Journal Article

Genetic variants in the vitamin D pathway and breast cancer disease-free survival

Mala Pande, Patricia A. Thompson, Kim-Anh Do, Aysegul A. Sahin, Christopher I. Amos, Marsha L. Frazier, Melissa L. Bondy and Abenaa M. Brewster

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 34, issue 3, pages 587-594
Published in print March 2013 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgs369
Genetic variants in the vitamin D pathway and breast cancer disease-free survival

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Epidemiological studies have investigated the association between vitamin D pathway genes and breast cancer risk; however, little is known about the association between vitamin D pathway genes and breast cancer prognosis. In a retrospective cohort of 1029 patients with early-stage breast cancer, we analyzed the association between 106 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight vitamin D pathway genes and breast cancer disease-free survival (DFS) using Cox regression analysis adjusted for known prognostic variables. Using a false discovery rate of 10%, six intronic SNPs were significantly associated with poorer DFS: retinoid-X receptor alpha (RXRA) SNPs (rs881658, rs11185659, rs10881583, rs881657 and rs7864987) and plasminogen activator and urokinase receptor (PLAUR) SNP (rs4251864). Treatment received (no systemic therapy, hormone therapy alone or chemotherapy) was an effect modifier of the RXRA SNPs association with DFS (P < 0.05); therefore, we stratified further analysis by treatment group. Among patients who did not receive systemic therapy, RXRA SNP [rs10881583 (P = 0.02)] was associated with poorer DFS, and among patients who received chemotherapy, RXRA SNPs (rs881658, rs11185659, rs10881583, rs881657 and rs7864987) were associated with poorer DFS (P < 0.001 for all SNPs). However, RXRA SNPs: rs10881583 (P < 0.001) and rs881657 (P = 0.02) were associated with improved DFS in patients treated with hormone therapy alone. Our results suggest that SNPs in the RXRA and PLAUR genes in the vitamin D pathway may contribute to breast cancer DFS. In particular, SNPs in RXRA may predict for poorer or improved DFS in patients, according to type of systemic treatment received. If validated, these markers could be used for risk stratification of breast cancer patients.

Journal Article.  5630 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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