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Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the metabolic pathways of S-adenosylmethionine have been related to global hypomethylation and a lower number of hypermethylated CpG islands of tumor suppressor genes. Hypermethylation of checkpoint and DNA repair genes has been shown to be indicative of chemosensitivity. In the present study, we have examined the SNP of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T, which affects DNA methylation patterns and is linked to elevated plasma homocysteine levels in 208 patients with gemcitabine/cisplatin-treated stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). No differences in response rate were observed according to the MTHFR genotype. However, time to progression was 7.4 months for 68 patients with CC genotype, 5.5 months for 108 patients with heterozygous CT genotype, and 5.2 months for 28 patients with TT genotype. These findings can lead us to distinguish different outcome patterns among patients with stage IV NSCLC whose similar clinical prognostic factors would otherwise indicate similar outcomes. Carriers of the MTHFR 677T allele could benefit from supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B12. The Spanish Lung Cancer Group has undertaken a phase III randomized trial to elucidate this concept.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical lung cancer

Publication Date





360 - 365


Medical Oncology Service, Hospital Arnau de Vilanova, Valencia, Spain.


Humans, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Lung Neoplasms, Disease Progression, Cisplatin, Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2), Homocysteine, Deoxycytidine, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Treatment Outcome, DNA Methylation, Genotype, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Genes, Tumor Suppressor, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Biomarkers, Tumor