Catechol-O-methyltransferase and breast cancer risk

Robert C. Millikan, Gary S. Pittman, Chiu Kit J. Tse, Eric Duell, Beth Newman, David Savitz, Patricia G. Moorman, Robert J. Boissy, Douglas A. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Recent studies suggest that a polymorphism in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Methylation by COMT is the principal pathway for inactivation of catechol estrogens, which are hypothesized to participate in estrogen-induced carcinogenesis. We examined the association of COMT genotype and breast cancer risk in a population-based, case-control study of invasive breast cancer in North Carolina. The study population consisted of 654 cases and 642 controls, with approximately equal numbers of African-American and white women and women under the age of 50 and aged 50 or over. Contrary to previous reports, we did not observe an association between one or more copies of the low activity COMT allele (COMT-L) and breast cancer risk. Multivariate relative risks (RRs) were 0.8 (95% confidence interval: 0.6-1.1) for COMT-HL and 0.8 (0.6-1.1) for COMT-LL, compared with the COMT-HH genotype. RRs for COMT did not differ among African-American and white women and we did not observe strong modification of RR estimates by menopausal status, body mass index, physical activity or other covariates. Our results suggest that COMT genotype is not related to breast cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1943-1947
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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