Oral contraceptive use and breast cancer risk: modification by NAD(P)H:quinone oxoreductase (NQO1) genetic polymorphisms.

Fowke JH, Shu XO, Dai Q, Jin F, Cai Q, Gao YT, Zheng W
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004 13 (8): 1308-15

PMID: 15298951

Despite intensive study, the relationship between oral contraception (OC) and breast cancer remains unclear. OCs contain a potent synthetic estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) but lower endogenous estradiol levels, and ethinyl estradiol is a weak progenitor of semiquinones, catechol estrogens capable of damaging DNA. NAD(P)H:quinone oxoreductase (NQO1) stabilizes semiquinones, thus potentially preventing genetic damage from catechol estrogens, and the NQO1 C609T polymorphism seems functionally relevant. Using data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study, a population-based case-control study, we investigated the relationships between OC use (20% ever using), breast cancer, and NQO1 (C/C 31% and C/T + T/T 69%) among 1,039 cases and 1,121 controls. Breast cancer was not significantly associated with NQO1 genotype. There was a significant protective association between OC after age 30 years and premenopausal breast cancer [odds ratio (OR) 0.51, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.29-0.89] primarily with the NQO1 T allele (C/C OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.31-1.82; C/T + T/T OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.18-0.80; P for interaction = 0.19). The association between premenopausal breast cancer and OCs significantly differed with NQO1 genotype when using OCs for >18 months (C/C OR 2.34, 95% CI 0.92-5.99; C/T + T/T OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.38-1.25; P for interaction = 0.02). Among women with the C/C genotype, postmenopausal breast cancer was significantly associated with ever-using OCs (C/C OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.08-3.74; C/T + T/T OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.49-1.05; P for interaction < 0.01). This crossover was stronger with OC use prior to age 30 years (C/C OR 3.00, 95% CI 1.43-6.25; C/T or T/T OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.29-0.81; P for interaction < 0.01). Our results require confirmation but suggest that the OC and breast cancer association depends on the ability to invoke protection from catechol estrogens.

MeSH Terms (23)

Adult Age Distribution Base Sequence Breast Neoplasms Case-Control Studies China Confidence Intervals Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal Female Genetic Predisposition to Disease Humans Incidence Middle Aged Molecular Sequence Data NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone) Odds Ratio Polymerase Chain Reaction Polymorphism, Genetic Probability Reference Values Registries Risk Assessment Sensitivity and Specificity

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