ASSOCIATION BETWEEN SERUM FOLATE AND CERVICAL CANCER AT THE LAGOS UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL
Background: Cervical cancer is a common cause of cancer-related morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Serum folate may modify cancer risk through its role in DNA synthesis and methylation.
Objective: This is to determine association between serum folate levels and the occurrence of cervical cancer and pre-invasive cervical disease among women seen at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
Methods: This was a case control study in which 125 women were recruited at the gynaecological, colposcopy and cytology clinics of LUTH. These included three groups which comprised of 50 women with invasive cervical cancer (group I), 25 women with pre-invasive cervical disease (group II), and 50 women with normal cervix (group III). The cases groups were groups I & II while the controls comprised of group III participants. The serum folate levels of the three groups were determined and compared. The analysis of data was between discrete baseline characteristics of the cases and controls were done with the use of the Pearson’s Chi square test (X2). The mean serum folate levels of cases and controls were compared with the use of ANOVA. P-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: There was a non-significant positive association between low serum folate and risk of cervical cancer (Adj OR 2.99; P=0.088) and pre-invasive cervical disease (CIN)
Conclusion: The findings of this study showed that low serum folate is not independently associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer and pre-invasive cervical disease. However, a robust long-term longitudinal study in black African women will provide further evidence on the role of serum folate and the risk of cervical cancer.