2017 Volume 63 Issue 2 Pages 148-154
Type-2 bitter-taste receptors (TAS2Rs) are important for the evaluation of food quality and the nutritional control in animals. Mutations in some TAS2Rs including TAS2R38 are known to increase susceptibility to various diseases. However, the involvement of TAS2Rs in cancers has not been well understood. We conducted a pilot study by genotyping two TAS2R genes, TAS2R38 and TAS2R46, in Japanese cancer patients diagnosed with the following types of cancer: biliary tract cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer and gastric cancer. We selected the two TAS2Rs because they carry virtually non-functional alleles in human populations. We found that cancer risk is not associated with any TAS2R46 genotypes since there were no significant differences in genotype frequencies between cancer patients and controls. On the other hand, we confirmed that phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) non-tasters homozygous (AVI/AVI) for TAS2R38 were more frequent among Japanese cancer patients than those among controls as suggested in a previous study. The AVI/AVI genotype was therefore considered to increases cancer risk. In contrast, we also found that homozygous (PAV/PAV) PTC tasters are less frequent among cancer patients, suggesting that the PAV/PAV is a cancer resistant genotype that decreases cancer risk. Genotype frequencies for heterozygous AVI/PAV genotype were not significantly different between the two groups. It is suggested that the risk and resistance of cancers is antagonistically controlled by the two TAS2R38 alleles, PAV and AVI, rather than by the AVI allele alone.