AM Dunning, S McBride, J Gregory, F Durocher, NA Foster, CS Healey, N Smith, PD Pharoah, RN Luben, DF Easton, BA Ponder
Endogenous hormone exposure is known to alter breast cancer susceptibility and genes responsive to such hormones are plausible candidates for predisposition genes. We have examined polymorphisms in genes for two members of the nuclear receptor superfamily which are expressed in breast tissue and known to moderate rates of cell proliferation in a case-control association study: the androgen receptor (AR) and the vitamin D receptor (VDR). We have used two series of Caucasian female breast cancer cases, one incident and one prevalent, and compared both with two sets of matched controls from the East Anglian region of Britain. Since the results are similar in the two series we have combined them. The AR poly[Gly](n) and poly[Gln](n) tracts were genotyped in a total of 508 female breast cancer cases and 426 controls. The VDR TaqI polymorphism was analysed in 951 cases and 627 controls drawn from the same population series. There were no significant differences between cases and controls for either the AR or VDR polymorphisms. Compared with individuals with two short alleles (<22 repeats) of the AR poly[Gln](n) tract, the odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for individuals with one or two long alleles were 0.82 (95% CI 0.62-1.09) and 1.31 (95% CI 0.87-1.97), respectively. Heterozygotes and homozygotes for the VDR TaqI cutting site had odds ratios of 1.01 (95% CI 0.81-1.27) and 0.97 (95% CI 0.71-1.32), respectively. None of the AR or VDR polymorphisms investigated has a major effect on risk of breast cancer in the British population.