Association analysis identifies 65 new breast cancer risk loci

Abstract

Breast cancer risk is influenced by rare coding variants in susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1, and many common, mostly non-coding variants. However, much of the genetic contribution to breast cancer risk remains unknown. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer in 122,977 cases and 105,974 controls of European ancestry and 14,068 cases and 13,104 controls of East Asian ancestry1. We identified 65 new loci that are associated with overall breast cancer risk at P < 5 × 10−8. The majority of credible risk single-nucleotide polymorphisms in these loci fall in distal regulatory elements, and by integrating in silico data to predict target genes in breast cells at each locus, we demonstrate a strong overlap between candidate target genes and somatic driver genes in breast tumours. We also find that heritability of breast cancer due to all single-nucleotide polymorphisms in regulatory features was 2–5-fold enriched relative to the genome-wide average, with strong enrichment for particular transcription factor binding sites. These results provide further insight into genetic susceptibility to breast cancer and will improve the use of genetic risk scores for individualized screening and prevention.

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Figure 1: SNP associations with breast cancer risk.

Change history

  • 08 March 2018

    The link to Supplementary Table 20 was corrected.

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Acknowledgements

We thank all the individuals who took part in these studies and all the researchers, clinicians, technicians and administrative staff who have enabled this work to be carried out. Genotyping of the OncoArray was principally funded from three sources: the PERSPECTIVE project, funded by the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the ‘Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation du Québec’ through Genome Québec, and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation; the NCI Genetic Associations and Mechanisms in Oncology (GAME-ON) initiative and Discovery, Biology and Risk of Inherited Variants in Breast Cancer (DRIVE) project (NIH Grants U19 CA148065 and X01HG007492); and Cancer Research UK (C1287/A10118 and C1287/A16563). BCAC is funded by Cancer Research UK (C1287/A16563), by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement 223175 (HEALTH-F2-2009-223175) (COGS) and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreements 633784 (B-CAST) and 634935 (BRIDGES). Genotyping of the iCOGS array was funded by the European Union (HEALTH-F2-2009-223175), Cancer Research UK (C1287/A10710), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for the ‘CIHR Team in Familial Risks of Breast Cancer’ program, and the Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade of Quebec, grant PSR-SIIRI-701. Combining of the GWAS data was supported in part by The National Institute of Health (NIH) Cancer Post-Cancer GWAS initiative grant U19 CA 148065 (DRIVE, part of the GAME-ON initiative). For a full description of funding and acknowledgments, see Supplementary Note.

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