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Variation in the FGFR2 gene and the effects of postmenopausal hormone therapy on invasive breast cancer

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer concern is a major reason for the recent marked reduction in use of postmenopausal hormone therapy, although equally effective means of controlling menopausal symptoms are lacking. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene are substantially associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk and could influence hormone therapy effects. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: We interrogated eight SNPs in intron 2 of the FGFR2 gene for 2,166 invasive breast cancer cases from the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trial and one-to-one matched controls to confirm an association with breast cancer risk. We used case-only analyses to examine the dependence of estrogen plus progestin and estrogen-alone odds ratios on SNP genotype. RESULTS: Seven FGFR2 SNPs, including six in a single linkage disequilibrium region, were found to associate strongly (P < 10(-7)) with breast cancer risk. SNP rs3750817 (minor allele T with frequency 0.39) had an estimated per-minor-allele odds ratio of 0.78, and was not in such strong linkage disequilibrium with the other SNPs. The genotype of this SNP related significantly (P < 0.05) to hormone therapy odds ratios. For estrogen plus progestin, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) at 0, 1, and 2 minor SNP alleles were 1.52 (1.14-2.02), 1.33 (1.01-1.75), and 0.69 (0.41-1.17), whereas the corresponding values for estrogen alone were 0.74 (0.51-1.09), 0.99 (0.68-1.44), and 0.34 (0.15-0.76). CONCLUSIONS: Postmenopausal women having TT genotype for SNP rs3750817 have a reduced breast cancer risk and seem to experience comparatively favorable effects of postmenopausal hormone therapy.

Authors: Prentice RL; Huang Y; Hinds DA; Peters U; Pettinger M; Cox DR; Beilharz E; Chlebowski RT; Rossouw JE; Caan B; Ballinger DG

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Nov;18(11):3079-85. Epub 2009 Oct 27.

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