CHRNA9 polymorphisms and smoking exposure synergize to increase the risk of breast cancer in Taiwan.

PMID 25142973


Previous studies indicated that smoking exposure is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and α9-nicotine acetylcholine receptors (α9-nAChRs) are involved in breast tumorigenesis. However, no studies have explored the joint effect of α9-nAChRs (CHRNA9) genes and cigarette smoking exposure on breast cancer risk. A case-control study was conducted on 737 breast cancer patients and 719 age-matched healthy controls. Three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of CHRNA9 located in the promoter region were genotyped and compared between cases and controls to identify those SNPs associated with breast cancer susceptibility. A dual-luciferase reporter assay was used to analyze the promoter activities of these SNPs of the CHRNA9 gene. After a Bonferroni correction, the G allele of the CHRNA9 rs7329797 SNP was significantly associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with A/A genotype carriers (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.6). A multiplicative interaction between passive smoking exposure and the CHRNA9 rs73229797 SNP on the risk of breast malignancy was observed. A functional assay further showed that rs73229797 was associated with increased promoter activity of the CHRNA9 gene. Our findings support a significant interaction effect existing between the CHRNA9 gene and smoking exposure on the risk of breast cancer development.