Background Breast cancer is a polygenetic disorder with a complex inheritance pattern. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the most common genetic variations, influence not only phenotypic traits, but also interindividual predisposition to disease, treatment outcomes with drugs and disease prognosis. The co-stimulatory molecule CD40 plays a prominent role in immune regulation and homeostasis. Accumulating evidence suggests that CD40 contributes to the pathogenesis of cancer. Here, we set out to test the association between polymorphisms in the CD40 gene and breast carcinogenesis and tumor pathology. Methodology and Principal Findings Four SNPs (rs1800686, rs1883832, rs4810485 and rs3765459) were genotyped by the polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method in a case-control study including 591 breast cancer patients and 600 age-matched healthy controls. Differences in the genotypic distribution between breast cancer patients and healthy controls were analyzed by the Chi-square test for trends. Our preliminary data showed a statistically significant association between the four CD40 gene SNPs and sporadic breast cancer risk (additive P = 0.0223, 0.0012, 0.0013 and 0.0279, respectively). A strong association was also found using the dominant, recessive and homozygote comparison genetic models. In the clinical features analysis, significant associations were observed between CD40 SNPs and lymph node metastasis, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (C-erbB2), estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and tumor protein 53 (P53) statuses. In addition, our haplotype analysis indicated that the haplotype Crs1883832Grs4810485, which was located within the only linkage disequilibrium (LD) block identified, was a protective haplotype for breast cancer, whereas Trs1883832Trs4810485 increased the risk in the studied population, even after correcting the P value for multiple testing (P = 0.0337 and 0.0430, respectively). Conclusions and Significance Our findings primarily show that CD40 gene polymorphisms contribute to sporadic breast cancer risk and have a significant association with clinicopathological features among Chinese Han women from the Heilongjiang Province.
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