, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 689-696
Date: 07 Jan 2010

Birth weight, breast cancer susceptibility loci, and breast cancer risk

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There is considerable evidence that birth weight is positively associated with breast cancer risk, and seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been conclusively associated with this risk. We have hypothesized that breast cancer susceptibility loci may have a greater influence on breast cancer risk among women with higher birth weight, who are expected to have a larger pool of mammary stem cells that are susceptible to malignant transformation.

Patients and methods

In the context of a nationwide, population-based case–control study in Sweden, we retrieved recorded birth weight for 693 breast cancer cases and 747 control women who were also genotyped for most or all of the seven recently documented breast cancer susceptibility SNPs: rs2981582, rs12443621, rs8051542, rs3803662, rs889312, rs13281615, and rs3817198.


We grouped heterozygotes with homozygotes for the wild-type allele, and we found a marginally significant interaction (p~0.07) between birth weight and rs2981582 (FGFR2), the genotype repeatedly identified as the top hit in genome-wide association studies. There were similar, though not significant, patterns for the other six SNPs.


Although our findings require confirmation, we found suggestive evidence that genetic susceptibility modifies the positive association of birth weight with breast cancer.