The androgen receptor gene GGN microsatellite and prostate cancer risk

Elizabeth A. Platz, Edward Giovannucci, Douglas M. Dahl, Krishna Krithivas, Charles H. Hennekens, Myles Brown, Meir J. Stampfer, Philip W. Kantoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The androgen receptor (AR) gene contains a polymorphic GGN microsatellite in exon 1, which encodes polyglycine in the amino terminus of the AR. Previous work has shown that a polymorphic region of CAG repeats also in exon 1 is inversely related to the ability of the AR to transactivate other genes and to prostate cancer risk. We investigated whether AR gene GGN repeat length is related to prostate cancer in a nested study of 582 cases and 794 controls matched on age and smoking status in the Physicians' Health Study. DNA was prepared from archived blood. Using PCR, the region surrounding the GGN repeat was amplified. Fluorescence-labeled primers were used such that the fragment produced could be sized using polyacrylamide gels and Genescan software. We estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals from logistic models controlling for the matching variables for the relation between GGN repeat length and total prostate cancer and by stage/grade and by age at diagnosis. Among controls, the most frequent GGN repeat lengths were 23 (53.5%) and 24 (34.0%), with a range of 10-29. There was no statistically significant difference in the mean GGN repeat length between cases (23.13) and controls (23.05). However, cases had a narrower spread of repeats lengths (parametric test, P = 0.03; nonparametric test, P = 0.07) than controls, with fewer extreme lengths in either direction. The risk of total prostate cancer was slightly increased for a GGN repeat length of 23 compared to all others (odds ratio, 1.20; 95 % confidence interval 0.97-1.49); risk did not vary by tumor stage/grade. For every one repeat deviation in either direction from 23, the risk of prostate cancer decreased by 8% (P = 0.04). Although the AR gene GGN repeat probably plays only a modest role in prostate cancer, the observed relation of this repeat with prostate cancer risk supports the evaluation of the effect of GGN repeat length on AR transactivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-384
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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