Open Access Research

A BCL2 promoter polymorphism rs2279115 is not associated with BCL2 protein expression or patient survival in breast cancer patients

Claire J Searle12, Ian W Brock1, Simon S Cross3, Sabapathy P Balasubramanian4, Malcolm WR Reed4 and Angela Cox1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oncology, CR-UK/YCR Sheffield Cancer Research Centre, University of Sheffield Medical School, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield, UK

2 Department of Clinical Genetics, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Chapeltown Road, Leeds, UK

3 Academic Unit of Pathology, Department of Neuroscience, University of Sheffield Medical School, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield, UK

4 Academic Unit of Surgical Oncology, CR-UK/YCR Sheffield Cancer Research Centre, University of Sheffield Medical School, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield, UK

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SpringerPlus 2012, 1:38  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-1-38

Published: 23 October 2012

Abstract

The B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL2) gene family encodes pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins that are critical regulators of programmed cell death. Higher levels of BCL2 expression in breast tumours have been shown to be an independent prognostic factor for improved survival from breast cancer. The promoter single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2279115 has been associated with both BCL2 expression and patient survival. The aim of this study was to attempt to replicate these observations in a cohort of 1015 UK women with breast cancer, and to compare genotype frequencies in cases and controls. In this study, 1015 breast cancer cases and 1034 control subjects were genotyped for the rs2279115 SNP by 5’ nuclease PCR. Paraffin embedded tumour tissue for 342 case subjects was assembled into tissue microarrays, and the level of expression of BCL2 was established by immunohistochemistry. Kaplan Meier survival curves and Cox Proportional Hazards models were used to examine the effect of genotype on patient survival. The effect of SNP genotype on tumour BCL2 protein levels and breast cancer susceptibility was assessed by logistic regression. In this study higher BCL2 expression was significantly associated with improved survival from breast cancer (p = 0.015), in keeping with previous reports. The SNP rs2279115 was not found to be associated with tumour expression of BCL2, (p = 0.77), and neither was it associated with case/control status (p = 0.25). There was no significant association between the SNP and overall survival (p = 0.75). In conclusion, we found that higher tumour BCL2 expression is associated with improved survival from breast cancer, in keeping with previous studies. However, in contrast to a previous report, the promoter SNP rs2279115 was not associated with BCL2 expression or overall survival from breast cancer.

Keywords:
Breast cancer; BCL2; rs2279115; Survival; SNP