Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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An association between the allele coding for a low activity variant of catechol-O-methyltransferase and the risk for breast cancer
Lavigne, J. A., Helzlsouer, K. J., Huang, H. Y., Strickland, P. T., Bell, D. A., Selmin, O., Watson, M. A., Hoffman, S., Comstock, G. W., Yager, J. D. Cancer Research. 1997. 57:24, 5493-7.
Topic area
Body size - Genetic variability
Study design
Population based case-control study
Funding agency
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post meopausal
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Incident cases of the Washington County Maryland Research Specimen Bank identified via linkage through Washington County Cancer Registry. Disease-free specimen bank members matched 1:1 with controls based on age, race, time of blood donation, and menopausal status.
Exposures investigated
BMI, COMT allele frequencies, used PCR-RFLP
How exposure was measured
Biological Questionnaire, self-administered
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Adequately controlled
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Logistic regression analysis of COMT genotype and breast cancer, including effect modification by BMI
Strength of associations reported
Low activity COMT allele in postmenopausal women associated with increased risk in heterozygotes (OR=1.7, CI: 0.77-3.75) and homozygotes (OR=2.18, CI: 0.93-5.11)
Postmenopausal women with BMI >24.47 showed significant increased risk for homozygotes (OR=3.58, CI:1.07-11.98)
There was a statistically significant trend for increased risk with allele dose