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1.  Parity and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Swedish EIRA study 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2013;73(4):752-755.
To study the impact of parity history on the risk of ACPA- (antibodies to citrullinated peptides antigens) positive/-negative rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in different age-groups.
Data from a population-based case-control study of female incident RA cases were analysed (2035 cases, 2911 controls, aged 18-70). Parity history was assessed through questionnaire. Parous women were compared with nulliparous, by calculating odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI).
Parity was associated with an increased risk of ACPA-negative RA in the age-group 18-44 (OR=2.1, 95% CI 1.4-3.2), but not in the age-group 45-70 (OR=0.9, 95% CI 0.7-1.3). Among young women, an increased risk of ACPA-negative RA was found in those with delivery during the year of symptom onset (OR=2.6, 95% CI 1.4-4.8) and at young age at first birth (<23) (OR=2.5, 95% CI 1.5-4.1).Parity and the postpartum period were not associated with ACPA-positive RA, but older age at first birth was weakly associated with a decreased risk.
The increased risk of ACPA-negative RA in parous women of reproductive age seemed to be conferred to an increased postpartum risk and to young age at first birth. Further research is needed to explore the biological mechanisms behind our findings.
PMCID: PMC4086877  PMID: 23887288
Rheumatoid arthritis; Parity; Postpartum period; Antibodies to citrullinated peptides (ACPA); Epidemiology
2.  Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Allele PTPRC Is Also Associated With Response to Anti–Tumor Necrosis Factor α Therapy 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(7):1849-1861.
Anti–tumor necrosis factor α (anti-TNF) therapy is a mainstay of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of the present study was to test established RA genetic risk factors to determine whether the same alleles also influence the response to anti-TNF therapy.
A total of 1,283 RA patients receiving etanercept, infliximab, or adalimumab therapy were studied from among an international collaborative consortium of 9 different RA cohorts. The primary end point compared RA patients with a good treatment response according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria (n = 505) with RA patients considered to be nonresponders (n = 316). The secondary end point was the change from baseline in the level of disease activity according to the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (ΔDAS28). Clinical factors such as age, sex, and concomitant medications were tested as possible correlates of treatment response. Thirty-one single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the risk of RA were genotyped and tested for any association with treatment response, using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models.
Of the 31 RA-associated risk alleles, a SNP at the PTPRC (also known as CD45) gene locus (rs10919563) was associated with the primary end point, a EULAR good response versus no response (odds ratio [OR] 0.55, P = 0.0001 in the multivariate model). Similar results were obtained using the secondary end point, the ΔDAS28 (P = 0.0002). There was suggestive evidence of a stronger association in autoantibody-positive patients with RA (OR 0.55, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.39–0.76) as compared with autoantibody-negative patients (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.41–1.99).
Statistically significant associations were observed between the response to anti-TNF therapy and an RA risk allele at the PTPRC gene locus. Additional studies will be required to replicate this finding in additional patient collections.
PMCID: PMC3652476  PMID: 20309874
3.  Genome-Wide Association Study and Gene Expression Analysis Identifies CD84 as a Predictor of Response to Etanercept Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003394.
Anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNF) biologic therapy is a widely used treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is unknown why some RA patients fail to respond adequately to anti-TNF therapy, which limits the development of clinical biomarkers to predict response or new drugs to target refractory cases. To understand the biological basis of response to anti-TNF therapy, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of more than 2 million common variants in 2,706 RA patients from 13 different collections. Patients were treated with one of three anti-TNF medications: etanercept (n = 733), infliximab (n = 894), or adalimumab (n = 1,071). We identified a SNP (rs6427528) at the 1q23 locus that was associated with change in disease activity score (ΔDAS) in the etanercept subset of patients (P = 8×10−8), but not in the infliximab or adalimumab subsets (P>0.05). The SNP is predicted to disrupt transcription factor binding site motifs in the 3′ UTR of an immune-related gene, CD84, and the allele associated with better response to etanercept was associated with higher CD84 gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (P = 1×10−11 in 228 non-RA patients and P = 0.004 in 132 RA patients). Consistent with the genetic findings, higher CD84 gene expression correlated with lower cross-sectional DAS (P = 0.02, n = 210) and showed a non-significant trend for better ΔDAS in a subset of RA patients with gene expression data (n = 31, etanercept-treated). A small, multi-ethnic replication showed a non-significant trend towards an association among etanercept-treated RA patients of Portuguese ancestry (n = 139, P = 0.4), but no association among patients of Japanese ancestry (n = 151, P = 0.8). Our study demonstrates that an allele associated with response to etanercept therapy is also associated with CD84 gene expression, and further that CD84 expression correlates with disease activity. These findings support a model in which CD84 genotypes and/or expression may serve as a useful biomarker for response to etanercept treatment in RA patients of European ancestry.
Author Summary
There are no genetic predictors of response to one of the most widely used classes of drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis—biological modifiers of the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (or anti-TNF therapy). To identify genetic predictors, we performed the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date as part of an international collaboration. In our study, which included 2,706 RA patients treated with one of three anti-TNF drugs, the most significant finding was restricted to RA patients treated with etanercept (P = 8×10−8), a drug that acts as a soluble receptor to bind circulating cytokine and prevents TNF from binding to its cell surface receptor. The associated variant influences expression of a nearby immune-related gene, CD84, whose expression is correlated with disease activity in RA patients. Together, our data support a model in which genomic factors related to CD84 expression serve as a predictor of disease activity and response to etanercept therapy among RA patients of European ancestry, but not anti-TNF therapies that act through different biological mechanisms or potentially in RA patients of other genetic ancestries.
PMCID: PMC3610685  PMID: 23555300
4.  Genetic variation of ESR1 and its co-activator PPARGC1B is synergistic in augmenting the risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer 
Given the role of estrogen in breast carcinogenesis and the modification of estrogen receptor (ER) activity by its biochemical cofactors, we hypothesize that genetic variation within ER cofactor genes alters cellular response to estrogen exposure and consequently modifies the risk for ER-positive breast cancer.
We genotyped 790 tagging SNPs within 60 ER cofactor genes in 1,257 cases and 1,464 controls from Sweden and in 2,215 cases and 1,265 controls from Finland, and tested their associations with either ER-positive or ER-negative breast cancer.
Seven SNPs showed consistent association with ER-positive breast cancer in the two independent samples, and six of them were located within PPARGC1B, encoding an ER co-activator, with the strongest association at rs741581 (odds ratio = 1.41, P = 4.84 × 10-5) that survived Bonferroni correction for multiple testing in the combined ER-positive breast cancer sample (Pcorrected = 0.03). Moreover, we also observed significant synergistic interaction (Pinteraction = 0.008) between the genetic polymorphisms within PPARGC1B and ESR1 in ER-positive breast cancer. By contrast, no consistent association was observed in ER-negative breast cancer. Furthermore, we found that administration of estrogen in the MCF-7 cell line induced PPARGC1B expression and enhanced occupancies of ER and RNA polymerase II within the region of SNP association, suggesting the upregulation of PPARGC1B expression by ESR1 activation.
Our study revealed that DNA polymorphisms of PPARGC1B, coding a bona fide ER co-activator, are associated with ER-positive breast cancer risk. The feed-forward transcriptional regulatory loop between PPARGC1B and ESR1 further augments their protein interaction, which provides a plausible mechanistic explanation for the synergistic genetic interaction between PPARGC1B and ESR1 in ER-positive breast cancer. Our study also highlights that biochemically and genomically informed candidate gene studies can enhance the discovery of interactive disease susceptibility genes.
PMCID: PMC3109578  PMID: 21269472
5.  The influence of menopausal hormone therapy on tumour characteristics and survival in endometrial cancer patients 
Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is a well established factor in endometrial carcinogenesis, and therefore, could have prognostic implications. We investigated the effects of ever use of MHT on tumour grade and depth of myometrial invasion, and 5-year relative survival in postmenopausal endometrial cancer patients.
Materials and Methods
We used a nationwide, population-based case-case design, of 683 Swedish women aged 50–74 years diagnosed with endometrial cancer during 1994 to 1995, followed up to 5 years after diagnosis. We applied polytomous multiple logistic regression to investigate the associations between use of MHT and tumour grade, and myometrial invasion and Poisson regression for modelling 5-year excess mortality.
Compared to never use, ever use of any MHT entailed lower risks of having moderately and poorly differentiated tumours. The lowest odds ratios for poorly differentiated tumours were seen for ever users of cyclically combined oestrogen-progestin [OR = 0.23 (95% CI = 0.07–0.73)]. Ever users of any form of MHT; particularly, medium potency MHT users, had significantly lower risks for tumours with deep myometrial invasion. Adjusted estimated relative excess hazard ratios revealed significantly improved survival for ever users of any form of MHT [RER = 0.40 (95% CI = 0.16–0.97)]; in particular ever users of any form of oestrogens [RER = 0.38 (95% CI = 0.15–0.99)].
Endometrial cancer patients who were ever users of MHT had more favourable tumour characteristics and better survival compared to never users of MHT. These findings support the notion that MHT induces endometrial cancer with less aggressive characteristics.
PMCID: PMC2783257  PMID: 19493676
Endometrial cancer; menopause hormone therapy; postmenopausal; tumour grade; myometrial invasion; relative survival; mortality
6.  Multi-Variant Pathway Association Analysis Reveals the Importance of Genetic Determinants of Estrogen Metabolism in Breast and Endometrial Cancer Susceptibility 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(7):e1001012.
Despite the central role of estrogen exposure in breast and endometrial cancer development and numerous studies of genes in the estrogen metabolic pathway, polymorphisms within the pathway have not been consistently associated with these cancers. We posit that this is due to the complexity of multiple weak genetic effects within the metabolic pathway that can only be effectively detected through multi-variant analysis. We conducted a comprehensive association analysis of the estrogen metabolic pathway by interrogating 239 tagSNPs within 35 genes of the pathway in three tumor samples. The discovery sample consisted of 1,596 breast cancer cases, 719 endometrial cancer cases, and 1,730 controls from Sweden; and the validation sample included 2,245 breast cancer cases and 1,287 controls from Finland. We performed admixture maximum likelihood (AML)–based global tests to evaluate the cumulative effect from multiple SNPs within the whole metabolic pathway and three sub-pathways for androgen synthesis, androgen-to-estrogen conversion, and estrogen removal. In the discovery sample, although no single polymorphism was significant after correction for multiple testing, the pathway-based AML global test suggested association with both breast (pglobal = 0.034) and endometrial (pglobal = 0.052) cancers. Further testing revealed the association to be focused on polymorphisms within the androgen-to-estrogen conversion sub-pathway, for both breast (pglobal = 0.008) and endometrial cancer (pglobal = 0.014). The sub-pathway association was validated in the Finnish sample of breast cancer (pglobal = 0.015). Further tumor subtype analysis demonstrated that the association of the androgen-to-estrogen conversion sub-pathway was confined to postmenopausal women with sporadic estrogen receptor positive tumors (pglobal = 0.0003). Gene-based AML analysis suggested CYP19A1 and UGT2B4 to be the major players within the sub-pathway. Our study indicates that the composite genetic determinants related to the androgen–estrogen conversion are important for the induction of two hormone-associated cancers, particularly for the hormone-driven breast tumour subtypes.
Author Summary
Estrogen exposure is the most important risk factor for breast and endometrial cancers. Genetic variation of the genes involved in estrogen metabolism has, however, not been consistently associated with these two cancers. We posited that the genetic risk associated with the estrogen metabolic genes is likely to be carried by multiple variants and is therefore most effectively detected by multi-variant analysis. We carried out a comprehensive association analysis of the estrogen metabolic pathway by interrogating SNPs within 35 genes of the pathway in three tumor samples from Sweden and Finland. Through pathway-based multi-variant association analysis, we showed that the genetic variation within the estrogen metabolic pathway is associated with risk for breast and endometrial cancers and that the genetic variation within the genes involved in androgen-to-estrogen conversion is particularly important for the development of ER–positive and sporadic breast tumors in postmenopausal women. Our study has demonstrated that the influence of genetic variation on hormone exposure has an impact on breast cancer development, especially on the development of hormone-driven breast tumor subtypes. Our study has also highlighted that future genetic studies of the estrogen metabolic genes should focus on the androgen-to-estrogen conversion process.
PMCID: PMC2895650  PMID: 20617168
7.  Estrogen receptor alpha gene polymorphism and endometrial cancer risk – a case-control study 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:322.
Estrogen is an established endometrial carcinogen. One of the most important mediators of estrogenic action is the estrogen receptor alpha. We have investigated whether polymorphic variation in the estrogen receptor alpha gene (ESR1) is associated with endometrial cancer risk.
In 702 cases with invasive endometrial cancer and 1563 controls, we genotyped five markers in ESR1 and used logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95 percent confidence intervals (CI).
We found an association between rs2234670, rs2234693, as well as rs9340799, markers in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD), and endometrial cancer risk. The association with rs9340799 was the strongest, OR 0.75 (CI 0.60–0.93) for heterozygous and OR 0.53 (CI 0.37–0.77) for homozygous rare compared to those homozygous for the most common allele. Haplotype models did not fit better to the data than single marker models.
We found that intronic variation in ESR1 was associated with endometrial cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2613912  PMID: 18990228
8.  Menopausal hormone therapy in relation to breast cancer characteristics and prognosis: a cohort study 
Menopausal hormone therapy has been reported to increase the risk of certain subtypes of breast cancer and to be associated with a favorable survival. These associations could either be due to an increased mammographic surveillance or to a biological effect. We assessed these associations in a Swedish cohort of postmenopausal breast cancer patients holding information on mammographic examinations, menopausal hormone therapy use, other breast cancer risk factors, and cancer treatment.
We analyzed 2,660 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 74 years, diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 1993 to 1995 and followed until the end of 2003 (median follow-up, 9 years and 3 months). We assessed the influence of hormone therapy before diagnosis on tumor characteristics and breast cancer-specific survival. We analyzed hormone therapy before diagnosis by regimen (estrogen–progestin therapy or estrogen alone therapy), recency (current or past), and duration of use (<5 years or ≥ 5 years).
Current use, but not past use, compared with never use of hormone therapy before diagnosis seemed to be associated with tumors of low grade and with improved breast cancer-specific survival. The associations were stronger with longer duration, but did not vary significantly by regimen. The favorable survival among current users of hormone therapy was only partly explained by differences in available tumor characteristics and mammographic surveillance.
We conclude that current menopausal hormone therapy, especially long term, is associated with favorable tumor characteristics and survival.
PMCID: PMC2614511  PMID: 18803850
9.  ESR1 and EGF genetic variation in relation to breast cancer risk and survival 
Oestrogen exposure is a central factor in the development of breast cancer. Oestrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) is the main mediator of oestrogen effect in breast epithelia and has also been shown to be activated by epidermal growth factor (EGF). We sought to determine if common genetic variation in the ESR1 and EGF genes affects breast cancer risk, tumour characteristics or breast cancer survival.
We genotyped 157 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ESR1 and 54 SNPs in EGF in 92 Swedish controls and selected haplotype tagging SNPs (tagSNPs) that could predict both single SNP and haplotype variation in the genes with an R2 of at least 0.8. The tagSNPs were genotyped in 1,590 breast cancer cases and 1,518 controls, and their association with breast cancer risk, tumour characteristics and survival were assessed using unconditional logistic regression models, Cox proportional hazard models and haplotype analysis.
The single tagSNP analysis did not reveal association evidence for breast cancer risk, tumour characteristics, or survival. A multi-locus analysis of five adjacent tagSNPs suggested a region in ESR1 (between rs3003925 and rs2144025) for association with breast cancer risk (p = 0.001), but the result did not withstand adjustment for multiple comparisons (p = 0.086). A similar region was also implicated by haplotype analyses, but its significance needs to be verified by follow-up analysis.
Our results do not support a strong association between common variants in the ESR1 and EGF genes and breast cancer risk, tumour characteristics or survival.
PMCID: PMC2374971  PMID: 18271972
10.  Comprehensive analysis of the ATM, CHEK2 and ERBB2 genes in relation to breast tumour characteristics and survival: a population-based case-control and follow-up study 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(6):R67.
Mutations in the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and checkpoint kinase 2 (CHEK2) genes and amplification of the v-erb-b2 avian erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 2 (ERBB2) gene have been suggested to have an important role in breast cancer aetiology. However, whether common variation in these genes has a role in the development of breast cancer or breast cancer survival in humans is still not clear.
We performed a comprehensive haplotype analysis of the ATM, CHEK2 and ERBB2 genes in a Swedish population-based study, which included 1,579 breast cancer cases and 1,516 controls. We followed the cases for 8.5 years, on average, and retrieved information on the date and cause of death during that period from the nationwide Swedish causes of death registry. We selected seven haplotype-tagging SNPs (tagSNPs) in the ATM gene, six tagSNPs in the CHEK2 gene and seven tagSNPs in the ERBB2 gene that predicted both haplotypic and single locus variations in the respective genes with R2 values ≥ 0.8. These tagSNPs were genotyped in the complete set of cases and controls. We computed expected haplotype dosages of the tagSNP haplotypes and included the dosages as explanatory variables in Cox proportional hazards or logistic regression models.
We found no association between any genetic variation in the ATM, CHEK2 or ERBB2 genes and breast cancer survival or the risk of developing tumours with certain characteristics.
Our results indicate that common variants in the ATM, CHEK2 or ERBB2 genes are not involved in modifying breast cancer survival or the risk of tumour-characteristic-defined breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC1797028  PMID: 17132159
11.  Hormone-replacement therapy influences gene expression profiles and is associated with breast-cancer prognosis: a cohort study 
BMC Medicine  2006;4:16.
Postmenopausal hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) increases breast-cancer risk. The influence of HRT on the biology of the primary tumor, however, is not well understood.
We obtained breast-cancer gene expression profiles using Affymetrix human genome U133A arrays. We examined the relationship between HRT-regulated gene profiles, tumor characteristics, and recurrence-free survival in 72 postmenopausal women.
HRT use in patients with estrogen receptor (ER) protein positive tumors (n = 72) was associated with an altered regulation of 276 genes. Expression profiles based on these genes clustered ER-positive tumors into two molecular subclasses, one of which was associated with HRT use and had significantly better recurrence free survival despite lower ER levels. A comparison with external data suggested that gene regulation in tumors associated with HRT was negatively correlated with gene regulation induced by short-term estrogen exposure, but positively correlated with the effect of tamoxifen.
Our findings suggest that post-menopausal HRT use is associated with a distinct gene expression profile related to better recurrence-free survival and lower ER protein levels. Tentatively, HRT-associated gene expression in tumors resembles the effect of tamoxifen exposure on MCF-7 cells.
PMCID: PMC1555602  PMID: 16813654
12.  High-throughput genomic technology in research and clinical management of breast cancer. Evolving landscape of genetic epidemiological studies 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(3):209.
Candidate polymorphism-based genetic epidemiological studies have yielded little success in the search for low-penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes. The lack of progress is partially due to insufficient coverage of genomic regions with genetic markers, as well as economic constraints, limiting both the number of genetic targets and the number of individuals being studied. Recent rapid advances in high-throughput genotyping technology and our understanding of genetic variation patterns across the human genome are now revolutionizing the way in which genetic epidemiological studies are being designed and conducted. Genetic epidemiological studies are quickly progressing from candidate gene studies to comprehensive pathway investigation and, further, to genomic epidemiological studies where the whole human genome is being interrogated to identify susceptibility alleles. This paper reviews the evolving approaches in the search for low-penetrance breast cancer susceptibility gene variants and discusses their potential promises and pitfalls.
PMCID: PMC1557740  PMID: 16834767
13.  Linkage Disequilibrium Mapping of CHEK2: Common Variation and Breast Cancer Risk  
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e168.
Checkpoint kinase 2 (CHEK2) averts cancer development by promoting cell cycle arrest and activating DNA repair in genetically damaged cells. Previous investigation has established a role for the CHEK2 gene in breast cancer aetiology, but studies have largely been limited to the rare 1100delC mutation. Whether common polymorphisms in this gene influence breast cancer risk remains unknown. In this study, we aimed to assess the importance of common CHEK2 variants on population risk for breast cancer by capturing the majority of diversity in the gene using haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNPs).
Methods and Findings
We analyzed 14 common SNPs spanning 52 kilobases (kb) of the CHEK2 gene in 92 Swedish women. Coverage evaluation indicated that these typed SNPs would efficiently convey association signal also from untyped SNPs in the same region. Six of the 14 SNPs predicted well both the haplotypic and single SNP variations within CHEK2. We genotyped these six tagSNPs in 1,577 postmenopausal breast cancer cases and 1,513 population controls, but found no convincing association between any common CHEK2 haplotype and breast cancer risk. The 1100delC mutation was rare in our Swedish population—0.7% in cases and 0.4% in controls—with a corresponding odds ratio for carriers versus noncarriers of 2.26 (95% confidence interval, 0.99–5.15). Estimates of the population frequency and the odds ratio of 1100delC indicate that our sample is representative of a Northern European population.
Notwithstanding the involvement of the CHEK2 gene in breast cancer aetiology, we show that common polymorphisms do not influence postmenopausal breast cancer risk.
Rare mutations in the CHEK2 gene are involved in familial breast cancer. This large study among Swedish women did not find an association between common CHEK2 variants and breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC1457009  PMID: 16671833
14.  Menopausal hormone therapy and other breast cancer risk factors in relation to the risk of different histological subtypes of breast cancer: a case-control study 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(1):R11.
Breast cancers of different histology have different clinical and prognostic features. There are also indications of differences in aetiology. We therefore evaluated the risk of the three most common histological subtypes in relation to menopausal hormone therapy and other breast cancer risk factors.
We used a population-based case-control study of breast cancer to evaluate menopausal hormone therapy and other breast cancer risk factors for risk by histological subtype. Women aged 50 to 74 years, diagnosed with invasive ductal (n = 1,888), lobular (n = 308) or tubular (n = 93) breast cancer in Sweden in 1993 to 1995 were compared with 3,065 age-frequency matched controls randomly selected from the population. Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for ductal, lobular, and tubular cancer.
Women who had used medium potency estrogen alone were at increased risks of both ductal and lobular cancer. Medium potency estrogen-progestin was associated with increased risks for all subtypes, but the estimates for lobular and tubular cancer were higher compared with ductal cancer. We found OR 5.6 (95% CI 3.2–9.7) for lobular cancer, OR 6.5 (95% CI 2.8–14.9) for tubular cancer and OR 2.3 (95% CI 1.6–3.3) for ductal cancer with ≥5 years use of medium potency estrogen-progestin therapy. Low potency oral estrogen (mainly estriol) appeared to be associated with an increased risk for lobular cancer, but the association was strongest for short-term use. Reproductive and anthropometric factors, smoking, and past use of oral contraceptives were mostly similarly related to the risks of the three breast cancer subtypes. Recent alcohol consumption of > 10 g alcohol/day was associated with increased risk only for tubular cancer (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.4–6.8).
Menopausal hormone therapy was associated with increased risks for breast cancer of both ductal and lobular subtype, and medium potency estrogen-progestin therapy was more strongly associated with lobular compared with ductal cancer. We also found medium potency estrogen-progestin therapy and alcohol to be strongly associated with tubular cancer. With some exceptions, most other risk factors seemed to be similarly associated with the three subtypes of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC1413980  PMID: 16507159
15.  Gene expression profiling spares early breast cancer patients from adjuvant therapy: derived and validated in two population-based cohorts 
Breast Cancer Research  2005;7(6):R953-R964.
Adjuvant breast cancer therapy significantly improves survival, but overtreatment and undertreatment are major problems. Breast cancer expression profiling has so far mainly been used to identify women with a poor prognosis as candidates for adjuvant therapy but without demonstrated value for therapy prediction.
We obtained the gene expression profiles of 159 population-derived breast cancer patients, and used hierarchical clustering to identify the signature associated with prognosis and impact of adjuvant therapies, defined as distant metastasis or death within 5 years. Independent datasets of 76 treated population-derived Swedish patients, 135 untreated population-derived Swedish patients and 78 Dutch patients were used for validation. The inclusion and exclusion criteria for the studies of population-derived Swedish patients were defined.
Among the 159 patients, a subset of 64 genes was found to give an optimal separation of patients with good and poor outcomes. Hierarchical clustering revealed three subgroups: patients who did well with therapy, patients who did well without therapy, and patients that failed to benefit from given therapy. The expression profile gave significantly better prognostication (odds ratio, 4.19; P = 0.007) (breast cancer end-points odds ratio, 10.64) compared with the Elston–Ellis histological grading (odds ratio of grade 2 vs 1 and grade 3 vs 1, 2.81 and 3.32 respectively; P = 0.24 and 0.16), tumor stage (odds ratio of stage 2 vs 1 and stage 3 vs 1, 1.11 and 1.28; P = 0.83 and 0.68) and age (odds ratio, 0.11; P = 0.55). The risk groups were consistent and validated in the independent Swedish and Dutch data sets used with 211 and 78 patients, respectively.
We have identified discriminatory gene expression signatures working both on untreated and systematically treated primary breast cancer patients with the potential to spare them from adjuvant therapy.
PMCID: PMC1410752  PMID: 16280042
16.  CYP17 gene polymorphism in relation to breast cancer risk: a case-control study 
Breast Cancer Research  2005;7(6):R890-R896.
The c.1-34T>C 5' promoter region polymorphism in cytochrome P450c17 (CYP17), a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of estrogen, has been associated with breast cancer risk, but most previous studies have been relatively small.
We genotyped 1,544 incident cases of primary breast cancer and 1,502 population controls, all postmenopausal Swedish women, for the CYP17 c.1-34T>C polymorphism and calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from logistic regression models.
No overall association was found between CYP17 c.1-34T>C and breast cancer risk, OR 1.0 (95% CI 0.8–1.3) for the A2/A2 (CC) carriers compared to the A1/A1 (TT) carriers, regardless of histopathology. We detected an interaction between CYP17 c.1-34T>C and age at menarche (P = 0.026) but regarded that as a chance finding as no dose-response pattern was evident. Other breast cancer risk factors, including menopausal hormone use and diabetes mellitus, did not modify the overall results.
It is unlikely that CYP17 c.1-34T>C has a role in breast cancer etiology, overall or in combination with established non-genetic breast cancer risk factors.
PMCID: PMC1410739  PMID: 16280037
17.  Oestrogen receptor α gene haplotype and postmenopausal breast cancer risk: a case control study 
Breast Cancer Research  2004;6(4):R437-R449.
Oestrogen receptor α, which mediates the effect of oestrogen in target tissues, is genetically polymorphic. Because breast cancer development is dependent on oestrogenic influence, we have investigated whether polymorphisms in the oestrogen receptor α gene (ESR1) are associated with breast cancer risk.
We genotyped breast cancer cases and age-matched population controls for one microsatellite marker and four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ESR1. The numbers of genotyped cases and controls for each marker were as follows: TAn, 1514 cases and 1514 controls; c.454-397C → T, 1557 cases and 1512 controls; c.454-351A → G, 1556 cases and 1512 controls; c.729C → T, 1562 cases and 1513 controls; c.975C → G, 1562 cases and 1513 controls. Using logistic regression models, we calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Haplotype effects were estimated in an exploratory analysis, using expectation-maximisation algorithms for case-control study data.
There were no compelling associations between single polymorphic loci and breast cancer risk. In haplotype analyses, a common haplotype of the c.454-351A → G or c.454-397C → T and c.975C → G SNPs appeared to be associated with an increased risk for ductal breast cancer: one copy of the c.454-351A → G and c.975C → G haplotype entailed an OR of 1.19 (95% CI 1.06–1.33) and two copies with an OR of 1.42 (95% CI 1.15–1.77), compared with no copies, under a model of multiplicative penetrance. The association with the c.454-397C → T and c.975C → G haplotypes was similar. Our data indicated that these haplotypes were more influential in women with a high body mass index. Adjustment for multiple comparisons rendered the associations statistically non-significant.
We found suggestions of an association between common haplotypes in ESR1 and the risk for ductal breast cancer that is stronger in heavy women.
PMCID: PMC468663  PMID: 15217512
breast cancer; oestrogen receptor α; gene; haplotype; polymorphism

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