Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is a rare familial cancer syndrome characterized by early cancer onset, diverse tumor types, and multiple primary tumors. Germ-line TP53 mutations have been identified in most LFS families. A high-frequency single-nucleotide polymorphism, SNP309 (rs2279744), in MDM2 was recently confirmed to be a modifier of cancer risk in several case-series studies: substantially earlier cancer onset was observed in SNP309 G-allele carriers than in wild-type individuals by 7-16 years. However, cancer risk analyses that jointly account for measured hereditary TP53 mutations and MDM2 SNP309 have not been systematically investigated in familial cases. Here, we determined the combined effects of measured TP53 mutations, MDM2 SNP309, and gender and their interactions simultaneously in LFS families. We used the method that is designed for extended pedigrees and structured for age-specific risk models based on Cox proportional hazards regression. We analyzed the cancer incidence in 19 extended pedigrees with germ-line TP53 mutations ascertained through the clinical LFS phenotype. The dataset consisted of 463 individuals with 129 TP53 mutation carriers. Our analyses showed that the TP53 germ-line mutation and its interaction with gender were strongly associated with familial cancer incidence and that the association between MDM2 SNP309 and increased cancer risk was modest. In contrast with several case-series studies, the interaction between MDM2 SNP309 and TP53 mutation was not statistically significant in our LFS family cohort. Our results showed that SNP309 G-alleles were associated with accelerated tumor formation in both carriers and non-carriers of germ-line TP53 mutations.
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