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PLOS ONE  2011 

Transforming Growth Factor β Signaling Pathway Associated Gene Polymorphisms May Explain Lower Breast Cancer Risk in Western Indian Women

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021866

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Transforming growth factor β1 (TGFB1) T29C and TGF β receptor type 1 (TGFBR1) 6A/9A polymorphisms have been implicated in the modulation of risk for breast cancer in Caucasian women. We analyzed these polymorphisms and combinations of their genotypes, in pre menopausal breast cancer patients (N = 182) and healthy women (N = 236) from western India as well as in breast cancer patients and healthy women from the Parsi community (N = 48 & 171, respectively). Western Indian women were characterized by a higher frequency of TGFB1*C allele of the TGF β T29C polymorphism (0.48 vs 0.44) and a significantly lower frequency of TGFBR1*6A allele of the TGFBR1 6A/9A polymorphism (0.02 vs 0.068, p<0.01) as compared to healthy Parsi women. A strong protective effect of TGFB1*29C allele was seen in younger western Indian women (<40 yrs; OR = 0.45, 95% CI 0.25–0.81). Compared to healthy women, the strikingly higher frequencies of low or intermediate TGF β signalers in patients suggested a strong influence of the combination of these genotypes on the risk for breast cancer in Parsi women (for intermediate signalers, OR = 4.47 95%CI 1.01–19.69). The frequency of low signalers in Parsi healthy women, while comparable to that reported in Europeans and Americans, was three times higher than that in healthy women from western India (10.6% vs 3.3%, p<0.01). These observations, in conjunction with the low incidence rate of breast cancer in Indian women compared to White women, raise a possibility that the higher frequency of TGFB1*29C allele and lower frequency of TGFBR1*6A allele may represent important genetic determinants that together contribute to a lower risk of breast cancer in western Indian women.


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