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Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α expression and breast cancer recurrence in a Danish population-based case control study

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Background: Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is a transcription factor that facilitates the adaptation of cancer cells to hypoxic conditions and may be prognostic of breast cancer recurrence. We evaluated the association of HIF-1α expression with breast cancer recurrence, and its association with timing of breast cancer recurrence. Methods: In this population-based case-control study, we included women diagnosed with stage I–III breast cancer between 1985 and 2001, aged 35–69 years, registered in the Danish Breast Cancer Group. We identified 541 cases of breast cancer recurrence among women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease who were treated with tamoxifen for at least 1 year (ER+ TAM+). We also enrolled 300 breast cancer recurrence cases among women with ER-negative disease, not treated with tamoxifen, who survived at least 1 year (ER−/TAM−). Controls were recurrence-free breast cancer patients at the time of case diagnosis, matched to recurrence cases on ER/TAM status, date of surgery, menopausal status, cancer stage, and county of residence. Expression of HIF-1α was measured by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays. We fitted logistic regression models to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) associating HIF-1α expression with recurrence, and with timing of recurrence. Results: HIF-1α expression was observed in 23% of cases and 20% of controls in the ER+/TAM+ stratum, and in 47% of cases and 48% of controls in the ER−/TAM− stratum. We observed a near-null association between HIF-1α expression in both ER/TAM groups (ER+/TAM+ OR = 1.21, 95%CI 0.88, 1.67 and ER−/TAM− OR = 0.97, 95%CI 0.68, 1.39). HIF-1α expression was not associated with time to recurrence among women in the ER+/TAM+ stratum, but was associated with early recurrence among women in the ER−/TAM− stratum. Conclusion: In this study, HIF-1α expression was not associated with breast cancer recurrence overall but may be associated with early recurrence among women diagnosed with ER− breast cancer.

TidsskriftBreast Cancer Research
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2021

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