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DNA methylation-based biological age, genome-wide average DNA methylation, and conventional breast cancer risk factors.

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Chen, Minyuan 
Wong, Ee Ming 
Dite, Gillian S 


DNA methylation-based biological age (DNAm age), as well as genome-wide average DNA methylation, have been reported to predict breast cancer risk. We aimed to investigate the associations between these DNA methylation-based risk factors and 18 conventional breast cancer risk factors for disease-free women. A sample of 479 individuals from the Australian Mammographic Density Twins and Sisters was used for discovery, a sample of 3354 individuals from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study was used for replication, and meta-analyses pooling results from the two studies were conducted. DNAm age based on three epigenetic clocks (Hannum, Horvath and Levine) and genome-wide average DNA methylation were calculated using the HumanMethylation 450 K BeadChip assay data. The DNAm age measures were positively associated with body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol drinking and age at menarche (all nominal P < 0.05). Genome-wide average DNA methylation was negatively associated with smoking and number of live births, and positively associated with age at first live birth (all nominal P < 0.05). The association of DNAm age with BMI was also evident in within-twin-pair analyses that control for familial factors. This study suggests that some lifestyle and hormonal risk factors are associated with these DNA methylation-based breast cancer risk factors, and the observed associations are unlikely to be due to familial confounding but are likely causal. DNA methylation-based risk factors could interplay with conventional risk factors in modifying breast cancer risk.



Adult, Aged, Aging, Australia, Breast Neoplasms, DNA Methylation, Female, Genome, Human, Humans, Mammography, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Middle Aged, Risk Factors, Siblings, Twins

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC