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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
16-Apr-2008

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Contact: Charlotte Webber
charlotte.webber@biomedcentral.com
44-020-763-19980
BioMed Central
@biomedcentral

Variants of vitamin D receptor linked to increased risk of breast cancer

Genetic variations in the body's receptor for vitamin D could increase the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to a study published today in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research.

Jenny Chang-Claude of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology, at the German Cancer Research Center, in Heidelberg, and colleagues there and at the Institute for Medical Biometrics and Epidemiology, University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, undertook a population-based case-control study involving 1,408 patients and 2,612 control individuals.

The researchers explain that vitamin D intake and serum concentrations of its metabolites have been associated with a decreased risk of developing breast cancer. The vitamin plays a known role in controlling calcium levels and influences the differentiation of cells and so could play a part in preventing the runaway proliferation of cells characteristic with cancer.

Previous studies regarding the association between vitamin D and breast cancer have been inconsistent in their conclusions.

Chang-Claude and her colleagues have investigated variations in the gene encoding the vitamin D receptor protein. They found that there were no differences in the biomarker for vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, between women with two well-known genetic variations, the polymorphisms FokI and TaqI, and two functional putative variants, VDR-5132 and Cdx2, in the gene for the receptor. Moreover, they found no relationship between the presence of these polymorphisms and overall risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

However, they found a significant increase in the risk of estrogen receptor (ER) positive tumours among women with the TaqI genetic variant. This suggests the involvement of estrogen metabolism in the anticancer activity of vitamin D.

"Further studies focusing on the influence of genetic variations on vitamin D receptor functionality, activity and concentration are now needed" says Chang-Claude.

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Notes to Editors:

1. Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms and haplotypes and postmenopausal breast cancer risk
Sascha Abbas, Alexandra Nieters, Jakob Linseisen, Tracy Slanger, Silke Kropp, Elke J Mutschelknauss, Dieter Flesch-Janys and Jenny Chang-Claude
Breast Cancer Research (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://breast-cancer-research.com/imedia/2972331961749885_article.pdf?random=157534

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://breast-cancer-research.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. Breast Cancer Research is a high quality international, peer-reviewed journal. Breast Cancer Research publishes original research, reviews and commentaries in all areas of biology and medicine relevant to breast cancer, including normal mammary gland biology, with special emphasis on the genetic, biochemical, and cellular basis of breast cancer. All research articles published in the journal are open access; commentaries, reviews and reports over two years old are free to access, prior to this they require a subscription. The journal is edited by Dr Louis Choodosh and has an Impact Factor of 4.16.

3. BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.



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