Homozygosity for the G allele of rs6983267 at 8q24 increases colorectal cancer (CRC) risk 1.5 fold. We report here that the risk allele G shows copy number increase during CRC development. Our computer algorithm, Enhancer Element Locator (EEL), identified an enhancer element that contains rs6983267. The element drove expression of a reporter gene in a pattern that is consistent with regulation by the key CRC pathway Wnt. rs6983267 affects a binding site for the Wnt-regulated transcription factor TCF4, with the risk allele G showing stronger binding in vitro and in vivo. Genome-wide ChIP assay revealed the element as the strongest TCF4 binding site within 1 Mb of MYC. An unambiguous correlation between rs6983267 genotype and MYC expression was not detected, and additional work is required to scrutinize all possible targets of the enhancer. Our work provides evidence that the common CRC predisposition associated with 8q24 arises from enhanced responsiveness to Wnt signaling.
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