Breast cancer is a major cause of cancer mortality worldwide. High-mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB1) is a ubiquitous nuclear protein found in all mammal eukaryotic cells that participates in tumor progression, migration and metastasis. HMGB1 overexpression has been indicated in breast cancer patients. However, scant information is available regarding the association between HMGB1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the risk or prognosis of breast cancer. We report on the association between 4 SNPs of the HMGB1 gene (rs1360485, rs1045411, rs2249825 and rs1412125) and breast cancer susceptibility as well as clinical outcomes in 313 patients with breast cancer and in 217 healthy controls. Patients with one G allele in the rs1360485 or rs2249825 domains are likely to progress to T2 tumor and lymph node metastasis. In addition, the presence of one G allele in SNPs rs1360485 or rs2249825 was associated with a higher risk of progressing to T2 tumor and distant metastasis amongst HER2-enriched and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) tumors compared with luminal A and luminal B tumors. Furthermore, having one C allele in the rs1412125 domain increased the risk of pathologic grade 3 disease in HER2-enriched and TNBC tumors. Our results indicate that genetic variations in the HMGB1 gene may serve as an important predictor of breast cancer progression and metastasis.
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