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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e42079. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042079. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

The aromatase gene (CYP19A1) variants and circulating hepatocyte growth factor in postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. jhlin@rics.bwh.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Estrogen and androgen have been linked to the regulation of circulating hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), an adipose tissue-derived cytokine. It is possible that the CYP19A1 gene which alters sex hormones production may influence HGF levels. We examined the association between the CYP19A1 gene variants and plasma HGF concentrations.

DESIGN:

We evaluated 45 common and putative functional variants of CYP19A1 and circulating levels of HGF among 260 postmenopausal women who later developed colorectal cancer from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Cohort. As the distribution of HGF levels was highly skewed, we transformed HGF concentrations for all women into a log-, ranked-, or normal score-scale value. Multiple linear regression with adjustment for age was used to evaluate the associations.

RESULTS:

We observed an association between the rs7172156, rs1008805, rs6493494, rs749292, and rs11636639 variants and HGF levels in ranked and normal score scales (corrected p values ≤0.02), although the association of these 5 SNPs with log-scale HGF was not significant (corrected p values ≥0.16). The associations remained unchanged after additional adjustment for hormone therapy use and estradiol levels. These 5 SNPs, which were in linkage disequilibrium (pairwise D'≥97%, r(2)≥56%), constituted a block with 2 common haplotypes accounting for 82% frequency. The most common haplotype, TCCCA, was associated with lower ranked- or normal score-transformed HGF levels (corrected p values ≤0.001), whereas the second most common haplotype, CTTCA, was associated with higher ranked- or normal score-transformed HGF levels (corrected p values ≤0.02).

CONCLUSION:

Our findings of a potential association between the CYP19A1 variants and circulating HGF levels warrant confirmation in studies with larger sample size.

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