Women with germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have five- to 20-fold increased risks of developing breast and ovarian cancer. A recent study claimed that women testing negative for their family-specific BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation (noncarriers) have a five-fold increased risk of breast cancer. We estimated breast cancer risks for noncarriers by using a population-based sample of patients with breast cancer and their female first-degree relatives (FDRs).
Patients and Methods
Patients were women with breast cancer and their FDRs enrolled in the population-based component of the Breast Cancer Family Registry; patients with breast cancer were tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, as were FDRs of identified mutation carriers. We used segregation analysis to fit a model that accommodates familial correlation in breast cancer risk due to unobserved shared risk factors.
We studied 3,047 families; 160 had BRCA1 and 132 had BRCA2 mutations. There was no evidence of increased breast cancer risk for noncarriers of identified mutations compared with FDRs from families without BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations: relative risk was 0.39 (95% CI, 0.04 to 3.81). Residual breast cancer correlation within families was strong, suggesting substantial risk heterogeneity in women without BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, with some 3.4% of them accounting for roughly one third of breast cancer cases.
These results support the practice of advising noncarriers that they do not have any increase in breast cancer risk attributable to the family-specific BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
To determine whether adjuvant tamoxifen treatment for breast cancer (BC) is associated with reduced contralateral breast cancer (CBC) risk for BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutation carriers.
Analysis of pooled observational cohort data, self-reported at enrollment and at follow-up from the International BRCA1, and BRCA2 Carrier Cohort Study, Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research into Familial Breast Cancer, and Breast Cancer Family Registry. Eligible women were BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers diagnosed with unilateral BC since 1970 and no other invasive cancer or tamoxifen use before first BC. Hazard ratios (HRs) for CBC associated with tamoxifen use were estimated using Cox regression, adjusting for year and age of diagnosis, country, and bilateral oophorectomy and censoring at contralateral mastectomy, death, or loss to follow-up.
Of 1,583 BRCA1 and 881 BRCA2 mutation carriers, 383 (24%) and 454 (52%), respectively, took tamoxifen after first BC diagnosis. There were 520 CBCs over 20,104 person-years of observation. The adjusted HR estimates were 0.38 (95% CI, 0.27 to 0.55) and 0.33 (95% CI, 0.22 to 0.50) for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, respectively. After left truncating at recruitment to the cohort, adjusted HR estimates were 0.58 (95% CI, 0.29 to 1.13) and 0.48 (95% CI, 0.22 to 1.05) based on 657 BRCA1 and 426 BRCA2 mutation carriers with 100 CBCs over 4,392 person-years of prospective follow-up. HRs did not differ by estrogen receptor status of the first BC (missing for 56% of cases).
This study provides evidence that tamoxifen use is associated with a reduction in CBC risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Further follow-up of these cohorts will provide increased statistical power for future prospective analyses.
Despite the importance of Hedgehog signaling in bone development, the relationship between Hedgehog pathway expression and osteosarcoma clinical characteristics and outcome has not been investigated. In this study of 43 high-grade human osteosarcoma samples, we detected high expression levels of the Hedgehog ligand gene, IHH, and target genes, PTCH1 and GLI1, in most samples. Further analysis in tumors of patients with localized disease at diagnosis identified coexpression of IHH and PTCH1 exclusively in large tumors. Higher levels of IHH were observed more frequently in males and patients with higher levels of GLI1 were more responsive to chemotherapy. Subgroup analysis by tumor size and IHH expression indicated that the well-known association between survival and tumor size was further refined when IHH levels were taken into consideration.
Breast carcinomas, including basal and hereditary cases, often present with a prominent tumoral lymphocytic infiltrate (LI). Chemokines could play a role in attracting these cells and contribute to tumor progression. We explored tumoral expression of CXCL10 and determined the relationship between CXCL10 and LI in a cohort of breast cancers.
Using tissue microarrays of 364 breast tumors we evaluated expression of CXCL10 and its receptor, CXCR3, in relation to histopathologic features, biomarkers and lymphocyte markers. Additionally, we overexpressed CXCL10 and CXCR3 in MCF7 breast cancer cells and monitored T-lymphocyte migration and invasion.
Forty-five percent of tumors expressed CXCL10 and a significant association was found with CXCR3 and LI. Further characterization of the LI revealed an association with CXCL10 expression for peritumoral CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes. CD8+ intratumoral lymphocytes, FOXP3+ Tregs and T-BET+ Th1 cells were associated with BRCA1 and basal tumors. Conditioned media from MCF7 cells overexpressing both CXCL10 and CXCR3 increased T-lymphocyte migration and invasion.
Our findings suggest that CXCL10 may act in a paracrine manner, affecting the tumor microenvironment, and in an autocrine manner, acting on the tumor cells themselves and may play a role in tumor invasiveness and progression. The CXCL10-CXCR3 axis can serve as a potential target in BRCA1 and basal breast cancers which present with a prominent LI and a poor prognosis.
breast cancer; tumor-stromal cell interactions; CXCL10; CXCR3; lymphocytic infiltrate; CD4; CD8; FOXP3; T-BET
We tested the hypotheses that CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity is associated with increased risk of early death, breast cancer–specific death, and risk of a second breast cancer in women with a first breast cancer.
Patients and Methods
From 22 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, 25,571 white women with invasive breast cancer were genotyped for CHEK2*1100delC and observed for up to 20 years (median, 6.6 years). We examined risk of early death and breast cancer–specific death by estrogen receptor status and risk of a second breast cancer after a first breast cancer in prospective studies.
CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity was found in 459 patients (1.8%). In women with estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, multifactorially adjusted hazard ratios for heterozygotes versus noncarriers were 1.43 (95% CI, 1.12 to 1.82; log-rank P = .004) for early death and 1.63 (95% CI, 1.24 to 2.15; log-rank P < .001) for breast cancer–specific death. In all women, hazard ratio for a second breast cancer was 2.77 (95% CI, 2.00 to 3.83; log-rank P < .001) increasing to 3.52 (95% CI, 2.35 to 5.27; log-rank P < .001) in women with estrogen receptor–positive first breast cancer only.
Among women with estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity was associated with a 1.4-fold risk of early death, a 1.6-fold risk of breast cancer–specific death, and a 3.5-fold risk of a second breast cancer. This is one of the few examples of a genetic factor that influences long-term prognosis being documented in an extensive series of women with breast cancer.
Approximately half of the familial aggregation of breast cancer remains unexplained. A multiple-case breast cancer family exome sequencing study identified three likely pathogenic mutations in RINT1 (NM_021930.4) not present in public sequencing databases: RINT1 c.343C>T (p.Q115X), c.1132_1134del (p.M378del) and c.1207G>T (p.D403Y). Based on this finding, a population-based case-control mutation-screening study was conducted and identified 29 carriers of rare (MAF < 0.5%), likely pathogenic variants: 23 in 1,313 early-onset breast cancer cases and 6 in 1,123 frequency-matched controls (OR=3.24, 95%CI 1.29-8.17; p=0.013). RINT1 mutation screening of probands from 798 multiple-case breast cancer families identified 4additional carriers of rare genetic variants. Analysis of the incidence of first primary cancers in families of women in RINT1-mutation carrying families estimated that carriers were at increased risks of Lynch syndrome-spectrum cancers (SIR 3.35, 95% CI 1.7-6.0; P=0.005), particularly for relatives diagnosed with cancer under age 60 years (SIR 10.9, 95%CI 4.7-21; P=0.0003).
Breast Cancer; RINT1; Lynch Syndrome; Genetic Susceptibility
Women using menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) are at increased risk to develop breast cancer (BC). To detect genetic modifiers of the association between current use of MHT and BC risk, we conducted a meta-analysis of four genome-wide case-only studies followed by replication in eleven case-control studies. We used a case-only design to assess interactions between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and current MHT use on risk of overall and lobular BC. The discovery stage included 2,920 cases (541 lobular) from four genome-wide association studies. The top 1,391 SNPs showing P-values for interaction (Pint) <3.0×10−03 were selected for replication using pooled case-control data from eleven studies of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, including 7,689 cases (676 lobular) and 9,266 controls. Fixed effects meta-analysis was used to derive combined Pint. No SNP reached genome-wide significance in either the discovery or combined stage. We observed effect modification of current MHT use on overall BC risk by two SNPs on chr13 near POMP (combined Pint≤8.9×10−06), two SNPs in SLC25A21 (combined Pint≤4.8×10−05), and three SNPs in PLCG2 (combined Pint≤4.5×10−05). The association between lobular BC risk was potentially modified by one SNP in TMEFF2 (combined Pint≤2.7×10−05), one SNP in CD80 (combined Pint≤8.2×10−06), three SNPs on chr17 near TMEM132E (combined Pint≤2.2×10−06), and two SNPs on chr18 near SLC25A52 (combined Pint≤4.6×10−05). In conclusion, polymorphisms in genes related to solute transportation in mitochondria, transmembrane signaling and immune cell activation are potentially modifying BC risk associated with current use of MHT. These findings warrant replication in independent studies.
breast cancer; genetic variation; menopausal hormone therapy; genome-wide
Genetic variations, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in microRNAs (miRNA) or in the miRNA binding sites may affect the miRNA dependent gene expression regulation, which has been implicated in various cancers, including breast cancer, and may alter individual susceptibility to cancer. We investigated associations between miRNA related SNPs and breast cancer risk. First we evaluated 2,196 SNPs in a case-control study combining nine genome wide association studies (GWAS). Second, we further investigated 42 SNPs with suggestive evidence for association using 41,785 cases and 41,880 controls from 41 studies included in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Combining the GWAS and BCAC data within a meta-analysis, we estimated main effects on breast cancer risk as well as risks for estrogen receptor (ER) and age defined subgroups. Five miRNA binding site SNPs associated significantly with breast cancer risk: rs1045494 (odds ratio (OR) 0.92; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.88–0.96), rs1052532 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95–0.99), rs10719 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.94–0.99), rs4687554 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95–0.99, and rs3134615 (OR 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01–1.05) located in the 3′ UTR of CASP8, HDDC3, DROSHA, MUSTN1, and MYCL1, respectively. DROSHA belongs to miRNA machinery genes and has a central role in initial miRNA processing. The remaining genes are involved in different molecular functions, including apoptosis and gene expression regulation. Further studies are warranted to elucidate whether the miRNA binding site SNPs are the causative variants for the observed risk effects.
Mammographic density adjusted for age and body mass index (BMI) is a heritable marker of breast cancer susceptibility. Little is known about the biological mechanisms underlying the association between mammographic density and breast cancer risk. We examined whether common low-penetrance breast cancer susceptibility variants contribute to inter-individual differences in mammographic density measures.
We established an international consortium (DENSNP) of 19 studies from 10 countries, comprising 16,895 Caucasian women, to conduct a pooled cross-sectional analysis of common breast cancer susceptibility variants in 14 independent loci and mammographic density measures. Dense and non-dense areas, and percent density, were measured using interactive-thresholding techniques. Mixed linear models were used to assess the association between genetic variants and the square roots of mammographic density measures adjusted for study, age, case status, body mass index (BMI) and menopausal status.
Consistent with their breast cancer associations, the C-allele of rs3817198 in LSP1 was positively associated with both adjusted dense area (p=0.00005) and adjusted percent density (p=0.001) whereas the A-allele of rs10483813 in RAD51L1 was inversely associated with adjusted percent density (p=0.003), but not with adjusted dense area (p=0.07).
We identified two common breast cancer susceptibility variants associated with mammographic measures of radio-dense tissue in the breast gland.
We examined the association of 14 established breast cancer susceptibility loci with mammographic density phenotypes within a large genetic consortium and identified two breast cancer susceptibility variants, LSP1-rs3817198 and RAD51L1-rs10483813, associated with mammographic measures and in the same direction as the breast cancer association.
breast density; breast cancer; genetics; biomarkers; mammography
The single nucleotide polymorphism 5p12-rs10941679has been found to be associated with risk of breast cancer, particularly estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease. We aimed to further explore this association overall, and by tumor histopathology, in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.
Data were combined from 37 studies, including 40,972 invasive cases, 1,398 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and 46,334 controls, all of white European ancestry, as well as 3,007 invasive cases and 2,337 controls of Asian ancestry. Associations overall and by tumor invasiveness and histopathology were assessed using logistic regression.
For white Europeans, the per-allele odds ratio (OR) associated with 5p12-rs10941679 was 1.11 (95% confidence interval [CI] =1.08–1.14, P=7×10−18) for invasive breast cancer and 1.10 (95%CI=1.01–1.21, P=0.03) for DCIS. For Asian women, the estimated OR for invasive disease was similar (OR=1.07, 95%CI=0.99–1.15, P=0.09). Further analyses suggested that the association in white Europeans was largely limited to progesterone receptor (PR)-positive disease (per-allele OR=1.16, 95%CI=1.12–1.20, P=1×10−18 versus OR=1.03, 95%CI=0.99–1.07, P=0.2 for PR-negative disease; P-heterogeneity=2×10−7); heterogeneity by estrogen receptor status was not observed (P=0.2) once PR status was accounted for. The association was also stronger for lower-grade tumors (per-allele OR [95%CI]=1.20 [1.14–1.25], 1.13 [1.09–1.16] and 1.04 [0.99–1.08] for grade 1, 2 and 3/4, respectively; P–trend=5×10−7).
5p12 is a breast cancer susceptibility locus for PR-positive, lower gradebreast cancer.
Multi-centre fine-mapping studies of this region are needed as a first step to identifying the causal variant or variants.
Breast cancer; SNP; susceptibility; disease subtypes
The effects of low-dose medical radiation on breast cancer risk are uncertain, and few studies have included genetically susceptible women, such as those who carry germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.
We studied 454 BRCA1 and 273 BRCA2 mutation carriers aged <50 years from three breast cancer family registries in the USA, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand. We estimated breast cancer risk associated with diagnostic chest x-rays by comparing mutation carriers with breast cancer (cases) with those without breast cancer (controls). Exposure to chest x-rays was self-reported. Mammograms were not considered in the analysis.
After adjusting for known risk factors for breast cancer, the odds ratio (OR) for a history of diagnostic chest x-rays, excluding those for tuberculosis or pneumonia, was 1.16 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.64–2.11) for BRCA1 mutations carriers and 1.22 (95% CI=0.62–2.42) for BRCA2 mutations carriers. The OR was statistically elevated for BRCA2 mutation carriers with 3–5 diagnostic chest x-rays (p = 0.01), but not for those with 6 or more chest x-rays. Few women reported chest fluoroscopy for tuberculosis or chest x-rays for pneumonia; the OR estimates were elevated, but not statistically significant, for BRCA1 mutation carriers.
Our findings do not support a positive association between diagnostic chest x-rays and breast cancer risk before age 50 years for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers.
Given the increasing use of diagnostic imaging involving higher ionizing radiation doses, further studies of genetically predisposed women are warranted.
breast cancer; BRCA1; BRCA2; chest x-rays; diagnostic radiation; epidemiology
The ability to establish genetic risk models is critical for early identification and optimal treatment of breast cancer. For such a model to gain clinical utility, more variants must be identified beyond those discovered in previous genome wide association studies (GWAS). This is especially true for women at high risk because of family history, but without BRCA1/2 mutations.
This study incorporates three datasets in a GWAS analysis of women with Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) homogeneous ancestry. Two independent discovery cohorts were comprised of 239 and 238 AJ women with invasive breast cancer or preinvasive ductal carcinoma in situ and strong family histories of breast cancer, but lacking the three BRCA1/2 founder mutations, along with 294 and 230 AJ controls, respectively. An independent, third cohort of 203 AJ cases with familial breast cancer history and 263 healthy controls of AJ women was used for validation.
A total of 19 SNPs were identified as associated with familial breast cancer risk in AJ women. Among these SNPs, 13 were identified from a panel of 109 discovery SNPs, including an FGFR2 haplotype. Additionally, 6 previously identified breast cancer GWAS SNPs were confirmed in this population. Seven of the 19 markers were significant in a multivariate predictive model of familial breast cancer in AJ women, 3 novel SNPs [rs17663555(5q13.2), rs566164(6q21), and rs11075884(16q22.2)], the FGFR2 haplotype, and 3 previously published SNPs [rs13387042(2q35), rs2046210(ESR1), and rs3112612(TOX3)], yielding moderate predictive power with an area under the curve (AUC) of the ROC (receiver-operator characteristic curve) of 0.74.
Population-specific genetic variants in addition to variants shared with populations of European ancestry may improve breast cancer risk prediction among AJ women from high-risk families without founder BRCA1/2 mutations.
Ashkenazi Jewish; breast cancer; genome-wide association study; SNP; risk model; AUC
Candidate variant association studies have been largely unsuccessful in identifying common breast cancer susceptibility variants, although most studies have been underpowered to detect associations of a realistic magnitude. We assessed 41 common non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) for which evidence of association with breast cancer risk had been previously reported. Case-control data were combined from 38 studies of white European women (46 450 cases and 42 600 controls) and analyzed using unconditional logistic regression. Strong evidence of association was observed for three nsSNPs: ATXN7-K264R at 3p21 [rs1053338, per allele OR = 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04–1.10, P = 2.9 × 10−6], AKAP9-M463I at 7q21 (rs6964587, OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.03–1.07, P = 1.7 × 10−6) and NEK10-L513S at 3p24 (rs10510592, OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.07–1.12, P = 5.1 × 10−17). The first two associations reached genome-wide statistical significance in a combined analysis of available data, including independent data from nine genome-wide association studies (GWASs): for ATXN7-K264R, OR = 1.07 (95% CI = 1.05–1.10, P = 1.0 × 10−8); for AKAP9-M463I, OR = 1.05 (95% CI = 1.04–1.07, P = 2.0 × 10−10). Further analysis of other common variants in these two regions suggested that intronic SNPs nearby are more strongly associated with disease risk. We have thus identified a novel susceptibility locus at 3p21, and confirmed previous suggestive evidence that rs6964587 at 7q21 is associated with risk. The third locus, rs10510592, is located in an established breast cancer susceptibility region; the association was substantially attenuated after adjustment for the known GWAS hit. Thus, each of the associated nsSNPs is likely to be a marker for another, non-coding, variant causally related to breast cancer risk. Further fine-mapping and functional studies are required to identify the underlying risk-modifying variants and the genes through which they act.
The MRE11A-RAD50-Nibrin (MRN) complex plays several critical roles related to repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Inherited mutations in the three components predispose to genetic instability disorders and the MRN genes have been implicated in breast cancer susceptibility, but the underlying data are not entirely convincing. Here, we address two related questions: (1) are some rare MRN variants intermediate-risk breast cancer susceptibility alleles, and if so (2) do the MRN genes follow a BRCA1/BRCA2 pattern wherein most susceptibility alleles are protein-truncating variants, or do they follow an ATM/CHEK2 pattern wherein half or more of the susceptibility alleles are missense substitutions?
Using high-resolution melt curve analysis followed by Sanger sequencing, we mutation screened the coding exons and proximal splice junction regions of the MRN genes in 1,313 early-onset breast cancer cases and 1,123 population controls. Rare variants in the three genes were pooled using bioinformatics methods similar to those previously applied to ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, and CHEK2, and then assessed by logistic regression.
Re-analysis of our ATM, BRCA1, and BRCA2 mutation screening data revealed that these genes do not harbor pathogenic alleles (other than modest-risk SNPs) with minor allele frequencies >0.1% in Caucasian Americans, African Americans, or East Asians. Limiting our MRN analyses to variants with allele frequencies of <0.1% and combining protein-truncating variants, likely spliceogenic variants, and key functional domain rare missense substitutions, we found significant evidence that the MRN genes are indeed intermediate-risk breast cancer susceptibility genes (odds ratio (OR) = 2.88, P = 0.0090). Key domain missense substitutions were more frequent than the truncating variants (24 versus 12 observations) and conferred a slightly higher OR (3.07 versus 2.61) with a lower P value (0.029 versus 0.14).
These data establish that MRE11A, RAD50, and NBN are intermediate-risk breast cancer susceptibility genes. Like ATM and CHEK2, their spectrum of pathogenic variants includes a relatively high proportion of missense substitutions. However, the data neither establish whether variants in each of the three genes are best evaluated under the same analysis model nor achieve clinically actionable classification of individual variants observed in this study.
Energy restriction inhibits mammary tumor development in animal models. Epidemiologic studies in humans generally do not support an association between dietary energy intake and breast cancer risk, although some studies suggest a more complex interplay between measures of energy intake, physical activity and body size. We examined the association between total energy intake jointly with physical activity and body mass index (BMI) and the risk of breast cancer among 1,775 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1995 and 2006 and 2,529 of their unaffected sisters enrolled in the Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR). We collected dietary data using the Hawaii-Los Angeles Multiethnic Cohort food frequency questionnaire. Using conditional logistic regression to estimate the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) associated with total energy intake, we observed an overall 60% -70% increased risk of breast cancer among women in the highest quartile of total energy intake compared to those in the lowest quartile (Q4 vs. Q1: OR =1.6, 95% CI: 1.3-2.0; P trend < 0.0001); these associations were limited to pre-menopausal women or women with hormone receptor positive cancers. Although the associations were slightly stronger among women with a higher BMI or lower level of average lifetime physical activity, we observed a positive association between total energy intake and breast cancer risk across different strata of physical activity and, BMI. Our results suggest that within sisters, high energy intake may increase the risk of breast cancer risk independent from physical activity and body size. If replicated in prospective studies, these findings suggest that reductions in total energy intake may help modify breast cancer risk.
Breast cancer; energy balance; energy intake; physical activity; body mass index
Increased risk of pancreatic cancer (PC) has been reported in breast cancer (BC) families carrying BRCA1and BRCA2 mutations; however, PC risk in mutation-negative (BRCAX) families has not been explored to date. The aim of this study was to estimate PC risk in high-risk BC families according to the BRCA mutation status.
A retrospective cohort analysis was applied to estimate standardized incidence ratios (SIR) for PC. A total of 5,799 families with ≥1 BC case tested for mutations in BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 were eligible. Families were divided into four classes: BRCA1, BRCA2, BRCAX with ≥2 BC diagnosed before age 50 (class 3), and the remaining BRCAX families (class 4).
BRCA1 mutation carriers were at increased risk of PC (SIR= 4.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.94-5.76) as were BRCA2 mutation carriers (SIR=5.79; 95% CI, 4.28-7.84). BRCAX family members were also at increased PC risk, which did not appear to vary by number of members with early-onset breast cancer (SIR=1.31; 95%CI, 1.06-1.63 for Class 3 and SIR=1.30; 95%CI, 1.13-1.49 for class 4).
Germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are associated with an increased risk of PC. Members of BRCAX families are also at increased risk of PC, pointing to the existence of other genetic factors that increase the risk of both PC and BC.
This study clarifies the relationship between familial breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. Given its high mortality, PC should be included in risk assessment in familial breast cancer counseling.
pancreatic cancer; breast cancer; BRCA1; BRCA2; BRCAX
Invasive lobular breast cancer (ILC) accounts for 10–15% of all invasive breast carcinomas. It is generally ER positive (ER+) and often associated with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Genome-wide association studies have identified more than 70 common polymorphisms that predispose to breast cancer, but these studies included predominantly ductal (IDC) carcinomas. To identify novel common polymorphisms that predispose to ILC and LCIS, we pooled data from 6,023 cases (5,622 ILC, 401 pure LCIS) and 34,271 controls from 36 studies genotyped using the iCOGS chip. Six novel SNPs most strongly associated with ILC/LCIS in the pooled analysis were genotyped in a further 516 lobular cases (482 ILC, 36 LCIS) and 1,467 controls. These analyses identified a lobular-specific SNP at 7q34 (rs11977670, OR (95%CI) for ILC = 1.13 (1.09–1.18), P = 6.0×10−10; P-het for ILC vs IDC ER+ tumors = 1.8×10−4). Of the 75 known breast cancer polymorphisms that were genotyped, 56 were associated with ILC and 15 with LCIS at P<0.05. Two SNPs showed significantly stronger associations for ILC than LCIS (rs2981579/10q26/FGFR2, P-het = 0.04 and rs889312/5q11/MAP3K1, P-het = 0.03); and two showed stronger associations for LCIS than ILC (rs6678914/1q32/LGR6, P-het = 0.001 and rs1752911/6q14, P-het = 0.04). In addition, seven of the 75 known loci showed significant differences between ER+ tumors with IDC and ILC histology, three of these showing stronger associations for ILC (rs11249433/1p11, rs2981579/10q26/FGFR2 and rs10995190/10q21/ZNF365) and four associated only with IDC (5p12/rs10941679; rs2588809/14q24/RAD51L1, rs6472903/8q21 and rs1550623/2q31/CDCA7). In conclusion, we have identified one novel lobular breast cancer specific predisposition polymorphism at 7q34, and shown for the first time that common breast cancer polymorphisms predispose to LCIS. We have shown that many of the ER+ breast cancer predisposition loci also predispose to ILC, although there is some heterogeneity between ER+ lobular and ER+ IDC tumors. These data provide evidence for overlapping, but distinct etiological pathways within ER+ breast cancer between morphological subtypes.
Invasive lobular breast cancer (ILC) accounts for 10–15% of invasive breast cancer and is generally ER positive (ER+). To date, none of the genome-wide association studies that have identified loci that predispose to breast cancer in general or to ER+ or ER-negative breast cancer have focused on lobular breast cancer. In this lobular breast cancer study we identified a new variant that appears to be specific to this morphological subtype. We also ascertained which of the known variants predisposes specifically to lobular breast cancer and show for the first time that some of these loci are also associated with lobular carcinoma in situ, a non-obligate precursor of breast cancer and also a risk factor for contralateral breast cancer. Our study shows that the genetic pathways of invasive lobular cancer and ER+ ductal carcinoma mostly overlap, but there are important differences that are likely to provide insights into the biology of lobular breast tumors.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Common variants at 27 loci have been identified as associated with susceptibility to breast cancer, and these account for ~9% of the familial risk of the disease. We report here a meta-analysis of 9 genome-wide association studies, including 10,052 breast cancer cases and 12,575 controls of European ancestry, from which we selected 29,807 SNPs for further genotyping. These SNPs were genotyped in 45,290 cases and 41,880 controls of European ancestry from 41 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). The SNPs were genotyped as part of a collaborative genotyping experiment involving four consortia (Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, COGS) and used a custom Illumina iSelect genotyping array, iCOGS, comprising more than 200,000 SNPs. We identified SNPs at 41 new breast cancer susceptibility loci at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8). Further analyses suggest that more than 1,000 additional loci are involved in breast cancer susceptibility.
Estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors represent 20–30% of all breast cancers, with a higher proportion occurring in younger women and women of African ancestry1. The etiology2 and clinical behavior3 of ER-negative tumors are different from those of tumors expressing ER (ER positive), including differences in genetic predisposition4. To identify susceptibility loci specific to ER-negative disease, we combined in a meta-analysis 3 genome-wide association studies of 4,193 ER-negative breast cancer cases and 35,194 controls with a series of 40 follow-up studies (6,514 cases and 41,455 controls), genotyped using a custom Illumina array, iCOGS, developed by the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS). SNPs at four loci, 1q32.1 (MDM4, P = 2.1 × 10−12 and LGR6, P = 1.4 × 10−8), 2p24.1 (P = 4.6 × 10−8) and 16q12.2 (FTO, P = 4.0 × 10−8), were associated with ER-negative but not ER-positive breast cancer (P > 0.05). These findings provide further evidence for distinct etiological pathways associated with invasive ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancers.
There is a growing body of evidence implicating aberrant circadian clock expression in the development of cancer. Based on our initial experiments identifying a putative interaction between BRCA1 and the clock proteins Per1 and Per2, as well as the reported involvement of the circadian clock in the development of cancer, we have performed an expression analysis of the circadian clock genes Per1 and Per2 in both sporadic and familial primary breast tumors and normal breast tissues using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Significantly decreased levels of Per1 were observed between sporadic tumors and normal samples (P < .00001), as well as a further significant decrease between familial and sporadic breast tumors for both Per1 (P < .00001) and Per2 (P < .00001). Decreased Per1 was also associated with estrogen receptor negativity (53% vs 15%, P = .04). These results suggest a role for both Per1 and Per2 in normal breast function and show for the first time that deregulation of the circadian clock may be an important factor in the development of familial breast cancer. Aberrant expression of circadian clock genes could have important consequences on the transactivation of downstream targets that control the cell cycle and on the ability of cells to undergo apoptosis, potentially promoting carcinogenesis.
Circadian clock; gene expression; Per1; Per2; BRCA1
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone malignancy of adolescents and young adults. In order to better understand the genetic etiology of osteosarcoma, we performed a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) consisting of 941 cases and 3,291 cancer-free adult controls of European ancestry. Two loci achieved genome-wide significance: rs1906953 at 6p21.3, in the glutamate receptor metabotropic 4 [GRM4] gene (P = 8.1 ×10-9), and rs7591996 and rs10208273 in a gene desert on 2p25.2 (P = 1.0 ×10-8 and 2.9 ×10-7). These two susceptibility loci warrant further exploration to uncover the biological mechanisms underlying susceptibility to osteosarcoma.
The length of female reproductive lifespan is associated with multiple adverse outcomes, including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and infertility. The biological processes that govern the timing of the beginning and end of reproductive life are not well understood. Genetic variants are known to contribute to ∼50% of the variation in both age at menarche and menopause, but to date the known genes explain <15% of the genetic component. We have used genome-wide association in a bivariate meta-analysis of both traits to identify genes involved in determining reproductive lifespan. We observed significant genetic correlation between the two traits using genome-wide complex trait analysis. However, we found no robust statistical evidence for individual variants with an effect on both traits. A novel association with age at menopause was detected for a variant rs1800932 in the mismatch repair gene MSH6 (P = 1.9 × 10−9), which was also associated with altered expression levels of MSH6 mRNA in multiple tissues. This study contributes to the growing evidence that DNA repair processes play a key role in ovarian ageing and could be an important therapeutic target for infertility.
Several common germline variants identified through genome-wide association studies of breast cancer risk in the general population have recently been shown to be associated with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutation carriers. When combined, these variants can identify marked differences in the absolute risk of developing breast cancer for mutation carriers, suggesting that additional modifier loci may further enhance individual risk assessment for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Recently, a common variant on 6p22 (rs9393597) was found to be associated with increased breast cancer risk for BRCA2 mutation carriers [Hazard ratio (HR)=1.55, 95% CI 1.25–1.92, p=6.0×10−5]. This observation was based on data from GWAS studies in which, despite statistical correction for multiple comparisons, the possibility of false discovery remains a concern. Here we report on an analysis of this variant in an additional 6,165 BRCA1 and 3,900 BRCA2 mutation carriers from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). In this replication analysis, rs9393597 was not associated with breast cancer risk for BRCA2 mutation carriers [HR=1.09, 95% CI 0.96–1.24, p=0.18]. No association with ovarian cancer risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers or with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers was observed. This follow-up study suggests that, contrary to our initial report, this variant is not associated with breast cancer risk among individuals with germline BRCA2 mutations.
BRCA1; BRCA2; genetic modifier; association study
TERT-locus single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and leucocyte telomere measures are reportedly associated with risks of multiple cancers. Using the iCOGs chip, we analysed ~480 TERT-locus SNPs in breast (n=103,991), ovarian (n=39,774) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (11,705) cancer cases and controls. 53,724 participants have leucocyte telomere measures. Most associations cluster into three independent peaks. Peak 1 SNP rs2736108 minor allele associates with longer telomeres (P=5.8×10−7), reduced estrogen receptor negative (ER-negative) (P=1.0×10−8) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P=1.1×10−5) breast cancer risks, and altered promoter-assay signal. Peak 2 SNP rs7705526 minor allele associates with longer telomeres (P=2.3×10−14), increased low malignant potential ovarian cancer risk (P=1.3×10−15) and increased promoter activity. Peak 3 SNPs rs10069690 and rs2242652 minor alleles increase ER-negative (P=1.2×10−12) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P=1.6×10−14) breast and invasive ovarian (P=1.3×10−11) cancer risks, but not via altered telomere length. The cancer-risk alleles of rs2242652 and rs10069690 respectively increase silencing and generate a truncated TERT splice-variant.
Our recent genome-wide association study identified a novel breast cancer susceptibility locus at 9q31.2 (rs865686).
To further investigate the rs865686–breast cancer association, we conducted a replication study within the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, which comprises 37 case–control studies (48,394 cases, 50,836 controls).
This replication study provides additional strong evidence of an inverse association between rs865686 and breast cancer risk [study-adjusted per G-allele OR, 0.90; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.88; 0.91, P = 2.01 × 10–29] among women of European ancestry. There were ethnic differences in the estimated minor (G)-allele frequency among controls [0.09, 0.30, and 0.38 among, respectively, Asians, Eastern Europeans, and other Europeans; P for heterogeneity (Phet) = 1.3 × 10–143], but no evidence of ethnic differences in per allele OR (Phet = 0.43). rs865686 was associated with estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) disease (per G-allele OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.86–0.91; P = 3.13 × 10–22) but less strongly, if at all, with ER-negative (ER–) disease (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.94–1.02; P = 0.26; Phet = 1.16 × 10–6), with no evidence of independent heterogeneity by progesterone receptor or HER2 status. The strength of the breast cancer association decreased with increasing age at diagnosis, with case-only analysis showing a trend in the number of copies of the G allele with increasing age at diagnosis (P for linear trend = 0.0095), but only among women with ER+ tumors.
This study is the first to show that rs865686 is a susceptibility marker for ER+ breast cancer.
The findings further support the view that genetic susceptibility varies according to tumor subtype.