Biliary tract cancer encompasses tumors of the gallbladder, bile duct and ampulla of Vater. Gallbladder cancer is more common in women, whereas bile duct cancer is more common in men, suggesting that sex hormones may play a role in the etiology of these cancers. The intracellular action of estrogens is regulated by the estrogen receptor (ESR); thus, we examined the role of common genetic variants in ESR genes on the risk of biliary tract cancers and stones in a population-based case-control study in Shanghai, China (411 cancer cases, 895 stone cases and 786 controls). We genotyped six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), four in ESR1 (rs2234693, rs3841686, rs2228480 and rs1801132) and two in ESR2 (rs1256049 and rs4986938). In all participants, the ESR1 rs1801132 (P325P) G allele was associated with excess risks of bile duct [odds ratio (OR) = 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-2.8] and ampulla of Vater cancers (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 0.9-4.9) compared with the CC genotype. The association with bile duct cancer was apparent among men (OR = 2.8, 95% CI 1.4-5.7) but not among women (P-heterogeneity = 0.01). Also, the ESR2 rs4986938 (38 bp 3' of STP) GG genotype was associated with a higher risk of bile duct cancer (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 1.3-8.7) compared with the AA genotype, although this estimate was based on a small number of subjects. None of the other SNPs examined was associated with biliary tract cancers or stones. False discovery rate-adjusted P-values were not significant (P > 0.1). No association was found for ESR1 haplotype based on four SNPs. These preliminary results suggest that variants in ESR genes could play a role in the etiology of biliary tract cancers, especially bile duct cancer in men.
Park, S. K., Andreotti, G., Rashid, A., Chen, J., Rosenberg, P. S., Yu, K., … Hsing, A. W. (2010). Polymorphisms of estrogen receptors and risk of biliary tract cancers and gallstones: A population-based study in Shanghai, China. Carcinogenesis, 31(5), 842–846. https://doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgq038