Current evidence on the relationship between polymorphisms in the COX-2 gene and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis

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The association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the COX-2 gene and breast cancer risk is still ambiguous. We here try to derive a more precise estimation of the relationship by performing a meta-analysis based on currently available evidence from literature. More than 15 SNPs have been studied, and the most studied genetic variants were rs5275, rs5277, and rs20417. Crude odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to assess the strength of association between each polymorphism and breast cancer risk under the codominant model, dominant model, and recessive model, respectively (nine studies with 6,968 cases and 9,126 controls for rs5275; three studies with 2,901 cases and 3,463 controls for rs20417; two studies with 5,551 cases and 6,208 controls for rs5277). No overall significant associations were observed in single-locus analysis between the three polymorphisms of COX-2 and breast cancer risk, though a borderline significant increased risk of breast cancer was detected with rs5277 in a recessive model (OR: 1.217, 95% CI: 0.958-1.547, P = 0.107). The results were not changed when studies were stratified by ethnicity. In conclusion, the present meta-analysis suggests that none of the most studied three SNPs (rs5275, rs20417, and rs5277) in the COX-2 gene is a conspicuous low-penetrant risk factor for developing breast cancer. There is a need for further large studies into the role of these polymorphisms (especially rs5277) and other potentially functional polymorphisms/haplotypes in the COX-2 gene as breast cancer risk modifiers.

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