Mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene and accumulation of its protein in breast tissue are thought to play a role in breast carcinogenesis. However, few studies have prospectively investigated the association of p53 immunopositivity and/or p53 alterations in women with benign breast disease in relation to the subsequent risk of invasive breast cancer. We carried out a case-control study nested within a large cohort of women biopsied for benign breast disease in order to address this question. After exclusions, 491 breast cancer cases and 471 controls were available for analysis. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95 confidence intervals (95 CI). Neither p53 immunopositivity nor genetic alterations in p53 (either missense mutations or polymorphisms) was associated with altered risk of subsequent breast cancer. However, the combination of both p53 immunopositivity and any p53 nucleotide change was associated with an approximate 5-fold nonsignificant increase in risk (adjusted OR 4.79, 95 CI 0.28-82.31) but the confidence intervals were extremely wide. Our findings raise the possibility that the combination of p53 protein accumulation and the presence of genetic alterations may identify a group at increased risk of breast cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas