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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).