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Title: Obesity and cancer: Mendelian randomization approach utilizing the FTO genotype.
Authors: Brennan P,  McKay J,  Moore L,  Zaridze D,  Mukeria A,  Szeszenia-Dabrowska N,  Lissowska J,  Rudnai P,  Fabianova E,  Mates D,  Bencko V,  Foretova L,  Janout V,  Chow WH,  Rothman N,  Chabrier A,  Gaborieau V,  Timpson N,  Hung RJ,  Smith GD
Journal: Int J Epidemiol
Date: 2009 Aug
Branches: OEEB
PubMed ID: 19542184
PMC ID: PMC2734066
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Obesity is a risk factor for several cancers although appears to have an inverse association with cancers strongly related to tobacco. Studying obesity is difficult due to numerous biases and confounding. METHODS: To avoid these biases we used a Mendelian randomization approach incorporating an analysis of variants in the FTO gene that are strongly associated with BMI levels among 7000 subjects from a study of lung, kidney and upper-aerodigestive cancer. RESULTS: The FTO A allele which is linked with increased BMI was associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer (allelic odds ratio (OR) = 0.92, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84-1.00). It was also associated with a weak increased risk of kidney cancer, which was more apparent before the age of 50 (OR = 1.44, CI 1.09-1.90). CONCLUSION: Our results highlight the potential for genetic variation to act as an unconfounded marker of environmentally modifiable factors, and offer the potential to obtain estimates of the causal effect of obesity. However, far larger sample sizes than studied here will be required to undertake this with precision.