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Cancers (Basel). 2019 Aug 9;11(8). pii: E1146. doi: 10.3390/cancers11081146.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 Gene Expression: Diurnal Variability and Influence of Shift Work

Author information

1
Occupational Medicine, Department of Clinical and Molecular Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, 60126 Ancona, Italy. m.bracci@univpm.it.
2
Occupational Medicine, Department of Clinical and Molecular Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, 60126 Ancona, Italy.
3
Department of Specialistic Clinical and Odontostomatological Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, 60126 Ancona, Italy.
4
Occupational Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, 95124 Catania, Italy.
5
Department of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06032, USA.

Abstract

BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are involved in DNA double-strand break repair and related to breast cancer. Shift work is associated with biological clock alterations and with a higher risk of breast cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the variability of expression of BRCA genes through the day in healthy subjects and to measure BRCA expression levels in shift workers. The study was approached in two ways. First, we examined diurnal variation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in lymphocytes of 15 volunteers over a 24-hour period. Second, we measured the expression of these genes in lymphocytes from a group of shift and daytime workers. The change in 24-hour expression levels of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes was statistically significant, decreasing from the peak at midday to the lowest level at midnight. Lower levels for both genes were found in shift workers compared to daytime workers. Diurnal variability of BRCA1 and BRCA2 expression suggests a relation of DNA double-strand break repair system with biological clock. Lower levels of BRCA1 and BRCA2 found in shift workers may be one of the potential factors related to the higher risk of breast cancer.

KEYWORDS:

DNA damage; DNA repair; biological clocks; breast cancer; chronobiology disorders; night shift work; shift work schedule; BRCA1 gene; BRCA2 gene; desynchronization of circadian rhythms

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study, in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data, in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

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