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Estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors represent 20-30% of all breast cancers, with a higher proportion occurring in younger women and women of African ancestry. The etiology and clinical behavior of ER-negative tumors are different from those of tumors expressing ER (ER positive), including differences in genetic predisposition. To identify susceptibility loci specific to ER-negative disease, we combined in a meta-analysis 3 genome-wide association studies of 4,193 ER-negative breast cancer cases and 35,194 controls with a series of 40 follow-up studies (6,514 cases and 41,455 controls), genotyped using a custom Illumina array, iCOGS, developed by the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS). SNPs at four loci, 1q32.1 (MDM4, P = 2.1 × 10(-12) and LGR6, P = 1.4 × 10(-8)), 2p24.1 (P = 4.6 × 10(-8)) and 16q12.2 (FTO, P = 4.0 × 10(-8)), were associated with ER-negative but not ER-positive breast cancer (P > 0.05). These findings provide further evidence for distinct etiological pathways associated with invasive ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancers.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature genetics

Publication Date





392 - 398e2


1] Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, UK. [2] Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK. [3].


Gene ENvironmental Interaction and breast CAncer (GENICA) Network, kConFab Investigators, Familial Breast Cancer Study (FBCS), Australian Breast Cancer Tissue Bank (ABCTB) Investigators, Humans, Breast Neoplasms, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Receptors, Estrogen, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Risk Factors, Case-Control Studies, Cooperative Behavior, Genotype, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Female, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Genome-Wide Association Study, Genetic Loci