Ph.D. Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Most genome‐wide association studies (GWASs) identify genetic variants for breast cancer occurrence. In contrast, few are for recurrence and mortality. We conducted a GWAS on breast cancer survival after diagnosis in estrogen receptor‐positive patients, including 953 Taiwanese patients with 159 events. Through Cox proportional hazard models estimation, we identified 24 risk SNPs with P < 1 x 10‐5. Based on imputation and integrated analysis, one SNP, rs1024176 (located in 1q24.2, P = 2.43 × 10‐5) was found to be a functional variant associated with breast cancer survival and XCL1 gene expression. A series of experimental approaches, including cell‐based analyses and CRISPR/Cas9 genome‐editing system were then used and identified the transcription factor MYBL2 was able to discriminately bind to the A allele of rs1024176, the protective variant for breast cancer survival, which promoted XCL1 expression, but not to the G allele of rs1024176. The chemokine XCL1 attracts type 1 dendritic cells (DC1s) to the tumor microenvironment. In breast cancer tissues, we applied a two‐step Mendelian randomization analysis, using expression quantitative trait loci as instrument variables, to confirm higher XCL1 expression was correlated with higher DC1 signatures and favorable disease progression, through the causal effect of rs1024176‐A allele. Our study supports the genetic effect on preventing breast cancer survival through XCL1‐induced DC1 recruitment in tumor microenvironment.