• Breast cancer risk variants at 6q25 display different phenotype associations and regulate ESR1, RMND1 and CCDC170.

      Dunning, Alison M; Michailidou, Kyriaki; Kuchenbaecker, Karoline B; Thompson, Deborah; French, Juliet D; Beesley, Jonathan; Healey, Catherine S; Kar, Siddhartha; Pooley, Karen A; Lopez-Knowles, Elena; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-04)
      We analyzed 3,872 common genetic variants across the ESR1 locus (encoding estrogen receptor α) in 118,816 subjects from three international consortia. We found evidence for at least five independent causal variants, each associated with different phenotype sets, including estrogen receptor (ER(+) or ER(-)) and human ERBB2 (HER2(+) or HER2(-)) tumor subtypes, mammographic density and tumor grade. The best candidate causal variants for ER(-) tumors lie in four separate enhancer elements, and their risk alleles reduce expression of ESR1, RMND1 and CCDC170, whereas the risk alleles of the strongest candidates for the remaining independent causal variant disrupt a silencer element and putatively increase ESR1 and RMND1 expression.
    • An original phylogenetic approach identified mitochondrial haplogroup T1a1 as inversely associated with breast cancer risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers.

      Blein, Sophie; Bardel, Claire; Danjean, Vincent; McGuffog, Lesley; Healey, Sue; Barrowdale, Daniel; Lee, Andrew; Dennis, Joe; Kuchenbaecker, Karoline B; Soucy, Penny; et al. (BioMed Central, 2015)
      Individuals carrying pathogenic mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a high lifetime risk of breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are involved in DNA double-strand break repair, DNA alterations that can be caused by exposure to reactive oxygen species, a main source of which are mitochondria. Mitochondrial genome variations affect electron transport chain efficiency and reactive oxygen species production. Individuals with different mitochondrial haplogroups differ in their metabolism and sensitivity to oxidative stress. Variability in mitochondrial genetic background can alter reactive oxygen species production, leading to cancer risk. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that mitochondrial haplogroups modify breast cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers.