Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #270347


Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Single nucleotide polymorphisms in uracil-processing genes, intake of one-carbon nutrients and breast cancer risk

item Marian, C.
item Tao, M.
item Mason, J.b.
item Goerlitz, D. S.
item Nie, J.
item Chanson, A.
item Freudenheim, J. L.
item Shields, P.g.

Submitted to: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2011
Publication Date: 6/15/2011
Citation: Marian, C., Tao, M., Mason, J., Goerlitz, D., Nie, J., Chanson, A., Freudenheim, J., Shields, P. 2011. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in uracil-processing genes, intake of one-carbon nutrients and breast cancer risk. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 65(6):638-639.

Interpretive Summary: Inherited variations in genes that repair DNA are known, in some instances, to alter the risk of cancer. A group of DNA repair enzymes that prevent uracil, an inappropriate building block of DNA, from being incorporated into DNA are linked to folate nutrition since a depletion of the vitamin increases uracil incorporation into DNA. We have previously identified 4 inherited variants of these enzymes that are related to altered uracil levels in DNA. Using a case-control design from an epidemiologic study of women with breast cancer, we examined whether the 4 gene variants predict breast cancer risk, and whether that predictive power is enhanced by incorporating dietary folate intake. In this particular cohort of a few thousand women, we found no robust relationship between these 4 variants and breast cancer risk; nor did folate intake improve the relationship.

Technical Abstract: Background/Objectives: The misincorporation of uracil into DNA leads to genomic instability. In a previous study, some of us identified four common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in uracil-processing genes (rs2029166 and rs7296239 in SMUG1, rs34259 in UNG and rs4775748 in DUT) that were associated with significantly altered levels of uracil in human DNA. We investigated whether any of these SNPs are associated with an altered risk of developing breast cancer and if one-carbon nutrients intake can modify their effects. Subjects/Methods: We genotyped the four SNPs in 1077 cases of incident breast cancer and 1910 age and race-matched controls in the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer (WEB) Study and examined associations with breast cancer risk and interactions with intake of folate, vitamins B6 and B12. Results: After adjustment for known risk factors for breast cancer, there was increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who were heterozygous for either of the two SMUG1 SNPs (odds ratio (OR) 1.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07-1.56) and OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.07-1.55, respectively). Among premenopausal women, increased risk associated with the SMUG1 rs2029166 genotype was limited to those with low folate intake. There were no other interactions with vitamins B(6) or B(12) intake. Conclusions: Our study suggests that the four selected SNPs are not robust determinants of breast cancer risk, but that the two SNPs in SMUG1 might modestly alter the risk of breast cancer. However, the increase in risk among heterozygotes in the two SNPs in SMUG1, which is thought to be the most active glycosylase in vivo, raises the possibility that subtle 'heterosis' effects on cancer risk might be produced by these SNPs.