Estrogen-related genes and their contribution to racial differences in breast cancer risk

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Racial differences in breast cancer risk, including the risks of hormone receptor subtypes of breast cancer, have been previously reported. We evaluated whether variation in genes related to estrogen metabolism (COMT, CYP1A1, CYP1B1, CYP17A1, CYP19A1, ESR1, GSTM1, GSTP1, GSTT1, HSD17B1, SULT1A1, and UGT1A1) contributes to breast cancer risk and/or racial differences in risk within the CARE study, a multi-centered, population-based case-control study of breast cancer. Genetic variation was assessed as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), haplotypes, and SNP-hormone therapy (HT) interactions within a subset of 1,644 cases and 1,451 controls, including 949 Black women (493 cases and 456 controls), sampled from the CARE study population. No appreciable associations with breast cancer risk were detected for single SNPs or haplotypes in women overall. We detected SNP-HT interactions in women overall within CYP1B1 (rs1800440; p (het) = 0.003) and within CYP17A1 (rs743572; p (het) = 0.009) in which never users of HT were at a decreased risk of breast cancer, while ever users were at a non-significant increased risk. When investigated among racial groups, we detected evidence of an SNP-HT interaction with CYP1B1 in White women (p value = 0.02) and with CYP17A1 in Black women (p value = 0.04). This analysis suggests that HT use may modify the effect of variation in estrogen-related genes on breast cancer risk, which may affect Black and White women to a different extent.