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Gynecol Oncol. 2010 May;117(2):255-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2010.02.002. Epub 2010 Mar 2.

Genetic variation in CYP11A1 and StAR in relation to endometrial cancer risk.

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Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States.



Together, steroidogenic acute regulator (StAR) and the cholesterol side chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc), which is encoded by CYP11A1, mediate the initial and rate-limiting step in steroidogenesis. Given the role of estrogens in endometrial carcinogenesis, we hypothesized that genetic variation in StAR and CYP11A1 genes may influence endometrial cancer risk.


We genotyped four CYP11A1 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and two StAR SNPs in endometrial cancer case-control studies nested within the Nurses' Health Study (553 cases and 1339 controls) and the Women's Health Study (137 cases and 411 controls). We calculated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals using conditional and unconditional logistic regression adjusted for endometrial cancer risk factors to examine the association between SNPs/haplotypes and endometrial cancer.


We observed an increased risk for women carrying the variant allele for rs4555110 (odds ratio (OR)=1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.1-1.7), rs3825944 (OR=1.4, 95% CI=1.1-1.8), and rs7173655 (OR=1.3, 95% CI=1.0-1.7) CYP11A1 SNPs but no significant associations with CYP11A1 haplotypes. CYP11A1 SNPs were not predictive of plasma estradiol levels. We observed no associations between StAR SNPs and endometrial cancer risk.


Genetic variants in CYP11A1 may influence endometrial cancer risk or may be markers for causal variants elsewhere. Polymorphisms in StAR are not associated with endometrial cancer risk, but further research is needed.

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