Breast cancer risk, nightwork, and circadian clock gene polymorphisms

Thérèse Truong, Benoît Liquet, Florence Menegaux, Sabine Plancoulaine, Pierre Laurent-Puig, Claire Mulot, Emilie Cordina-Duverger, Marie Sanchez, Patrick Arveux, Pierre Kerbrat, Sylvia Richardson, Pascal Guénel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Night shiftwork has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer pointing to a role of circadian disruption. We investigated the role of circadian clock gene polymorphisms and their interaction with nightwork in breast cancer risk in a population-based case - control study in France including 1126 breast cancer cases and 1174 controls. We estimated breast cancer risk associated with each of the 577 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 23 circadian clock genes. We also used a gene- and pathway-based approach to investigate the overall effect on breast cancer of circadian clock gene variants that might not be detected in analyses based on individual SNPs. Interactions with nightwork were tested at the SNP, gene, and pathway levels. We found that two SNPs in RORA (rs1482057 and rs12914272) were associated with breast cancer in the whole sample and among postmenopausal women. In this subpopulation, we also reported an association with rs11932595 in CLOCK, and with CLOCK, RORA, and NPAS2 in the analyses at thegenelevel. Breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women was also associated with overall genetic variation in the circadian gene pathway (P=0.04), but this association was not detected in premenopausal women. There was some evidence of an interaction between PER1 and nightwork in breast cancer in the whole sample (P=0.024), although the effect was not statistically significant after correcting for multiple testing (P=0.452). Our results support the hypothesis that circadian clock gene variants modulate breast cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-638
Number of pages10
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer
  • case–control study
  • circadian rhythm
  • nightwork


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