Bone fractures are a major consequence of osteoporosis. There is a direct relationship between serum estrogen concentrations and osteoporosis risk. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) greatly decrease serum estrogen levels in postmenopausal women, and increased incidence of fractures is a side effect of AI therapy. We performed a discovery case-cohort genome-wide association study (GWAS) using samples from 1071 patients, 231 cases and 840 controls, enrolled in the MA.27 breast cancer AI trial to identify genetic factors involved in AI-related fractures, followed by functional genomic validation. Association analyses identified 20 GWAS single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) signals with P < 5E-06. After removal of signals in gene deserts and those composed entirely of imputed SNPs, we applied a functional validation “decision cascade” that resulted in validation of the CTSZ-SLMO2-ATP5E, TRAM2-TMEM14A, and MAP4K4 genes. These genes all displayed estradiol (E2)-dependent induction in human fetal osteoblasts transfected with estrogen receptor-α, and their knockdown altered the expression of known osteoporosisrelated genes. These same genes also displayed SNP-dependent variation in E2 induction that paralleled the SNP-dependent induction of known osteoporosis genes, such as osteoprotegerin. In summary, our case-cohort GWAS identified SNPs in or near CTSZ-SLMO2-ATP5E, TRAM2- TMEM14A, and MAP4K4 that were associated with risk for bone fracture in estrogen receptorpositive breast cancer patients treated with AIs. These genes displayed E2-dependent induction, their knockdown altered the expression of genes related to osteoporosis, and they displayed SNP genotype-dependent variation in E2 induction. These observations may lead to the identification of novel mechanisms associated with fracture risk in postmenopausal women treated with AIs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology