CAG and GGC repeat polymorphisms in the androgen receptor gene and breast cancer susceptibility in BRCA1/2 carriers and non-carriers

Br J Cancer. 2001 Jul 6;85(1):36-40. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2001.1777.


Variation in the penetrance estimates for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations carriers suggests that other genetic polymorphisms may modify the cancer risk in carriers. A previous study has suggested that BRCA1 carriers with longer lengths of the CAG repeat in the androgen receptor (AR) gene are at increased risk of breast cancer (BC). We genotyped 188 BRCA1/2 carriers (122 affected and 66 unaffected with breast cancer), 158 of them of Ashkenazi origin, 166 BC cases without BRCA1/2 mutations and 156 Ashkenazi control individuals aged over 56 for the AR CAG and GGC repeats. In carriers, risk analyses were conducted using a variant of the log-rank test, assuming two sets of risk estimates in carriers: penetrance estimates based on the Breast Cancer Linkage Consortium (BCLC) studies of multiple case families, and lower estimates as suggested by population-based studies. We found no association of the CAG and GGC repeats with BC risk in either BRCA1/2 carriers or in the general population. Assuming BRCA1/2 penetrance estimates appropriate to the Ashkenazi population, the estimated RR per repeat adjusted for ethnic group (Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi) was 1.05 (95%CI 0.97-1.17) for BC and 1.00 (95%CI 0.83-1.20) for ovarian cancer (OC) for CAG repeats and 0.96 (95%CI 0.80-1.15) and 0.90 (95%CI 0.60-1.22) respectively for GGC repeats. The corresponding RR estimates for the unselected case-control series were 1.00 (95%CI 0.91-1.10) for the CAG and 1.05 (95%CI 0.90-1.22) for the GGC repeats. The estimated relative risk of BC in carriers associated with > or =28 CAG repeats was 1.08 (95%CI 0.45-2.61). Furthermore, no significant association was found if attention was restricted to the Ashkenazi carriers, or only to BRCA1 or BRCA2 carriers. We conclude that, in contrast to previous observations, if there is any effect of the AR repeat length on BRCA1 penetrance, it is likely to be weak.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1 / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Jews / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Penetrance
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Transcription Factors