Background: This meta-analysis on case-control studies aims to examine whether the p53 Arg72Pro polymorphism is associated with colorectal cancer risk, addressing also whether the effect of the polymorphism is modified by race. Patients and Methods: Pooled odds ratios (ORs) were appropriately derived from fixed-effects or random-effects models. Separate analyses were conducted on Caucasian, Chinese, and mixed populations. Meta-regression with publication year was also performed. Results: A total of 27 studies were eligible (7,414 cases and 9,872 controls); 19 of them were conducted on Caucasian populations (6282 cases and 7600 controls), 6 of them on Chinese populations (883 cases and 1,843 controls) and 2 on mixed populations (153 cases and 209 controls). No significant association was demonstrated in Caucasian, Chinese, or mixed populations. Interestingly, however, stratification by race in studies whose controls did not deviate from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium tended to reveal ORs pointing to a marginal protective effect of the Pro allele in Caucasians. Conclusions: The p53 codon 72 Arg72Pro status does not seem to be associated with colorectal cancer risk, although race-specific effects may not be ruled out. However, additional studies seem desirable, especially in Chinese populations.

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