Background and aims
Knowledge on the etiology of exocrine pancreatic cancer (EPC) is scant. The best established risk factor for EPC is tobacco smoking. Among other carcinogens, tobacco contains cadmium, a metal previously associated with an increased risk of EPC. We evaluated the association between concentrations of trace elements in toenails and EPC risk.
The study included 118 EPC cases and 399 hospital controls from Eastern Spain. Levels of twelve trace elements were determined in toenail samples by inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for potential confounders, were calculated using logistic regression.
Significantly increased risks of EPC were observed among subjects whose concentrations of cadmium (OR=3.58, 95%CI 1.86–6·88; Ptrend=5×10−6), arsenic (OR=2.02, 95%CI 1.08–3.78; Ptrend=0.009), and lead (OR=6.26, 95%CI 2.71–14.47; Ptrend=3×10−5) were in the highest quartile. High concentrations of selenium (OR=0.05, 95%CI 0.02–0.15; Ptrend=8×10−11) and nickel (OR=0.27, 95%CI 0.12–0.59; Ptrend=2×10−4) were inversely associated with risk of EPC.
We report novel associations of lead, nickel, and selenium toenail concentrations with pancreas cancer risk. Furthermore, results confirm previous associations with cadmium and arsenic. These novel findings, if replicated in independent studies, would point to an important role of trace elements in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
Pancreas; Arsenic; Cadmium; Lead; Selenium
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
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
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
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.
Few studies have considered the joint association of body mass index (BMI) and physical activity, two modifiable factors, with all-cause mortality after breast cancer diagnosis. Women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer (n=4,153) between 1991 and 2000 were enrolled in the Breast Cancer Family Registry through population-based sampling in Northern California, USA; Ontario, Canada; and Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. During a median follow-up of 7.8 years, 725 deaths occurred. Baseline questionnaires assessed moderate and vigorous recreational physical activity and BMI prior to diagnosis. Associations with all-cause mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression, adjusting for established prognostic factors. Compared with no physical activity, any recreational activity during the three years prior to diagnosis was associated with a 34% lower risk of death (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51-0.85) for women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors, but not those with ER-negative tumors; this association did not appear to differ by race/ethnicity or BMI. Lifetime physical activity was not associated with all-cause mortality. BMI was positively associated with all-cause mortality for women diagnosed at age ≥50 years with ER-positive tumors (compared with normal-weight women, HR for overweight = 1.39, 95% CI: 0.90-2.15; HR for obese = 1.77, 95% CI: 1.11-2.82). BMI associations did not appear to differ by race/ethnicity. Our findings suggest that physical activity and BMI exert independent effects on overall mortality after breast cancer.
breast cancer; physical activity; body mass index; obesity; mortality
Traditional prognostic factors for survival and treatment response of patients with breast cancer do not fully account for observed survival variation. We used available genotype data from a previously conducted two-stage, breast cancer susceptibility genome-wide association study (ie, Studies of Epidemiology and Risk factors in Cancer Heredity [SEARCH]) to investigate associations between variation in germline DNA and overall survival.
We evaluated possible associations between overall survival after a breast cancer diagnosis and 10 621 germline single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from up to 3761 patients with invasive breast cancer (including 647 deaths and 26 978 person-years at risk) that were genotyped previously in the SEARCH study with high-density oligonucleotide microarrays (ie, hypothesis-generating set). Associations with all-cause mortality were assessed for each SNP by use of Cox regression analysis, generating a per rare allele hazard ratio (HR). To validate putative associations, we used patient genotype information that had been obtained with 5′ nuclease assay or mass spectrometry and overall survival information for up to 14 096 patients with invasive breast cancer (including 2303 deaths and 70 019 person-years at risk) from 15 international case–control studies (ie, validation set). Fixed-effects meta-analysis was used to generate an overall effect estimate in the validation dataset and in combined SEARCH and validation datasets. All statistical tests were two-sided.
In the hypothesis-generating dataset, SNP rs4778137 (C>G) of the OCA2 gene at 15q13.1 was statistically significantly associated with overall survival among patients with estrogen receptor–negative tumors, with the rare G allele being associated with increased overall survival (HR of death per rare allele carried = 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.41 to 0.75, P = 9.2 × 10−5). This association was also observed in the validation dataset (HR of death per rare allele carried = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.78 to 0.99, P = .03) and in the combined dataset (HR of death per rare allele carried = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.73 to 0.92, P = 5 × 10−4).
The rare G allele of the OCA2 polymorphism, rs4778137, may be associated with improved overall survival among patients with estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer.
Several common breast cancer genetic susceptibility variants have recently been identified. We aimed to determine how these variants combine with a subset of other known risk factors to influence breast cancer risk in white women of European ancestry using case-control studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.
We evaluated two-way interactions between each of age at menarche, ever having had a live birth, number of live births, age at first birth and body mass index (BMI) and each of 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (10q26-rs2981582 (FGFR2), 8q24-rs13281615, 11p15-rs3817198 (LSP1), 5q11-rs889312 (MAP3K1), 16q12-rs3803662 (TOX3), 2q35-rs13387042, 5p12-rs10941679 (MRPS30), 17q23-rs6504950 (COX11), 3p24-rs4973768 (SLC4A7), CASP8-rs17468277, TGFB1-rs1982073 and ESR1-rs3020314). Interactions were tested for by fitting logistic regression models including per-allele and linear trend main effects for SNPs and risk factors, respectively, and single-parameter interaction terms for linear departure from independent multiplicative effects.
These analyses were applied to data for up to 26,349 invasive breast cancer cases and up to 32,208 controls from 21 case-control studies. No statistical evidence of interaction was observed beyond that expected by chance. Analyses were repeated using data from 11 population-based studies, and results were very similar.
The relative risks for breast cancer associated with the common susceptibility variants identified to date do not appear to vary across women with different reproductive histories or body mass index (BMI). The assumption of multiplicative combined effects for these established genetic and other risk factors in risk prediction models appears justified.
Although having a family history of breast cancer is a well established breast cancer risk factor, it is not known whether it influences mortality after breast cancer diagnosis.
Subjects were 4,153 women with first primary incident invasive breast cancer diagnosed between 1991 and 2000, and enrolled in the Breast Cancer Family Registry through population-based sampling in Northern California, USA; Ontario, Canada; and Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. Cases were oversampled for younger age at diagnosis and/or family history of breast cancer. Carriers of germline mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 were excluded. Cases and their relatives completed structured questionnaires assessing breast cancer risk factors and family history of cancer. Cases were followed for a median of 6.5 years, during which 725 deaths occurred. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to evaluate associations between family history of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis and risk of all-cause mortality after breast cancer diagnosis, adjusting for established prognostic factors.
The hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 0.98 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.84-1.15) for having at least one first- or second-degree relative with breast cancer, and 0.85 (95% CI=0.70-1.02) for having at least one first-degree relative with breast cancer, compared with having no such family history. Estimates did not vary appreciably when stratified by case or tumor characteristics.
Family history of breast cancer is not associated with all-cause mortality after breast cancer diagnosis for women without a known germline mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Therefore, clinical management should not depend on family history of breast cancer.
breast cancer; survival; mortality; family history
A recent genome-wide association study identified single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) 2q35-rs13387042 as a marker of susceptibility to estrogen receptor (ER)–positive breast cancer. We attempted to confirm this association using the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.
2q35-rs13387042 SNP was genotyped for 31 510 women with invasive breast cancer, 1101 women with ductal carcinoma in situ, and 35 969 female control subjects from 25 studies. Odds ratios (ORs) were estimated by logistic regression, adjusted for study. Heterogeneity in odds ratios by each of age, ethnicity, and study was assessed by fitting interaction terms. Heterogeneity by each of invasiveness, family history, bilaterality, and hormone receptor status was assessed by subclassifying case patients and applying polytomous logistic regression. All statistical tests were two-sided.
We found strong evidence of association between rs13387042 and breast cancer in white women of European origin (per-allele OR = 1.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09 to 1.15; Ptrend = 1.0 × 10−19). The odds ratio was lower than that previously reported (P = .02) and did not vary by age or ethnicity (all P ≥ .2). However, it was higher when the analysis was restricted to case patients who were selected for a strong family history (P = .02). An association was observed for both ER-positive (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.10 to 1.17; P = 10−15) and ER-negative disease (OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.15; P = .0003) and both progesterone receptor (PR)–positive (OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.11 to 1.19; P = 5 × 10−14) and PR-negative disease (OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.15; P = .00002).
The rs13387042 is associated with both ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancer in European women.
Studies have examined the prognostic relevance of reproductive factors prior to breast cancer (BC) diagnosis, but most have been small and overall their findings inconclusive. Associations between reproductive risk factors and all-cause mortality after BC diagnosis were assessed using a population-based cohort of 3,107 women of white European ancestry with invasive BC (1,130 from Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; 1,441 from Ontario, Canada; and 536 from Northern California, USA). During follow-up with a median of 8.5 years, 567 deaths occurred. At recruitment, questionnaire data were collected on oral contraceptive use, number of full-term pregnancies, age at first full-term pregnancy, time from last full-term pregnancy to BC diagnosis, breastfeeding, age at menarche and menopause and menopausal status at BC diagnosis. Hazard ratios (HR) for all-cause mortality were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models with and without adjustment for age at diagnosis, study center, education and body mass index. Compared with nulliparous women, those who had a child up to 2 years, or between 2 to 5 years, prior to their BC diagnosis were more likely to die. The unadjusted HR estimates were 2.75 (95%CI=1.98–3.83, p<0.001) and 2.20 (95%CI=1.65–2.94, p<0.001), respectively, and the adjusted estimates were 2.25 (95%CI=1.59–3.18, p<0.001) and 1.82 (95%CI=1.35–2.46, p<0.001), respectively). When evaluating the prognosis of women recently diagnosed with BC, the time since last full-term pregnancy should be routinely considered along with other established host and tumor prognostic factors, but consideration of other reproductive factors may not be warranted.
Breast cancer; survival; reproductive; outcome; pregnancy
Most women with early-stage breast cancer believe that psychosocial factors are an important influence over whether their cancer will recur. Studies of the issue have produced conflicting results.
Patients and Methods
A population-based sample of 708 Australian women diagnosed before age 60 years with nonmetastatic breast cancer was observed for a median of 8.2 years. Depression and anxiety, coping style, and social support were assessed at a median of 11 months after diagnosis. Hazard ratios for distant disease-free survival (DDFS) and overall survival (OS) associated with psychosocial factors were estimated separately using Cox proportional hazards survival models, with and without adjustment for known prognostic factors.
Distant recurrence occurred in 209 (33%) of 638 assessable patients, and 170 (24%) of 708 patients died during the follow-up period. There were no statistically significant associations between any of the measured psychosocial factors and DDFS or OS from the adjusted analyses. From unadjusted analyses, associations between greater anxious preoccupation and poorer DDFS and OS were observed (P = .02). These associations were no longer evident after adjustment for established prognostic factors; greater anxious preoccupation was associated with younger age at diagnosis (P = .03), higher tumor grade (P = .02), and greater number of involved axillary nodes (P = .008).
The findings do not support the measured psychosocial factors being an important influence on breast cancer outcomes. Interventions for adverse psychosocial factors are warranted to improve quality of life but should not be expected to improve survival.
Previous studies have suggested that minor alleles for ERCC4 rs744154, TNF rs361525, CASP10 rs13010627, PGR rs1042838, and BID rs8190315 may influence breast cancer risk, but the evidence is inconclusive due to their small sample size. These polymorphisms were genotyped in more than 30,000 breast cancer cases and 30,000 controls, primarily of European descent, from 30 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) as a measure of association. We found that the minor alleles for these polymorphisms were not related to invasive breast cancer risk overall in women of European descent: ECCR4 per-allele OR (95% CI) = 0.99 (0.97–1.02), minor allele frequency = 27.5%; TNF 1.00 (0.95–1.06), 5.0%; CASP10 1.02 (0.98–1.07), 6.5%; PGR 1.02 (0.99–1.06), 15.3%; and BID 0.98 (0.86–1.12), 1.7%. However, we observed significant between-study heterogeneity for associations with risk for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in CASP10, PGR, and BID. Estimates were imprecise for women of Asian and African descent due to small numbers and lower minor allele frequencies (with the exception of BID SNP). The ORs for each copy of the minor allele were not significantly different by estrogen or progesterone receptor status, nor were any significant interactions found between the polymorphisms and age or family history of breast cancer. In conclusion, our data provide persuasive evidence against an overall association between invasive breast cancer risk and ERCC4 rs744154, TNF rs361525, CASP10 rs13010627, PGR rs1042838, and BID rs8190315 genotypes among women of European descent.
It has been established that heterozygous carriers of ataxia-telangiectasia-causing mutations in the ATM gene are at approximately two-fold higher risk of breast cancer. Several studies have attempted to assess the potential implication of the gene's more common variants in breast cancer susceptibility. Three large case-control studies have consistently found no evidence of association for variants with minor allele frequency greater than 5%. Other studies have evaluated associations for coding variants with intermediate frequency (1-5%), but the results are inconsistent. Larger and/or combined association studies are needed to clarify this issue.
Vitamin D serum levels have been found to be related to sun exposure and diet, together with cell differentiation, growth control and consequently, cancer risk. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) genotypes may influence cancer risk; however, no epidemiological studies in sporadic breast cancer (BC) or malignant melanoma (MM) have been performed in a southern European population. In this study, the VDR gene has been evaluated in two epithelial cancers BC and MM.
We have conducted an analysis in 549 consecutive and non-related sporadic BC cases and 556 controls, all from the Spanish population, and 283 MM cases and 245 controls. Genotyping analyses were carried out on four putatively functional SNPs within the VDR gene.
An association with the minor allele A of the non-synonymous SNP rs2228570 (rs10735810, FokI, Met1Thr) was observed for BC, with an estimated odds ratio (OR) of 1.26 (95% CI = 1.02–1.57; p = 0.036). The synonymous variant rs731236 (TaqI) appeared to be associated with protection from BC (OR = 0.80, 95%CI = 0.64–0.99; p = 0.047). No statistically significant associations with MM were observed for any SNP. Nevertheless, sub-group analyses revealed an association between rs2228570 (FokI) and absence of childhood sunburns (OR = 0.65, p = 0.003), between the 3'utr SNP rs739837 (BglI) and fair skin (OR = 1.31, p = 0.048), and between the promoter SNP rs4516035 and the more aggressive tumour location in head-neck and trunk (OR = 1.54, p = 0.020).
In summary, we observed associations between SNPs in the VDR gene and BC risk, and a comprehensive analysis using clinical and tumour characteristics as outcome variables has revealed potential associations with MM. These associations required confirmation in independent studies.
It has been proposed that the excess of familiar risk associated with breast cancer could be explained by the cumulative effect of multiple weakly predisposing alleles. The transcriptional repressor FBI1, also known as Pokemon, has recently been identified as a critical factor in oncogenesis. This protein is encoded by the ZBTB7 gene. Here we aimed to determine whether polymorphisms in ZBTB7 are associated with breast cancer risk in a sample of cases and controls collected in hospitals from North and Central Spanish patients. We genotyped 15 SNPs in ZBTB7, including the flanking regions, with an average coverage of 1 SNP/2.4 Kb, in 360 sporadic breast cancer cases and 402 controls. Comparison of allele, genotype and haplotype frequencies between cases and controls did not reveal associations using Pearson’s chi-square test and a permutation procedure to correct for multiple test. In this, the first study of the ZBTB7 gene in relation to, sporadic breast cancer, we found no evidence of an association.
breast cancer; ZBTB7; POKEMON; association study; case-control
A three-stage genome-wide association study recently identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five loci (fibroblast growth receptor 2 (FGFR2), trinucleotide repeat containing 9 (TNRC9), mitogen-activated protein kinase 3 K1 (MAP3K1), 8q24, and lymphocyte-specific protein 1 (LSP1)) associated with breast cancer risk. We investigated whether the associations between these SNPs and breast cancer risk varied by clinically important tumor characteristics in up to 23,039 invasive breast cancer cases and 26,273 controls from 20 studies. We also evaluated their influence on overall survival in 13,527 cases from 13 studies. All participants were of European or Asian origin. rs2981582 in FGFR2 was more strongly related to ER-positive (per-allele OR (95%CI) = 1.31 (1.27–1.36)) than ER-negative (1.08 (1.03–1.14)) disease (P for heterogeneity = 10−13). This SNP was also more strongly related to PR-positive, low grade and node positive tumors (P = 10−5, 10−8, 0.013, respectively). The association for rs13281615 in 8q24 was stronger for ER-positive, PR-positive, and low grade tumors (P = 0.001, 0.011 and 10−4, respectively). The differences in the associations between SNPs in FGFR2 and 8q24 and risk by ER and grade remained significant after permutation adjustment for multiple comparisons and after adjustment for other tumor characteristics. Three SNPs (rs2981582, rs3803662, and rs889312) showed weak but significant associations with ER-negative disease, the strongest association being for rs3803662 in TNRC9 (1.14 (1.09–1.21)). rs13281615 in 8q24 was associated with an improvement in survival after diagnosis (per-allele HR = 0.90 (0.83–0.97). The association was attenuated and non-significant after adjusting for known prognostic factors. Our findings show that common genetic variants influence the pathological subtype of breast cancer and provide further support for the hypothesis that ER-positive and ER-negative disease are biologically distinct. Understanding the etiologic heterogeneity of breast cancer may ultimately result in improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment.
This report from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium evaluates whether common variants in five recently identified breast cancer susceptibility loci (FGFR2, TNRC9, MAP3K1, 8q24, and LSP1) influence the clinical presentation of breast cancer and survival after diagnosis. We studied these susceptibility loci in relation to clinically important tumor characteristics in up to 23,039 invasive breast cancer cases and 26,273 controls of European or Asian origin from 20 studies. The association, with overall survival, was evaluated in 13,527 cases from 13 studies. The most notable findings were that the genetic variants in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene and the 8q24 region were more strongly related to ER-positive than ER-negative disease, and to low rather than high grade tumors. The loci did not significantly influence survival after accounting for known prognostic factors. Analyses indicated that common genetic variants influence the pathological subtype of breast cancer and provide further support for the hypothesis that ER-positive and ER-negative diseases are biologically distinct tumors. Understanding the etiologic heterogeneity of breast cancer may ultimately result in improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations exhibit variable penetrance that is likely to be accounted for, in part, by other genetic factors among carriers. However, studies aimed at identifying these factors have been limited in size and statistical power, and have yet to identify any convincingly validated modifiers of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 phenotype. To generate sufficient statistical power to identify modifier genes, the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 (CIMBA) has been established. CIMBA contains about 30 affiliated groups who together have collected DNA and clinical data from approximately 10,000 BRCA1 and 5,000 BRCA2 mutation carriers. Initial efforts by CIMBA to identify modifiers of breast cancer risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers have focused on validation of common genetic variants previously associated with risk in smaller studies of carriers or unselected breast cancers. Future studies will involve replication of findings from pathway-based and genome-wide association studies in both unselected and familial breast cancer. The identification of genetic modifiers of breast cancer risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers will lead to an improved understanding of breast cancer and may prove useful for the determination of individualized risk of cancer amongst carriers.
Because CYP17 can influence the degree of exposure of breast tissues to oestrogen, the interaction between polymorphisms in this gene and hormonal risk factors is of particular interest. We attempted to replicate the findings of studies assessing such interactions with the -34T→C polymorphism.
Risk factor and CYP17 genotyping data were derived from a large Australian population-based case-control-family study of 1,284 breast cancer cases and 679 controls. Crude and adjusted odds ratio (OR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by unconditional logistic regression analyses.
We found no associations between the CYP17 genotype and breast cancer overall. Premenopausal controls with A2/A2 genotype had a later age at menarche (P < 0.01). The only associations near statistical significance were that postmenopausal women with A1/A1 (wild-type) genotype had an increased risk of breast cancer if they had ever used hormone replacement therapy (OR 2.40, 95% CI 1.0 to 5.7; P = 0.05) and if they had menopause after age 47 years (OR 2.59, 95% CI 1.0 to 7.0; P = 0.06). We found no associations in common with any other studies, and no evidence for interactions.
We observed no evidence of effect modification of reproductive risk factors by CYP17 genotype, although the experiment did not have sufficient statistical power to detect small main effects and modest effects in subgroups. Associations found only in subgroup analyses based on relatively small numbers require cautious interpretation without confirmation by other studies. This emphasizes the need for replication in multiple and large population-based studies to provide convincing evidence for gene–environment interactions.
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.
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.
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
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.