Identification of novel common breast cancer risk variants at the 6q25 locus among Latinas

Breast Cancer Res. 2019 Jan 14;21(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s13058-018-1085-9.


Background: Breast cancer is a partially heritable trait and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 180 common genetic variants associated with breast cancer. We have previously performed breast cancer GWAS in Latinas and identified a strongly protective single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at 6q25, with the protective minor allele originating from indigenous American ancestry. Here we report on fine mapping of the 6q25 locus in an expanded sample of Latinas.

Methods: We performed GWAS in 2385 cases and 6416 controls who were either US Latinas or Mexican women. We replicated the top SNPs in 2412 cases and 1620 controls of US Latina, Mexican, and Colombian women. In addition, we validated the top novel variants in studies of African, Asian and European ancestry. In each dataset we used logistic regression models to test the association between SNPs and breast cancer risk and corrected for genetic ancestry using either principal components or genetic ancestry inferred from ancestry informative markers using a model-based approach.

Results: We identified a novel set of SNPs at the 6q25 locus associated with genome-wide levels of significance (p = 3.3 × 10- 8 - 6.0 × 10- 9) not in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with variants previously reported at this locus. These SNPs were in high LD (r2 > 0.9) with each other, with the top SNP, rs3778609, associated with breast cancer with an odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of 0.76 (0.70-0.84). In a replication in women of Latin American origin, we also observed a consistent effect (OR 0.88; 95% CI 0.78-0.99; p = 0.037). We also performed a meta-analysis of these SNPs in East Asians, African ancestry and European ancestry populations and also observed a consistent effect (rs3778609, OR 0.95; 95% CI 0.91-0.97; p = 0.0017).

Conclusion: Our study adds to evidence about the importance of the 6q25 locus for breast cancer susceptibility. Our finding also highlights the utility of performing additional searches for genetic variants for breast cancer in non-European populations.

Keywords: Fine mapping; Genome wide association study; Hispanic/Latino populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 6 / genetics*
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Female
  • Genetic Loci / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Hispanic or Latino / genetics
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide