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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jan;131(2):653-61. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1772-z. Epub 2011 Sep 23.

Polymorphism Thr160Thr in SRD5A1, involved in the progesterone metabolism, modifies postmenopausal breast cancer risk associated with menopausal hormone therapy.

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Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.


Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is associated with an increased breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, with combined estrogen-progestagen therapy posing a greater risk than estrogen monotherapy. However, few studies focused on potential effect modification of MHT-associated breast cancer risk by genetic polymorphisms in the progesterone metabolism. We assessed effect modification of MHT use by five coding single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the progesterone metabolizing enzymes AKR1C3 (rs7741), AKR1C4 (rs3829125, rs17134592), and SRD5A1 (rs248793, rs3736316) using a two-center population-based case-control study from Germany with 2,502 postmenopausal breast cancer patients and 4,833 matched controls. An empirical-Bayes procedure that tests for interaction using a weighted combination of the prospective and the retrospective case-control estimators as well as standard prospective logistic regression were applied to assess multiplicative statistical interaction between polymorphisms and duration of MHT use with regard to breast cancer risk assuming a log-additive mode of inheritance. No genetic marginal effects were observed. Breast cancer risk associated with duration of combined therapy was significantly modified by SRD5A1_rs3736316, showing a reduced risk elevation in carriers of the minor allele (p (interaction,empirical-Bayes) = 0.006 using the empirical-Bayes method, p (interaction,logistic regression) = 0.013 using logistic regression). The risk associated with duration of use of monotherapy was increased by AKR1C3_rs7741 in minor allele carriers (p (interaction,empirical-Bayes) = 0.083, p (interaction,logistic regression) = 0.029) and decreased in minor allele carriers of two SNPs in AKR1C4 (rs3829125: p (interaction,empirical-Bayes) = 0.07, p (interaction,logistic regression) = 0.021; rs17134592: p (interaction,empirical-Bayes) = 0.101, p (interaction,logistic regression) = 0.038). After Bonferroni correction for multiple testing only SRD5A1_rs3736316 assessed using the empirical-Bayes method remained significant. Postmenopausal breast cancer risk associated with combined therapy may be modified by genetic variation in SRD5A1. Further well-powered studies are, however, required to replicate our finding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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