Gene Summary

Gene:TOX3; TOX high mobility group box family member 3
Aliases: CAGF9, TNRC9
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene contains an HMG-box, indicating that it may be involved in bending and unwinding of DNA and alteration of chromatin structure. The C-terminus of the encoded protein is glutamine-rich due to CAG repeats in the coding sequence. A minor allele of this gene has been implicated in an elevated risk of breast cancer. Two transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene.[provided by RefSeq, Apr 2009]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:TOX high mobility group box family member 3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Alleles
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Markers
  • BRCA1
  • Genetic Loci
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer
  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Staging
  • Chromosome 16
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • Genotype
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Assessment
  • Chromosome 2
  • Odds Ratio
  • Genetic Variation
  • FGFR2
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Logistic Models
  • Cohort Studies
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • African Americans
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Receptor, erbB-2
  • BRCA2
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Estrogen Receptors
  • China
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Survival Rate
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: TOX3 (cancer-related)

Lavrov AV, Chelysheva EY, Smirnikhina SA, et al.
Frequent variations in cancer-related genes may play prognostic role in treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.
BMC Genet. 2016; 17 Suppl 1:14 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genome variability of host genome and cancer cells play critical role in diversity of response to existing therapies and overall success in treating oncological diseases. In chronic myeloid leukemia targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors demonstrates high efficacy in most of the patients. However about 15 % of patients demonstrate primary resistance to standard therapy. Whole exome sequencing is a good tool for unbiased search of genetic variations important for prognosis of survival and therapy efficacy in many cancers. We apply this approach to CML patients with optimal response and failure of tyrosine kinase therapy.
RESULTS: We analyzed exome variations between optimal responders and failures and found 7 variants in cancer-related genes with different genotypes in two groups of patients. Five of them were found in optimal responders: rs11579366, rs1990236, rs176037, rs10653661, rs3803264 and two in failures: rs3099950, rs9471966. These variants were found in genes associated with cancers (ANKRD35, DNAH9, MAGEC1, TOX3) or participating in cancer-related signaling pathways (THSD1, MORN2, PTCRA).
CONCLUSION: We found gene variants which may become early predictors of the therapy outcome and allow development of new early prognostic tests for estimation of therapy efficacy in CML patients. Normal genetic variation may influence therapy efficacy during targeted treatment of cancers.

Zhang L, Long X
Association of three SNPs in TOX3 and breast cancer risk: Evidence from 97275 cases and 128686 controls.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:12773 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The associations of SNPs in TOX3 gene with breast cancer risk were investigated by some Genome-wide association studies and epidemiological studies, but the study results were contradictory. To derive a more precise estimate of the associations, we conducted a meta-analysis. ORs with 95% CI were used to assess the strength of association between TOX3 polymorphisms and breast cancer risk in fixed or random effect model. A total of 37 publications with 97275 cases and 128686 controls were identified. We observed that the rs3803662 C > T, rs12443621 A > G and rs8051542 C > T were all correlated with increased risk of breast cancer. In the stratified analyses by ethnicity, significantly elevated risk was detected for all genetic models of the three SNPs in Caucasians. In Asian populations, there were significant associations of rs3803662 and rs8051542 with breast cancer risk. Whereas there was no evidence for statistical significant association between the three SNPs and breast cancer risk in Africans. Additionally, we observed different associations of rs3803662 with breast cancer risk based on different ER subtype and BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers. In conclusion, the meta-analysis suggested that three SNPs in TOX3 were significantly associated with breast cancer risk in different populations.

Campa D, Barrdahl M, Gaudet MM, et al.
Genetic risk variants associated with in situ breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res. 2015; 17:82 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Breast cancer in situ (BCIS) diagnoses, a precursor lesion for invasive breast cancer, comprise about 20 % of all breast cancers (BC) in countries with screening programs. Family history of BC is considered one of the strongest risk factors for BCIS.
METHODS: To evaluate the association of BC susceptibility loci with BCIS risk, we genotyped 39 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), associated with risk of invasive BC, in 1317 BCIS cases, 10,645 invasive BC cases, and 14,006 healthy controls in the National Cancer Institute's Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3). Using unconditional logistic regression models adjusted for age and study, we estimated the association of SNPs with BCIS using two different comparison groups: healthy controls and invasive BC subjects to investigate whether BCIS and BC share a common genetic profile.
RESULTS: We found that five SNPs (CDKN2BAS-rs1011970, FGFR2-rs3750817, FGFR2-rs2981582, TNRC9-rs3803662, 5p12-rs10941679) were significantly associated with BCIS risk (P value adjusted for multiple comparisons <0.0016). Comparing invasive BC and BCIS, the largest difference was for CDKN2BAS-rs1011970, which showed a positive association with BCIS (OR = 1.24, 95 % CI: 1.11-1.38, P = 1.27 x 10(-4)) and no association with invasive BC (OR = 1.03, 95 % CI: 0.99-1.07, P = 0.06), with a P value for case-case comparison of 0.006. Subgroup analyses investigating associations with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) found similar associations, albeit less significant (OR = 1.25, 95 % CI: 1.09-1.42, P = 1.07 x 10(-3)). Additional risk analyses showed significant associations with invasive disease at the 0.05 level for 28 of the alleles and the OR estimates were consistent with those reported by other studies.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study adds to the knowledge that several of the known BC susceptibility loci are risk factors for both BCIS and invasive BC, with the possible exception of rs1011970, a putatively functional SNP situated in the CDKN2BAS gene that may be a specific BCIS susceptibility locus.

Palomba G, Loi A, Porcu E, et al.
Genome-wide association study of susceptibility loci for breast cancer in Sardinian population.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:383 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Despite progress in identifying genes associated with breast cancer, many more risk loci exist. Genome-wide association analyses in genetically-homogeneous populations, such as that of Sardinia (Italy), could represent an additional approach to detect low penetrance alleles.
METHODS: We performed a genome-wide association study comparing 1431 Sardinian patients with non-familial, BRCA1/2-mutation-negative breast cancer to 2171 healthy Sardinian blood donors. DNA was genotyped using GeneChip Human Mapping 500 K Arrays or Genome-Wide Human SNP Arrays 6.0. To increase genomic coverage, genotypes of additional SNPs were imputed using data from HapMap Phase II. After quality control filtering of genotype data, 1367 cases (9 men) and 1658 controls (1156 men) were analyzed on a total of 2,067,645 SNPs.
RESULTS: Overall, 33 genomic regions (67 candidate SNPs) were associated with breast cancer risk at the p <  0(-6) level. Twenty of these regions contained defined genes, including one already associated with breast cancer risk: TOX3. With a lower threshold for preliminary significance to p < 10(-5), we identified 11 additional SNPs in FGFR2, a well-established breast cancer-associated gene. Ten candidate SNPs were selected, excluding those already associated with breast cancer, for technical validation as well as replication in 1668 samples from the same population. Only SNP rs345299, located in intron 1 of VAV3, remained suggestively associated (p-value, 1.16 x 10(-5)), but it did not associate with breast cancer risk in pooled data from two large, mixed-population cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS: This study indicated the role of TOX3 and FGFR2 as breast cancer susceptibility genes in BRCA1/2-wild-type breast cancer patients from Sardinian population.

Keller BM, McCarthy AM, Chen J, et al.
Associations between breast density and a panel of single nucleotide polymorphisms linked to breast cancer risk: a cohort study with digital mammography.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:143 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast density and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have both been associated with breast cancer risk. To determine the extent to which these two breast cancer risk factors are associated, we investigate the association between a panel of validated SNPs related to breast cancer and quantitative measures of mammographic density in a cohort of Caucasian and African-American women.
METHODS: In this IRB-approved, HIPAA-compliant study, we analyzed a screening population of 639 women (250 African American and 389 Caucasian) who were tested with a validated panel assay of 12 SNPs previously associated to breast cancer risk. Each woman underwent digital mammography as part of routine screening and all were interpreted as negative. Both absolute and percent estimates of area and volumetric density were quantified on a per-woman basis using validated software. Associations between the number of risk alleles in each SNP and the density measures were assessed through a race-stratified linear regression analysis, adjusted for age, BMI, and Gail lifetime risk.
RESULTS: The majority of SNPs were not found to be associated with any measure of breast density. SNP rs3817198 (in LSP1) was significantly associated with both absolute area (p = 0.004) and volumetric (p = 0.019) breast density in Caucasian women. In African-American women, SNPs rs3803662 (in TNRC9/TOX3) and rs4973768 (in NEK10) were significantly associated with absolute (p = 0.042) and percent (p = 0.028) volume density respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of SNPs investigated in our study were not found to be significantly associated with breast density, even when accounting for age, BMI, and Gail risk, suggesting that these two different risk factors contain potentially independent information regarding a woman's risk to develop breast cancer. Additionally, the few statistically significant associations between breast density and SNPs were different for Caucasian versus African American women. Larger prospective studies are warranted to validate our findings and determine potential implications for breast cancer risk assessment.

Seksenyan A, Kadavallore A, Walts AE, et al.
TOX3 is expressed in mammary ER(+) epithelial cells and regulates ER target genes in luminal breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A breast cancer susceptibility locus has been mapped to the gene encoding TOX3. Little is known regarding the expression pattern or biological role of TOX3 in breast cancer or in the mammary gland. Here we analyzed TOX3 expression in murine and human mammary glands and in molecular subtypes of breast cancer, and assessed its ability to alter the biology of breast cancer cells.
METHODS: We used a cell sorting strategy, followed by quantitative real-time PCR, to study TOX3 gene expression in the mouse mammary gland. To study the expression of this nuclear protein in human mammary glands and breast tumors, we generated a rabbit monoclonal antibody specific for human TOX3. In vitro studies were performed on MCF7, BT474 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines to study the effects of TOX3 modulation on gene expression in the context of breast cancer cells.
RESULTS: We found TOX3 expression in estrogen receptor-positive mammary epithelial cells, including progenitor cells. A subset of breast tumors also highly expresses TOX3, with poor outcome associated with high expression of TOX3 in luminal B breast cancers. We also demonstrate the ability of TOX3 to alter gene expression in MCF7 luminal breast cancer cells, including cancer relevant genes TFF1 and CXCR4. Knockdown of TOX3 in a luminal B breast cancer cell line that highly expresses TOX3 is associated with slower growth. Surprisingly, TOX3 is also shown to regulate TFF1 in an estrogen-independent and tamoxifen-insensitive manner.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that high expression of this protein likely plays a crucial role in breast cancer progression. This is in sharp contrast to previous studies that indicated breast cancer susceptibility is associated with lower expression of TOX3. Together, these results suggest two different roles for TOX3, one in the initiation of breast cancer, potentially related to expression of TOX3 in mammary epithelial cell progenitors, and another role for this nuclear protein in the progression of cancer. In addition, these results can begin to shed light on the reported association of TOX3 expression and breast cancer metastasis to the bone, and point to TOX3 as a novel regulator of estrogen receptor-mediated gene expression.

Lin Y, Fu F, Chen M, et al.
Associations of two common genetic variants with breast cancer risk in a chinese population: a stratified interaction analysis.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(12):e115707 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a series of new genetic susceptibility loci for breast cancer (BC). However, the correlations between these variants and breast cancer are still not clear. In order to explore the role of breast cancer susceptibility variants in a Southeast Chinese population, we genotyped two common SNPs at chromosome 6q25 (rs2046210) and in TOX3 (rs4784227) in a case-control study with a total of 702 breast cancer cases and 794 healthy-controls. In addition, we also evaluated the multiple interactions among genetic variants, risk factors, and tumor subtypes. Associations of genotypes with breast cancer risk was evaluated using multivariate logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The results indicated that both polymorphisms were significantly associated with the risk of breast cancer, with per allele OR = 1.35, (95%CI = 1.17-1.57) for rs2046210 and per allele OR = 1.24 (95%CI = 1.06-1.45) for rs4784227. Furthermore, in subgroup stratified analyses, we observed that the T allele of rs4784227 was significantly associated with elevated OR among postmenopausal populations (OR = 1.44, 95%CI 1.11-1.87) but not in premenopausal populations, with the heterogeneity P value of P = 0.064. These findings suggest that the genetic variants at chromosome 6q25 and in the TOX3 gene may play important roles in breast cancer development in a Chinese population and the underlying biological mechanisms need to be further elucidated.

Garrisi VM, Strippoli S, De Summa S, et al.
Proteomic profile and in silico analysis in metastatic melanoma with and without BRAF mutation.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(12):e112025 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Selective inhibitors of BRAF, vemurafenib and dabrafenib are the standard of care for metastatic melanoma patients with BRAF V600, while chemotherapy continued to be widely used in BRAF wild type patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In order to discover novel candidate biomarkers predictive to treatment, serum of 39 metastatic melanoma vemurafenib (n = 19) or chemotherapy (n = 20) treated patients at baseline, at disease control and at progression, were analyzed using SELDI-TOF technology. In silico analysis was used to identify more significant peaks.
RESULTS: In patients with different BRAF status, we found 5 peptides significantly deregulated, with the down-regulation of the m/z 9176 peak strongly associated with BRAF mutation. At baseline as predictive biomarkers we identified 2 peptides - m/z 6411, 4075 - as significantly up-regulated in responders to chemotherapy and 4 peaks - m/z 5900, 12544, 49124 and 11724 - significantly up-regulated in longer vs shorter responders to vemurafenib. After response, 3 peptides (m/z 4658, 18639, and 9307) resulted significantly down regulated while 3 peptides m/z 9292, 7765 and 9176 appeared up-regulated respectively in chemotherapy and vemurafenib responder patients. In vemurafenib treated patients, 16 peaks appeared deregulated at progression compared to baseline time. In silico analysis identified proteins involved in invasiveness (SLAIN1) and resistance (ABCC12) as well as in the pathway of detoxification (NQO1) and apoptosis (RBM10, TOX3, MTEFD1, TSPO2). Proteins associated with the modulation of neuronal plasticity (RIN1) and regulatory activity factors of gene transcription (KLF17, ZBTB44) were also highlighted.
CONCLUSION: Our exploratory study highlighted some factors that deserve to be further investigated in order to provide a framework for improving melanoma treatment management through the development of biomarkers which could act as the strongest surrogates of the key biological events in stage IV melanoma.

Cui Y, Zhao S, Zhao H, et al.
Mutational analysis of TOX3 in Chinese Han women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Reprod Biomed Online. 2014; 29(6):752-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
A previous genome-wide association study of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) identified several susceptibility loci. TOX3 is the nearest gene to signal rs4784165. In the present study, all exons and exon-intron boundaries of TOX3 were amplified and sequenced in 200 Chinese women with PCOS. A 3-bp nucleotide deletion of CAG repeat and two known single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified. No plausible pathogenic mutations were detected. The results suggest that mutations in TOX3 are not common in Chinese Han women with PCOS.

Elematore I, Gonzalez-Hormazabal P, Reyes JM, et al.
Association of genetic variants at TOX3, 2q35 and 8q24 with the risk of familial and early-onset breast cancer in a South-American population.
Mol Biol Rep. 2014; 41(6):3715-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent Genome-Wide Association Studies have identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with breast cancer (BC) among women of Asian, European, and African-American ancestry. Nevertheless, the contribution of these variants in the South American population is unknown. Furthermore, there is little information about the effect of these risk alleles in women with early BC diagnosis. In the present study, we evaluated the association between rs3803662 (TOX3, also known as TNRC9), rs13387042 (2q35), and rs13281615 (8q24) with BC risk in 344 Chilean BRCA1/2-negative BC cases and in 801 controls. Two SNPs, rs3803662 and rs13387042, were significantly associated with increased BC risk in familial BC and in non-familial early-onset BC. The risk of BC increased in a dose-dependent manner with the number of risk alleles (P-trend < 0.0001 and 0.0091, respectively). The odds ratios for BC in familial BC and in early-onset non-familial BC were 3.76 (95%CI 1.02-13.84, P = 0.046) and 8.0 (95%CI 2.20-29.04, P = 0.002), respectively, for the maximum versus minimum number of risk alleles. These results indicate an additive effect of the TOX3 rs3803662 and 2q35 rs13387042 alleles for BC risk. We also evaluated the interaction between rs3803662 and rs13387042 SNPs. We observed an additive interaction only in non-familial early-onset BC cases (AP = 0.72 (0.28-1.16), P = 0.001). No significant association was observed for rs13281615 (8q24) with BC risk in women from the Chilean population. The strongly increased risk associated with the combination of low-penetrance risk alleles supports the polygenic inheritance model of BC.

He X, Yao G, Li F, et al.
Risk-association of five SNPs in TOX3/LOC643714 with breast cancer in southern China.
Int J Mol Sci. 2014; 15(2):2130-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The specific mechanism by which low-risk genetic variants confer breast cancer risk is currently unclear, with contradictory evidence on the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TOX3/LOC643714 as a breast cancer susceptibility locus. Investigations of this locus using a Chinese population may indicate whether the findings initially identified in a European population are generalizable to other populations, and may provide new insight into the role of genetic variants in the etiology of breast cancer. In this case-control study, 623 Chinese female breast cancer patients and 620 cancer-free controls were recruited to investigate the role of five SNPs in TOX3/LOC643714 (rs8051542, rs12443621, rs3803662, rs4784227, and rs3112612); Linkage disequilibrium (LD) pattern analysis was performed. Additionally, we evaluated how these common SNPs influence the risk of specific types of breast cancer, as defined by estrogen receptor (ER) status, progesterone receptor (PR) status and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status. Significant associations with breast cancer risk were observed for rs4784227 and rs8051542 with odds ratios (OR) of 1.31 ((95% confidence intervals (CI), 1.10-1.57)) and 1.26 (95% CI, 1.02-1.56), respectively, per T allele. The T-rs8051542 allele was significantly associated with ER-positive and HER2-negative carriers. No significant association existed between rs12443621, rs3803662, and rs3112612 polymorphisms and risk of breast cancer. Our results support the hypothesis that the applicability of a common susceptibility locus must be confirmed among genetically different populations, which may together explain an appreciable fraction of the genetic etiology of breast cancer.

Chen F, Zhou J, Xue Y, et al.
A single nucleotide polymorphism of the TNRC9 gene associated with breast cancer risk in Chinese Han women.
Genet Mol Res. 2014; 13(1):182-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the TNRC9 gene was identified as a breast cancer susceptibility genetic variant in recent genome-wide association studies of women of European ancestry. We investigated whether TNRC9 polymorphisms are associated with risk of breast cancer in Chinese women of the Han nationality. We genotyped the SNPs rs3803662, rs1362548, rs1123428 in 870 women, including 388 breast cancer patients and 482 healthy controls, via the PCR-single strand conformation polymorphism procedure and by sequence detection. We found that the T allele and the TT genotype of the SNP rs38033662 is significantly associated with risk for breast cancer in Chinese Han women; however, no significant association was found for rs1362548 or rs1123428. We conclude that SNP rs3803662 is a putative risk factor for breast cancer in Chinese Han women.

O'Brien KM, Cole SR, Poole C, et al.
Replication of breast cancer susceptibility loci in whites and African Americans using a Bayesian approach.
Am J Epidemiol. 2014; 179(3):382-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and candidate gene analyses have led to the discovery of several dozen genetic polymorphisms associated with breast cancer susceptibility, many of which are considered well-established risk factors for the disease. Despite attempts to replicate these same variant-disease associations in African Americans, the evaluable populations are often too small to produce precise or consistent results. We estimated the associations between 83 previously identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and breast cancer among Carolina Breast Cancer Study (1993-2001) participants using maximum likelihood, Bayesian, and hierarchical methods. The selected SNPs were previous GWAS hits (n = 22), near-hits (n = 19), otherwise well-established risk loci (n = 5), or located in the same genes as selected variants (n = 37). We successfully replicated 18 GWAS-identified SNPs in whites (n = 2,352) and 10 in African Americans (n = 1,447). SNPs in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 gene (FGFR2) and the TOC high mobility group box family member 3 gene (TOX3) were strongly associated with breast cancer in both races. SNPs in the mitochondrial ribosomal protein S30 gene (MRPS30), mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 1 gene (MAP3K1), zinc finger, MIZ-type containing 1 gene (ZMIZ1), and H19, imprinted maternally expressed transcript gene (H19) were associated with breast cancer in whites, and SNPs in the estrogen receptor 1 gene (ESR1) and H19 gene were associated with breast cancer in African Americans. We provide precise and well-informed race-stratified odds ratios for key breast cancer-related SNPs. Our results demonstrate the utility of Bayesian methods in genetic epidemiology and provide support for their application in small, etiologically driven investigations.

O'Brien KM, Cole SR, Engel LS, et al.
Breast cancer subtypes and previously established genetic risk factors: a bayesian approach.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014; 23(1):84-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gene expression analyses indicate that breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease with at least five immunohistologic subtypes. Despite growing evidence that these subtypes are etiologically and prognostically distinct, few studies have investigated whether they have divergent genetic risk factors. To help fill in this gap in our understanding, we examined associations between breast cancer subtypes and previously established susceptibility loci among white and African-American women in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study.
METHODS: We used Bayesian polytomous logistic regression to estimate ORs and 95% posterior intervals for the association between each of 78 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and five breast cancer subtypes. Subtypes were defined using five immunohistochemical markers: estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptors 1 and 2 (HER1/2), and cytokeratin (CK) 5/6.
RESULTS: Several SNPs in TNRC9/TOX3 were associated with luminal A (ER/PR+, HER2-) or basal-like breast cancer (ER-, PR-, HER2-, HER1, or CK 5/6+), and one SNP (rs3104746) was associated with both. SNPs in FGFR2 were associated with luminal A, luminal B (ER/PR+, HER2+), or HER2+/ER- disease, but none were associated with basal-like disease. We also observed subtype differences in the effects of SNPs in 2q35, 4p, TLR1, MAP3K1, ESR1, CDKN2A/B, ANKRD16, and ZM1Z1.
CONCLUSION AND IMPACT: We found evidence that genetic risk factors for breast cancer vary by subtype and further clarified the role of several key susceptibility genes. .

Pilato B, De Summa S, Danza K, et al.
Genetic risk transmission in a family affected by familial breast cancer.
J Hum Genet. 2014; 59(1):51-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast Cancer is the most common malignancy among women. Family history is the strongest single predictor of breast cancer risk, and thus great attention has been focused on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes whose mutations lead to a high risk of developing this disease. Today, only 25% of high- and moderate-risk genes are known, suggesting the importance of the discovery of new risk modifiers. Therefore, the investigation of new polygenic alterations is of great importance, especially if considered high- and moderate-risk variants. In this study, the transmission of BRCA1-2 polymorphisms in association with the transmission of polymorphisms in the genes NUMA1, CCND1, COX11, FGFR2, TNRC9 and SLC4A7 were examined in all members of a family with the BRCA2 c.6447_6448dup mutation. This is the first study about the transmission of high-risk polygenic variants in all members of a family with a strong history of breast cancer. The results about the possible polygenic variant associations that could increase and modify the risk suggested the importance to search new variants to better manage patients and their family members.

Louwers YV, Stolk L, Uitterlinden AG, Laven JS
Cross-ethnic meta-analysis of genetic variants for polycystic ovary syndrome.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 98(12):E2006-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed new susceptibility loci for Chinese patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Because ethnic background adds to phenotypic diversities in PCOS, it seems plausible that genetic variants associated with PCOS act differently in various ethnic populations.
OBJECTIVE: We studied cross-ethnic effects of Chinese PCOS loci (ie, LHCGR, THADA, DENND1A, FSHR, c9orf3, YAP1, RAB5B/SUOX, HMGA2, TOX3, INSR, SUMO1P1) in patients of Northern European descent.
DESIGN: This study was a genetic association study conducted at an University Medical Center.
PATIENTS: Association was studied in 703 Dutch PCOS patients and 2164 Dutch controls. To assess the cross-ethnic effect, we performed a meta-analysis of the Dutch data combined with results of previously published studies in PCOS patients from China (n = 2254) and the United States (n = 2618). Adjusted for multiple testing, a P value <3.1 × 10⁻³ was considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: Meta-analysis of the Chinese, US, and Dutch data resulted in 12 significant variants mapping to the YAP1 (P value = 1.0 × 10⁻⁹), RAB5B/SUOX (P value = 3.8 × 10⁻¹¹), LHCGR (P value = 4.1 × 10⁻⁴), THADA (P value = 2.2 × 10⁻⁴ and P value = 1.3 × 10⁻³), DENND1A (P value = 2.3 × 10⁻³ and P value = 2.5 × 10⁻³), FSHR (P value = 3.8 × 10⁻⁵ and P value = 3.6 × 10⁻⁴), c9orf3 (P value = 2.0 × 10⁻⁶ and P value = 9.2 × 10⁻⁶), SUMO1P1 (P value = 2.3 × 10⁻³) loci with odds ratios ranging from 1.19 to 1.45 and 0.79 to 0.87.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, we observed for 12 of 17 genetic variants mapping to the Chinese PCOS loci similar effect size and identical direction in PCOS patients from Northern European ancestry, indicating a common genetic risk profile for PCOS across populations. Therefore, it is expected that large GWAS in PCOS patients from Northern European ancestry will partly identify similar loci as the GWAS in Chinese PCOS patients.

Warren Andersen S, Trentham-Dietz A, Gangnon RE, et al.
The associations between a polygenic score, reproductive and menstrual risk factors and breast cancer risk.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013; 140(2):427-34 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
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.

Stevens KN, Vachon CM, Couch FJ
Genetic susceptibility to triple-negative breast cancer.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(7):2025-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC), defined by the absence of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER-2 expression, account for 12% to 24% of all breast cancers. TNBC is associated with early recurrence of disease and poor outcome. Germline mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer susceptibility genes have been associated with up to 15% of TNBC, and TNBC accounts for 70% of breast tumors arising in BRCA1 mutation carriers and 16% to 23% of breast tumors in BRCA2 carriers. Whether germline mutations in other breast cancer susceptibility genes also predispose to TNBC remains to be determined. Common variation in a subset of the 72 known breast cancer susceptibility loci identified through genome-wide association studies and other large-scale genotyping efforts have also been associated with risk of TNBC (TOX3, ESR1, RAD51L1, TERT, 19p13.1, 20q11, MDM4, 2p24.1, and FTO). Furthermore, variation in the 19p13.1 locus and the MDM4 locus has been associated with TNBC, but not other forms of breast cancer, suggesting that these are TNBC-specific loci. Thus, TNBC can be distinguished from other breast cancer subtypes by a unique pattern of common and rare germline predisposition alleles. Additional efforts to combine genetic and epidemiologic data are needed to better understand the etiology of this aggressive form of breast cancer, to identify prevention and therapeutic targets, and to impact clinical practice through the development of risk prediction models.

Barzan D, Veldwijk MR, Herskind C, et al.
Comparison of genetic variation of breast cancer susceptibility genes in Chinese and German populations.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2013; 21(11):1286-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified several genetic risk factors for breast cancer, however, most of them were validated among women of European ancestry. This study examined single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contributing to breast cancer in Chinese (984 cases and 2206 controls) and German (311 cases and 960 controls) populations. Eighteen SNPs significantly associated with breast cancer, previously identified in GWAS were genotyped. Twelve SNPs passed quality control and were subjected to statistical analysis. Seven SNPs were confirmed to be significantly associated with breast cancer in the Chinese population, reflecting three independent loci (ESR1, FGFR2, TOX3) and five of these were also confirmed in the German population. The strongest association was identified for rs2046210 in the Chinese (odds ratio (OR)=1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.28-1.59, P=1.9 × 10(-10)) and rs3803662 in the German population (OR=1.43, 95% CI=1.17-1.74, P=4.01 × 10(-4)), located upstream of the ESR1 and TOX3 gene, respectively. For the first time, rs3757318 at 6q25.1, located next to the gene encoding estrogen receptor α (ESR1) was found to be strongly associated with breast cancer (OR=1.33, 95% CI=1.18-1.49, P=1.94 × 10(-6)) in the Chinese population. The frequency of this variant was markedly lower in the German population and the association was not significant. Despite the genetic differences, essentially the same risk loci were identified in the Chinese and the German populations. Our study suggested the existence of common genetic factors as well as disease susceptibility differences for breast cancer in both populations and highlighted the importance of performing comparison analyses for disease susceptibility within ethnic populations.

Ottini L, Silvestri V, Saieva C, et al.
Association of low-penetrance alleles with male breast cancer risk and clinicopathological characteristics: results from a multicenter study in Italy.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013; 138(3):861-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
It is well-known that male breast cancer (MBC) susceptibility is mainly due to high-penetrance BRCA1/2 mutations. Here, we investigated whether common low-penetrance breast cancer (BC) susceptibility alleles may influence MBC risk in Italian population and whether variant alleles may be associated with specific clinicopathological features of MBCs. In the frame of the Italian Multicenter Study on MBC, we genotyped 413 MBCs and 745 age-matched male controls at 9 SNPs annotating known BC susceptibility loci. By multivariate logistic regression models, we found a significant increased MBC risk for 3 SNPs, in particular, with codominant models, for rs2046210/ESR1 (OR = 1.71; 95 % CI: 1.43-2.05; p = 0.0001), rs3803662/TOX3 (OR = 1.59; 95 % CI: 1.32-1.92; p = 0.0001), and rs2981582/FGFR2 (OR = 1.26; 95 % CI: 1.05-1.50; p = 0.013). Furthermore, we showed that the prevalence of the risk genotypes of ESR1 tended to be higher in ER- tumors (p = 0.062). In a case-case multivariate analysis, a statistically significant association between ESR1 and ER- tumors was found (OR = 1.88; 95 % CI: 1.03-3.49; p = 0.039). Overall, our data, based on a large and well-characterized MBC series, support the hypothesis that common low-penetrance BC susceptibility alleles play a role in MBC susceptibility and, interestingly, indicate that ESR1 is associated with a distinct tumor subtype defined by ER-negative status.

Shan J, Dsouza SP, Bakhru S, et al.
TNRC9 downregulates BRCA1 expression and promotes breast cancer aggressiveness.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(9):2840-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although the linkage between germline mutations of BRCA1 and hereditary breast/ovarian cancers is well established, recent evidence suggests that altered expression of wild-type BRCA1 might contribute to the sporadic forms of breast cancer. The breast cancer gene trinucleotide-repeat-containing 9 (TNRC9; TOX3) has been associated with disease susceptibility but its function is undetermined. Here, we report that TNRC9 is often amplified and overexpressed in breast cancer, particularly in advanced breast cancer. Gene amplification was associated with reduced disease-free and metastasis-free survival rates. Ectopic expression of TNRC9 increased breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, and survival after exposure to apoptotic stimuli. These phenotypes were associated with tumor progression in a mouse model of breast cancer. Gene expression profiling, protein analysis, and in silico assays of large datasets of breast and ovarian cancer samples suggested that TNRC9 and BRCA1 expression were inversely correlated. Notably, we found that TNRC9 bound to both the BRCA1 promoter and the cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) complex, a regulator of BRCA1 transcription. In support of this connection, expression of TNRC9 downregulated expression of BRCA1 by altering the methylation status of its promoter. Our studies unveil a function for TNRC9 in breast cancer that highlights a new paradigm in BRCA1 regulation.

Gudmundsdottir ET, Barkardottir RB, Arason A, et al.
The risk allele of SNP rs3803662 and the mRNA level of its closest genes TOX3 and LOC643714 predict adverse outcome for breast cancer patients.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:621 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The minor allele of SNP rs3803662 has been shown to correlate with increased breast cancer risk and with lower expression of TOX3. The SNP is closely located to TOX3 residing within an uncharacterised gene LOC643714. The aim of the study was to examine the association of the risk allele with expression of TOX3 and LOC643714, and of mRNA levels and genotype with clinical and pathological characteristics.
METHODS: The SNP was genotyped in DNA isolated from blood and normal tissue from 160 breast cancer patients and mRNA levels were measured by microarrays and quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR in breast tumours. Association with clinical and pathological characteristics was analysed by parametric tests.
RESULTS: An association of the risk allele of rs3803662 with lower TOX3 expression was confirmed in oestrogen receptor (ER) positive tumours. It was more often observed in lobular tumours (p = 0.04), and carriers of the risk allele who had been diagnosed with luminal A tumours had shorter overall survival (OS) than carriers of the non-risk allele (p = 0.01). Positive correlation between the mRNA levels of TOX3 and LOC643714 was observed (r = 0.44 and p < 0.001). Association analysis with tumour pathology showed that low TOX3 and LOC643714 expression correlated with high Ki67 levels (p = 0.026 and p = 0.002) and the basal subtype (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001), whereas high expression correlated with ER (p = 0.004 and p < 0.001) and progesterone receptor (PgR) (p = 0.005 and p < 0.001) expression. Furthermore, high TOX3 and LOC643714 correlated with positive lymph nodes (p < 0.001 and p = 0.01). Patients with ER positive tumours and high levels of TOX3 mRNA had shorter overall- and distant metastasis free-survival (p = 0.017 and p = 0.021), an effect mostly attributable to patients with luminal B tumours.
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the effect of the risk allele of rs3803662 is strongest in luminal A tumours and that the expression levels of TOX3 and/or LOC643714 affect the progression of breast cancer. The effect may vary depending on the subtype and developmental stage of the tumour.

Fernandez-Navarro P, Pita G, Santamariña C, et al.
Association analysis between breast cancer genetic variants and mammographic density in a large population-based study (Determinants of Density in Mammographies in Spain) identifies susceptibility loci in TOX3 gene.
Eur J Cancer. 2013; 49(2):474-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mammographic density (MD) is regarded as an intermediate phenotype in breast cancer development. This association study investigated the influence of 14 breast cancer susceptibility loci identified through previous genome-wide association studies on MD among the participants in the "Determinants of Density in Mammographies in Spain" (DDM-Spain) study.
METHODS: Our study covered a total of 3348 Caucasian women aged 45-68years, recruited from seven Spanish breast cancer screening centres having DNA available. Mammographic density was blindly assessed by a single reader using a semiquantitative scale. Ordinal logistic models, adjusted for age, body mass index and menopausal status, were used to estimate the association between each genotype and MD.
RESULTS: Evidence of association with MD was found for variant rs3803662 (TOX3) (Odds Ratio (OR)=1.13, 95% Confidence Interval (CI)=1.03-1.25), and marginal evidence of association for susceptibility loci rs3817198 (LSP1) (OR=1.09, 95% CI=1.00-1.20) and rs2981582 (FGFR2) (OR=0.92, 95% CI=0.84-1.01). Two other loci were associated with MD solely among pre-menopausal women, namely, rs4973768 (SLC4A7) (OR=0.83, 95% CI=0.70-1.00) and rs4415084 (MEPS30) (OR=1.22, 95% CI=1.00-1.49).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings lend some support to the hypothesis which links these susceptibility loci to MD.

Cowper-Sal lari R, Zhang X, Wright JB, et al.
Breast cancer risk-associated SNPs modulate the affinity of chromatin for FOXA1 and alter gene expression.
Nat Genet. 2012; 44(11):1191-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of SNPs that are associated with human traits and diseases. But, because the vast majority of these SNPs are located in non-coding regions of the genome, the mechanisms by which they promote disease risk have remained elusive. Employing a new methodology that combines cistromics, epigenomics and genotype imputation, we annotate the non-coding regions of the genome in breast cancer cells and systematically identify the functional nature of SNPs associated with breast cancer risk. Our results show that breast cancer risk-associated SNPs are enriched in the cistromes of FOXA1 and ESR1 and the epigenome of histone H3 lysine 4 monomethylation (H3K4me1) in a cancer- and cell type-specific manner. Furthermore, the majority of the risk-associated SNPs modulate the affinity of chromatin for FOXA1 at distal regulatory elements, thereby resulting in allele-specific gene expression, which is exemplified by the effect of the rs4784227 SNP on the TOX3 gene within the 16q12.1 risk locus.

Shan J, Mahfoudh W, Dsouza SP, et al.
Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) breast cancer susceptibility loci in Arabs: susceptibility and prognostic implications in Tunisians.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012; 135(3):715-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS) revealed novel genetic markers for breast cancer susceptibility. But little is known about the risk factors and molecular events associated with breast cancer in Arab Population. Therefore, we designed a broad study to investigate the susceptibility and prognostic implications of the GWAS breast cancer loci in the Tunisian population. In a cohort of 640 unrelated patients with breast cancer and 371 healthy control subjects, we characterized the variation of 9 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), namely rs1219648, rs2981582; rs8051542, rs12443621, and rs3803662; rs889312; rs3817198; rs13387042 and rs13281615. Only 5 out of 9 GWAS breast cancer loci were found to be significantly associated with breast cancer in Tunisians: The rs1219648 (G vs. A allele: OR = 1.36, P = 1 × 10(-3)) and rs2981582 (A vs. G allele: OR = 1.55, P = 3 × 10(-6)) of FGFR2 gene; the rs8051542 of the TNRC9 gene (T vs. C allele: OR = 1.40, P = 4 × 10(-4)); the rs889312 of the MAP3K1 gene (C vs. A allele: OR = 1.33, P = 3 × 10(-3)) and the rs13281615 located on 8q24 (G vs. A allele: OR = 1.21, P = 0.03). Homozygous variant genotypes of rs2981582 were strongly related to lymph node negative breast cancer (OR = 3.33, P = 6 × 10(-7)) and the minor allele of rs2981582 was associated with increased risk of ER+ tumors (OR = 1.57, P = 0.02; OR = 2.15, P = 0.001, for heterozygous and homozygous variant genotypes, respectively) and increased risk of distant metastasis development (OR = 2.30, P = 4 × 10(-3); OR = 3.57, P = 6 × 10(-5), for heterozygous and homozygous variant genotypes, respectively) in a dose dependent manner. The association for rs8051542 was stronger for high-grade SBR tumors (OR = 2.54, P = 2 × 10(-4)). GG genotype of rs13387042 on 2q35 showed a significant association with the risk of developing distant metastasis (OR = 1.94, P = 0.02). The G allele of rs1219648 in FGFR2 and the A allele of rs13387042 on 2q35 indicated a better prognosis by showing a significantly higher overall survival rates (P = 0.013 and P = 0.005, respectively). In conclusion, GWAS breast cancer FGFR2, TNRC9, MAP3K1, and 8q24 loci are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and genetic variation in FGFR2 gene may predict the aggressiveness of breast cancer in Tunisians.

Butt S, Harlid S, Borgquist S, et al.
Genetic predisposition, parity, age at first childbirth and risk for breast cancer.
BMC Res Notes. 2012; 5:414 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have identified several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the risk of breast cancer and parity and age at first childbirth are well established and important risk factors for breast cancer. The aim of the present study was to examine the interaction between these environmental factors and genetic variants on breast cancer risk.
METHODS: The Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS) included 17 035 female participants, from which 728 incident breast cancer cases were matched to 1448 controls. The associations between 14 SNPs and breast cancer risk were investigated in different strata of parity and age at first childbirth. A logistic regression analysis for the per allele risk, adjusted for potential confounders yielded odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
RESULTS: Six of the previously identified SNPs showed a statistically significant association with breast cancer risk: rs2981582 (FGFR2), rs3803662 (TNRC9), rs12443621 (TNRC9), rs889312 (MAP3K1), rs3817198 (LSP1) and rs2107425 (H19). We could not find any statistically significant interaction between the effects of tested SNPs and parity/age at first childbirth on breast cancer risk after adjusting for multiple comparisons.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study are in agreement with previous studies of null interactions between tested SNPs and parity/age at first childbirth with regard to breast cancer risk.

Fasching PA, Pharoah PD, Cox A, et al.
The role of genetic breast cancer susceptibility variants as prognostic factors.
Hum Mol Genet. 2012; 21(17):3926-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent genome-wide association studies identified 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with breast cancer (BC) risk. We investigated these and 62 other SNPs for their prognostic relevance. Confirmed BC risk SNPs rs17468277 (CASP8), rs1982073 (TGFB1), rs2981582 (FGFR2), rs13281615 (8q24), rs3817198 (LSP1), rs889312 (MAP3K1), rs3803662 (TOX3), rs13387042 (2q35), rs4973768 (SLC4A7), rs6504950 (COX11) and rs10941679 (5p12) were genotyped for 25 853 BC patients with the available follow-up; 62 other SNPs, which have been suggested as BC risk SNPs by a GWAS or as candidate SNPs from individual studies, were genotyped for replication purposes in subsets of these patients. Cox proportional hazard models were used to test the association of these SNPs with overall survival (OS) and BC-specific survival (BCS). For the confirmed loci, we performed an accessory analysis of publicly available gene expression data and the prognosis in a different patient group. One of the 11 SNPs, rs3803662 (TOX3) and none of the 62 candidate/GWAS SNPs were associated with OS and/or BCS at P<0.01. The genotypic-specific survival for rs3803662 suggested a recessive mode of action [hazard ratio (HR) of rare homozygous carriers=1.21; 95% CI: 1.09-1.35, P=0.0002 and HR=1.29; 95% CI: 1.12-1.47, P=0.0003 for OS and BCS, respectively]. This association was seen similarly in all analyzed tumor subgroups defined by nodal status, tumor size, grade and estrogen receptor. Breast tumor expression of these genes was not associated with prognosis. With the exception of rs3803662 (TOX3), there was no evidence that any of the SNPs associated with BC susceptibility were associated with the BC survival. Survival may be influenced by a distinct set of germline variants from those influencing susceptibility.

Tessema M, Yingling CM, Grimes MJ, et al.
Differential epigenetic regulation of TOX subfamily high mobility group box genes in lung and breast cancers.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(4):e34850 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant cytosine methylation affects regulation of hundreds of genes during cancer development. In this study, a novel aberrantly hypermethylated CpG island in cancer was discovered within the TOX2 promoter. TOX2 was unmethylated in normal cells but 28% lung (n = 190) and 23% breast (n = 80) tumors were methylated. Expression of two novel TOX2 transcripts identified was significantly reduced in primary lung tumors than distant normal lung (p<0.05). These transcripts were silenced in methylated lung and breast cancer cells and 5-Aza-2-deoxycytidine treatment re-expressed both. Extension of these assays to TOX, TOX3, and TOX4 genes that share similar genomic structure and protein homology with TOX2 revealed distinct methylation profiles by smoking status, histology, and cancer type. TOX was almost exclusively methylated in breast (43%) than lung (5%) cancer, whereas TOX3 was frequently methylated in lung (58%) than breast (30%) tumors. TOX4 was unmethylated in all samples and showed the highest expression in normal lung. Compared to TOX4, expression of TOX, TOX2 and TOX3 in normal lung was 25, 44, and 88% lower, respectively, supporting the premise that reduced promoter activity confers increased susceptibility to methylation during lung carcinogenesis. Genome-wide assays revealed that siRNA-mediated TOX2 knockdown modulated multiple pathways while TOX3 inactivation targeted neuronal development and function. Although these knockdowns did not result in further phenotypic changes of lung cancer cells in vitro, the impact on tissue remodeling, inflammatory response, and cell differentiation pathways suggest a potential role for TOX2 in modulating tumor microenvironment.

Kim HC, Lee JY, Sung H, et al.
A genome-wide association study identifies a breast cancer risk variant in ERBB4 at 2q34: results from the Seoul Breast Cancer Study.
Breast Cancer Res. 2012; 14(2):R56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Although approximately 25 common genetic susceptibility loci have been identified to be independently associated with breast cancer risk through genome-wide association studies (GWAS), the genetic risk variants reported to date only explain a small fraction of the heritability of breast cancer. Furthermore, GWAS-identified loci were primarily identified in women of European descent.
METHODS: To evaluate previously identified loci in Korean women and to identify additional novel breast cancer susceptibility variants, we conducted a three-stage GWAS that included 6,322 cases and 5,897 controls.
RESULTS: In the validation study using Stage I of the 2,273 cases and 2,052 controls, seven GWAS-identified loci [5q11.2/MAP3K1 (rs889312 and rs16886165), 5p15.2/ROPN1L (rs1092913), 5q12/MRPS30 (rs7716600), 6q25.1/ESR1 (rs2046210 and rs3734802), 8q24.21 (rs1562430), 10q26.13/FGFR2 (rs10736303), and 16q12.1/TOX3 (rs4784227 and rs3803662)] were significantly associated with breast cancer risk in Korean women (Ptrend < 0.05). To identify additional genetic risk variants, we selected the most promising 17 SNPs in Stage I and replicated these SNPs in 2,052 cases and 2,169 controls (Stage II). Four SNPs were further evaluated in 1,997 cases and 1,676 controls (Stage III). SNP rs13393577 at chromosome 2q34, located in the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 4 (ERBB4) gene, showed a consistent association with breast cancer risk with combined odds ratios (95% CI) of 1.53 (1.37-1.70) (combined P for trend = 8.8 × 10-14).
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that seven breast cancer susceptibility loci, which were previously identified in European and/or Chinese populations, could be directly replicated in Korean women. Furthermore, this study provides strong evidence implicating rs13393577 at 2q34 as a new risk variant for breast cancer.

Sueta A, Ito H, Kawase T, et al.
A genetic risk predictor for breast cancer using a combination of low-penetrance polymorphisms in a Japanese population.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012; 132(2):711-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified genetic variants associated with breast cancer. Most GWASs to date have been conducted in women of European descent, however, and the contribution of these variants as predictors in Japanese women is unknown. Here, we analyzed 23 genetic variants identified in previous GWASs and conducted a case-control study with 697 case subjects and 1,394 age- and menopausal status-matched controls. We fit conditional regression models with genetic variants and conventional risk factors. In addition, we created a polygenetic risk score, using those variants with a statistically significant association with breast cancer risk, and also evaluated the contribution of these genetic predictors using the c statistic. Eleven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) revealed significant associations with breast cancer risk. A dose-dependent association was observed between the risk of breast cancer and the genetic risk score, which was an aggregate measure of alleles in seven selected variants, namely FGFR2-rs2981579, TOX3/TNRC9-rs3803662, C6orf97-rs2046210, 8q24-rs13281615, SLC4A7-rs4973768, LSP1-rs38137198, and CASP8-rs10931936. Compared to women with scores of 3 or less, odds ratios (ORs) for women with scores of 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10 or more were 1.33 (95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.80), 1.71 (1.26-2.30), 3.01 (1.97-4.58), and 8.69 (2.75-27.5), respectively (P (trend) = 1.9 × 10(-9)). The c statistic for a model including the genetic risk score in addition to the conventional risk factors was 0.6933, versus 0.6652 with the conventional risk factors only (P = 1.3 × 10(-4)). Population-attributable fraction of the risk score was 33.0%. In conclusion, we identified a genetic risk predictor of breast cancer in a Japanese population. Risk models which include a genetic risk score are possibly useful in distinguishing women at high risk of breast cancer from those at low risk, particularly in the context of targeted prevention.

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