Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups and Breast Cancer Risk Factors in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)

The relationship between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and breast cancer has been frequently examined, particularly in European populations. However, studies reporting associations between mtDNA haplogroups and breast cancer risk have had a few shortcomings including small sample sizes, failure to account for population stratification and performing inadequate statistical tests. In this study we investigated the association of mtDNA haplogroups of European origin with several breast cancer risk factors in mothers and children of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a birth cohort that enrolled over 14,000 pregnant women in the Southwest region of the UK. Risk factor data were obtained from questionnaires, clinic visits and blood measurements. Information on over 40 independent breast cancer risk factor-related variables was available for up to 7781 mothers and children with mtDNA haplogroup data in ALSPAC. Linear and logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex and population stratification principal components were evaluated. After correction for multiple testing we found no evidence of association of European mtDNA haplogroups with any of the breast cancer risk factors analysed. Mitochondrial DNA haplogroups are unlikely to underlie susceptibility to breast cancer that occurs via the risk factors examined in this study of a population of European ancestry.

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