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K Wagner, K Hemminki, E Israelsson, E Grzybowska, R Klaes, B Chen, D Butkiewicz, J Pamula, W Pekala, and A Försti

The growth hormone 1 (GH1)/insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) axis plays an important role in the development of breast cancer. By binding to its receptor, GH1 stimulates the production of IGF-I and its binding protein IGFBP3, resulting in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. The GH1 gene expression is regulated by a highly polymorphic proximal promoter and a distal locus control region (LCR) 14.5 kb upstream of the gene. We investigated the effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the LCR and in the promoter region and an intron 4 SNP (IVS4+90 T/A) on breast cancer risk in a large cohort of Polish and German familial breast cancer cases and controls. SNPs in the LCR did not show an influence on breast cancer risk, either alone or in haplotypes. Three SNPs in the promoter region (G-340T, A-68G/C and A-63T/C) showed an increased and four SNPs (A-137G, G-119T, G-93delG and T-4G) a decreased allele frequency in the cases compared with the controls. Two of the SNPs (A-137G and G-93delG) lead to a decreased breast cancer risk among the minor allele carriers in the joint analysis of the two populations (odds ratio (OR) 0.62, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.44–0.89, P=0.01 and OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.47–0.90, P=0.01, respectively). Haplotype analysis with these seven promoter SNPs revealed a protective association (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.37–1.00, P=0.04) for the haplotype GAGdAAT, containing the G-93delG variant allele, which in the single analysis already showed a protective effect. The effect was marginally stronger in combination with the LCR GC haplotype (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.23–1.01, P=0.04).

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J Sainz, A Rudolph, R Hein, M Hoffmeister, S Buch, W von Schönfels, J Hampe, C Schafmayer, H Völzke, B Frank, H Brenner, A Försti, K Hemminki, and J Chang-Claude

The incidence rates and relative risks for colorectal cancer (CRC) are higher in men than in women. Sex steroids may play a role in this gender-associated difference in CRC risk. This study was conducted to explore the relationship of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in steroid hormone signaling (ESR1, ESR2, PGR, NR1I2, and SHBG), phase I- and II-metabolizing enzyme (COMT, HSD17B1, CYP1A1, CYP17A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1, CYP2C9, CYP3A4, CYP2C19, and GSTP1), and hormone transporter (ABCB1) genes with the risk of CRC in German women and men, separately. From the population-based DACHS study (South Germany), 47 putatively functional SNPs were genotyped in 1798 CRC cases (746 women and 1052 men) and 1810 controls (732 women and 1078 men). Significant allele dose–response associations were observed with ESR2_rs1255998, ESR2_rs928554, HSD17 B1_rs605059, and ABCB1_rs2229109 in women (P trend=0.004, 0.05, 0.03, and 0.05 respectively) and with ABCB1_rs1045642, ABCB1_rs9282564, and SHBG_rs6259 in men (P trend=0.01, 0.03, and 0.02 respectively). The ESR2_rs1255998_G allele showed the most significant association with risk for CRC in women, with a per-allele odds ratio (OR) of 0.68 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.52–0.88). This finding was replicated in an independent study from North Germany including 1076 female CRC cases and 1151 controls (OR=0.84, 95% CI 0.71–1.04), yielding a per-allele OR of 0.80 (95% CI 0.69–0.93, P trend=0.003) in the pooled sample. These findings implicate a role of ESR2 in the risk for developing CRC in women and suggest that HSD17 B1, ABCB1, and SHBG genes may contribute to sex steroid-mediated effects on CRC development.