To understand the biology of low-risk breast cancer alleles, and to investigate whether these loci also contribute to disease progression that was once established, we examined the association of SNPs tagging the low-risk breast cancer loci in or near FGFR2, LSP1, MAP3K1,H19, TOX3, POU5F1P1, MYC, and 2q35, with clinical, pathological characteristics, prognosis, and mRNA expression of the nearest genes. Tumor DNA samples of 2,480 breast cancer patients were available. Out of this cohort, 1,290 patients with lymph-node negative disease who did not receive adjuvant systemic therapy, the SNP status was associated with metastasis-free survival (MFS). In 1,401 patients, the mRNA expression levels of FGFR2, LSP1, MAP3K1,H19, TOX3, POU5F1P1, and MYC were determined and correlated with SNP genotypes. The SNP rs2981582 in FGFR2 was significantly associated with positive ER and PgR status (P < 0.001 and P = 0.003, respectively). No other significant associations with patient or tumor characteristics were observed. Only rs2107425 near H19 was significantly associated with shorter MFS in uni- and multi-variate analysis (HR: 1.53, CI: 1.12-2.08, P = 0.006 and HR: 1.59, CI: 1.16-2.20, P = 0.004, respectively), with the more aggressive minor allele displaying a recessive trait. The minor allele of SNP rs3803662 located near the TOX3 gene was associated with lower mRNA expression of this gene. In conclusion, except for the association of rs13283662 with TOX3 gene expression indicating a tumor suppressor role of TOX3, our findings suggest that breast cancer low-risk loci generally do not affect expression of the nearest gene in breast tumor tissue. Also the prognosis of patients is largely not affected by low-risk breast cancer loci except for the SNP near H19. How, this SNP affects prognosis warrants further study as it does not operate through altering H19 mRNA expression.

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Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Riaz, M, Berns, P.M.J.J, Sieuwerts, A.M, Ruigrok-Ritstier, K, de Weerd, V, Groenewoud, A, … Martens, J.W.M. (2012). Correlation of breast cancer susceptibility loci with patient characteristics, metastasis-free survival, and mRNA expression of the nearest genes. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 133(3), 843–851. doi:10.1007/s10549-011-1663-3