A family-based study of gene variants and maternal folate and choline in neuroblastoma: a report from the Children’s Oncology Group

Angela L. Mazul, Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Clarice R. Weinberg, Stephanie M. Engel, Fei Zou, Kathryn S. Carrier, Patricia V. Basta, Zalman Vaksman, John M. Maris, Sharon J. Diskin, Charlene Maxen, Arlene Naranjo, Andrew F. Olshan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer of the sympathetic nervous system with embryonic origins. Previous epidemiologic studies suggest maternal vitamin supplementation during pregnancy reduces the risk of neuroblastoma. We hypothesized offspring and maternal genetic variants in folate-related and choline-related genes are associated with neuroblastoma and modify the effects of maternal intake of folate, choline, and folic acid. Methods: The Neuroblastoma Epidemiology in North America (NENA) study recruited 563 affected children and their parents through the Children’s Oncology Group’s Childhood Cancer Research Network. We used questionnaires to ascertain pre-pregnancy supplementation and estimate usual maternal dietary intake of folate, choline, and folic acid. We genotyped 955 genetic variants related to folate or choline using DNA extracted from saliva samples and used a log-linear model to estimate both child and maternal risk ratios and stratum-specific risk ratios for gene–environment interactions. Results: Overall, no maternal or offspring genotypic results met criteria for a false discovery rate (FDR) Q-value <0.2. Associations were also null for gene–environment interaction with pre-pregnancy vitamin supplementation, dietary folic acid, and folate. FDR-significant gene–choline interactions were found for offspring SNPs rs10489810 and rs9966612 located in MTHFD1L and TYMS, respectively, with maternal choline dietary intake dichotomized at the first quartile. Conclusion: These results suggest that variants related to one-carbon metabolism are not strongly associated with neuroblastoma. Choline-related variants may play a role; however, the functional consequences of the interacting variants are unknown and require independent replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1218
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Case–parent triad
  • Choline
  • Folate
  • Genetics
  • Neuroblastoma


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