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1.  Re-evaluation of ABO gene polymorphisms detected in a genome-wide association study and risk of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in a Chinese population 
Chinese journal of cancer  2013;33(2):68-73.
Pancreatic cancer is a fatal malignancy with an increasing incidence in Shanghai, China. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) and other work have shown that ABO alleles are associated with pancreatic cancer risk. We conducted a population-based case-control study involving 256 patients with pathologically confirmed pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and 548 healthy controls in Shanghai, China, to assess the relationships between GWAS-identified ABO alleles and risk of PDAC. Carriers of the C allele of rs505922 had an increased cancer risk [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02–1.98] compared to TT carriers. The T alleles of rs495828 and rs657152 were also significantly associated with an elevated cancer risk (adjusted OR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.17–2.14; OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.09–2.10). The rs630014 variant was not associated with risk. We did not find any significant gene-environment interactions with cancer risk using a multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) method. Haplotype analysis also showed that the haplotype CTTC was associated with an increased risk of PDAC (adjusted OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.12–1.91) compared with haplotype TGGT. GWAS-identified ABO variants are thus also associated with risk of PDAC in the Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC3884064  PMID: 23816557
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; ABO gene; genome-wide association study; genetic variation; haplotype
2.  Helicobacter pylori Seropositivities and Risk of Pancreatic Carcinoma 
Pathophysiologic actions of Helicobacter pylori colonization on gastric acidity have been hypothesized to modulate the effect of pancreatic carcinogens, through CagA-negative organism strain type, hyperchlorhydria and increased risk of pancreatic cancer, or CagA-positive strain, hypochlorhydria and decreased risk of pancreatic cancer. We aimed to determine H. pylori strain-specific associations with pancreatic cancer in a population where colonization by CagA-positive strains is common.
We carried out a large population-based case-control study of pancreatic carcinoma in Shanghai, China. Venipuncture specimens were obtained from a representative sample of 761 case patients and 794 randomly selected control subjects matched by category of age and gender. Antibody seropositivity for H. pylori and its virulence protein CagA were determined by commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent IgG assays.
Compared to individuals seronegative for both H. pylori and CagA, decreased pancreas-cancer risk was seen for CagA seropositivity (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.68; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.54–0.84), while some increased risk was suggested for CagA-negative H. pylori seropositivity (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 0.76–2.13). No risk interactions were observed between CagA seropositivity and gender, cigarette smoking, or age-21 body mass index.
Similar to what has been seen in animal models, our results provide suggestive evidence in humans for the involvement of gastric acidity, through its bidirectional modification according to colonization by Helicobacter pylori CagA strain type, in the risk of pancreatic carcinoma.
Helicobacter pylori colonization may have diverse effects on cancer risk, depending on the organism strain type as well as on the particular cancer site.
PMCID: PMC3947155  PMID: 24234587
Cytotoxin-associated gene A; Case-control Studies; H. pylori; Pancreatic Cancer
3.  Insulin, Insulin-like Growth Factor-I, Endogenous Estradiol, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Postmenopausal Women 
Cancer research  2008;68(1):329-337.
Obesity is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and hyperinsulinemia, a common condition in obese patients, may underlie this relationship. Insulin, in addition to its metabolic effects, has promitotic and antiapoptotic activity that may be tumorigenic. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, a related hormone, shares sequence homology with insulin, and has even stronger mitogenic effects. However, few prospective colorectal cancer studies directly measured fasting insulin, and none evaluated free IGF-I, or endogenous estradiol, a potential cofactor in postmenopausal women. Therefore, we conducted a case-cohort investigation of colorectal cancer among nondiabetic subjects enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a prospective cohort of 93,676 postmenopausal women. Fasting baseline serum specimens from all incident colorectal cancer cases (n = 438) and a random subcohort (n = 816) of Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study subjects were tested for insulin, glucose, total IGF-I, free IGF-I, IGF binding protein-3, and estradiol. Comparing extreme quartiles, insulin [hazard ratio (HR)q4–q1, 1.73; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.16–2.57; ptrend = 0.005], waist circumference (HRq4–q1, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.22–2.70; ptrend = 0.001), and free IGF-I (HRq4–q1, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.92–1.98; Ptrend = 0.05) were each associated with colorectal cancer incidence in multivariate models. However, these associations each became nonsignificant when adjusted for one another. Endogenous estradiol levels, in contrast, were positively associated with risk of colorectal cancer (HR comparing high versus low levels, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.05–2.22), even after control for insulin, free IGF-I, and waist circumference. These data suggest the existence of at least two independent biological pathways that are related to colorectal cancer: one that involves endogenous estradiol, and a second pathway broadly associated with obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and free IGF-I.
PMCID: PMC4225702  PMID: 18172327
4.  Exercise and quality of life during and after treatment for breast cancer: results of two randomized controlled trials 
Psycho-oncology  2009;18(4):343-352.
To determine the effect of exercise on quality of life in (a) a randomized controlled trial of exercise among recently diagnosed breast cancer survivors undergoing adjuvant therapy and (b) a similar trial among post-treatment survivors.
Fifty newly diagnosed breast cancer survivors were recruited through a hospital-based tumor registry and randomized to a 6-month, home-based exercise program (n=25) or a usual care group (n=25). In a separate trial, 75 post-treatment survivors were randomized to a 6-month, supervised exercise intervention (n=37) or to usual care (n=38). Participants in both studies completed measures of happiness, depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, self-esteem, and quality of life at baseline and 6 months.
Forty-five participants completed the trial for newly diagnosed survivors and 67 completed the trial for post-treatment survivors. Good adherence was observed in both studies. Baseline quality of life was similar for both studies on most measures. Exercise was not associated with quality of life benefits in the full sample of either study; however exercise was associated with improved social functioning among post-treatment survivors who reported low social functioning at baseline (p<0.05).
Exercise did not affect quality of life in either recently diagnosed or post-treatment breast cancer survivors; however this may be due in part to relatively high baseline functioning among participants in both studies. Strategies for future research include limiting enrollment to survivors who report reduced quality of life on screening questionnaires and targeting survivor subgroups known to be at particular risk for quality of life impairment.
PMCID: PMC4221990  PMID: 19242918
Cancer; oncology; physical activity; patient reported outcomes; quality of life
5.  A Novel Model to Combine Clinical and Pathway-Based Transcriptomic Information for the Prognosis Prediction of Breast Cancer 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(9):e1003851.
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide. With the increasing awareness of heterogeneity in breast cancers, better prediction of breast cancer prognosis is much needed for more personalized treatment and disease management. Towards this goal, we have developed a novel computational model for breast cancer prognosis by combining the Pathway Deregulation Score (PDS) based pathifier algorithm, Cox regression and L1-LASSO penalization method. We trained the model on a set of 236 patients with gene expression data and clinical information, and validated the performance on three diversified testing data sets of 606 patients. To evaluate the performance of the model, we conducted survival analysis of the dichotomized groups, and compared the areas under the curve based on the binary classification. The resulting prognosis genomic model is composed of fifteen pathways (e.g. P53 pathway) that had previously reported cancer relevance, and it successfully differentiated relapse in the training set (log rank p-value = 6.25e-12) and three testing data sets (log rank p-value<0.0005). Moreover, the pathway-based genomic models consistently performed better than gene-based models on all four data sets. We also find strong evidence that combining genomic information with clinical information improved the p-values of prognosis prediction by at least three orders of magnitude in comparison to using either genomic or clinical information alone. In summary, we propose a novel prognosis model that harnesses the pathway-based dysregulation as well as valuable clinical information. The selected pathways in our prognosis model are promising targets for therapeutic intervention.
Author Summary
With the increasing awareness of heterogeneity in breast cancers, better prediction of breast cancer prognosis is much needed early on for more personalized treatment and management. Towards this goal we propose in this study a novel pathway-based prognosis prediction model, which emphasizes on individualized pathway-based risk measurement using the pathway dysregulation score (PDS). In combination with the L1-LASSO penalized feature selection and the COX-Proportional Hazards regression model, we have identified fifteen cancer relevant pathways using the pathway-based genomic model that successfully differentiated the relapse in the training set as well as three diversified test sets. Moreover, given the debate whether higher-order representative features, such as GO sets, pathways and network modules are superior to the gene-level features in the genomic models, we demonstrate that pathway-based genomic models consistently performed better than gene-based models in all four data sets. Last but not least, we show strong evidence that models that combine genomic information with clinical information improves the prognosis prediction significantly, in comparison to models that use either genomic or clinical information alone.
PMCID: PMC4168973  PMID: 25233347
6.  Polymorphisms in genes related to one-carbon metabolism are not related to pancreatic cancer in PanScan and PanC4 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(3):595-602.
The evidence of a relation between folate intake and one-carbon metabolism (OCM) with pancreatic cancer (PanCa) is inconsistent. In this study, the association between genes and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) related to OCM and PanCa was assessed.
Using biochemical knowledge of the OCM pathway, we identified thirty-seven genes and 834 SNPs to examine in association with PanCa. Our study included 1,408 cases and 1,463 controls nested within twelve cohorts (PanScan). The ten SNPs and five genes with lowest p values (<0.02) were followed up in 2,323 cases and 2,340 controls from eight case-control studies (PanC4) that participated in PanScan2. The correlation of SNPs with metabolite levels was assessed for 649 controls from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.
When both stages were combined, we observed suggestive associations with PanCa for rs10887710 (MAT1A) (OR 1.13, 95%CI 1.04-1.23), rs1552462 (SYT9) (OR 1.27, 95%CI 1.02-1.59), and rs7074891 (CUBN) (OR 1.91, 95%CI 1.12-3.26). After correcting for multiple comparisons, no significant associations were observed in either the first or second stage. The three suggested SNPs showed no correlations with one-carbon biomarkers.
This is the largest genetic study to date to examine the relation between germline variations in OCM-related genes polymorphisms and the risk of PanCa. Suggestive evidence for an association between polymorphisms and PanCa was observed among the cohort-nested studies, but this did not replicate in the case-control studies. Our results do not strongly support the hypothesis that genes related to OCM play a role in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4127987  PMID: 23334854
Pancreatic cancer; One-carbon metabolism; Polymorphisms; Biomarkers; Epidemiology
7.  Type I and II Endometrial Cancers: Have They Different Risk Factors? 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(20):2607-2618.
Endometrial cancers have long been divided into estrogen-dependent type I and the less common clinically aggressive estrogen-independent type II. Little is known about risk factors for type II tumors because most studies lack sufficient cases to study these much less common tumors separately. We examined whether so-called classical endometrial cancer risk factors also influence the risk of type II tumors.
Patients and Methods
Individual-level data from 10 cohort and 14 case-control studies from the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium were pooled. A total of 14,069 endometrial cancer cases and 35,312 controls were included. We classified endometrioid (n = 7,246), adenocarcinoma not otherwise specified (n = 4,830), and adenocarcinoma with squamous differentiation (n = 777) as type I tumors and serous (n = 508) and mixed cell (n = 346) as type II tumors.
Parity, oral contraceptive use, cigarette smoking, age at menarche, and diabetes were associated with type I and type II tumors to similar extents. Body mass index, however, had a greater effect on type I tumors than on type II tumors: odds ratio (OR) per 2 kg/m2 increase was 1.20 (95% CI, 1.19 to 1.21) for type I and 1.12 (95% CI, 1.09 to 1.14) for type II tumors (Pheterogeneity < .0001). Risk factor patterns for high-grade endometrioid tumors and type II tumors were similar.
The results of this pooled analysis suggest that the two endometrial cancer types share many common etiologic factors. The etiology of type II tumors may, therefore, not be completely estrogen independent, as previously believed.
PMCID: PMC3699726  PMID: 23733771
8.  ABO Blood Group and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer: A Study in Shanghai and Meta-Analysis 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(12):1326-1337.
Studies over 5 decades have examined ABO blood groups and risk of pancreatic cancer in Western, Asian, and other populations, though no systematic review has been published. We studied data from 908 pancreatic cancer cases and 1,067 population controls collected during December 2006–January 2011 in urban Shanghai, China, and reviewed the literature for all studies of this association. Random-effects meta-analysis provided summary odds ratio estimates according to blood group and by populations endemic versus nonendemic for cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA)-positive Helicobacter pylori. In our Shanghai study, versus group O, only ABO group A was associated with risk (odds ratio (OR) = 1.60, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.27, 2.03). In 24 pooled studies, group A showed increased risk in both CagA-nonendemic and -endemic populations (ORpooled = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.32, 1.49). In nonendemic populations, groups B and AB were also associated with higher risk (OR = 1.38, 95% CI: 1.16, 1.64; and OR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.24, 1.85, respectively). However, in CagA-endemic populations, groups B and AB were not associated with risk (OR = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.92, 1.19; and OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 0.92, 1.38, respectively). These population differences were significant. One explanation for contrasts in associations of blood groups B and AB between CagA-endemic and -nonendemic populations could involve gastric epithelial expression of A versus B antigens on colonization behaviors of CagA-positive and CagA-negative H. pylori strains.
PMCID: PMC3732019  PMID: 23652164
ABO blood group system; Asia; case-control studies; meta-analysis; pancreatic neoplasms
9.  Exome-Wide Association Study of Endometrial Cancer in a Multiethnic Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97045.
Endometrial cancer (EC) contributes substantially to total burden of cancer morbidity and mortality in the United States. Family history is a known risk factor for EC, thus genetic factors may play a role in EC pathogenesis. Three previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found only one locus associated with EC, suggesting that common variants with large effects may not contribute greatly to EC risk. Alternatively, we hypothesize that rare variants may contribute to EC risk. We conducted an exome-wide association study (EXWAS) of EC using the Infinium HumanExome BeadChip in order to identify rare variants associated with EC risk. We successfully genotyped 177,139 variants in a multiethnic population of 1,055 cases and 1,778 controls from four studies that were part of the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2). No variants reached global significance in the study, suggesting that more power is needed to detect modest associations between rare genetic variants and risk of EC.
PMCID: PMC4014590  PMID: 24810602
10.  The KRAS-Variant and miRNA Expression in RTOG Endometrial Cancer Clinical Trials 9708 and 9905 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94167.
To explore the association of a functional germline variant in the 3′-UTR of KRAS with endometrial cancer risk, as well as the association of microRNA (miRNA) signatures and the KRAS-variant with clinical characteristics and survival outcomes in two prospective RTOG endometrial cancer trials.
The association of the KRAS-variant with endometrial cancer risk was evaluated by case-control analysis of 467 women with type 1 or 2 endometrial cancer and 582 age-matched controls. miRNA and DNA were isolated for expression profiling and genotyping from tumor specimens of 46 women with type 1 endometrial cancer enrolled in RTOG trials 9708 and 9905. miRNA expression levels and KRAS-variant genotype were correlated with patient and tumor characteristics, and survival outcomes were evaluated by variant allele type.
The KRAS-variant was not significantly associated with overall endometrial cancer risk (14% controls and 17% type 1 cancers), although was enriched in type 2 endometrial cancers (24%, p = 0.2). In the combined analysis of RTOG 9708/9905, miRNA expression differed by age, presence of lymphovascular invasion and KRAS-variant status. Overall survival rates at 3 years for patients with the variant and wild-type alleles were 100% and 77% (HR 0.3, p = 0.24), respectively, favoring the variant.
The KRAS-variant may be a genetic marker of risk for type 2 endometrial cancers. In addition, tumor miRNA expression appears to be associated with patient age, lymphovascular invasion and the KRAS-variant, supporting the hypothesis that altered tumor biology can be measured by miRNA expression, and that the KRAS-variant likely impacts endometrial tumor biology.
PMCID: PMC3986055  PMID: 24732316
11.  Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intakes and endometrial cancer risk in a population-based case–control study 
European journal of nutrition  2012;52(3):1251-1260.
Animal and laboratory studies suggest that long-chain omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat found in fatty fish, may protect against carcinogenesis, but human studies on dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats and fish with endometrial cancer risk show mixed results.
We evaluated the associations between endometrial cancer risk and intake of fatty acids and fish in a population-based sample of 556 incident cancer cases and 533 age-matched controls using multivariate unconditional logistic regression methods.
Although total n-3 fatty acid intake was not associated with endometrial cancer risk, higher intakes of eicosapentaenoic (EPA 20:5) and docosahexaenoic (DHA 22:6) fatty acids were significantly associated with lower risks (OR = 0.57, 95 % CI: 0.39–0.84; OR = 0.64, 95 % CI: 0.44–0.94; respectively) comparing extreme quartiles. The ratio of n-3:n-6 fatty acids was inversely associated with risk only on a continuous scale (OR = 0.84, 95 % CI: 0.71–0.99), while total fish intake was not associated with risk. Fish oil supplement use was significantly associated with reduced risk of endometrial cancer: OR = 0.63 (95 % CI: 0.45–0.88).
Our results suggest that dietary intake of the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA in foods and supplements may have protective associations against the development of endometrial cancer.
PMCID: PMC3548981  PMID: 22915050
Endometrial cancer; Fatty acids; Fish oil; Fish; Case–control study
12.  Re-evaluation of ABO gene polymorphisms detected in a genome-wide association study and risk of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in a Chinese population 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2014;33(2):68-73.
Pancreatic cancer is a fatal malignancy with an increasing incidence in Shanghai, China. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) and other work have shown that ABO alleles are associated with pancreatic cancer risk. We conducted a population-based case-control study involving 256 patients with pathologically confirmed pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and 548 healthy controls in Shanghai, China, to assess the relationships between GWAS-identified ABO alleles and risk of PDAC. Carriers of the C allele of rs505922 had an increased cancer risk [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.98] compared to TT carriers. The T alleles of rs495828 and rs657152 were also significantly associated with an elevated cancer risk (adjusted OR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.17-2.14; adjusted OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.09-2.10). The rs630014 variant was not associated with risk. We did not find any significant gene-environment interaction with cancer risk using a multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) method. Haplotype analysis also showed that the haplotype CTTC was associated with an increased risk of PDAC (adjusted OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.12-1.91) compared with haplotype TGGT. GWAS-identified ABO variants are thus also associated with risk of PDAC in the Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC3884064  PMID: 23816557
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; ABO gene; genome-wide association study; genetic variation; haplotype
13.  Obesity and risk of ovarian cancer subtypes: evidence from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium 
Endocrine-related cancer  2013;20(2):10.1530/ERC-12-0395.
Whilst previous studies have reported that higher body-mass index (BMI) increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, associations for the different histological subtypes have not been well defined. As the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically, and classification of ovarian histology has improved in the last decade, we sought to examine the association in a pooled analysis of recent studies participating in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. We evaluated the association between BMI (recent, maximum, and in young adulthood) and ovarian cancer risk using original data from 15 case-control studies (13,548 cases, 17,913 controls). We combined study-specific adjusted odds ratios (ORs) using a random–effects model. We further examined the associations by histological subtype, menopausal status and post-menopausal hormone use. High BMI (all time-points) was associated with increased risk. This was most pronounced for borderline serous (recent BMI: pooled OR=1.24 per 5kg/m2; 95%CI 1.18–1.30), invasive endometrioid (1.17; 1.11–1.23) and invasive mucinous (1.19; 1.06–1.32) tumours. There was no association with serous invasive cancer overall (0.98; 0.94–1.02), but increased risks for low grade serous invasive tumours (1.13, 1.03–1.25) and in pre-menopausal women (1.11; 1.04–1.18). Among post–menopausal women, the associations did not differ between HRT users and non–users. Whilst obesity appears to increase risk of the less common histological subtypes of ovarian cancer, it does not increase risk of high grade invasive serous cancers, and reducing BMI is therefore unlikely to prevent the majority of ovarian cancer deaths. Other modifiable factors must be identified to control this disease.
PMCID: PMC3857135  PMID: 23404857
ovarian cancer; obesity; body mass index
14.  Green tea drinking and risk of pancreatic cancer: a large-scale, population-based case-control study in urban Shanghai 
Cancer epidemiology  2012;36(6):e354-e358.
Little is known about the etiology of pancreatic cancer. Epidemiological studies on tea consumption and pancreatic cancer risk have been inconclusive. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the association between green tea drinking and the risk of pancreatic cancer in urban Shanghai, China.
In this population-based case-control study conducted in urban Shanghai, 908 cases of pancreatic cancer and 1067 healthy controls were recruited. Information on tea drinking, including type of tea, amount of tea consumption, temperature of tea, and the duration of regular tea drinking, were collected via interview questionnaire.
We examined the association of multiple tea drinking habits with the risk of pancreatic cancer. In women, regular green tea drinking was associated with 32% reduction of pancreatic cancer risk (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.48–0.96), compared to those who did not drink tea regularly. Increased consumption and longer duration of tea drinking were both associated with reduced pancreatic cancer risk in women. Among regular tea drinkers, lower temperature of tea was associated with reduced risk of pancreatic cancer in both men and women, independent of amount or duration of tea drinking.
Habits of green tea drinking, including regular drinking, amount of consumption, persistence of the habit, and tea temperature, may lower pancreatic cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3490023  PMID: 22944495
pancreatic cancer; tea; case-control study; China
15.  Effect of Exercise on Markers of Inflammation in Breast Cancer Survivors: The Yale Exercise and Survivorship Study 
Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.)  2012;6(2):10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0278.
Physical activity is associated with improved breast cancer survival, but the underlying mechanisms, possibly including modification of the inflammatory state, are not well understood. We analyzed changes in interleukin (IL)-6, C-reactive protein (CRP), and TNF-α in a randomized controlled trial of exercise in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. Seventy-five women, recruited through the Yale-New Haven Hospital Tumor Registry, were randomized to either a six-month aerobic exercise intervention or usual care. Correlations were calculated between baseline cytokines, adiposity, and physical activity measures. Generalized linear models were used to assess the effect of exercise on IL-6, CRP, and TNF-α. At baseline, IL-6 and CRP were positively correlated with body fat and body mass index (BMI) and were inversely correlated with daily pedometer steps (P < 0.001). We found no significant effect of exercise on changes in inflammatory marker concentrations between women randomized to exercise versus usual care, though secondary analyses revealed a significant reduction in IL-6 among exercisers who reached 80% of the intervention goal compared with those who did not. Future studies should examine the effect of different types and doses of exercise and weight loss on inflammatory markers in large-scale trials of women diagnosed with breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3839104  PMID: 23213072
16.  Circulating MicroRNAs in Relation to EGFR Status and Survival of Lung Adenocarcinoma in Female Non-Smokers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81408.
Lung adenocarcinoma is considered a unique disease for Asian female non-smokers. We investigated whether plasma microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles are different by the EGFR status and are associated with survival outcomes of the patients.
Using real-time RT-PCR, we analyzed the expression of 20 miRNAs in the plasma of 105 female patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression were performed to determine the association between miRNA expression and overall survival. Time dependent receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was also performed.
In the 20 miRNAs, miR-122 were found differently expressed between wild and mutant EGFR carriers (P=0.018). Advanced disease stage and tumor metastasis were independently associated with poor prognosis of patients with lung adenocarcinoma (P=0.010 and 1.0×10-4). Plasma levels of miR-195 and miR-122 expression were also associated with overall survival in the patients, especially in those with advanced stage (HR=0.23, 95%CI:0.07-0.84; and HR=0.22, 95%CI:0.06-0.77) and EGFR mutation (HR=0.27, 95%CI:0.08-0.96; and HR=0.23, 95%CI=0.06-0.81). Moreover, a model including miR-195, miR-122 may predict survival outcomes of female patients with lung adenocarcinoma (AUC=0.707).
Circulating miR-195 and miR-122 may have prognostic values in predicting the overall survival as well as predicting EGFR mutation status in non-smoking female patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Measuring plasma levels of miR-195 and miR-122 may especially be useful in EGFR mutant patients with lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3839880  PMID: 24282590
17.  Effect of Exercise on Metabolic Syndrome Variables in Breast Cancer Survivors 
Objective. Breast cancer survivors are highly sedentary, overweight, or obese, which puts them at increased risk for comorbid chronic disease. We examined the prevalence of, and changes in, metabolic syndrome following 6 months of an aerobic exercise versus usual care intervention in a sample of sedentary postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. Design and Methods. 65 participants were randomized to an aerobic exercise intervention (EX) (n = 35) mean BMI 30.8 (±5.9) kg/m2 or usual care (UC) (n = 30) mean BMI 29.4 (±7.4) kg/m2. Metabolic syndrome prevalence was determined, as well as change in criteria and overall metabolic syndrome. Results. At baseline, 55.4% of total women met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. There was no statistically significant change in metabolic syndrome when comparing EX and UC. However, adhering to the exercise intervention (at least 120 mins/week of exercise) resulted in a significant (P = .009) decrease in metabolic syndrome z-score from baseline to 6 months (−0.76 ± 0.36) when compared to those who did not adhere (0.80 ± 0.42). Conclusions. Due to a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome in breast cancer survivors, lifestyle interventions are needed to prevent chronic diseases associated with obesity. Increasing exercise adherence is a necessary target for further research in obese breast cancer survivors.
PMCID: PMC3844242  PMID: 24319454
18.  Genome-wide association study of endometrial cancer in E2C2 
Human Genetics  2013;133(2):211-224.
Endometrial cancer (EC), a neoplasm of the uterine epithelial lining, is the most common gynecological malignancy in developed countries and the fourth most common cancer among US women. Women with a family history of EC have an increased risk for the disease, suggesting that inherited genetic factors play a role. We conducted a two-stage genome-wide association study of Type I EC. Stage 1 included 5,472 women (2,695 cases and 2,777 controls) of European ancestry from seven studies. We selected independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that displayed the most significant associations with EC in Stage 1 for replication among 17,948 women (4,382 cases and 13,566 controls) in a multiethnic population (African America, Asian, Latina, Hawaiian and European ancestry), from nine studies. Although no novel variants reached genome-wide significance, we replicated previously identified associations with genetic markers near the HNF1B locus. Our findings suggest that larger studies with specific tumor classification are necessary to identify novel genetic polymorphisms associated with EC susceptibility.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-013-1369-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3898362  PMID: 24096698
19.  An Absolute Risk Model to Identify Individuals at Elevated Risk for Pancreatic Cancer in the General Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72311.
We developed an absolute risk model to identify individuals in the general population at elevated risk of pancreatic cancer.
Patients and Methods
Using data on 3,349 cases and 3,654 controls from the PanScan Consortium, we developed a relative risk model for men and women of European ancestry based on non-genetic and genetic risk factors for pancreatic cancer. We estimated absolute risks based on these relative risks and population incidence rates.
Our risk model included current smoking (multivariable adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval: 2.20 [1.84–2.62]), heavy alcohol use (>3 drinks/day) (OR: 1.45 [1.19–1.76]), obesity (body mass index >30 kg/m2) (OR: 1.26 [1.09–1.45]), diabetes >3 years (nested case-control OR: 1.57 [1.13–2.18], case-control OR: 1.80 [1.40–2.32]), family history of pancreatic cancer (OR: 1.60 [1.20–2.12]), non-O ABO genotype (AO vs. OO genotype) (OR: 1.23 [1.10–1.37]) to (BB vs. OO genotype) (OR 1.58 [0.97–2.59]), rs3790844(chr1q32.1) (OR: 1.29 [1.19–1.40]), rs401681(5p15.33) (OR: 1.18 [1.10–1.26]) and rs9543325(13q22.1) (OR: 1.27 [1.18–1.36]). The areas under the ROC curve for risk models including only non-genetic factors, only genetic factors, and both non-genetic and genetic factors were 58%, 57% and 61%, respectively. We estimate that fewer than 3/1,000 U.S. non-Hispanic whites have more than a 5% predicted lifetime absolute risk.
Although absolute risk modeling using established risk factors may help to identify a group of individuals at higher than average risk of pancreatic cancer, the immediate clinical utility of our model is limited. However, a risk model can increase awareness of the various risk factors for pancreatic cancer, including modifiable behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3772857  PMID: 24058443
20.  Age at Last Birth in Relation to Risk of Endometrial Cancer: Pooled Analysis in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;176(4):269-278.
Childbearing at an older age has been associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer, but whether the association is independent of the number of births or other factors remains unclear. Individual-level data from 4 cohort and 13 case-control studies in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium were pooled. A total of 8,671 cases of endometrial cancer and 16,562 controls were included in the analysis. After adjustment for known risk factors, endometrial cancer risk declined with increasing age at last birth (Ptrend < 0.0001). The pooled odds ratio per 5-year increase in age at last birth was 0.87 (95% confidence interval: 0.85, 0.90). Women who last gave birth at 40 years of age or older had a 44% decreased risk compared with women who had their last birth under the age of 25 years (95% confidence interval: 47, 66). The protective association was similar across the different age-at-diagnosis groups and for the 2 major tumor histologic subtypes (type I and type II). No effect modification was observed by body mass index, parity, or exogenous hormone use. In this large pooled analysis, late age at last birth was independently associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer, and the reduced risk persisted for many years.
PMCID: PMC3491967  PMID: 22831825
endometrial neoplasms; parity; reproductive history
21.  Polymorphisms in inflammation pathway genes and endometrial cancer risk 
Experimental and epidemiological evidence have suggested that chronic inflammation may play a critical role in endometrial carcinogenesis.
To investigate this hypothesis, a two-stage study was carried out to evaluate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in inflammatory pathway genes in association with endometrial cancer risk. In stage 1, 64 candidate pathway genes were identified and 4,542 directly genotyped or imputed SNPs were analyzed among 832 endometrial cancer cases and 2,049 controls, using data from the Shanghai Endometrial Cancer Genetics Study. Linkage disequilibrium of stage 1 SNPs significantly associated with endometrial cancer (P<0.05) indicated that the majority of associations could be linked to one of 24 distinct loci. One SNP from each of the 24 loci was then selected for follow-up genotyping. Of these, 21 SNPs were successfully designed and genotyped in stage 2, which consisted of ten additional studies including 6,604 endometrial cancer cases and 8,511 controls.
Five of the 21 SNPs had significant allelic odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals as follows: FABP1, 0.92 (0.85-0.99); CXCL3, 1.16 (1.05-1.29); IL6, 1.08 (1.00-1.17); MSR1, 0.90 (0.82-0.98); and MMP9, 0.91 (0.87-0.97). Two of these polymorphisms were independently significant in the replication sample (rs352038 in CXCL3 and rs3918249 in MMP9). The association for the MMP9 polymorphism remained significant after Bonferroni correction and showed a significant association with endometrial cancer in both Asian- and European-ancestry samples.
These findings lend support to the hypothesis that genetic polymorphisms in genes involved in the inflammatory pathway may contribute to genetic susceptibility to endometrial cancer.
Impact Statement
This study adds to the growing evidence that inflammation plays an important role in endometrial carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3677562  PMID: 23221126
endometrial cancer; inflammation; genetic risk variants; meta-analysis
22.  Testing the proportional hazards assumption in case-cohort analysis 
Case-cohort studies have become common in epidemiological studies of rare disease, with Cox regression models the principal method used in their analysis. However, no appropriate procedures to assess the assumption of proportional hazards of case-cohort Cox models have been proposed.
We extended the correlation test based on Schoenfeld residuals, an approach used to evaluate the proportionality of hazards in standard Cox models. Specifically, pseudolikelihood functions were used to define “case-cohort Schoenfeld residuals”, and then the correlation of these residuals with each of three functions of event time (i.e., the event time itself, rank order, Kaplan-Meier estimates) was determined. The performances of the proposed tests were examined using simulation studies. We then applied these methods to data from a previously published case-cohort investigation of the insulin/IGF-axis and colorectal cancer.
Simulation studies showed that each of the three correlation tests accurately detected non-proportionality. Application of the proposed tests to the example case-cohort investigation dataset showed that the Cox proportional hazards assumption was not satisfied for certain exposure variables in that study, an issue we addressed through use of available, alternative analytical approaches.
The proposed correlation tests provide a simple and accurate approach for testing the proportional hazards assumption of Cox models in case-cohort analysis. Evaluation of the proportional hazards assumption is essential since its violation raises questions regarding the validity of Cox model results which, if unrecognized, could result in the publication of erroneous scientific findings.
PMCID: PMC3710085  PMID: 23834739
Proportional hazards; Schoenfeld residuals; Case-cohort studies; Cox models
23.  Pathway analysis of genome-wide association study data highlights pancreatic development genes as susceptibility factors for pancreatic cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(7):1384-1390.
Four loci have been associated with pancreatic cancer through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Pathway-based analysis of GWAS data is a complementary approach to identify groups of genes or biological pathways enriched with disease-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) whose individual effect sizes may be too small to be detected by standard single-locus methods. We used the adaptive rank truncated product method in a pathway-based analysis of GWAS data from 3851 pancreatic cancer cases and 3934 control participants pooled from 12 cohort studies and 8 case–control studies (PanScan). We compiled 23 biological pathways hypothesized to be relevant to pancreatic cancer and observed a nominal association between pancreatic cancer and five pathways (P < 0.05), i.e. pancreatic development, Helicobacter pylori lacto/neolacto, hedgehog, Th1/Th2 immune response and apoptosis (P = 2.0 × 10−6, 1.6 × 10−5, 0.0019, 0.019 and 0.023, respectively). After excluding previously identified genes from the original GWAS in three pathways (NR5A2, ABO and SHH), the pancreatic development pathway remained significant (P = 8.3 × 10−5), whereas the others did not. The most significant genes (P < 0.01) in the five pathways were NR5A2, HNF1A, HNF4G and PDX1 for pancreatic development; ABO for H. pylori lacto/neolacto; SHH for hedgehog; TGFBR2 and CCL18 for Th1/Th2 immune response and MAPK8 and BCL2L11 for apoptosis. Our results provide a link between inherited variation in genes important for pancreatic development and cancer and show that pathway-based approaches to analysis of GWAS data can yield important insights into the collective role of genetic risk variants in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3405651  PMID: 22523087
24.  A KRAS-variant is a Biomarker of Poor Outcome, Platinum Chemotherapy Resistance and a Potential Target for Therapy in Ovarian Cancer 
Oncogene  2011;31(42):4559-4566.
Germ-line variants in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of cancer genes disrupting microRNA (miRNA) regulation have recently been associated with cancer risk. A variant in the 3′UTR of the KRAS oncogene, referred to as the KRAS-variant, is associated with both cancer risk and altered tumor biology. Here we test the hypothesis that the KRAS-variant can act as a biomarker of outcome in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), and investigate the cause of altered outcome in KRAS-variant positive EOC patients. As this variant appears to be associated with tumor biology, we additionally test the hypothesis that this variant can be directly targeted to impact cell survival.
EOC patients with complete clinical data were genotyped for the KRAS-variant and analyzed for outcome (n=536), response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n=125), and platinum resistance (n=306). Outcome was separately analyzed for women with known BRCA mutations (n=79). Gene expression was analyzed on a subset of tumors with available tissue. Cell lines were employed to confirm altered sensitivity to chemotherapy with the KRAS-variant. The KRAS-variant was directly targeted through siRNA/miRNA oligonucleotides in cell lines and survival was measured.
Post-menopausal EOC patients with the KRAS-variant were significantly more likely to die of ovarian cancer by multivariate analysis (HR=1.67, 95% CI=1.09–2.57, p=0.019, n=279). Possibly explaining this finding, EOC patients with the KRAS-variant were significantly more likely to be platinum resistant (OR=3.18, CI=1.31–7.72, p=0.0106, n=291). Additionally, direct targeting of the KRAS-variant led to a significant reduction in EOC cell growth and survival in vitro.
These findings confirm the importance of the KRAS-variant in EOC, and indicate that the KRAS-variant is a biomarker of poor outcome in EOC likely due to platinum resistance. In addition, this work supports the hypothesis that these tumors have continued dependence on such 3′UTR lesions, and that direct targeting may be a viable future treatment approach.
PMCID: PMC3342446  PMID: 22139083
Platinum resistance; KRAS-variant; ovarian cancer; outcome
25.  Elucidating the Landscape of Aberrant DNA Methylation in Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55761.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers and frequently presents with an advanced disease at diagnosis. There is only limited knowledge of genome-scale methylation changes in HCC.
Methods and Findings
We performed genome-wide methylation profiling in a total of 47 samples including 27 HCC and 20 adjacent normal liver tissues using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. We focused on differential methylation patterns in the promoter CpG islands as well as in various less studied genomic regions such as those surrounding the CpG islands, i.e. shores and shelves. Of the 485,577 loci studied, significant differential methylation (DM) was observed between HCC and adjacent normal tissues at 62,692 loci or 13% (p<1.03e-07). Of them, 61,058 loci (97%) were hypomethylated and most of these loci were located in the intergenic regions (43%) or gene bodies (33%). Our analysis also identified 10,775 differentially methylated (DM) loci (17% out of 62,692 loci) located in or surrounding the gene promoters, 4% of which reside in known Differentially Methylated Regions (DMRs) including reprogramming specific DMRs and cancer specific DMRs, while the rest (10,315) involving 4,106 genes could be potential new HCC DMR loci. Interestingly, the promoter-related DM loci occurred twice as frequently in the shores than in the actual CpG islands. We further characterized 982 DM loci in the promoter CpG islands to evaluate their potential biological function and found that the methylation changes could have effect on the signaling networks of Cellular development, Gene expression and Cell death (p = 1.0e-38), with BMP4, CDKN2A, GSTP1, and NFATC1 on the top of the gene list.
Substantial changes of DNA methylation at a genome-wide level were observed in HCC. Understanding epigenetic changes in HCC will help to elucidate the pathogenesis and may eventually lead to identification of molecular markers for liver cancer diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3577824  PMID: 23437062

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