c-MYC is a multifaceted protein that regulates cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Its crucial role in diverse cancers has been demonstrated in several studies. Here, we analysed the influence of the rare c-MYC Asn11Ser polymorphism on familial breast cancer risk by performing a case-control study with a Polish (cases n = 349; controls n = 441) and a German (cases n = 356; controls n = 655) study population. All cases have been tested negative for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. A joint analysis of the Polish and the German study population revealed a 54% increased risk for breast cancer associated with the heterozygous Asn11Ser variant (OR = 1.54, 95% CI 1.05-2.26, p = 0.028). The breast cancer risk associated with this genotype increases above the age of 50 years (OR = 2.24, 95% CI 1.20-4.21, p = 0.012). The wild-type amino acid Asn of this polymorphism is located in the N-terminal MYC transactivation domain and is highly conserved not only among most diverse species but also in the N-MYC homologue. Due to the pivotal role of c-MYC in diverse tumours, this variant might affect the genetic susceptibility of other cancers as well.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.