The associations between a polygenic score, reproductive and menstrual risk factors and breast cancer risk


We evaluated whether 13 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified in genome-wide association studies interact with one another and with reproductive and menstrual risk factors in association with breast cancer risk. DNA samples and information on parity, breastfeeding, age at menarche, age at first birth, and age at menopause were collected through structured interviews from 1,484 breast cancer cases and 1,307 controls who participated in a population-based case-control study conducted in three US states. A polygenic score was created as the sum of risk allele copies multiplied by the corresponding log odds estimate. Logistic regression was used to test the associations between SNPs, the score, reproductive and menstrual factors, and breast cancer risk. Nonlinearity of the score was assessed by the inclusion of a quadratic term for polygenic score. Interactions between the aforementioned variables were tested by including a cross-product term in models. We confirmed associations between rs13387042 (2q35), rs4973768 (SLC4A7), rs10941679 (5p12), rs2981582 (FGFR2), rs3817198 (LSP1), rs3803662 (TOX3), and rs6504950 (STXBP4) with breast cancer. Women in the score’s highest quintile had 2.2-fold increased risk when compared to women in the lowest quintile (95 % confidence interval: 1.67-2.88). The quadratic polygenic score term was not significant in the model (p = 0.85), suggesting that the established breast cancer loci are not associated with increased risk more than the sum of risk alleles. Modifications of menstrual and reproductive risk factors associations with breast cancer risk by polygenic score were not observed. Our results suggest that the interactions between breast cancer susceptibility loci and reproductive factors are not strong contributors to breast cancer risk.

Breast Cancer Res. Treat.