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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Jun;17(6):1339-43. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0162.

The Gc2 allele of the vitamin D binding protein is associated with a decreased postmenopausal breast cancer risk, independent of the vitamin D status.

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Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.


Vitamin D pathway gene polymorphisms may influence breast cancer risk by altering potential anticarcinogenic effects of vitamin D. The association between polymorphisms in the vitamin D binding protein (Gc) and postmenopausal breast cancer risk, with additional focus on the influence of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], the biomarker for vitamin D status in humans, has not been examined thus far. We assessed the combined effects of two known functional polymorphisms in the Gc gene (rs4588 and rs7041), composing the phenotypic alleles Gc1s, Gc1f (combined: Gc1), and Gc2, on postmenopausal breast cancer risk and potential effect modification by 25(OH)D status in a population-based case-control study including 1,402 cases and 2,608 matched controls. Odds ratios (OR) for breast cancer risk adjusted for potential confounders were calculated for Gc genotypes. ANOVA was used to compare geometric means of serum 25(OH)D across Gc genotypes. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations in the control group significantly differed by Gc genotype, being lowest in Gc2 allele carriers. The geometric means of 25(OH)D were 53.0, 47.8, and 40.4 nmol/L for Gc1-1, Gc2-1, and Gc2-2 genotypes, respectively (P(trend) < 0.0001). Gc2-2 genotype was associated with a significantly decreased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer with an odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 0.72 (0.54-0.96), compared with homozygote Gc1s allele carriers. No interaction between 25(OH)D status and Gc genotype was observed, nor did the association change considerably after adjustment for 25(OH)D status. Our results provide evidence for a serum 25(OH)D-independent effect of Gc2 allele carrier status in postmenopausal breast cancer.

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