A gene-environment interaction between occupation and BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in male breast cancer?

Domenico Palli, Giovanna Masala, Renato Mariani-Costantini, Ines Zanna, Calogero Saieva, Francesco Sera, Adriano Decarli, Laura Ottini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The association of male breast cancer (MBC) with a positive breast cancer (BC) family history and with BRCA1/2 germ-line mutations points to a genetic component; a relationship with occupation has also been reported. Recently, we identified pathogenetic BRCA1/2 mutations in a population-based series of Italian MBC patients: here in, we investigated interactions between a carrier status for BRCA1/2 mutations and occupation using a case-case design and estimating case-only odds ratios (CORs). Truck-driving was the most frequent occupation (3/4 BRCA-related cases and 2/19 unrelated cases). An interaction between carrier status and working as a truck-driver emerged, when we classified MBC cases as "ever/never-held" this job title (COR 25.5; 95% Confidence Limits (CL): 1.1-1,412.5) or according to truck-driving as the "longest-held" work (COR 54.0; 95% CL: 1.6-2,997.5). The possible modifying effect on MBC risk in subjects carrying BRCA1/2 germ-line mutations of an occupation characterised by exposure to chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that are capable of inducing DNA damage, may provide clues to the role of environmental exposures in modifying BC risk in mutation carriers in both genders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2474-2479
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Male breast cancer
  • Occupation
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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