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.
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
It has been shown that, for women aged 50 years or older, the discriminatory accuracy of the Breast Cancer Risk Prediction Tool (BCRAT) can be modestly improved by the inclusion of information on common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with increased breast cancer risk. We aimed to determine whether a similar improvement is seen for earlier onset disease. We used the Australian Breast Cancer Family Registry to study a population-based sample of 962 cases aged 35 to 59 years and 463 controls frequency matched for age and for whom genotyping data was available.
Overall, the inclusion of data on seven SNPs improved the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) from 0.58 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.55–0.61) for BCRAT alone to 0.61 (95% CI=0.58–0.64) for BCRAT and SNP data combined (p<0.001). For women aged 35 to 39 years at interview, the corresponding improvement in AUC was from 0.61 (95% CI=0.56–0.66) to 0.65 (95% CI=0.60–0.70; p=0.03), while for women aged 40 to 49 years at diagnosis, the AUC improved from 0.61 (95% CI=0.55–0.66) to 0.63 (95% CI=0.57–0.69; p=0.04). Using previously used classifications of low, intermediate and high risk, 2.1% of cases and none of the controls aged 35 to 39 years, and 10.9% of cases and 4.0% of controls aged 40 to 49 years were classified into a higher risk group.
Including information on seven SNPs associated with breast cancer risk improves the discriminatory accuracy of BCRAT for women aged 35 to 39 years and 40 to 49 years. Given the low absolute risk for women in these age groups, only a small proportion are reclassified into a higher category for predicted 5-year risk of breast cancer.
Breast cancer; risk prediction; single nucleotide polymorphism; Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool
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.
The XRCC2 gene is a key mediator in the homologous recombination repair of DNA double strand breaks. We hypothesised that inherited variants in the XRCC2 gene might also affect susceptibility to, and survival from, breast cancer.
We genotyped 12 XRCC2 tagging SNPs in 1,131 breast cancer cases and 1,148 controls from the Sheffield Breast Cancer Study (SBCS), and examined their associations with breast cancer risk and survival by estimating odds ratios (ORs) and hazard ratios (HRs), and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Positive findings were further investigated in 860 cases and 869 controls from the Utah Breast Cancer Study (UBCS) and jointly analysed together with available published data for breast cancer risk. The survival findings were further confirmed in studies (8,074 cases) from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC).
The most significant association with breast cancer risk in the SBCS dataset was the XRCC2 rs3218408 SNP (recessive model p=2.3×10−4, MAF=0.23). This SNP yielded an ORrec (95% CI) of 1.64 (1.25–2.16) in a two-site analysis of SBCS and UBCS, and a meta-ORrec (95% CI) of 1.33 (1.12–1.57) when all published data were included. This SNP may mark a rare risk haplotype carried by 2 in 1000 of the control population. Furthermore, the XRCC2 coding R188H SNP (rs3218536, MAF=0.08) was significantly associated with poor survival, with an increased per-allele HR (95% CI) of 1.58 (1.01–2.49) in a multivariate analysis. This effect was still evident in a pooled meta-analysis of 8,781 breast cancer patients from the BCAC [HR (95% CI) of 1.19 (1.05–1.36), p=0.01].
Our findings suggest that XRCC2 SNPs may influence breast cancer risk and survival.
Single nucleotide polymorphism; XRCC2; breast cancer risk; breast cancer survival
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of breast cancer defined by hormone receptor status have revealed loci contributing to susceptibility of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative subtypes. To identify additional genetic variants for ER-negative breast cancer, we conducted the largest meta-analysis of ER-negative disease to date, comprising 4754 ER-negative cases and 31 663 controls from three GWAS: NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) (2188 ER-negative cases; 25 519 controls of European ancestry), Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC) (1562 triple negative cases; 3399 controls of European ancestry) and African American Breast Cancer Consortium (AABC) (1004 ER-negative cases; 2745 controls). We performed in silico replication of 86 SNPs at P ≤ 1 × 10-5 in an additional 11 209 breast cancer cases (946 with ER-negative disease) and 16 057 controls of Japanese, Latino and European ancestry. We identified two novel loci for breast cancer at 20q11 and 6q14. SNP rs2284378 at 20q11 was associated with ER-negative breast cancer (combined two-stage OR = 1.16; P = 1.1 × 10−8) but showed a weaker association with overall breast cancer (OR = 1.08, P = 1.3 × 10–6) based on 17 869 cases and 43 745 controls and no association with ER-positive disease (OR = 1.01, P = 0.67) based on 9965 cases and 22 902 controls. Similarly, rs17530068 at 6q14 was associated with breast cancer (OR = 1.12; P = 1.1 × 10−9), and with both ER-positive (OR = 1.09; P = 1.5 × 10−5) and ER-negative (OR = 1.16, P = 2.5 × 10−7) disease. We also confirmed three known loci associated with ER-negative (19p13) and both ER-negative and ER-positive breast cancer (6q25 and 12p11). Our results highlight the value of large-scale collaborative studies to identify novel breast cancer risk loci.
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.
Recent genome-wide association studies identified 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with breast cancer (BC) risk. We investigated these and 62 other SNPs for their prognostic relevance. Confirmed BC risk SNPs rs17468277 (CASP8), rs1982073 (TGFB1), rs2981582 (FGFR2), rs13281615 (8q24), rs3817198 (LSP1), rs889312 (MAP3K1), rs3803662 (TOX3), rs13387042 (2q35), rs4973768 (SLC4A7), rs6504950 (COX11) and rs10941679 (5p12) were genotyped for 25 853 BC patients with the available follow-up; 62 other SNPs, which have been suggested as BC risk SNPs by a GWAS or as candidate SNPs from individual studies, were genotyped for replication purposes in subsets of these patients. Cox proportional hazard models were used to test the association of these SNPs with overall survival (OS) and BC-specific survival (BCS). For the confirmed loci, we performed an accessory analysis of publicly available gene expression data and the prognosis in a different patient group. One of the 11 SNPs, rs3803662 (TOX3) and none of the 62 candidate/GWAS SNPs were associated with OS and/or BCS at P<0.01. The genotypic-specific survival for rs3803662 suggested a recessive mode of action [hazard ratio (HR) of rare homozygous carriers=1.21; 95% CI: 1.09–1.35, P=0.0002 and HR=1.29; 95% CI: 1.12–1.47, P=0.0003 for OS and BCS, respectively]. This association was seen similarly in all analyzed tumor subgroups defined by nodal status, tumor size, grade and estrogen receptor. Breast tumor expression of these genes was not associated with prognosis. With the exception of rs3803662 (TOX3), there was no evidence that any of the SNPs associated with BC susceptibility were associated with the BC survival. Survival may be influenced by a distinct set of germline variants from those influencing susceptibility.
Percent mammographic density adjusted for age and body mass index (BMI) is one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer and has a heritable component that remains largely unidentified. We performed a three-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) of percent mammographic density to identify novel genetic loci associated with this trait. In stage 1, we combined three GWASs of percent density comprised of 1241 women from studies at the Mayo Clinic and identified the top 48 loci (99 single nucleotide polymorphisms). We attempted replication of these loci in 7018 women from seven additional studies (stage 2). The meta-analysis of stage 1 and 2 data identified a novel locus, rs1265507 on 12q24, associated with percent density, adjusting for age and BMI (P = 4.43 × 10−8). We refined the 12q24 locus with 459 additional variants (stage 3) in a combined analysis of all three stages (n = 10 377) and confirmed that rs1265507 has the strongest association in the 12q24 region (P = 1.03 × 10−8). Rs1265507 is located between the genes TBX5 and TBX3, which are members of the phylogenetically conserved T-box gene family and encode transcription factors involved in developmental regulation. Understanding the mechanism underlying this association will provide insight into the genetics of breast tissue composition.
A recent two-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified five novel breast cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 9, 10 and 11. To provide more reliable estimates of the relative risk associated with these loci and investigate possible heterogeneity by subtype of breast cancer, we genotyped the variants rs2380205, rs1011970, rs704010, rs614367, rs10995190 in 39 studies from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), involving 49,608 cases and 48,772 controls of predominantly European ancestry. Four of the variants showed clear evidence of association (P ≤ 3 × 10−9) and weak evidence was observed for rs2380205 (P = 0.06). The strongest evidence was obtained for rs614367, located on 11q13 (per-allele odds ratio 1.21, P = 4 × 10−39). The association for rs614367 was specific to estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease and strongest for ER plus progesterone receptor (PR)-positive breast cancer, whereas the associations for the other three loci did not differ by tumor subtype.
breast cancer susceptibility; polymorphisms; genome wide association; risk factors; hormone receptor status; 11q13
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. To date, 22 common breast cancer susceptibility loci have been identified accounting for ~ 8% of the heritability of the disease. We followed up 72 promising associations from two independent Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) in ~70,000 cases and ~68,000 controls from 41 case-control studies and nine breast cancer GWAS. We identified three new breast cancer risk loci on 12p11 (rs10771399; P=2.7 × 10−35), 12q24 (rs1292011; P=4.3×10−19) and 21q21 (rs2823093; P=1.1×10−12). SNP rs10771399 was associated with similar relative risks for both estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and ER-positive breast cancer, whereas the other two loci were associated only with ER-positive disease. Two of the loci lie in regions that contain strong plausible candidate genes: PTHLH (12p11) plays a crucial role in mammary gland development and the establishment of bone metastasis in breast cancer, while NRIP1 (21q21) encodes an ER co-factor and has a role in the regulation of breast cancer cell growth.
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
To estimate the association between measures of socio-economic status (SES) and breast cancer (BC) survival for young, urban Australian women.
We used a population-based sample of 1,029 women followed prospectively for a median of 7.9 years. SES was defined by education and area of residence. Hazard ratios (HRs) associated with SES measures were estimated for (i) distant recurrence (DR) and (ii) all-cause mortality as end-points.
HRs for area of residence were not significantly different from unity, with or without adjustment for age at diagnosis and education level. The univariable HR estimate of DR for women with university education compared with women with incomplete high school education was 1.51 (95% CI = 1.08 – 2.13, p = 0.02), which reduced to 1.20 (95% CI = 0.85 – 1.72, p = 0.3) after adjusting for age at diagnosis and area of residence. Adjusting for prognostic factors differentially distributed across SES groups did not substantially alter the association between survival and SES.
Among young, urban Australian women there is no association between SES and BC survival.
This lack of estimates of association may be partly attributed to universal access to adequate breast cancer care in urban areas.
Breast cancer; socioeconomic status; Australia; survival
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 1p11.2 and 14q24.1 (RAD51L1) as breast cancer susceptibility loci. The initial GWAS suggested stronger effects for both loci for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors. Using data from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), we sought to determine whether risks differ by ER, progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), grade, node status, tumor size, and ductal or lobular morphology. We genotyped rs11249433 at 1p.11.2, and two highly correlated SNPs rs999737 and rs10483813 (r2= 0.98) at 14q24.1 (RAD51L1), for up to 46 036 invasive breast cancer cases and 46 930 controls from 39 studies. Analyses by tumor characteristics focused on subjects reporting to be white women of European ancestry and were based on 25 458 cases, of which 87% had ER data. The SNP at 1p11.2 showed significantly stronger associations with ER-positive tumors [per-allele odds ratio (OR) for ER-positive tumors was 1.13, 95% CI = 1.10–1.16 and, for ER-negative tumors, OR was 1.03, 95% CI = 0.98–1.07, case-only P-heterogeneity = 7.6 × 10−5]. The association with ER-positive tumors was stronger for tumors of lower grade (case-only P= 6.7 × 10−3) and lobular histology (case-only P= 0.01). SNPs at 14q24.1 were associated with risk for most tumor subtypes evaluated, including triple-negative breast cancers, which has not been described previously. Our results underscore the need for large pooling efforts with tumor pathology data to help refine risk estimates for SNP associations with susceptibility to different subtypes of breast cancer.
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.
Background A previous Australian population-based breast cancer case-control study found indirect evidence that control participation, although high, was not random. We hypothesized that unaffected sisters may provide a more appropriate comparison group than unrelated population controls.
Methods Three population-based case-control-family studies of breast cancer in women of white European origin were carried out by the Australian, Ontario and Northern California sites of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. We compared risk factors between 3643 cases, 2444 of their unaffected sisters and 2877 population controls and conducted separate case-control analyses based on population and sister controls using unconditional multivariable logistic regression.
Results Compared with sister controls, population controls were more highly educated, had an earlier age at menarche, fewer births, their first birth at a later age and their last birth more recently. The established breast cancer associations detected using sister controls, but not detected using population controls, were decreasing risk with each of later age at menarche, more births, younger age at first birth and greater time since last birth.
Conclusions Since participation of population controls might be unintentionally related to some risk factors, we hypothesize that sister controls could provide more valid relative risk estimates and be recruited at lower cost. Given declining study participation by population controls, this contention is highly relevant to epidemiologic research.
Case-control; sister; breast cancer; lifestyle; risk factors
The 19p13.1 breast cancer susceptibility locus is a modifier of breast cancer risk in BRCA1 mutation carriers and is also associated with risk of ovarian cancer. Here we investigated 19p13.1 variation and risk of breast cancer subtypes, defined by estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) status, using 48,869 breast cancer cases and 49,787 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Variants from 19p13.1 were not associated with breast cancer overall or with ER-positive breast cancer but were significantly associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk [rs8170 Odds Ratio (OR)=1.10, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.05 – 1.15, p=3.49 × 10-5] and triple negative (TN) (ER, PR and HER2 negative) breast cancer [rs8170 OR=1.22, 95% CI 1.13 – 1.31, p=2.22 × 10-7]. However, rs8170 was no longer associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk when TN cases were excluded [OR=0.98, 95% CI 0.89 – 1.07, p=0.62]. In addition, a combined analysis of TN cases from BCAC and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC) (n=3,566) identified a genome-wide significant association between rs8170 and TN breast cancer risk [OR=1.25, 95% CI 1.18 – 1.33, p=3.31 × 10-13]. Thus, 19p13.1 is the first triple negative-specific breast cancer risk locus and the first locus specific to a histological subtype defined by ER, PR, and HER2 to be identified. These findings provide convincing evidence that genetic susceptibility to breast cancer varies by tumor subtype and that triple negative tumors and other subtypes likely arise through distinct etiologic pathways.
genetic susceptibility; association study; subtype; neoplasms; common variant
Percent mammographic breast density (PMD) is a strong heritable risk factor for breast cancer. However, the pathways through which this risk is mediated are still unclear. To explore whether PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis, we identified genetic variants most strongly associated with PMD in a published meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and used these to construct risk scores for 3628 breast cancer cases and 5190 controls from the UK2 GWAS of breast cancer. The signed per-allele effect estimates of SNPs were multiplied with the respective allele counts in the individual and summed over all SNPs to derive the risk score for an individual. These scores were included as the exposure variable in a logistic regression model with breast cancer case-control status as the outcome. This analysis was repeated using ten different cut-offs for the most significant density SNPs (1-10% representing 5,222-50,899 SNPs). Permutation analysis was also performed across all 10 cut-offs. The association between risk score and breast cancer was significant for all cut-offs from 3-10% of top density SNPs, being most significant for the 6% (2-sided P=0.002) to 10% (P=0.001) cut-offs (overall permutation P=0.003). Women in the top 10% of the risk score distribution had a 31% increased risk of breast cancer [OR= 1.31 (95%CI 1.08-1.59)] compared to women in the bottom 10%. Together, our results demonstrate that PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis that is mediated through a large number of common variants.
breast cancer; mammographic density; SNPs; polygenic; Mendelian Randomisation
Breast cancers demonstrate substantial biological, clinical and etiological heterogeneity. We investigated breast cancer risk associations of eight susceptibility loci identified in GWAS and two putative susceptibility loci in candidate genes in relation to specific breast tumor subtypes. Subtypes were defined by five markers (ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6, EGFR) and other pathological and clinical features. Analyses included up to 30 040 invasive breast cancer cases and 53 692 controls from 31 studies within the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We confirmed previous reports of stronger associations with ER+ than ER− tumors for six of the eight loci identified in GWAS: rs2981582 (10q26) (P-heterogeneity = 6.1 × 10−18), rs3803662 (16q12) (P = 3.7 × 10−5), rs13281615 (8q24) (P = 0.002), rs13387042 (2q35) (P = 0.006), rs4973768 (3p24) (P = 0.003) and rs6504950 (17q23) (P = 0.002). The two candidate loci, CASP8 (rs1045485, rs17468277) and TGFB1 (rs1982073), were most strongly related with the risk of PR negative tumors (P = 5.1 × 10−6 and P = 4.1 × 10−4, respectively), as previously suggested. Four of the eight loci identified in GWAS were associated with triple negative tumors (P ≤ 0.016): rs3803662 (16q12), rs889312 (5q11), rs3817198 (11p15) and rs13387042 (2q35); however, only two of them (16q12 and 2q35) were associated with tumors with the core basal phenotype (P ≤ 0.002). These analyses are consistent with different biological origins of breast cancers, and indicate that tumor stratification might help in the identification and characterization of novel risk factors for breast cancer subtypes. This may eventually result in further improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment.
Using the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, the authors previously reported that the single nucleotide polymorphism 7q21-rs6964587 (AKAP9-M463I) is associated with breast cancer risk. The authors have now assessed this association more comprehensively using 16 independent case–control studies.
The authors genotyped 14 843 invasive case patients and 19 852 control subjects with white European ancestry and 2595 invasive case patients and 2192 control subjects with Asian ancestry. ORs were estimated by logistic regression, adjusted for study. Heterogeneity in ORs was assessed by fitting interaction terms or by subclassifying case patients and applying polytomous logistic regression.
For white European women, the minor T allele of 7q21-rs6964587 was associated with breast cancer risk under a recessive model (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.13, p = 0.04). Results were inconclusive for Asian women. From a combined analysis of 24 154 case patients and 33 376 control subjects of white European ancestry from the present and previous series, the best-fitting model was recessive, with an estimated OR of 1.08 (95% CI 1.03 to 1.13, p = 0.001). The OR was greater at younger ages (p trend = 0.01).
This may be the first common susceptibility allele for breast cancer to be identified with a recessive mode of inheritance.
Previous studies have suggested that breast cancer risk factors are associated with estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) expression status of the tumors.
We pooled tumor marker and epidemiological risk factor data from 35 568 invasive breast cancer case patients from 34 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Logistic regression models were used in case–case analyses to estimate associations between epidemiological risk factors and tumor subtypes, and case–control analyses to estimate associations between epidemiological risk factors and the risk of developing specific tumor subtypes in 12 population-based studies. All statistical tests were two-sided.
In case–case analyses, of the epidemiological risk factors examined, early age at menarche (≤12 years) was less frequent in case patients with PR− than PR+ tumors (P = .001). Nulliparity (P = 3 × 10−6) and increasing age at first birth (P = 2 × 10−9) were less frequent in ER− than in ER+ tumors. Obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30 kg/m2) in younger women (≤50 years) was more frequent in ER−/PR− than in ER+/PR+ tumors (P = 1 × 10−7), whereas obesity in older women (>50 years) was less frequent in PR− than in PR+ tumors (P = 6 × 10−4). The triple-negative (ER−/PR−/HER2−) or core basal phenotype (CBP; triple-negative and cytokeratins [CK]5/6+ and/or epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR]+) accounted for much of the heterogeneity in parity-related variables and BMI in younger women. Case–control analyses showed that nulliparity, increasing age at first birth, and obesity in younger women showed the expected associations with the risk of ER+ or PR+ tumors but not triple-negative (nulliparity vs parity, odds ratio [OR] = 0.94, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.75 to 1.19, P = .61; 5-year increase in age at first full-term birth, OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.86 to 1.05, P = .34; obesity in younger women, OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 0.95 to 1.94, P = .09) or CBP tumors.
This study shows that reproductive factors and BMI are most clearly associated with hormone receptor–positive tumors and suggest that triple-negative or CBP tumors may have distinct etiology.
Mammographic breast density is a highly heritable (h2 > 0.6) and strong risk factor for breast cancer. We conducted a genome-wide linkage study to identify loci influencing mammographic breast density (MD).
Epidemiological data were assembled on 1,415 families from the Australia, Northern California and Ontario sites of the Breast Cancer Family Registry, and additional families recruited in Australia and Ontario. Families consisted of sister pairs with age-matched mammograms and data on factors known to influence MD. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping was performed on 3,952 individuals using the Illumina Infinium 6K linkage panel.
Using a variance components method, genome-wide linkage analysis was performed using quantitative traits obtained by adjusting MD measurements for known covariates. Our primary trait was formed by fitting a linear model to the square root of the percentage of the breast area that was dense (PMD), adjusting for age at mammogram, number of live births, menopausal status, weight, height, weight squared, and menopausal hormone therapy. The maximum logarithm of odds (LOD) score from the genome-wide scan was on chromosome 7p14.1-p13 (LOD = 2.69; 63.5 cM) for covariate-adjusted PMD, with a 1-LOD interval spanning 8.6 cM. A similar signal was seen for the covariate adjusted area of the breast that was dense (DA) phenotype. Simulations showed that the complete sample had adequate power to detect LOD scores of 3 or 3.5 for a locus accounting for 20% of phenotypic variance. A modest peak initially seen on chromosome 7q32.3-q34 increased in strength when only the 513 families with at least two sisters below 50 years of age were included in the analysis (LOD 3.2; 140.7 cM, 1-LOD interval spanning 9.6 cM). In a subgroup analysis, we also found a LOD score of 3.3 for DA phenotype on chromosome 12.11.22-q13.11 (60.8 cM, 1-LOD interval spanning 9.3 cM), overlapping a region identified in a previous study.
The suggestive peaks and the larger linkage signal seen in the subset of pedigrees with younger participants highlight regions of interest for further study to identify genes that determine MD, with the goal of understanding mammographic density and its involvement in susceptibility to breast cancer.