Genetic factors related to the regulation of apoptosis in schizophrenia patients may be involved in a reduced vulnerability to cancer. XRCC4 is one of the potential candidate genes associated with schizophrenia which might induce colorectal cancer resistance.
To examine the genetic association between colorectal cancer and schizophrenia, we analyzed five SNPs (rs6452526, rs2662238, rs963248, rs35268, rs2386275) covering ~205.7 kb in the region of XRCC4.
We observed that two of the five genetic polymorphisms showed statistically significant differences between 312 colorectal cancer subjects without schizophrenia and 270 schizophrenia subjects (rs6452536, p = 0.004, OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.44-0.86; rs35268, p = 0.028, OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.05-2.26). Moreover, the haplotype which combined all five markers was the most significant, giving a global p = 0.0005.
Our data firstly indicate that XRCC4 may be a potential protective gene towards schizophrenia, conferring reduced susceptibility to colorectal cancer in the Han Chinese population.