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Int J Cancer. 2010 Aug 1;127(3):589-97. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25065.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms in miRNA binding sites and miRNA genes as breast/ovarian cancer risk modifiers in Jewish high-risk women.

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  • 1Susanne Levy Gertner Oncogenetics Unit, Institute of Human Genetics, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.


We hypothesized that aberrant gene silencing by miRNA may affect mutant BRCA penetrance. To test this notion, frequency of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; n = 42) within predicted miRNA binding sites or miRNA precursors were determined and compared in 363 BRCA1 mutation carriers: asymptomatic (n = 160), breast cancer (n = 140) and ovarian cancer (n = 63) patients, and in 125 BRCA2 mutation carriers: asymptomatic (n = 48), breast cancer (n = 58) and ovarian cancer (n = 19) patients. Overall, 16 of 42 SNPs were polymorphic, 11 had a minor allele frequency greater than 5% and 9 of them maintained the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium. Based on Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses, statistically significant differences were noted in BRCA2 mutation carriers by health status in 3 SNPs: CC homozygosity at rs6505162 increased ovarian cancer risk (RR 2.77; p = 0.028; 95% CI, 1.11-6.9); heterozygote SNP carriers of rs11169571 had an approximately 2 fold increased risk for developing breast/ovarian cancer, whereas heterozygotes of the rs895819 SNP had an approximately 50% reduced risk for developing breast/ovarian cancer. This study provides preliminary evidence for another regulatory level of penetrance of deleterious mutations in cancer predisposition genes.

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