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1.  Variants in inflammation genes are implicated in risk of lung cancer in never smokers exposed to second-hand smoke 
Cancer discovery  2011;1(5):420-429.
Lung cancer in lifetime never smokers is distinct from that in smokers, but the role of separate or overlapping carcinogenic pathways has not been explored. We therefore evaluated a comprehensive panel of 11,737 SNPs in inflammatory-pathway genes in a discovery phase (451 lung cancer cases, 508 controls from Texas). SNPs that were significant were evaluated in a second external population (303 cases, 311 controls from the Mayo Clinic). An intronic SNP in the ACVR1B gene, rs12809597, was replicated with significance and restricted to those reporting adult exposure to environmental tobacco smoke Another promising candidate was a SNP in NR4A1, although the replication OR did not achieve statistical significance. ACVR1B belongs to the TGFR-β superfamily, contributing to resolution of inflammation and initiation of airway remodeling. An inflammatory microenvironment, (second hand smoking, asthma, or hay fever) is necessary for risk from these gene variants to be expressed. These findings require further replication, followed by targeted resequencing, and functional validation.
PMCID: PMC3919666  PMID: 22586632
lung cancer; never smokers; inflammation genes; sidestream exposure
2.  Genetic Association Analysis of Complex Diseases Incorporating Intermediate Phenotype Information 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46612.
Genetic researchers often collect disease related quantitative traits in addition to disease status because they are interested in understanding the pathophysiology of disease processes. In genome-wide association (GWA) studies, these quantitative phenotypes may be relevant to disease development and serve as intermediate phenotypes or they could be behavioral or other risk factors that predict disease risk. Statistical tests combining both disease status and quantitative risk factors should be more powerful than case-control studies, as the former incorporates more information about the disease. In this paper, we proposed a modified inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis method to combine disease status and quantitative intermediate phenotype information. The simulation results showed that when an intermediate phenotype was available, the inverse-variance weighted method had more power than did a case-control study of complex diseases, especially in identifying susceptibility loci having minor effects. We further applied this modified meta-analysis to a study of imputed lung cancer genotypes with smoking data in 1154 cases and 1137 matched controls. The most significant SNPs came from the CHRNA3-CHRNA5-CHRNB4 region on chromosome 15q24–25.1, which has been replicated in many other studies. Our results confirm that this CHRNA region is associated with both lung cancer development and smoking behavior. We also detected three significant SNPs—rs1800469, rs1982072, and rs2241714—in the promoter region of the TGFB1 gene on chromosome 19 (p = 1.46×10−5, 1.18×10−5, and 6.57×10−6, respectively). The SNP rs1800469 is reported to be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer in cigarette smokers. The present study is the first GWA study to replicate this result. Signals in the 3q26 region were also identified in the meta-analysis. We demonstrate the intermediate phenotype can potentially enhance the power of complex disease association analysis and the modified meta-analysis method is robust to incorporate intermediate phenotype or other quantitative risk factor in the analysis.
PMCID: PMC3477105  PMID: 23094028
3.  An analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms of 125 DNA repair genes in the Texas genome-wide association study of lung cancer with a replication for the XRCC4 SNPs 
DNA repair  2011;10(4):398-407.
DNA repair genes are important for maintaining genomic stability and limiting carcinogenesis. We analyzed all single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of 125 DNA repair genes covered by the Illumina HumanHap300 (v1.1) BeadChips in a previously conducted genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1,154 lung cancer cases and 1,137 controls and replicated the top-hits of XRCC4 SNPs in an independent set of 597 cases and 611 controls in Texas populations. We found that six of 20 XRCC4 SNPs were associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer with a P value of 0.01 or lower in the discovery dataset, of which the most significant SNP was rs10040363 (P for allelic test = 4.89 ×10−4). Moreover, the data in this region allowed us to impute a potentially functional SNP rs2075685 (imputed P for allelic test = 1.3 ×10−3). A luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that the rs2075685G>T change in the XRCC4 promoter increased expression of the gene. In the replication study of rs10040363, rs1478486, rs9293329, and rs2075685, however, only rs10040363 achieved a borderline association with a decreased risk of lung cancer in a dominant model (adjusted OR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.62–1.03, P = 0.079). In the final combined analysis of both the Texas GWAS discovery and replication datasets, the strength of the association was increased for rs10040363 (adjusted OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.66–0.89, Pdominant = 5×10−4 and P for trend = 5×10−4) and rs1478486 (adjusted OR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.71 −0.94, Pdominant = 6×10−3 and P for trend = 3.5×10−3). Finally, we conducted a meta-analysis of these XRCC4 SNPs with available data from published GWA studies of lung cancer with a total of 12,312 cases and 47,921 controls, in which none of these XRCC4 SNPs was associated with lung cancer risk. It appeared that rs2075685, although associated with increased expression of a reporter gene and lung cancer risk in the Texas populations, did not have an effect on lung cancer risk in other populations. This study underscores the importance of replication using published data in larger populations.
PMCID: PMC3062723  PMID: 21296624
XRCC4; variant; Genetic susceptibility; genome-wide association study; replication study
4.  Role of Select Genetic Variants in Lung Cancer Risk in African Americans 
Black/white disparities in lung cancer incidence and mortality mandate an evaluation of underlying biological differences. We have previously shown higher risks of lung cancer associated with prior emphysema in African American compared with white lung cancer patients.
We therefore evaluated a panel of 1440 inflammatory gene variants in a two phase analysis (discovery and replication), added top GWAS lung cancer hits from Caucasian populations, and 28 SNPs from a published gene panel. The discovery set (477 self-designated African Americans cases, 366 controls matched on age, ethnicity, and gender) were from Houston, Texas. The external replication set (330 cases, 342 controls) was from the EXHALE study at Wayne State University.
In discovery, 154 inflammation SNPs were significant (P<0.05) on univariate analysis, as was one of the gene panel SNPs (rs308738 in REV1, P=0.0013), and three GWAS hits, rs16969968 P=0.0014 and rs10519203 P=0.0003 in the 15q locus and rs2736100, the HTERT locus, P=0.0002. One inflammation SNP, rs950286, was successfully replicated with a concordant odds ratio of 1.46(1.14-1.87) in discovery, 1.37(1.05-1.77) in replication, and a combined OR of 1.40 (1.17-1.68). This SNP is intergenic between IRF4 and EXOC2 genes. We also constructed and validated epidemiologic and extended risk prediction models. The AUC for the epidemiologic discovery model was 0.77 and 0.80 for the extended model. For the combined datasets, the AUC values were 0.75 and 0.76, respectively.
As has been reported for other cancer sites and populations, incorporating top genetic hits into risk prediction models, provides little improvement in model performance and no clinical relevance.
PMCID: PMC3623962  PMID: 23454887
5.  Genetic variation in innate immunity and inflammation pathways associated with lung cancer risk 
Cancer  2012;118(22):5630-5636.
Pulmonary inflammation may contribute to lung cancer etiology. We conducted a broad evaluation of the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in innate immunity and inflammation pathways with lung cancer risk, and conducted comparisons with a lung cancer genome wide association study (GWAS).
We included 378 lung cancer cases and 450 controls from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. An Illumina GoldenGate oligonucleotide pool assay was used to genotype 1,429 SNPs. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for each SNP, and p-values for trend were calculated. For statistically significant SNPs (p-trend<0.05), we replicated our results with genotyped or imputed SNPs in the GWAS, and adjusted p-values for multiple testing.
In our PLCO analysis, we observed a significant association between 81 SNPs located in 44 genes and lung cancer (p-trend<0.05). Of these 81 SNPS, there was evidence for confirmation in the GWAS for 10 SNPs. However, after adjusting for multiple comparisons, the only SNP that remained significantly associated with lung cancer in the replication phase was rs4648127 (NFKB1; multiple testing adjusted p-trend=0.02). The CT/TT genotype of NFKB1 was associated with reduced odds of lung cancer in the PLCO study (OR=0.56; 95% CI 0.37–0.86) and the GWAS (OR=0.79; 95% CI 0.69–0.90).
We found a significant association between a variant in the NFKB1 gene and lung cancer risk. Our findings add to evidence implicating inflammation and immunity in lung cancer etiology.
PMCID: PMC3485420  PMID: 23044494
lung cancer; genetics; inflammation; immunity; epidemiology
6.  Association of a novel functional promoter variant (rs2075533 C>T) in the apoptosis gene TNFSF8 with risk of lung cancer—a finding from Texas lung cancer genome-wide association study 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(4):507-515.
Published genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified few variants in the known biological pathways involved in lung cancer etiology. To mine the possibly hidden causal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we explored all SNPs in the extrinsic apoptosis pathway from our published GWAS dataset for 1154 lung cancer cases and 1137 cancer-free controls. In an initial association analysis of 611 tagSNPs in 41 apoptosis-related genes, we identified only 10 tagSNPs associated with lung cancer risk with a P value <10−2, including four tagSNPs in DAPK1 and three tagSNPs in TNFSF8. Unlike DAPK1 SNPs, TNFSF8 rs2181033 tagged other four predicted functional but untyped SNPs (rs776576, rs776577, rs31813148 and rs2075533) in the promoter region. Therefore, we further tested binding affinity of these four SNPs by performing the electrophoretic mobility shift assay. We found that only rs2075533T allele modified levels of nuclear proteins bound to DNA, leading to significantly decreased expression of luciferase reporter constructs by 5- to –10-fold in H1299, HeLa and HCT116 cell lines compared with the C allele. We also performed a replication study of the untyped rs2075533 in an independent Texas population but did not confirm the protective effect. We further performed a mini meta-analysis for SNPs of TNFSF8 obtained from other four published lung cancer GWASs with 12  214 cases and 47  721 controls, and we found that only rs3181366 (r2 = 0.69 with the untyped rs2075533) was associated to lung cancer risk (P = 0.008). Our findings suggest a possible role of novel TNFSF8 variants in susceptibility to lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3066422  PMID: 21292647
7.  Genetic variants and risk of lung cancer in never smokers: a genome-wide association study 
The lancet oncology  2010;11(4):321-330.
Lung cancer in individuals who have never smoked tobacco products is an increasing medical and public-health issue. We aimed to unravel the genetic basis of lung cancer in never smokers.
We did a four-stage investigation. First, a genome-wide association study of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was done with 754 never smokers (377 matched case-control pairs at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA). Second, the top candidate SNPs from the first study were validated in two independent studies among 735 (MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA) and 253 (Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA) never smokers. Third, further replication of the top SNP was done in 530 never smokers (UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA). Fourth, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and gene-expression differences were analysed to further elucidate the causal relation between the validated SNPs and the risk of lung cancer in never smokers.
44 top candidate SNPs were identified that might alter the risk of lung cancer in never smokers. rs2352028 at chromosome 13q31.3 was subsequently replicated with an additive genetic model in the four independent studies, with a combined odds ratio of 1·46 (95% CI 1·26–1·70, p=5·94×10−6). A cis eQTL analysis showed there was a strong correlation between genotypes of the replicated SNPs and the transcription level of the gene GPC5 in normal lung tissues (p=1·96×10−4), with the high-risk allele linked with lower expression. Additionally, the transcription level of GPC5 in normal lung tissue was twice that detected in matched lung adenocarcinoma tissue (p=6·75×10−11).
Genetic variants at 13q31.3 alter the expression of GPC5, and are associated with susceptibility to lung cancer in never smokers. Downregulation of GPC5 might contribute to the development of lung cancer in never smokers.
PMCID: PMC2945218  PMID: 20304703
8.  Current and Former Smoking and Risk for Venous Thromboembolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001515.
In a meta-analysis of 32 observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 events, Suhua Wu and colleagues found that current, ever, and former smoking was associated with risk of venous thromboembolism.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Smoking is a well-established risk factor for atherosclerotic disease, but its role as an independent risk factor for venous thromboembolism (VTE) remains controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize all published prospective studies and case-control studies to update the risk for VTE in smokers and determine whether a dose–response relationship exists.
Methods and Findings
We performed a literature search using MEDLINE (source PubMed, January 1, 1966 to June 15, 2013) and EMBASE (January 1, 1980 to June 15, 2013) with no restrictions. Pooled effect estimates were obtained by using random-effects meta-analysis. Thirty-two observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 VTE events were identified. Compared with never smokers, the overall combined relative risks (RRs) for developing VTE were 1.17 (95% CI 1.09–1.25) for ever smokers, 1.23 (95% CI 1.14–1.33) for current smokers, and 1.10 (95% CI 1.03–1.17) for former smokers, respectively. The risk increased by 10.2% (95% CI 8.6%–11.8%) for every additional ten cigarettes per day smoked or by 6.1% (95% CI 3.8%–8.5%) for every additional ten pack-years. Analysis of 13 studies adjusted for body mass index (BMI) yielded a relatively higher RR (1.30; 95% CI 1.24–1.37) for current smokers. The population attributable fractions of VTE were 8.7% (95% CI 4.8%–12.3%) for ever smoking, 5.8% (95% CI 3.6%–8.2%) for current smoking, and 2.7% (95% CI 0.8%–4.5%) for former smoking. Smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 (95% CI 15.4–26.7) cases per 100,000 person-years.
Cigarette smoking is associated with a slightly increased risk for VTE. BMI appears to be a confounding factor in the risk estimates. The relationship between VTE and smoking has clinical relevance with respect to individual screening, risk factor modification, and the primary and secondary prevention of VTE.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Blood normally flows throughout the human body, supplying its organs and tissues with oxygen and nutrients. But, when an injury occurs, proteins called clotting factors make the blood gel (coagulate) at the injury site. The resultant clot (thrombus) plugs the wound and prevents blood loss. Occasionally, a thrombus forms inside an uninjured blood vessel and partly or completely blocks the blood flow. Clot formation inside one of the veins deep within the body, usually in a leg, is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and can cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected limb. DVT can be treated with drugs that stop the blood clot from getting larger (anticoagulants) but, if left untreated, part of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. DVT and pulmonary embolism are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). Risk factors for VTE include having an inherited blood clotting disorder, oral contraceptive use, prolonged inactivity (for example, during a long-haul plane flight), and having surgery. VTEs are present in about a third of all people who die in hospital and, in non-bedridden populations, about 10% of people die within 28 days of a first VTE event.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some but not all studies have reported that smoking is also a risk factor for VTE. A clear demonstration of a significant association (a relationship unlikely to have occurred by chance) between smoking and VTE might help to reduce the burden of VTE because smoking can potentially be reduced by encouraging individuals to quit smoking and through taxation policies and other measures designed to reduce tobacco consumption. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers examine the link between smoking and the risk of VTE in the general population and investigate whether heavy smokers have a higher risk of VTE than light smokers. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis is a statistical method for combining the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 32 observational studies (investigations that record a population's baseline characteristics and subsequent disease development) that provided data on smoking and VTE. Together, the studies involved nearly 4 million participants and recorded 35,151 VTE events. Compared with never smokers, ever smokers (current and former smokers combined) had a relative risk (RR) of developing VTE of 1.17. That is, ever smokers were 17% more likely to develop VTE than never smokers. For current smokers and former smokers, RRs were 1.23 and 1.10, respectively. Analysis of only studies that adjusted for body mass index (a measure of body fat and a known risk factor for conditions that affect the heart and circulation) yielded a slightly higher RR (1.30) for current smokers compared with never smokers. For ever smokers, the population attributable fraction (the proportional reduction in VTE that would accrue in the population if no one smoked) was 8.7%. Notably, the risk of VTE increased by 10.2% for every additional ten cigarettes smoked per day and by 6.1% for every additional ten pack-years. Thus, an individual who smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 40 years had a 26.7% higher risk of developing VTE than someone who had never smoked. Finally, smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 cases of VTE per 100,000 person-years.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that cigarette smoking is associated with a statistically significant, slightly increased risk for VTE among the general population and reveal a dose-relationship between smoking and VTE risk. They cannot prove that smoking causes VTE—people who smoke may share other unknown characteristics (confounding factors) that are actually responsible for their increased risk of VTE. Indeed, these findings identify body mass index as a potential confounding factor that might affect the accuracy of estimates of the association between smoking and VTE risk. Although the risk of VTE associated with smoking is smaller than the risk associated with some well-established VTE risk factors, smoking is more common (globally, there are 1.1 billion smokers) and may act synergistically with some of these risk factors. Thus, smoking behavior should be considered when screening individuals for VTE and in the prevention of first and subsequent VTE events.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on deep vein thrombosis (including an animation about how DVT causes pulmonary embolism), and information on pulmonary embolism
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information on deep vein thrombosis, including personal stories, and on pulmonary embolism; SmokeFree is a website provided by the UK National Health Service that offers advice on quitting smoking
The non-profit organization US National Blood Clot Alliance provides detailed information about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism for patients and professionals and includes a selection of personal stories about these conditions
The World Health Organization provides information about the dangers of tobacco (in several languages), from the US National Cancer Institute, offers online tools and resources to help people quit smoking
MedlinePlus has links to further information about deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and the dangers of smoking (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3775725  PMID: 24068896
9.  Genome-wide association scan of tag SNPs identifies a susceptibility locus for lung cancer at 15q25.1 
Nature genetics  2008;40(5):616-622.
To identify risk variants for lung cancer, we conducted a multistage genome-wide association study. In the discovery phase, we analyzed 315,450 tagging SNPs in 1,154 current and former (ever) smoking cases of European ancestry and 1,137 frequency-matched, ever-smoking controls from Houston, Texas. For replication, we evaluated the ten SNPs most significantly associated with lung cancer in an additional 711 cases and 632 controls from Texas and 2,013 cases and 3,062 controls from the UK. Two SNPs, rs1051730 and rs8034191, mapping to a region of strong linkage disequilibrium within 15q25.1 containing PSMA4 and the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes CHRNA3 and CHRNA5, were significantly associated with risk in both replication sets. Combined analysis yielded odds ratios of 1.32 (P < 1 × 10−17) for both SNPs. Haplotype analysis was consistent with there being a single risk variant in this region. We conclude that variation in a region of 15q25.1 containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors genes contributes to lung cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2713680  PMID: 18385676
10.  The SNP rs402710 in 5p15.33 Is Associated with Lung Cancer Risk: A Replication Study in Chinese Population and a Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76252.
Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs402710, located in 5p15.33, was firstly identified to be associated with the lung cancer risk in a genome-wide association study. However, some following replication studies yielded inconsistent results.
Methodology and Findings
A case-control study of 611 cases and 1062 controls in a Chinese population was conducted, and then a meta-analysis integrating the current and previously published studies with a total 31811 cases and 36333 controls was performed to explore the real effect of rs402710 on lung cancer susceptibility. Significant associations between the SNP rs402710 and lung cancer risk were observed in both case-control study and meta-analysis, with ORs equal to 0.77 (95%CI = 0.63–0.95) and 0.83 (95%CI = 0.81–0.86) in dominant model, respectively. By stratified analysis of our case-control study, the associations were also observed in never smoker group and non-small cell lung cancer(NSCLC) group with ORs equal to 0.71 (95%CI = 0.53–0.95) and 0.69 (95%CI = 0.55–0.87), which was remarkable that larger effect of the minor allele T was seen in the two groups than that in overall lung cancer. Besides, the sensitive and cumulative analysis indicated the robust stability of the current results of meta-analysis.
The results from our replication study and the meta-analysis provided firm evidence that rs402710 T allele significantly contributed to decreased lung cancer risk, and the case-control study implied that the variant may yield stronger effect on NSCLC and never smokers. However, the mechanism underlying the polymorphism conferring susceptibility to lung cancer is warranted to clarify in the follow-up studies.
PMCID: PMC3806805  PMID: 24194831
11.  Identification of a BRCA2-Specific Modifier Locus at 6p24 Related to Breast Cancer Risk 
Gaudet, Mia M. | Kuchenbaecker, Karoline B. | Vijai, Joseph | Klein, Robert J. | Kirchhoff, Tomas | McGuffog, Lesley | Barrowdale, Daniel | Dunning, Alison M. | Lee, Andrew | Dennis, Joe | Healey, Sue | Dicks, Ed | Soucy, Penny | Sinilnikova, Olga M. | Pankratz, Vernon S. | Wang, Xianshu | Eldridge, Ronald C. | Tessier, Daniel C. | Vincent, Daniel | Bacot, Francois | Hogervorst, Frans B. L. | Peock, Susan | Stoppa-Lyonnet, Dominique | Peterlongo, Paolo | Schmutzler, Rita K. | Nathanson, Katherine L. | Piedmonte, Marion | Singer, Christian F. | Thomassen, Mads | Hansen, Thomas v. O. | Neuhausen, Susan L. | Blanco, Ignacio | Greene, Mark H. | Garber, Judith | Weitzel, Jeffrey N. | Andrulis, Irene L. | Goldgar, David E. | D'Andrea, Emma | Caldes, Trinidad | Nevanlinna, Heli | Osorio, Ana | van Rensburg, Elizabeth J. | Arason, Adalgeir | Rennert, Gad | van den Ouweland, Ans M. W. | van der Hout, Annemarie H. | Kets, Carolien M. | Aalfs, Cora M. | Wijnen, Juul T. | Ausems, Margreet G. E. M. | Frost, Debra | Ellis, Steve | Fineberg, Elena | Platte, Radka | Evans, D. Gareth | Jacobs, Chris | Adlard, Julian | Tischkowitz, Marc | Porteous, Mary E. | Damiola, Francesca | Golmard, Lisa | Barjhoux, Laure | Longy, Michel | Belotti, Muriel | Ferrer, Sandra Fert | Mazoyer, Sylvie | Spurdle, Amanda B. | Manoukian, Siranoush | Barile, Monica | Genuardi, Maurizio | Arnold, Norbert | Meindl, Alfons | Sutter, Christian | Wappenschmidt, Barbara | Domchek, Susan M. | Pfeiler, Georg | Friedman, Eitan | Jensen, Uffe Birk | Robson, Mark | Shah, Sohela | Lazaro, Conxi | Mai, Phuong L. | Benitez, Javier | Southey, Melissa C. | Schmidt, Marjanka K. | Fasching, Peter A. | Peto, Julian | Humphreys, Manjeet K. | Wang, Qin | Michailidou, Kyriaki | Sawyer, Elinor J. | Burwinkel, Barbara | Guénel, Pascal | Bojesen, Stig E. | Milne, Roger L. | Brenner, Hermann | Lochmann, Magdalena | Aittomäki, Kristiina | Dörk, Thilo | Margolin, Sara | Mannermaa, Arto | Lambrechts, Diether | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Radice, Paolo | Giles, Graham G. | Haiman, Christopher A. | Winqvist, Robert | Devillee, Peter | García-Closas, Montserrat | Schoof, Nils | Hooning, Maartje J. | Cox, Angela | Pharoah, Paul D. P. | Jakubowska, Anna | Orr, Nick | González-Neira, Anna | Pita, Guillermo | Alonso, M. Rosario | Hall, Per | Couch, Fergus J. | Simard, Jacques | Altshuler, David | Easton, Douglas F. | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Antoniou, Antonis C. | Offit, Kenneth
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003173.
Common genetic variants contribute to the observed variation in breast cancer risk for BRCA2 mutation carriers; those known to date have all been found through population-based genome-wide association studies (GWAS). To comprehensively identify breast cancer risk modifying loci for BRCA2 mutation carriers, we conducted a deep replication of an ongoing GWAS discovery study. Using the ranked P-values of the breast cancer associations with the imputed genotype of 1.4 M SNPs, 19,029 SNPs were selected and designed for inclusion on a custom Illumina array that included a total of 211,155 SNPs as part of a multi-consortial project. DNA samples from 3,881 breast cancer affected and 4,330 unaffected BRCA2 mutation carriers from 47 studies belonging to the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 were genotyped and available for analysis. We replicated previously reported breast cancer susceptibility alleles in these BRCA2 mutation carriers and for several regions (including FGFR2, MAP3K1, CDKN2A/B, and PTHLH) identified SNPs that have stronger evidence of association than those previously published. We also identified a novel susceptibility allele at 6p24 that was inversely associated with risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers (rs9348512; per allele HR = 0.85, 95% CI 0.80–0.90, P = 3.9×10−8). This SNP was not associated with breast cancer risk either in the general population or in BRCA1 mutation carriers. The locus lies within a region containing TFAP2A, which encodes a transcriptional activation protein that interacts with several tumor suppressor genes. This report identifies the first breast cancer risk locus specific to a BRCA2 mutation background. This comprehensive update of novel and previously reported breast cancer susceptibility loci contributes to the establishment of a panel of SNPs that modify breast cancer risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers. This panel may have clinical utility for women with BRCA2 mutations weighing options for medical prevention of breast cancer.
Author Summary
Women who carry BRCA2 mutations have an increased risk of breast cancer that varies widely. To identify common genetic variants that modify the breast cancer risk associated with BRCA2 mutations, we have built upon our previous work in which we examined genetic variants across the genome in relation to breast cancer risk among BRCA2 mutation carriers. Using a custom genotyping platform with 211,155 genetic variants known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we genotyped 3,881 women who had breast cancer and 4,330 women without breast cancer, which represents the largest possible, international collection of BRCA2 mutation carriers. We identified that a SNP located at 6p24 in the genome was associated with lower risk of breast cancer. Importantly, this SNP was not associated with breast cancer in BRCA1 mutation carriers or in a general population of women, indicating that the breast cancer association with this SNP might be specific to BRCA2 mutation carriers. Combining this BRCA2-specific SNP with 13 other breast cancer risk SNPs also known to modify risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers, we were able to derive a risk prediction model that could be useful in helping women with BRCA2 mutations weigh their risk-reduction strategy options.
PMCID: PMC3609647  PMID: 23544012
12.  TP53 genetic polymorphisms, interactions with lifestyle factors and lung cancer risk: a case control study in a Chinese population 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:607.
A pathway-based genotyping analysis suggested rs2078486 was a novel TP53 SNP, but very few studies replicate this association. TP53 rs1042522 is the most commonly studied SNP, but very few studies examined its potential interaction with environmental factors in relation to lung cancer risk. This study aims to examine associations between two TP53 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs2078486, rs1042522), their potential interaction with environmental factors and risk of lung cancer.
A case–control study was conducted in Taiyuan, China. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). Multiplicative and additive interactions between TP53 SNPs and lifestyle factors were evaluated.
Variant TP53 rs2078486 SNP was significantly associated with elevated lung cancer risk among smokers (OR: 1.70, 95% CI: 1.08 - 2.67) and individuals with high indoor air pollution exposure (OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.00-2.30). Significant or borderline significant multiplicative and additive interactions were found between TP53 rs2078486 polymorphism with smoking and indoor air pollution exposure. The variant genotype of TP53 SNP rs1042522 significantly increased lung cancer risk in the total population (OR: 1.57, 95% CI: 1.11-2.21), but there was no evidence of heterogeneity among individuals with different lifestyle factors.
This study confirmed that TP53 rs2078486 SNP is potentially a novel TP53 SNP that may affect lung cancer risk. Our study also suggested potential synergetic effects of TP53 rs2078486 SNP with smoking and indoor air pollution exposure on lung cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3877976  PMID: 24369748
Lung cancer; TP53; Single-nucleotide polymorphism; Chinese population
13.  Associations of ATR and CHEK1 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms with Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68578.
DNA damage and replication checkpoints mediated by the ATR-CHEK1 pathway are key to the maintenance of genome stability, and both ATR and CHEK1 have been proposed as potential breast cancer susceptibility genes. Many novel variants recently identified by the large resequencing projects have not yet been thoroughly tested in genome-wide association studies for breast cancer susceptibility. We therefore used a tagging SNP (tagSNP) approach based on recent SNP data available from the 1000 genomes projects, to investigate the roles of ATR and CHEK1 in breast cancer risk and survival. ATR and CHEK1 tagSNPs were genotyped in the Sheffield Breast Cancer Study (SBCS; 1011 cases and 1024 controls) using Illumina GoldenGate assays. Untyped SNPs were imputed using IMPUTE2, and associations between genotype and breast cancer risk and survival were evaluated using logistic and Cox proportional hazard regression models respectively on a per allele basis. Significant associations were further examined in a meta-analysis of published data or confirmed in the Utah Breast Cancer Study (UBCS). The most significant associations for breast cancer risk in SBCS came from rs6805118 in ATR (p=7.6x10-5) and rs2155388 in CHEK1 (p=3.1x10-6), but neither remained significant after meta-analysis with other studies. However, meta-analysis of published data revealed a weak association between the ATR SNP rs1802904 (minor allele frequency is 12%) and breast cancer risk, with a summary odds ratio (confidence interval) of 0.90 (0.83-0.98) [p=0.0185] for the minor allele. Further replication of this SNP in larger studies is warranted since it is located in the target region of 2 microRNAs. No evidence of any survival effects of ATR or CHEK1 SNPs were identified. We conclude that common alleles of ATR and CHEK1 are not implicated in breast cancer risk or survival, but we cannot exclude effects of rare alleles and of common alleles with very small effect sizes.
PMCID: PMC3700940  PMID: 23844225
14.  Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(9):e185.
Better information on lung cancer occurrence in lifelong nonsmokers is needed to understand gender and racial disparities and to examine how factors other than active smoking influence risk in different time periods and geographic regions.
Methods and Findings
We pooled information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among self-reported never-smokers from 13 large cohort studies, representing over 630,000 and 1.8 million persons for incidence and mortality, respectively. We also abstracted population-based data for women from 22 cancer registries and ten countries in time periods and geographic regions where few women smoked. Our main findings were: (1) Men had higher death rates from lung cancer than women in all age and racial groups studied; (2) male and female incidence rates were similar when standardized across all ages 40+ y, albeit with some variation by age; (3) African Americans and Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not in the US) had higher death rates from lung cancer than individuals of European descent; (4) no temporal trends were seen when comparing incidence and death rates among US women age 40–69 y during the 1930s to contemporary populations where few women smoke, or in temporal comparisons of never-smokers in two large American Cancer Society cohorts from 1959 to 2004; and (5) lung cancer incidence rates were higher and more variable among women in East Asia than in other geographic areas with low female smoking.
These comprehensive analyses support claims that the death rate from lung cancer among never-smokers is higher in men than in women, and in African Americans and Asians residing in Asia than in individuals of European descent, but contradict assertions that risk is increasing or that women have a higher incidence rate than men. Further research is needed on the high and variable lung cancer rates among women in Pacific Rim countries.
Michael Thun and colleagues pooled and analyzed comprehensive data on lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
Editors' Summary
Every year, more than 1.4 million people die from lung cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In the US alone, more than 161,000 people will die from lung cancer this year. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes in their genes. The main trigger for these changes in lung cancer is exposure to the chemicals in cigarette smoke—either directly through smoking cigarettes or indirectly through exposure to secondhand smoke. Eighty-five to 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused by exposure to cigarette smoke and, on average, current smokers are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than lifelong nonsmokers (never smokers). Furthermore, a person's cumulative lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is related to how much they smoke, to how many years they are a smoker, and—if they give up smoking—to the age at which they stop smoking.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because lung cancer is so common, even the small fraction of lung cancer that occurs in lifelong nonsmokers represents a large number of people. For example, about 20,000 of this year's US lung cancer deaths will be in never-smokers. However, very little is known about how age, sex, or race affects the incidence (the annual number of new cases of diseases in a population) or death rates from lung cancer among never-smokers. A better understanding of the patterns of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers could provide useful information about the factors other than cigarette smoke that increase the likelihood of not only never-smokers, but also former smokers and current smokers developing lung cancer. In this study, therefore, the researchers pooled and analyzed a large amount of information about lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among nearly 2.5 million self-reported never smokers (men and women) from 13 large studies investigating the health of people in North America, Europe, and Asia. They also analyzed similar information for women taken from cancer registries in ten countries at times when very few women were smokers (for example, the US in the late 1930s). The researchers' detailed statistical analyses reveal, for example, that lung cancer death rates in African Americans and in Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not among Asians living in the US) are higher than those in people of the European continental ancestry group. They also show that men have higher death rates from lung cancer than women irrespective of racial group, but that women aged 40–59 years have a slightly higher incidence of lung cancer than men of a similar age. This difference disappears at older ages. Finally, an analysis of lung cancer incidence and death rates at different times during the past 70 years shows no evidence of an increase in the lung cancer burden among never smokers over time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although some of the findings described above have been hinted at in previous, smaller studies, these and other findings provide a much more accurate picture of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers. Most importantly the underlying data used in these analyses are now freely available and should provide an excellent resource for future studies of lung cancer in never smokers.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals about all aspects of lung cancer and information on smoking and cancer (in English and Spanish)
Links to other US-based resources dealing with lung cancer are provided by MedlinePlus (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK provides key facts about the link between lung cancer and smoking and information about all other aspects of lung cancer
PMCID: PMC2531137  PMID: 18788891
15.  Multiple Independent Loci at Chromosome 15q25.1 Affect Smoking Quantity: a Meta-Analysis and Comparison with Lung Cancer and COPD 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(8):e1001053.
Recently, genetic association findings for nicotine dependence, smoking behavior, and smoking-related diseases converged to implicate the chromosome 15q25.1 region, which includes the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 cholinergic nicotinic receptor subunit genes. In particular, association with the nonsynonymous CHRNA5 SNP rs16969968 and correlates has been replicated in several independent studies. Extensive genotyping of this region has suggested additional statistically distinct signals for nicotine dependence, tagged by rs578776 and rs588765. One goal of the Consortium for the Genetic Analysis of Smoking Phenotypes (CGASP) is to elucidate the associations among these markers and dichotomous smoking quantity (heavy versus light smoking), lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We performed a meta-analysis across 34 datasets of European-ancestry subjects, including 38,617 smokers who were assessed for cigarettes-per-day, 7,700 lung cancer cases and 5,914 lung-cancer-free controls (all smokers), and 2,614 COPD cases and 3,568 COPD-free controls (all smokers). We demonstrate statistically independent associations of rs16969968 and rs588765 with smoking (mutually adjusted p-values<10−35 and <10−8 respectively). Because the risk alleles at these loci are negatively correlated, their association with smoking is stronger in the joint model than when each SNP is analyzed alone. Rs578776 also demonstrates association with smoking after adjustment for rs16969968 (p<10−6). In models adjusting for cigarettes-per-day, we confirm the association between rs16969968 and lung cancer (p<10−20) and observe a nominally significant association with COPD (p = 0.01); the other loci are not significantly associated with either lung cancer or COPD after adjusting for rs16969968. This study provides strong evidence that multiple statistically distinct loci in this region affect smoking behavior. This study is also the first report of association between rs588765 (and correlates) and smoking that achieves genome-wide significance; these SNPs have previously been associated with mRNA levels of CHRNA5 in brain and lung tissue.
Author Summary
Nicotine binds to cholinergic nicotinic receptors, which are composed of a variety of subunits. Genetic studies for smoking behavior and smoking-related diseases have implicated a genomic region that encodes the alpha5, alpha3, and beta4 subunits. We examined genetic data across this region for over 38,000 smokers, a subset of which had been assessed for lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We demonstrate strong evidence that there are at least two statistically independent loci in this region that affect risk for heavy smoking. One of these loci represents a change in the protein structure of the alpha5 subunit. This work is also the first to report strong evidence of association between smoking and a group of genetic variants that are of biological interest because of their links to expression of the alpha5 cholinergic nicotinic receptor subunit gene. These advances in understanding the genetic influences on smoking behavior are important because of the profound public health burdens caused by smoking and nicotine addiction.
PMCID: PMC2916847  PMID: 20700436
16.  DNA repair gene polymorphisms and tobacco smoking in the risk for colorectal adenomas 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(6):882-887.
DNA damage is thought to play a critical role in the development of colorectal adenoma. Variation in DNA repair genes may alter their capacity to correct endogenous and exogenous DNA damage. We explored the association between common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DNA repair genes and adenoma risk with a case–control study nested in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. A total of 1338 left sided, advanced colorectal adenoma cases and 1503 matched controls free of left-sided polyps were included in the study. Using DNA extracted from blood, 3144 tag SNPs in 149 DNA repair genes were successfully genotyped. Among Caucasians, 30 SNPs were associated with adenoma risk at P < 0.01, with four SNPs remaining significant after gene-based adjustment for multiple testing. The most significant finding was for a non-synonymous SNP (rs9350) in Exonuclease-1 (EXO1) [odds ratio (OR) = 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.11–1.51, P = 0.001)], which was predicted to be damaging using bioinformatics methods. However, the association was limited to smokers with a strong risk for current smokers (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.27–3.65) and an intermediate risk for former smokers (OR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.14–1.82) and no association for never smokers (OR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.76–1.25) (Pinteraction = 0.002). Among the top findings, an SNP (rs17503908) in ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) was inversely related to adenoma risk (OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.63–0.91). The association was restricted to never smokers (OR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.40–0.76) with no increased risk observed among smokers (OR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.70–1.13) (Pinteraction = 0.006). This large comprehensive study, which evaluated all presently known DNA repair genes, suggests that polymorphisms in EXO1 and ATM may be associated with risk for advanced colorectal adenoma with the associations modified by tobacco-smoking status.
PMCID: PMC3106441  PMID: 21504893
17.  C-Reactive Protein and Risk of Lung Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(16):2719-2726.
Chronic inflammation could play a role in lung carcinogenesis, underscoring the potential for lung cancer prevention and screening. We investigated the association of circulating high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP, an inflammation biomarker) and CRP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with prospective lung cancer risk.
Patients and Methods
We conducted a nested case-control study of 592 lung cancer patients and 670 controls with available prediagnostic serum and 378 patients and 447 controls with DNA within the screening arm of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (N = 77,464). Controls were matched to patients on age, sex, entry year, follow-up time, and smoking. We measured CRP levels in baseline serum samples and genotyped five common CRP SNPs.
Elevated CRP levels were associated with increased lung cancer risk (odds ratio [OR], 1.98; 95% CI, 1.35 to 2.89; P-trend < .001 for fourth quartile [Q4, ≥ 5.6 mg/L] v Q1 [< 1.0 mg/L]). The CRP association did not differ significantly by histology, follow-up time, or smoking status, but was most apparent for squamous cell carcinomas (OR, 2.92; 95% CI, 1.30 to 6.54), 2 to 5 years before lung cancer diagnosis (OR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.24 to 4.39), and among former smokers (OR, 2.48; 95% CI, 1.53 to 4.03) and current smokers (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.06 to 3.41). Although CRP SNPs and haplotypes were associated with CRP levels, they were not associated with lung cancer risk. Ten-year standardized absolute risks of lung cancer were higher with elevated CRP levels among former smokers (Q4: 2.55%; 95% CI, 1.98% to 3.27% v Q1: 1.39%; 95% CI, 1.07% to 1.81%) and current smokers (Q4: 7.37%; 95% CI, 5.81% to 9.33% v Q1: 4.03%; 95% CI, 3.01% to 5.40%).
Elevated CRP levels are associated with subsequently increased lung cancer risk, suggesting an etiologic role for chronic pulmonary inflammation in lung carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2881850  PMID: 20421535
18.  Germline Variation in Apoptosis Pathway Genes and Risk of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
The t(14;18)(q32;q21) is the most commonly observed chromosomal translocation in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), resulting in constitutive Bcl-2 expression and apoptosis inhibition. In addition, germline variation in both BCL2L11 (BIM) and CASP9, known regulators of apoptosis, have recently been linked to NHL risk. We conducted a comprehensive evaluation of 36 apoptosis pathway genes with risk of NHL.
We genotyped 226 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 36 candidate genes in a clinic-based study of 441 newly diagnosed NHL cases and 475 frequency matched controls. We used principal components analysis to assess gene-level associations, and logistic regression to assess SNP-level associations. MACH was used for imputation of SNPs in BCL2L11 and CASP9.
In gene level analyses, BCL2L11 (p=0.0019), BCLAF1 (p=0.0097), BAG5 (p=0.026) and CASP9 (p=0.0022) were associated with NHL risk after accounting for multiple testing (tail strength 0.38; 95% CI 0.05, 0.70). Two of the 5 BCL2L11 tagSNPs (rs6746608 and rs12613243), both genotyped BCLAF1 tagSNPs (rs797558 and rs703193), the single genotyped BAG5 tagSNP (rs7693), and 3 of the 7 genotyped CASP9 tagSNPs (rs6685648, rs2020902, rs2042370) were significant at p<0.05. We successfully imputed BCL2L11 and CASP9 SNPs previously linked to NHL, and replicated all 4 BCL2L11 and 2 of 3 CASP9 SNPs.
We replicated the association of BCL2L11 and CASP9 with NHL risk at the gene and SNP-level, and identified novel associations with BCLAF1 and BAG5.
Closer evaluation of germline variation of genes in the apoptosis pathway with risk of NHL and its subtypes is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2976783  PMID: 20855536
Bcl-2 pathways; caspases; molecular epidemiology; non-Hodgkin lymphoma
19.  Application of Multi-SNP Approaches Bayesian LASSO and AUC-RF to Detect Main Effects of Inflammatory-Gene Variants Associated with Bladder Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83745.
The relationship between inflammation and cancer is well established in several tumor types, including bladder cancer. We performed an association study between 886 inflammatory-gene variants and bladder cancer risk in 1,047 cases and 988 controls from the Spanish Bladder Cancer (SBC)/EPICURO Study. A preliminary exploration with the widely used univariate logistic regression approach did not identify any significant SNP after correcting for multiple testing. We further applied two more comprehensive methods to capture the complexity of bladder cancer genetic susceptibility: Bayesian Threshold LASSO (BTL), a regularized regression method, and AUC-Random Forest, a machine-learning algorithm. Both approaches explore the joint effect of markers. BTL analysis identified a signature of 37 SNPs in 34 genes showing an association with bladder cancer. AUC-RF detected an optimal predictive subset of 56 SNPs. 13 SNPs were identified by both methods in the total population. Using resources from the Texas Bladder Cancer study we were able to replicate 30% of the SNPs assessed. The associations between inflammatory SNPs and bladder cancer were reexamined among non-smokers to eliminate the effect of tobacco, one of the strongest and most prevalent environmental risk factor for this tumor. A 9 SNP-signature was detected by BTL. Here we report, for the first time, a set of SNP in inflammatory genes jointly associated with bladder cancer risk. These results highlight the importance of the complex structure of genetic susceptibility associated with cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3877090  PMID: 24391818
20.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Lung Cancer in Korean Non-Smoking Women 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(6):840-847.
Lung cancer in never-smokers ranks as the seventh most common cause of cancer death worldwide, and the incidence of lung cancer in non-smoking Korean women appears to be steadily increasing. To identify the effect of genetic polymorphisms on lung cancer risk in non-smoking Korean women, we conducted a genome-wide association study of Korean female non-smokers with lung cancer. We analyzed 440,794 genotype data of 285 cases and 1,455 controls, and nineteen SNPs were associated with lung cancer development (P < 0.001). For external validation, nineteen SNPs were replicated in another sample set composed of 293 cases and 495 controls, and only rs10187911 on 2p16.3 was significantly associated with lung cancer development (dominant model, OR of TG or GG, 1.58, P = 0.025). We confirmed this SNP again in another replication set composed of 546 cases and 744 controls (recessive model, OR of GG, 1.32, P = 0.027). OR and P value in combined set were 1.37 and < 0.001 in additive model, 1.51 and < 0.001 in dominant model, and 1.54 and < 0.001 in recessive model. The effect of this SNP was found to be consistent only in adenocarcinoma patients (1.36 and < 0.001 in additive model, 1.49 and < 0.001 in dominant model, and 1.54 and < 0.001 in recessive model). Furthermore, after imputation with HapMap data, we found regional significance near rs10187911, and five SNPs showed P value less than that of rs10187911 (rs12478012, rs4377361, rs13005521, rs12475464, and rs7564130). Therefore, we concluded that a region on chromosome 2 is significantly associated with lung cancer risk in Korean non-smoking women.
PMCID: PMC3677999  PMID: 23772147
Lung Neoplasms; Genome-Wide Association Study; Non-Smoking Women
21.  NKAIN1-SERINC2 is a functional, replicable and genome-wide significant risk gene region specific for alcohol dependence in subjects of European descent* 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2013;129(3):254-264.
We aimed to identify novel, functional, replicable and genome-wide significant risk regions specific for alcohol dependence using genome-wide association studies (GWASs).
A discovery sample (1,409 European-American cases with alcohol dependence and 1,518 European-American controls) and a replication sample (6,438 European-Australian family subjects with 1,645 alcohol dependent probands) underwent association analysis. Nineteen other cohorts with 11 different neuropsychiatric disorders served as contrast groups. Additional eight samples underwent expression quantitative locus (eQTL) analysis.
A genome-wide significant risk gene region (NKAIN1-SERINC2) was identified in a meta-analysis of the discovery and replication samples. This region was enriched with 74 risk SNPs (unimputed); half of them had significant cis-acting regulatory effects. The distributions of -log(p) values for the SNP-disease associations or SNP-expression associations in this region were consistent throughout eight independent samples. Furthermore, imputing across the NKAIN1-SERINC2 region, we found that among all 795 SNPs in the discovery sample, 471 SNPs were nominally associated with alcohol dependence (1.7×10−7≤p≤0.047); 53 survived region- and cohort-wide correction for multiple testing; 92 SNPs were replicated in the replication sample (0.002≤p≤0.050). This region was neither significantly associated with alcohol dependence in African-Americans, nor with other non-alcoholism diseases. Finally, transcript expression of genes in NKAIN1-SERINC2 was significantly (p<3.4×10−7) associated with expression of numerous genes in the neurotransmitter systems or metabolic pathways previously associated with alcohol dependence.
NKAIN1-SERINC2 may harbor a causal variant(s) for alcohol dependence. It may contribute to the disease risk by way of neurotransmitter systems or metabolic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3628730  PMID: 23455491
GWAS; genome-wide association studies; alcohol dependence; eQTL; risk region; replication
22.  Novel genetic variants in the chromosome 5p15.33 region associate with lung cancer risk 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(10):1493-1499.
Chromosome 5p15.33 has been identified by genome-wide association studies as one of the regions that associate with lung cancer risk. A few single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and cleft lip and palate transmembrane 1-like (CLPTM1L) genes located in this region have shown consistent associations. We performed dense genotyping of SNPs in this region to refine the previously reported association signals for lung cancer risk. Two hundred and fifteen SNPs were genotyped on an Illumina iSelect panel, in a hospital-based case–control study of 1681 lung cancer cases and 1235 unaffected controls. Association was tested using unconditional logistic regression, while adjusting for age, sex and pack-years smoked. Furthermore, since many of the SNPs were in linkage disequilibrium (LD), haplotype blocks were constructed, from which tagging SNPs at an r2 threshold of ≥0.95 were included in a stepwise forward selection logistic regression model. Of the 215 SNPs, 69 were significant at P < 0.05 in univariate analysis; of these, 35 SNPs meeting the r2 threshold were included in the multiple logistic regression model. Two SNPs, rs370348 (odds ratio = 0.76, P = 1.6 × 10−6) and rs4975538 (odds ratio = 1.18, P = 0.005), significantly associated with risk in the overall sample. Among ever smokers, rs4975615 (odds ratio = 0.75, P = 1.2 × 10−4) and rs4975538 (odds ratio = 1.26, P = 0.002) were significant, whereas among never-smokers, rs451360 (odds ratio = 0.62, P = 7.6 × 10−5) was significant. We refined the consistent association signal in this region, allowing for the considerable LD between SNPs and identified four novel SNPs that were independently and significantly associated with lung cancer risk. Results of these analyses strongly suggest effects on risk from several loci in the TERT/CLPTM1L region.
PMCID: PMC3179422  PMID: 21771723
23.  Cumulative Effect of Multiple Loci on Genetic Susceptibility to Familial Lung Cancer 
Genetic factors play important roles in lung cancer susceptibility. In this study, we replicated the association of 5p15.33 and 6p21.33 with familial lung cancer. Taking into account the previously identified genetic susceptibility variants on 6q23-25/RGS17 and 15q24-25.1, we further determined the cumulative association of these four genetic regions and the population attributable risk percent of familial lung cancer they account for.
One hundred ninety-four case patients and 219 cancer-free control subjects from the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium were used for the association analysis. Each familial case was chosen from one high-risk lung cancer family that has three or more affected members. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) on chromosomal regions 5p15.33, 6p21.33, 6q23-25/RGS17, and 15q24-25.1 were assessed for their associations with familial lung cancer. The cumulative association of the four chromosomal regions with familial lung cancer was evaluated with the use of a linear logistic model. Population attributable risk percent was calculated for each SNP using risk ratio.
SNP rs31489 showed the strongest evidence of familial lung cancer association on 5p15.33 (P = 2 × 10−4; odds ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval, 0.42-0.77), whereas rs3117582 showed a weak association on 6p21.33 (P = 0.09; odds ratio, 1.47; 95% confidence interval, 0.94-2.31). Analysis of a combination of SNPs from the four regions provided a stronger cumulative association with familial lung cancer (P = 6.70 × 10−6) than any individual SNPs. The risk of lung cancer was increased to 3- to 11-fold among those subjects who had at least one copy of risk allele at each region compared with subjects without any of the risk factors. These four genetic regions contribute to a total of 34.6% of familial lung cancer in smokers.
The SNPs in four chromosomal regions have a cumulative and significant association with familial lung cancer and account for about one-third of the population attributable risk for familial lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC2846747  PMID: 20142248
24.  Innate Immunity and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) Related Genes in a Nested Case-Control Study for Gastric Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45274.
Genetic variants regulating the host immune system may contribute to the susceptibility for the development of gastric cancer. Little is known about the role of the innate immunity- and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)-related genes for gastric cancer risk. This nested case-control study was conducted to identify candidate genes for gastric cancer risk for future studies.
In the Discovery phase, 3,072 SNPs in 203 innate immunity- and 264 NHL-related genes using the Illumine GoldenGateTM OPA Panel were analyzed in 42 matched case-control sets selected from the Korean Multi-center Cancer Cohort (KMCC). Six significant SNPs in four innate immunity (DEFA6, DEFB1, JAK3, and ACAA1) and 11 SNPs in nine NHL-related genes (INSL3, CHMP7, BCL2L11, TNFRSF8, RAD50, CASP7, CHUK, CD79B, and CLDN9) with a permutated p-value <0.01 were re-genotyped in the Replication phase among 386 cases and 348 controls. Odds ratios (ORs) for gastric cancer risk were estimated adjusting for age, smoking status, and H. pylori and CagA sero-positivity. Summarized ORs in the total study population (428 cases and 390 controls) are presented using pooled- and meta-analyses.
Four SNPs had no heterogeneity across the phases: in the meta-analysis, DEFA6 rs13275170 and DEFB1 rs2738169 had both a 1.3-fold increased odds ratio (OR) for gastric cancer (95% CIs = 1.1–1.6; and 1.1–1.5, respectively). INSL3 rs10421916 and rs11088680 had both a 0.8-fold decreased OR for gastric cancer (95% CIs = 0.7–0.97; and 0.7–0.9, respectively).
Our findings suggest that certain variants in the innate immunity and NHL-related genes affect the gastric cancer risk, perhaps by modulating infection-inflammation-immunity mechanisms that remain to be defined.
PMCID: PMC3448653  PMID: 23028900
25.  Systematic evaluation of apoptotic pathway gene polymorphisms and lung cancer risk 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(9):1699-1706.
We adopted a two-stage study design to screen 927 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in 73 apoptotic-pathway genes in a case-control study and then performed a fast-track validation of the significant SNPs in a replication population to identify sequence variations in the apoptotic pathway modulating lung cancer risk. Fifty-five SNPs showed significant associations in the discovery population comprised of 661 lung cancer cases and 959 controls. Six of these SNPs located in three genes (Bcl-2, CASP9 and ANKS1B) were validated in a replication population with 1154 cases and 1373 controls. Additive model was the best-fitting model for five SNPs (rs1462129 and rs255102 of Bcl-2, rs6685648 of CASP9 and rs1549102, rs11110099 of ANKS1B) and recessive model was the best fit for one SNP (rs10745877 of ANKS1B). In the analysis of joint effects with subjects carrying no unfavorable genotypes as the reference group, those carrying one, two, and three or more unfavorable genotypes had an odds ratio (OR) of 2.22 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08–4.57, P = 0.03], 2.70 (95% CI = 1.33–5.49; P = 0.006) and 4.13 (95% CI = 2.00–8.57; P = 0.0001), respectively (P for trend = 6.05E-06). The joint effect of unfavorable genotypes was also validated in the replication population. The SNPs identified are located in or near key genes known to play important roles in apoptosis regulation, supporting the strong biological relevance of our findings. Future studies are needed to identify the causal SNPs and elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3514904  PMID: 22665367

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