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Mitochondrial genome alternations may be involved in carcinogenesis. The noncoding region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) displacement loop (D-loop) has emerged as a mutational hotspot. Using data from a population-based case-control study conducted among Chinese women in Shanghai, we evaluated associations of breast cancer risk and survival with the mtDNA D-loop (CA)(n) dinucleotide repeat polymorphism. Included in the study were 1,058 cases and 1,129 age frequency-matched community controls that participated in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study between 1996 and 1998. Breast cancer patients were followed to determine intervals of overall survival and disease-free survival. Overall, there was no association between the mtDNA D-loop (CA)(n) repeat polymorphism and breast cancer risk. Patients with multiple alleles of the mtDNA D-loop (CA)(n) polymorphism (heteroplasmy) had significantly poorer disease-free survival than those with one allele of the mtDNA D-loop (CA)(n) polymorphism (hazard ratio 1.62; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-2.26). These results suggest that the mtDNA D-loop (CA)(n) repeat polymorphism may be associated with breast cancer survival. Additional studies with a larger sample size are warranted.