CJ Talbot, GA Tanteles, GC Barnett, NG Burnet, J Chang-Claude, CE Coles, S Davidson, AM Dunning, J Mills, RJS Murray, O Popanda, P Seibold, CML West, JR Yarnold, RP Symonds
Br J Cancer
BACKGROUND: Response to radiotherapy varies between individuals both in terms of efficacy and adverse reactions. Finding genetic determinants of radiation response would allow the tailoring of the treatment, either by altering the radiation dose or by surgery. Despite a growing number of studies in radiogenomics, there are no well-replicated genetic association results. METHODS: We carried out a candidate gene association study and replicated the result using three additional large cohorts, a total of 2036 women scored for adverse reactions to radiotherapy for breast cancer. RESULTS: Genetic variation near the tumour necrosis factor alpha gene is shown to affect several clinical endpoints including breast induration, telangiectasia and overall toxicity. In the combined analysis homozygosity for the rare allele increases overall toxicity (P=0.001) and chance of being in the upper quartile of risk with odds ratio of 2.46 (95% confidence interval 1.52-3.98). CONCLUSION: We have identified that alleles of the class III major histocompatibility complex region associate with overall radiotherapy toxicity in breast cancer patients by using internal replication through a staged design. This is the first well-replicated report of a genetic predictor for radiotherapy reactions.