Over the past 20 years, high-penetrance pathogenic mutations in genes BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, PTEN, STK11 and CDH1 and moderate-penetrance mutations in genes CHEK2, ATM, BRIP1, PALB2, RAD51C, RAD50 and NBN have been identified for breast cancer. In this study, we investigated whether there are additional variants in these 13 genes associated with breast cancer among women of Asian ancestry. We analyzed up to 654 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 6269 cases and 6624 controls of Asian descent included in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), and up to 236 SNPs from 5794 cases and 5529 controls included in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Genetics Study (SBCGS). We found three missense variants with minor allele frequency (MAF) <0.05: rs80358978 (Gly2508Ser), rs80359065 (Lys2729Asn) and rs11571653 (Met784Val) in the BRCA2 gene, showing statistically significant associations with breast cancer risk, with P-values of 1.2 × 10-4, 1.0 × 10-3 and 5.0 × 10-3, respectively. In addition, we found four low-frequency variants (rs8176085, rs799923, rs8176173 and rs8176258) in the BRCA1 gene, one common variant in the CHEK2 gene (rs9620817), and one common variant in the PALB2 gene (rs13330119) associated with breast cancer risk at P < 0.01. Our study identified several new risk variants in BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, and PALB2 genes in relation to breast cancer risk in Asian women. These results provide further insights that, in addition to the high/moderate penetrance mutations, other low-penetrance variants in these genes may also contribute to breast cancer risk.
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