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NPJ Breast Cancer. 2016;2. pii: 16034. Epub 2016 Oct 26.

Genetic variation in the insulin, insulin-like growth factor, growth hormone, and leptin pathways in relation to breast cancer in African-American women: the AMBER consortium.

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Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


The insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system and related pathways such as growth hormone, and leptin signaling have a key role in cancer development. It is unclear how germline variation in these pathways affects breast cancer risk. We conducted gene-based analyses of 184 genes in the insulin/IGF, growth hormone, and leptin pathways to identify genetic variation associated with risk of breast cancer overall, and for estrogen receptor (ER) subtypes. Tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for each gene were selected and genotyped on a customized Illumina SNP array. Imputation was carried out using 1000 Genomes haplotypes. The analysis included 91,627 SNPs genotyped or imputed in 3,663 breast cancer cases, (1,983 ER-positive and 1,098 ER-negative) and 4,687 controls from the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk consortium, a collaborative project of four large studies of breast cancer in African-American women (Carolina Breast Cancer Study, Black Women's Health Study, Women's Circle of Health Study, and Multiethnic Cohort). We used a multi-locus adaptive joint test to determine the association of each gene with overall breast cancer and ER subtypes. The most significant gene associations (P ≤ 0.01) were BAIAP2 and CALM2 for overall breast cancer; BAIAP2 and CSNK2A1 for ER+ breast cancer; and BRAF, BAD, and MAPK3 for ER- breast cancer. The association of BAD with ER- breast cancer was explained by a two-SNP risk model; all other associations were best explained by one-SNP risk models. In total, six genes and seven SNPs had suggestive associations with overall breast cancer or ER subtypes in African-American women.

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