Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer Res. 2012 Mar 15;72(6):1478-84. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3295. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Mammographic breast density and breast cancer: evidence of a shared genetic basis.

Author information

Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Addenbrooke's NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Percent mammographic breast density (PMD) is a strong heritable risk factor for breast cancer. However, the pathways through which this risk is mediated are still unclear. To explore whether PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis, we identified genetic variants most strongly associated with PMD in a published meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and used these to construct risk scores for 3,628 breast cancer cases and 5,190 controls from the UK2 GWAS of breast cancer. The signed per-allele effect estimates of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were multiplied with the respective allele counts in the individual and summed over all SNPs to derive the risk score for an individual. These scores were included as the exposure variable in a logistic regression model with breast cancer case-control status as the outcome. This analysis was repeated using 10 different cutoff points for the most significant density SNPs (1%-10% representing 5,222-50,899 SNPs). Permutation analysis was also conducted across all 10 cutoff points. The association between risk score and breast cancer was significant for all cutoff points from 3% to 10% of top density SNPs, being most significant for the 6% (2-sided P = 0.002) to 10% (P = 0.001) cutoff points (overall permutation P = 0.003). Women in the top 10% of the risk score distribution had a 31% increased risk of breast cancer [OR = 1.31; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.08-1.59] compared with women in the bottom 10%. Together, our results show that PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis that is mediated through a large number of common variants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center