• Association of germline genetic variants with breast cancer-specific survival in patient subgroups defined by clinic-pathological variables related to tumor biology and type of systemic treatment

      Morra, A.; Escala-Garcia, M.; Beesley, J.; Keeman, R.; Canisius, S.; Ahearn, T. U.; Andrulis, I. L.; Anton-Culver, H.; Arndt, V.; Auer, P. L.; et al. (2021)
      Background: Given the high heterogeneity among breast tumors, associations between common germline genetic variants and survival that may exist within specific subgroups could go undetected in an unstratified set of breast cancer patients. Methods: We performed genome-wide association analyses within 15 subgroups of breast cancer patients based on prognostic factors, including hormone receptors, tumor grade, age, and type of systemic treatment. Analyses were based on 91,686 female patients of European ancestry from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, including 7531 breast cancer-specific deaths over a median follow-up of 8.1 years. Cox regression was used to assess associations of common germline variants with 15-year and 5-year breast cancer-specific survival. We assessed the probability of these associations being true positives via the Bayesian false discovery probability (BFDP < 0.15). Results: Evidence of associations with breast cancer-specific survival was observed in three patient subgroups, with variant rs5934618 in patients with grade 3 tumors (15-year-hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence interval (CI)] 1.32 [1.20, 1.45], P = 1.4E-08, BFDP = 0.01, per G allele); variant rs4679741 in patients with ER-positive tumors treated with endocrine therapy (15-year-HR [95% CI] 1.18 [1.11, 1.26], P = 1.6E-07, BFDP = 0.09, per G allele); variants rs1106333 (15-year-HR [95% CI] 1.68 [1.39,2.03], P = 5.6E-08, BFDP = 0.12, per A allele) and rs78754389 (5-year-HR [95% CI] 1.79 [1.46,2.20], P = 1.7E-08, BFDP = 0.07, per A allele), in patients with ER-negative tumors treated with chemotherapy. Conclusions: We found evidence of four loci associated with breast cancer-specific survival within three patient subgroups. There was limited evidence for the existence of associations in other patient subgroups. However, the power for many subgroups is limited due to the low number of events. Even so, our results suggest that the impact of common germline genetic variants on breast cancer-specific survival might be limited.
    • Breast cancer polygenic risk score and contralateral breast cancer risk

      Kramer, I.; Hooning, M. J.; Mavaddat, N.; Hauptmann, M.; Keeman, R.; Steyerberg, E. W.; Giardiello, D.; Antoniou, A. C.; Pharoah, P. D. P.; Canisius, S.; et al. (2020)
      Previous research has shown that polygenic risk scores (PRSs) can be used to stratify women according to their risk of developing primary invasive breast cancer. This study aimed to evaluate the association between a recently validated PRS of 313 germline variants (PRS313) and contralateral breast cancer (CBC) risk. We included 56,068 women of European ancestry diagnosed with first invasive breast cancer from 1990 onward with follow-up from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Metachronous CBC risk (N = 1,027) according to the distribution of PRS313 was quantified using Cox regression analyses. We assessed PRS313 interaction with age at first diagnosis, family history, morphology, ER status, PR status, and HER2 status, and (neo)adjuvant therapy. In studies of Asian women, with limited follow-up, CBC risk associated with PRS313 was assessed using logistic regression for 340 women with CBC compared with 12,133 women with unilateral breast cancer. Higher PRS313 was associated with increased CBC risk: hazard ratio per standard deviation (SD) = 1.25 (95%CI = 1.18-1.33) for Europeans, and an OR per SD = 1.15 (95%CI = 1.02-1.29) for Asians. The absolute lifetime risks of CBC, accounting for death as competing risk, were 12.4% for European women at the 10th percentile and 20.5% at the 90th percentile of PRS313. We found no evidence of confounding by or interaction with individual characteristics, characteristics of the primary tumor, or treatment. The C-index for the PRS313 alone was 0.563 (95%CI = 0.547-0.586). In conclusion, PRS313 is an independent factor associated with CBC risk and can be incorporated into CBC risk prediction models to help improve stratification and optimize surveillance and treatment strategies.
    • CYP3A7*1C allele: linking premenopausal oestrone and progesterone levels with risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers

      Johnson, N.; Maguire, S.; Morra, A.; Kapoor, P. M.; Tomczyk, K.; Jones, M. E.; Schoemaker, M. J.; Gilham, C.; Bolla, M. K.; Wang, Q.; et al. (2021)
      Background: Epidemiological studies provide strong evidence for a role of endogenous sex hormones in the aetiology of breast cancer. The aim of this analysis was to identify genetic variants that are associated with urinary sex-hormone levels and breast cancer risk. Methods: We carried out a genome-wide association study of urinary oestrone-3-glucuronide and pregnanediol-3-glucuronide levels in 560 premenopausal women, with additional analysis of progesterone levels in 298 premenopausal women. To test for the association with breast cancer risk, we carried out follow-up genotyping in 90,916 cases and 89,893 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. All women were of European ancestry. Results: For pregnanediol-3-glucuronide, there were no genome-wide significant associations; for oestrone-3-glucuronide, we identified a single peak mapping to the CYP3A locus, annotated by rs45446698. The minor rs45446698-C allele was associated with lower oestrone-3-glucuronide (-49.2%, 95% CI -56.1% to -41.1%, P = 3.1 × 10-18); in follow-up analyses, rs45446698-C was also associated with lower progesterone (-26.7%, 95% CI -39.4% to -11.6%, P = 0.001) and reduced risk of oestrogen and progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer (OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.82-0.91, P = 6.9 × 10-8).
    • Genome-wide and transcriptome-wide association studies of mammographic density phenotypes reveal novel loci

      Chen, H.; Fan, S.; Stone, J.; Thompson, D. J.; Douglas, J.; Li, S.; Scott, C.; Bolla, M. K.; Wang, Q.; Dennis, J.; et al. (2022)
      Background: Mammographic density (MD) phenotypes, including percent density (PMD), area of dense tissue (DA), and area of non-dense tissue (NDA), are associated with breast cancer risk. Twin studies suggest that MD phenotypes are highly heritable. However, only a small proportion of their variance is explained by identified genetic variants. Methods: We conducted a genome-wide association study, as well as a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS), of age- and BMI-adjusted DA, NDA, and PMD in up to 27,900 European-ancestry women from the MODE/BCAC consortia. Results: We identified 28 genome-wide significant loci for MD phenotypes, including nine novel signals (5q11.2, 5q14.1, 5q31.1, 5q33.3, 5q35.1, 7p11.2, 8q24.13, 12p11.2, 16q12.2). Further, 45% of all known breast cancer SNPs were associated with at least one MD phenotype at p < 0.05. TWAS further identified two novel genes (SHOX2 and CRISPLD2) whose genetically predicted expression was significantly associated with MD phenotypes. Conclusions: Our findings provided novel insight into the genetic background of MD phenotypes, and further demonstrated their shared genetic basis with breast cancer.
    • Genome-wide association study identifies 32 novel breast cancer susceptibility loci from overall and subtype-specific analyses

      Zhang, H.; Ahearn, T. U.; Lecarpentier, J.; Barnes, D.; Beesley, J.; Qi, G.; Jiang, X.; O'Mara, T. A.; Zhao, N.; Bolla, M. K.; et al. (2020)
      Breast cancer susceptibility variants frequently show heterogeneity in associations by tumor subtype(1-3). To identify novel loci, we performed a genome-wide association study including 133,384 breast cancer cases and 113,789 controls, plus 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer) of European ancestry, using both standard and novel methodologies that account for underlying tumor heterogeneity by estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 status and tumor grade. We identified 32 novel susceptibility loci (P < 5.0 x 10(-8)), 15 of which showed evidence for associations with at least one tumor feature (false discovery rate < 0.05). Five loci showed associations (P < 0.05) in opposite directions between luminal and non-luminal subtypes. In silico analyses showed that these five loci contained cell-specific enhancers that differed between normal luminal and basal mammary cells. The genetic correlations between five intrinsic-like subtypes ranged from 0.35 to 0.80. The proportion of genome-wide chip heritability explained by all known susceptibility loci was 54.2% for luminal A-like disease and 37.6% for triple-negative disease. The odds ratios of polygenic risk scores, which included 330 variants, for the highest 1% of quantiles compared with middle quantiles were 5.63 and 3.02 for luminal A-like and triple-negative disease, respectively. These findings provide an improved understanding of genetic predisposition to breast cancer subtypes and will inform the development of subtype-specific polygenic risk scores.
    • Genome-wide interaction analysis of menopausal hormone therapy use and breast cancer risk among 62,370 women

      Wang, X.; Kapoor, P. M.; Auer, P. L.; Dennis, J.; Dunning, A. M.; Wang, Q.; Lush, M.; Michailidou, K.; Bolla, M. K.; Aronson, K. J.; et al. (2022)
      Use of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is associated with increased risk for breast cancer. However, the relevant mechanisms and its interaction with genetic variants are not fully understood. We conducted a genome-wide interaction analysis between MHT use and genetic variants for breast cancer risk in 27,585 cases and 34,785 controls from 26 observational studies. All women were post-menopausal and of European ancestry. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to test for multiplicative interactions between genetic variants and current MHT use. We considered interaction p-values < 5 × 10-8 as genome-wide significant, and p-values < 1 × 10-5 as suggestive. Linkage disequilibrium (LD)-based clumping was performed to identify independent candidate variants. of the 9.7 million genetic variants tested for interactions with MHT use reached genome-wide significance. Only 213 variants, representing 18 independent loci, had p-values < 1 × 105. The strongest evidence was found for rs4674019 (p-value = 2.27 × 10-7), which showed genome-wide significant interaction (p-value = 3.8 × 10-8) with current MHT use when analysis was restricted to population-based studies only. Limiting the analyses to combined estrogen-progesterone MHT use only or to estrogen receptor (ER) positive cases did not identify any genome-wide significant evidence of interactions. In this large genome-wide SNP-MHT interaction study of breast cancer, we found no strong support for common genetic variants modifying the effect of MHT on breast cancer risk. These results suggest that common genetic variation has limited impact on the observed MHT-breast cancer risk association.