Relationships among folate, alcohol consumption, gene variants in one-carbon metabolism and p16INK4a methylation and expression in healthy breast tissues.

Llanos AA, Dumitrescu RG, Brasky TM, Liu Z, Mason JB, Marian C, Makambi KH, Spear SL, Kallakury BV, Freudenheim JL, Shields PG
Carcinogenesis 36 60-7 01/01/2015


p16(INK4a) is a tumor suppressor gene, frequently hypermethylated in breast cancer; this epigenetic silencing of p16(INK4a) occurs early in carcinogenesis. The risk factors and functional consequences of p16(INK4a) methylation are unknown. Alcohol consumption, a breast cancer risk factor, impedes folate metabolism and may thereby alter gene methylation since folate plays a pivotal role in DNA methylation. In a cross-sectional study of 138 women with no history of breast cancer who underwent reduction mammoplasty, we studied breast cancer risk factors, plasma and breast folate concentrations, variation in one-carbon metabolism genes, p16(INK4a) promoter methylation and P16 protein expression. Logistic regression was used to estimate multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). p16(INK4a) methylation was negatively correlated with P16 expression (r = -0.28; P = 0.002). Alcohol consumption was associated with lower breast folate (P = 0.03), higher p16(INK4a) promoter methylation (P = 0.007) and less P16 expression (P = 0.002). Higher breast folate concentrations were associated with lower p16(INK4a) promoter methylation (P = 0.06). Genetic variation in MTRR (rs1801394) and MTHFD1 (rs1950902) was associated with higher p16 (INK4a) promoter methylation (OR = 2.66, 95% CI: 1.11-6.42 and OR = 2.72, 95% CI: 1.12-6.66, respectively), whereas variation in TYMS (rs502396) was associated with less P16 protein expression (OR = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.05-0.99). Given that this is the first study to indicate that alcohol consumption, breast folate and variation in one-carbon metabolism genes are associated with p16(INK4a) promoter methylation and P16 protein expression in healthy tissues; these findings require replication.

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