Multiple genome-wide and candidate gene association studies have been performed in search of common risk variants for breast cancer. Recent large meta analyses, consolidating evidence from these studies, have been consistent in highlighting the caspase-8 (CASP8) gene as important in this regard. In order to define a risk haplotype and map the CASP8 gene region with respect to underlying susceptibility variant/s, we screened four genes in the CASP8 region on 2q33-q34 for breast cancer risk.
Two independent data sets from the United Kingdom and the United States, including 3,888 breast cancer cases and controls, were genotyped for 45 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNP) in the expanded CASP8 region. SNP and haplotype association tests were carried out using Monte Carlo based methods.
We identified a three-SNP haplotype across rs3834129, rs6723097 and rs3817578 that was significantly associated with breast cancer (p<5×10−6), with a dominant risk ratio and 95% confidence interval of 1.28 (1.21-1.35) and frequency of 0.29 in controls. Evidence for this risk haplotype was extremely consistent across the two study sites and also consistent with previous data.
This three-SNP risk haplotype represents the best characterization so far of the chromosome upon which the susceptibility variant resides.
Characterization of the risk haplotype provides a strong foundation for re-sequencing efforts to identify the underlying risk variant, which may prove useful for individual-level risk prediction, and provide novel insights into breast carcinogenesis.
Keywords: Single nucleotide polymorphisms, risk haplotype, breast cancer, CASP8, apoptosis pathway