Opposing effects of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine gene polymorphisms on the risk for breast cancer in western Indian women: a pilot study

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Abstract

In an earlier study, the genotypes associated with higher level of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) were found to reduce the risk for breast cancer in western Indian women. This observation implied that gene polymorphisms affecting the levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines may influence the risk for breast cancer in this population. Hence, we performed genotyping for three more functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) responsible for variations in the levels of cytokines associated with inflammation. To that effect, polymorphisms in genes coding for IL-4 (IL-4 C-590T; rs2243250), IFN-γ (IFN-G A + 874T; rs2430561) and MCP-1 (MCP-1 A-2578G; rs1024611) were examined in premenopausal, healthy women (N = 239) and patients with breast cancer (N = 182) from western India. In carriers of the IL-4*590T allele, a reduced risk for the disease (dominant model; OR = 0.61, 95% CI 0.37–0.98) was seen similar to that seen in TGF-B1*10C carriers. An opposite trend was observed with respect to the alleles associated with higher expression of MCP-1 or IFN-γ. In individuals positive for three or more alleles associated with higher levels of either pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokines, an additive effect on the modulation of risk for the disease was evident (for TGF-B1 & IL-4, OR = 0.33, 95% CI 0.12–0.87; for IFN-G & MCP-1, OR = 2.29, 95% CI 0.95–5.51). In the context of contrasting observations in other populations, these results indicate a significant contribution of anti-inflammatory genotypes in the modulation of risk for breast cancer in western Indian women.

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