Association of common variants in mismatch repair genes and breast cancer susceptibility: a multigene study

BMC Cancer. 2009 Sep 25:9:344. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-9-344.


Background: MMR is responsible for the repair of base-base mismatches and insertion/deletion loops. Besides this, MMR is also associated with an anti-recombination function, suppressing homologous recombination. Losses of heterozygosity and/or microsatellite instability have been detected in a large number of skin samples from breast cancer patients, suggesting a potential role of MMR in breast cancer susceptibility.

Methods: We carried out a hospital-based case-control study in a Caucasian Portuguese population (287 cases and 547 controls) to estimate the susceptibility to non-familial breast cancer associated with some polymorphisms in mismatch repair genes (MSH3, MSH4, MSH6, MLH1, MLH3, PMS1 and MUTYH).

Results: Using unconditional logistic regression we found that MLH3 (L844P, G>A) polymorphism GA (Leu/Pro) and AA (Pro/Pro) genotypes were associated with a decreased risk: OR = 0.65 (0.45-0.95) (p = 0.03) and OR = 0.62 (0.41-0.94) (p = 0.03), respectively.Analysis of two-way SNP interaction effects on breast cancer revealed two potential associations to breast cancer susceptibility: MSH3 Ala1045Thr/MSH6 Gly39Glu - AA/TC [OR = 0.43 (0.21-0.83), p = 0.01] associated with a decreased risk; and MSH4 Ala97Thr/MLH3 Leu844Pro - AG/AA [OR = 2.35 (1.23-4.49), p = 0.01], GG/AA [OR = 2.11 (1.12-3,98), p = 0.02], and GG/AG [adjusted OR = 1.88 (1.12-3.15), p = 0.02] all associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.

Conclusion: It is possible that some of these common variants in MMR genes contribute significantly to breast cancer susceptibility. However, further studies with a large sample size will be needed to support our results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Mismatch Repair*
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / genetics*
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multigene Family*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Portugal


  • DNA Repair Enzymes