Association of rs1801157 single nucleotide polymorphism of CXCL12 gene in breast cancer in Pakistan and in-silico expression analysis of CXCL12-CXCR4 associated biological regulatory network

PeerJ. 2017 Sep 15:5:e3822. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3822. eCollection 2017.


Background: C-X-C chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12) has important implications in breast cancer (BC) pathogenesis. It is selectively expressed on B and T lymphocytes and is involved in hematopoiesis, thymocyte trafficking, stem cell motility, neovascularization, and tumorigenesis. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1801157 of CXCL12 gene has been found to be associated with higher risk of BC.

Methods: Our study focuses on the genotypic and allelic distribution of SNP (rs1801157; G/A) in Pakistani population as well as its association with the clinico-pathological features. The association between rs1801157 genotypes (G/A) and BC risks was assessed by a multivariate logistic regression (MLR) analysis. Genotyping was performed in both healthy individuals and patients of BC using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method. Furthermore, in-silico approaches were adapted to investigate the association of CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 with genes/proteins involved in BC signalling.

Results: Significant differences in allelic and genotypic distribution between BC patients and healthy individuals of genotype (G/G) and (A/G) (p < 0.05) were observed. The frequency of the allele G in the BC group (77%) was significantly higher as compared to control group (61%) (p = 0.01). The association of genotype GG with clinico-pathological features including age, stages of cancer and organ (lung, liver, bones and brain) metastasis (p > 0.05) was assessed. In a MLR analysis, a number of variables including age, weight of an individual, affected lymph nodes, hormonal status (estrogen and progesterone receptor), alcohol consumption and family history associated with the GG genotype (GG:AA, odds ratio (OR) = 1.30, 95% CI [1.06-1.60]) were found to be independent risk factors for BC. Our in-vitro results suggest that genotype GG is possibly increasing the risk of BC in Pakistani cohorts. in-silico analysis finds that CXCL12-CXCR4 is associated with an increased expression of PDZK1, PI3k and Akt which lead the breast tumor towards metastasis.

Conclusion: Multiple targets such as CXCL12, CXCR4, PDZK1, PI3k and Akt can be inhibited in combined strategies to treat BC metastasis.

Keywords: Breast cancer; CXCL12; PDZK1; PI3k/Akt; SNP rs1801157.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.