Two-Sample Mendelian Randomization Analysis of Associations Between Periodontal Disease and Risk of Cancer

Laura Corlin, Mengyuan Ruan, Konstantinos K. Tsilidis, Emmanouil Bouras, Yau Hua Yu, Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, Alison P. Klein, Harvey A. Risch, Christopher I. Amos, Lori C. Sakoda, Pavel Vodička, Pai K. Rish, James Beck, Elizabeth A. Platz, Dominique S. Michaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Observational studies indicate that periodontal disease may increase the risk of colorectal, lung, and pancreatic cancers. Using a 2-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis, we assessed whether a genetic predisposition index for periodontal disease was associated with colorectal, lung, or pancreatic cancer risks. Methods: Our primary instrument included single nucleotide polymorphisms with strong genome-wide association study evidence for associations with chronic, aggressive, and/or severe periodontal disease (rs729876, rs1537415, rs2738058, rs12461706, rs16870060, rs2521634, rs3826782, and rs7762544). We used summary-level genetic data for colorectal cancer (n = 58 131 cases; Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, Colon Cancer Family Registry, and Colorectal Transdisciplinary Study), lung cancer (n = 18 082 cases; International Lung Cancer Consortium), and pancreatic cancer (n = 9254 cases; Pancreatic Cancer Consortia). Four MR approaches were employed for this analysis: random-effects inverse-variance weighted (primary analyses), Mendelian Randomization-Pleiotropy RESidual Sum and Outlier, simple median, and weighted median. We conducted secondary analyses to determine if associations varied by cancer subtype (colorectal cancer location, lung cancer histology), sex (colorectal and pancreatic cancers), or smoking history (lung and pancreatic cancer). All statistical tests were 2-sided. Results: The genetic predisposition index for chronic or aggressive periodontitis was statistically significantly associated with a 3% increased risk of colorectal cancer (per unit increase in genetic index of periodontal disease; P =. 03), 3% increased risk of colon cancer (P =. 02), 4% increased risk of proximal colon cancer (P =. 01), and 3% increased risk of colorectal cancer among females (P =. 04); however, it was not statistically significantly associated with the risk of lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, overall or within most subgroups. Conclusions: Genetic predisposition to periodontitis may be associated with colorectal cancer risk. Further research should determine whether increased periodontitis prevention and increased cancer surveillance of patients with periodontitis is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpkab037
JournalJNCI Cancer Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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