 15 Mutations in Patients with Colorectal Cancer. Cancer Res. 2006, 66: 2532-2535. 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-4165.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/7/54/prepub
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.