Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), the most lethal gynecologic malignancy, have identified novel susceptibility loci. GWAS for survival after EOC have had more limited success. The association of each single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) individually may not be well-suited to detect small effects of multiple SNPs, such as those operating within the same biological pathway. Gene set analysis (GSA) overcomes this limitation by assessing overall evidence for association of a phenotype with all measured variation in a set of genes.
To determine gene sets associated with EOC overall survival, we conducted GSA using data from two large GWASes (N cases = 2,813, N deaths = 1,116), with a novel Principal Component – Gamma GSA method. Analysis was completed for all cases and then separately for high grade serous (HGS) histological subtype.
Analysis of the HGS subjects resulted in 43 gene sets with p<0.005 (1.7%); of these, 21 gene sets had p < 0.10 in both GWASes, including intracellular signaling pathway (p = 7.3 × 10−5) and macrolide binding (p = 6.2 ×10−4) gene sets. The top gene sets in analysis of all cases were meiotic mismatch repair (p=6.3 ×10−4) and macrolide binding (p=1.0×10−3). Of 18 gene sets with p<0.005 (0.7%), eight had p < 0.10 in both GWASes.
This research detected novel gene sets associated with EOC survival.
Novel gene sets associated with EOC survival might lead to new insights and avenues for development of novel therapies for EOC and pharmacogenomic studies.
pathway analysis; genetic association; GWAS; SNPs; gynecologic neoplasm
The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling axis plays an important role in cancer biology. We hypothesized that genetic variation in this pathway may influence risk of ovarian cancer. A three-center study of non-Hispanic whites including 1880 control women, 1135 women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer and 321 women with borderline epithelial ovarian tumors was carried out to test the association between tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) (n=58) in this pathway and risk of ovarian cancer. We found no association between variation in IGF1, IGFBP1 or IGFBP3 and risk of invasive disease, whereas five tSNPs in IGF2 were associated with risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer at P<0.05 and followed-up one of the associated SNPs. We conducted genotyping in 3216 additional non-Hispanic white cases and 5382 additional controls and were able to independently replicate our initial findings. In the combined set of studies, rs4320932 was associated with a 13% decreased risk of ovarian cancer per copy of the minor allele carried (95% confidence interval 0.81–0.93, P-trend=7.4 × 10−5). No heterogeneity of effect across study centers was observed (phet=0.25). IGF2 is emerging as an important gene for ovarian cancer; additional genotyping is warranted to further confirm these associations with IGF2 and to narrow down the region harboring the causal SNP.
We previously reported an association between rs2660753, a prostate cancer susceptibility polymorphism, and invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) [odds ratio (OR)=1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.0-1.4, Ptrend=0.01] that showed a stronger association with the serous histological subtype (OR=1.3, 95% CI=1.1-1.5, Ptrend=0.003).
We sought to replicate this association in 12 other studies comprising 4,482 cases and 6,894 controls of white non-Hispanic ancestry in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium.
No evidence for an association with all cancers or serous cancers was observed in a combined analysis of data from the replication studies (all: OR=1.0, 95% CI=0.9-1.1, Ptrend=0.61; serous: OR=1.0, 95% CI=0.9-1.1, Ptrend=0.85) or from the combined analysis of discovery and replication studies (all: OR=1.0, 95% CI=1.0-1.1, Ptrend= 0.28; serous: OR=1.1, 95% CI=1.0-1.2, Ptrend=0.11). There was no evidence for statistical heterogeneity in ORs across the studies.
Although rs2660753 is a strong a prostate cancer susceptibility polymorphism, the association with another hormonally related cancer, invasive EOC, is not supported by this replication study.
Our findings, based on a larger sample size, emphasize the importance of replicating potentially promising genetic risk associations.
chromosome 3p; SNP; ovarian cancer; risk factors
Postmenopausal women with elevated serum sex steroids have an increased risk of breast cancer. Most of this risk is believed to be exerted through binding of the sex steroids to their receptors. For the first time, we investigate the association of estrogen receptor (ER) and androgen receptor (AR) serum bioactivity (SB) in addition to hormone levels in samples from women with breast cancer collected before diagnosis. Two hundred postmenopausal women participating in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening who developed ER-positive breast cancer 0.6–5 years after sample donation were identified and matched to 400 controls. ER and AR bioassays were used to measure ERα, ERβ, and AR SB. Androgen and estrogen levels were measured with immunoassays. Subjects were classified according to quintiles of the respective marker among controls and the associations between SB and hormones with breast cancer risk were determined by logistic regression analysis. ERα and ERβ SB were significantly higher before diagnosis compared with controls, while estrogens showed no difference. Women had a twofold increased breast cancer risk if ERα SB (odds ratio (OR), 2.114; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.050–4.425; P=0.040) was in the top quintile >2 years before diagnosis or estrone (OR, 2.205; 95% CI, 1.104–4.586; P=0.029) was in the top quintile <2 years before diagnosis. AR showed no significant association with breast cancer while androstenedione (OR, 3.187; 95% CI, 1.738–6.044; P=0.0003) and testosterone (OR, 2.145; 95% CI, 1.256–3.712; P=0.006) were significantly higher compared with controls and showed a strong association with an almost threefold increased breast cancer risk independent of time to diagnosis. This study provides further evidence on the association of androgens and estrogens with breast cancer. In addition, it reports that high ER but not AR SB is associated with increased breast risk >2 years before diagnosis.
The association of invasive ovarian carcinoma risk with the functional polymorphism rs2228570 (aka rs10735810; FokI polymorphism) in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene was examined in 1820 white non-Hispanic cases and 3479 controls in a pooled analysis of five population-based case-control studies within the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression. Carriers of the rare T allele were at increased risk of ovarian carcinoma compared to women with the CC genotype in all studies combined; each copy of the T allele was associated with a modest 9% increased risk (OR=1.09; 95% CI:1.01–1.19; p=0.04). No significant heterogeneity among studies was observed (p=0.37) and, after excluding the dataset from the Hawaii study, the risk association for rs2228570 among replication studies was unchanged (OR=1.09; 95% CI: 1.00–1.19; p=0.06). A stronger association of rs2228570 with risk was observed among younger women (aged < 50 years versus 50 years or older) (p=0.04). In all studies combined, the increased risk per copy of the T allele among younger women was 24% (OR=1.24; 95% CI: 1.04–1.47; p=0.02). This association remained statistically significant after excluding the Hawaii data (OR= 1.20; 95% CI: 1.01–1.43; p=0.04). No heterogeneity of the association was observed by stage (p= 0.46), tumor histology (p=0.98), or time between diagnosis and interview (p=0.94). This pooled analysis provides further evidence that the VDR rs2228570 polymorphism might influence ovarian cancer susceptibility.
invasive ovarian carcinoma; vitamin D receptor gene (VDR); single nucleotide polymorphism; pooled analysis; case-control study
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in microRNA-related genes have been associated with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) risk in two reports, yet associated alleles may be inconsistent across studies.
We conducted a pooled analysis of previously-identified SNPs by combining genotype data from 3,973 invasive EOC cases and 3,276 controls from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. We also conducted imputation to obtain dense coverage of genes and comparable genotype data for all studies. In total, 226 SNPs within 15 kilobases of 4 miRNA biogenesis genes (DDX20, DROSHA, GEMIN4, and XPO5) and 23 SNPs located within putative miRNA binding sites of 6 genes (CAV1, COL18A1, E2F2, IL1R1, KRAS, and UGT2A3) were genotyped or imputed and analyzed in the entire dataset.
After adjustment for European ancestry, no overall association was observed between any of the analyzed SNPs and EOC risk.
Common variants in these evaluated genes do not appear to be strongly associated with EOC risk.
This analysis suggests earlier associations between EOC risk and SNPs in these genes may have been chance findings, possibly confounded by population admixture. To more adequately evaluate the relationship between genetic variants and cancer risk, large sample sizes are needed, adjustment for population stratification should be performed, and use of imputed SNP data should be considered.
miRNA processing; binding sites; inherited susceptibility; ovarian cancer; genetic variants
To investigate the association between self-reported endometriosis and the putative functional promoter +331C/T single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and the PROGINS allele.
Control subjects from ovarian cancer case-control studies participating in the international Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. The majority of controls are drawn from population-based studies.
An international ovarian cancer consortium including studies from the Australia, Europe and the United States,
5,812 White female controls, of whom 348 had endometriosis, from eight ovarian cancer case-control studies.
Main Outcome Measures
Genotypes for the +331C/T SNP and PROGINS allele and a history of endometriosis.
The occurrence of endometriosis was reduced in women carrying one or more copies of the +331 T allele (OR=0.65; 95% CI: 0.43–0.98, p=0.042), whereas there was no association between the PROGINS allele and endometriosis (OR=0.94, 95% CI 0.76, 1.16).
Additional studies of the +331C/T variant are warranted given the current finding and the equivocal results of previous studies. The +331 T allele has been shown to result in a reduced PR-A to PR-B ratio and if the observed association with endometriosis is confirmed it would suggest that this ratio is important for this disease.
Endometriosis; progesterone receptor; ovarian cancer; PROGINS
Defective miRNA biogenesis contributes to the development and progression of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). In this study, we examined the hypothesis that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in miRNA biogenesis genes may influence EOC risk. In an initial investigation, 318 SNPs in 18 genes were evaluated among 1,815 EOC cases and 1,900 controls, followed up by a replicative joint meta-analysis of data from an additional 2,172 cases and 3,052 controls. Of 23 SNPs from 9 genes associated with risk (empirical P<0.05) in the initial investigation, the meta-analysis replicated 6 SNPs from the DROSHA, FMR1, LIN28, and LIN28B genes, including rs12194974 (G>A), a SNP in a putative transcription factor binding site in the LIN28B promoter region (summary OR=0.90, 95% CI: 0.82–0.98; P=0.015) which has been recently implicated in age of menarche and other phenotypes. Consistent with reports that LIN28B over-expression in EOC contributes to tumorigenesis by repressing tumor suppressor let-7 expression, we provide data from luciferase reporter assays and quantitative RT-PCR to suggest that the inverse association among rs12194974 A allele carriers may be due to reduced LIN28B expression. Our findings suggest that variants in LIN28B and possibly other miRNA biogenesis genes may influence EOC susceptibility.
miRNA processing; inherited susceptibility; ovarian cancer; genetic variants
Common germline genetic variation in the population is associated with susceptibility to epithelial ovarian cancer. Microcell-mediated chromosome transfer and expression microarray analysis identified nine genes associated with functional suppression of tumorogenicity in ovarian cancer cell lines; AIFM2, AKTIP, AXIN2, CASP5, FILIP1L, RBBP8, RGC32, RUVBL1 and STAG3. Sixty-three tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) in these genes were genotyped in 1,799 invasive ovarian cancer cases and 3,045 controls to look for associations with disease risk. Two SNPs in RUVBL1, rs13063604 and rs7650365, were associated with increased risk of serous ovarian cancer [HetOR = 1.42 (1.15–1.74) and the HomOR = 1.63 (1.10–1.42), p-trend = 0.0002] and [HetOR = 0.97 (0.80–1.17), HomOR = 0.74 (0.58–0.93), p-trend = 0.009], respectively. We genotyped rs13063604 and rs7650365 in an additional 4,590 cases and 6,031 controls from ten sites from the United States, Europe and Australia; however, neither SNP was significant in Stage 2. We also evaluated the potential role of tSNPs in these nine genes in ovarian cancer development by testing for allele-specific loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in 286 primary ovarian tumours. We found frequent LOH for tSNPs in AXIN2, AKTIP and RGC32 (64, 46 and 34%, respectively) and one SNP, rs1637001, in STAG3 showed significant allele-specific LOH with loss of the common allele in 94% of informative tumours (p = 0.015). Array comparative genomic hybridisation indicated that this nonrandom allelic imbalance was due to amplification of the rare allele. In conclusion, we show evidence for the involvement of a common allele of STAG3 in the development of epithelial ovarian cancer.
risk of ovarian cancer; polymorphism; association studies
We previously reported risks of ovarian carcinoma for common polymorphisms in one-carbon (1-C) transfer genes. We sought to replicate associations for DPYD rs1801265, DNMT3A rs13420827, MTHFD1 rs1950902, MTHFS rs17284990 and TYMS rs495139 with risk of ovarian carcinoma overall, and to utilize the large sample of assembled cases to investigate associations by histological type.
Associations were evaluated in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium, including 16 studies of 5,593 epithelial ovarian carcinoma cases and 9,962 controls of white non-Hispanic origin. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were adjusted for age and study site.
The five polymorphisms were not associated with ovarian carcinoma overall (P trend > 0.13); however, associations for the minor allele at TYMS rs495139 were observed for carcinomas of mucinous type (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.03-1.39; P = 0.02), clear cell type (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.75-0.99; P = 0.04) and endometrioid type (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.81-0.99; P = 0.04) (P heterogeneity = 0.001). Restriction to low-grade mucinous carcinomas further strengthened the association for the mucinous type (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.07-1.62; P = 0.01). TYMS rs495139 was not associated with serous type (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.00-1.13; P = 0.05).
TYMS rs495139 may be associated with a differential risk of ovarian carcinoma types, indicating the importance of accurate histopathological classification.
Biomarkers that distinguish ovarian carcinoma types are few, and TYMS rs495139 may provide a novel clue to type etiology. Additional genotyping in a larger sample with increased gene coverage is underway.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancy in the developed world accounting for 4 percent of deaths from cancer in women1. We performed a three-phase genome-wide association study of EOC survival in 8,951 EOC cases with available survival time data, and a parallel association analysis of EOC susceptibility. Two SNPs at 19p13.11, rs8170 and rs2363956, showed evidence of association with survival (overall P=5×10−4 and 6×10−4), but did not replicate in phase 3. However, the same two SNPs demonstrated genome-wide significance for risk of serous EOC (P=3×10−9 and 4×10−11 respectively). Expression analysis of candidate genes at this locus in ovarian tumors supported a role for the BRCA1 interacting gene C19orf62, also known as MERIT40, which contains rs8170, in EOC development.
The association of ovarian carcinoma risk with the polymorphism rs1271572 in the estrogen receptor beta (ESR2) gene was examined in 4946 women with primary invasive ovarian carcinoma and 6582 controls in a pooled analysis of ten case-control studies within the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). All participants were non-Hispanic white women. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for site and age. Women with the TT genotype were at increased risk of ovarian carcinoma compared to carriers of the G allele (OR = 1.10; 95%; CI: 1.01–1.21; p = 0.04); the OR was 1.09 (CI: 0.99–1.20; p = 0.07) after excluding data from the center (Hawaii) that nominated this SNP for OCAC genotyping A stronger association of rs1271572 TT versus GT/GG with risk was observed among women aged ≤50 years versus older women (OR = 1.35; CI: 1.12–1.62; p = 0.002; p for interaction = 0.02) that remained statistically significant after excluding Hawaii data (OR = 1.34; CI: 1.11–1.61; p = 0.009). No heterogeneity of the association was observed by study, menopausal status, gravidity, parity, use of contraceptive or menopausal hormones, tumor histological type, or stage at diagnosis. This pooled analysis suggests that rs1271572 might influence the risk of ovarian cancer, in particular among younger women.
Alterations in stromal tissue components can inhibit or promote epithelial
tumorigenesis. Decorin (DCN) and lumican (LUM)
show reduced stromal expression in serous epithelial ovarian cancer (sEOC). We
hypothesized that common variants in these genes associate with risk.
Associations with sEOC among Caucasians were estimated with odds ratios (OR)
among 397 cases and 920 controls in two U.S.-based studies (discovery set), 436
cases and 1,098 controls in Australia (replication set 1) and a consortium of 15
studies comprising 1,668 cases and 4,249 controls (replication set 2). The
discovery set and replication set 1 (833 cases and 2,013 controls) showed
statistically homogeneous (Pheterogeneity≥0.48) decreased risks of
sEOC at four variants: DCN rs3138165, rs13312816 and rs516115,
and LUM rs17018765 (OR = 0.6 to 0.9;
Ptrend = 0.001 to 0.03). Results from
replication set 2 were statistically homogeneous
(Pheterogeneity≥0.13) and associated with increased risks at
DCN rs3138165 and rs13312816, and LUM
rs17018765: all ORs = 1.2; Ptrend≤0.02. The
ORs at the four variants were statistically heterogeneous across all 18 studies
(Pheterogeneity≤0.03), which precluded combining. In post-hoc
analyses, interactions were observed between each variant and recruitment period
(Pinteraction≤0.003), age at diagnosis
(Pinteraction = 0.04), and year of diagnosis
(Pinteraction = 0.05) in the five studies
with available information (1,044 cases, 2,469 controls). We conclude that
variants in DCN and LUM are not directly
associated with sEOC, and that confirmation of possible effect modification of
the variants by non-genetic factors is required.
Participants in trials evaluating preventive interventions such as screening are on average healthier than the general population. To decrease this 'healthy volunteer effect' (HVE) women were randomly invited from population registers to participate in the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) and not allowed to self refer. This report assesses the extent of the HVE still prevalent in UKCTOCS and considers how certain shortfalls in mortality and incidence can be related to differences in socioeconomic status.
Between 2001 and 2005, 202 638 postmenopausal women joined the trial out of 1 243 312 women randomly invited from local health authority registers. The cohort was flagged for deaths and cancer registrations and mean follow up at censoring was 5.55 years for mortality, and 2.58 years for cancer incidence. Overall and cause-specific Standardised Mortality Ratios (SMRs) and Standardised Incidence Ratios (SIRs) were calculated based on national mortality (2005) and cancer incidence (2006) statistics. The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD 2007) was used to assess the link between socioeconomic status and mortality/cancer incidence, and differences between the invited and recruited populations.
The SMR for all trial participants was 37%. By subgroup, the SMRs were higher for: younger age groups, extremes of BMI distribution and with each increasing year in trial. There was a clear trend between lower socioeconomic status and increased mortality but less pronounced with incidence. While the invited population had higher mean IMD scores (more deprived) than the national average, those who joined the trial were less deprived.
Recruitment to screening trials through invitation from population registers does not prevent a pronounced HVE on mortality. The impact on cancer incidence is much smaller. Similar shortfalls can be expected in other screening RCTs and it maybe prudent to use the various mortality and incidence rates presented as guides for calculating event rates and power in RCTs involving women.
This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN22488978.
Medical Research Council (grant no. G990102), Cancer Research UK (grant no. C1479/A2884) and Department of Health
Recent epidemiologic evidence supports a role for MUC1 in ovarian carcinogenesis; therefore, we hypothesized that common genetic variation in the genes responsible for glycosylation of MUC1 may influence ovarian cancer risk. In a genome-wide association study of ovarian cancer, we observed an association between a non-synonymous SNP (rs2271077) in the UDP-N-acetyl-alpha-d-galactosamine: polypeptide N-acetylgalactosainyltransferase 2 (GALNT2) gene and ovarian cancer risk (p=0.005). We sought to validate the association in four population based ovarian cancer case-control studies collaborating through the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Although rs2271077 was associated with a significantly increased risk (Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.37, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.06-1.77) in one study with 961 cases and 922 controls, we observed no association in the remaining three studies including 1452 cases and 1954 controls (OR=0.83, 95% CI= 0.66-1.04). Therefore, there appears to be no strong evidence of association between GALNT2 SNP rs2271077 and ovarian cancer risk.
Ovarian cancer; MUC1; polymorphism
We hypothesized that variants in genes expressed as a consequence of interactions between ovarian cancer cells and the host micro-environment could contribute to cancer susceptibility. We therefore used a two-stage approach to evaluate common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 173 genes involved in stromal epithelial interactions in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). In the discovery stage, cases with epithelial ovarian cancer (n = 675) and controls (n = 1,162) were genotyped at 1,536 SNPs using an Illumina GoldenGate assay. Based on Positive Predictive Value estimates, three SNPs—PODXL rs1013368, ITGA6 rs13027811, and MMP3 rs522616—were selected for replication using TaqMan genotyping in up to 3,059 serous invasive cases and 8,905 controls from 16 OCAC case-control studies. An additional 18 SNPs with Pper-allele<0.05 in the discovery stage were selected for replication in a subset of five OCAC studies (n = 1,233 serous invasive cases; n = 3,364 controls). The discovery stage associations in PODXL, ITGA6, and MMP3 were attenuated in the larger replication set (adj. Pper-allele≥0.5). However genotypes at TERT rs7726159 were associated with ovarian cancer risk in the smaller, five-study replication study (Pper-allele = 0.03). Combined analysis of the discovery and replication sets for this TERT SNP showed an increased risk of serous ovarian cancer among non-Hispanic whites [adj. ORper-allele 1.14 (1.04–1.24) p = 0.003]. Our study adds to the growing evidence that, like the 8q24 locus, the telomerase reverse transcriptase locus at 5p15.33, is a general cancer susceptibility locus.
In this article, we report the findings from a large-scale analysis of common variation in genes that are expressed as a consequence of interactions between ovarian cancer cells and their host micro-environment that could influence serous ovarian cancer risk. We evaluated 1,302 common variants within or near 173 genes in two large case-control studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) and selected three variants for further evaluation in sixteen OCAC studies and an additional 18 for evaluation in five OCAC studies. We observed a significantly increased risk of serous ovarian cancer associated with a variant in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene. Although TERT variants have not been previously shown to contribute to ovarian cancer risk, several studies have recently reported associations between TERT variants and other forms of cancer, including gliomas, lung cancer, adenocarcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, prostate cancer, and multiple other cancers. TERT encodes a protein that is essential for the replication and maintenance of chromosomal integrity during cell division. In cancer cells, TERT has been linked to genomic instability and tumour cell proliferation. Further studies are necessary to confirm our findings and to investigate the mechanisms for the observed association.
Because both ovarian and breast cancer are hormone-related and are known to have some predisposition genes in common, we evaluated 11 of the most significant hits (six with confirmed associations with breast cancer) from the breast cancer genome-wide association study for association with invasive ovarian cancer. Eleven SNPs were initially genotyped in 2927 invasive ovarian cancer cases and 4143 controls from six ovarian cancer case–control studies. Genotype frequencies in cases and controls were compared using a likelihood ratio test in a logistic regression model stratified by study. Initially, three SNPs (rs2107425 in MRPL23, rs7313833 in PTHLH, rs3803662 in TNRC9) were weakly associated with ovarian cancer risk and one SNP (rs4954956 in NXPH2) was associated with serous ovarian cancer in non-Hispanic white subjects (P-trend < 0.1). These four SNPs were then genotyped in an additional 4060 cases and 6308 controls from eight independent studies. Only rs4954956 was significantly associated with ovarian cancer risk both in the replication study and in combined analyses. This association was stronger for the serous histological subtype [per minor allele odds ratio (OR) 1.07 95% CI 1.01–1.13, P-trend = 0.02 for all types of ovarian cancer and OR 1.14 95% CI 1.07–1.22, P-trend = 0.00017 for serous ovarian cancer]. In conclusion, we found that rs4954956 was associated with increased ovarian cancer risk, particularly for serous ovarian cancer. However, none of the six confirmed breast cancer susceptibility variants we tested was associated with ovarian cancer risk. Further work will be needed to identify the causal variant associated with rs4954956 or elucidate its function.
Epithelial ovarian cancer has a major heritable component, but the known susceptibility genes explain less than half the excess familial risk1. We performed a genome wide association study (GWAS) to identify common ovarian cancer susceptibility alleles. We evaluated 507,094 SNPs genotyped in 1,817 cases and 2,353 controls from the UK and ~2 million imputed SNPs. We genotyped the 22,790 top ranked SNPs in 4,274 cases and 4,809 controls of European ancestry from Europe, USA and Australia. We identified 12 SNPs at 9p22 associated with disease risk (P<10−8). The most significant SNP (rs3814113; P = 2.5 × 10−17) was genotyped in a further 2,670 ovarian cancer cases and 4,668 controls confirming its association (combined data odds ratio = 0.82 95% CI 0.79 – 0.86, P-trend = 5.1 × 10−19). The association differs by histological subtype, being strongest for serous ovarian cancers (OR 0.77 95% CI 0.73 – 0.81, Ptrend = 4.1 × 10−21).
Recent studies have shown that DNA methylation (DNAm) markers in peripheral blood may hold promise as diagnostic or early detection/risk markers for epithelial cancers. However, to date no study has evaluated the diagnostic and predictive potential of such markers in a large case control cohort and on a genome-wide basis.
By performing genome-wide DNAm profiling of a large ovarian cancer case control cohort, we here demonstrate that active ovarian cancer has a significant impact on the DNAm pattern in peripheral blood. Specifically, by measuring the methylation levels of over 27,000 CpGs in blood cells from 148 healthy individuals and 113 age-matched pre-treatment ovarian cancer cases, we derive a DNAm signature that can predict the presence of active ovarian cancer in blind test sets with an AUC of 0.8 (95% CI (0.74–0.87)). We further validate our findings in another independent set of 122 post-treatment cases (AUC = 0.76 (0.72–0.81)). In addition, we provide evidence for a significant number of candidate risk or early detection markers for ovarian cancer. Furthermore, by comparing the pattern of methylation with gene expression data from major blood cell types, we here demonstrate that age and cancer elicit common changes in the composition of peripheral blood, with a myeloid skewing that increases with age and which is further aggravated in the presence of ovarian cancer. Finally, we show that most cancer and age associated methylation variability is found at CpGs located outside of CpG islands.
Our results underscore the potential of DNAm profiling in peripheral blood as a tool for detection or risk-prediction of epithelial cancers, and warrants further in-depth and higher CpG coverage studies to further elucidate this role.
Over 22,000 cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed in 2007 in the United States but only a fraction of them can be attributed to mutations in highly penetrant genes such as BRCA1. To determine whether low penetrance genetic variants contribute to ovarian cancer risk, we genotyped 1,536 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in several candidate gene pathways in 848 epithelial ovarian cancer cases and 798 controls in the North Carolina Ovarian Cancer Study (NCO) using a customized Illumina array. The inflammation gene interleukin-18 (IL18) showed the strongest evidence for association with epithelial ovarian cancer in a gene-by-gene analysis (p=0.002) with a <25% chance of being a false positive finding (q-value=0.240). Using a multivariate model search algorithm over eleven IL18 tagging SNPs, we found the association was best modeled by rs1834481. Further, this SNP uniquely tagged a significantly associated IL18 haplotype and there was an increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer per rs1834481 allele (OR=1.24, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.45). In a replication stage, twelve independent studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) genotyped rs1834481 in an additional 5,877 cases and 7,791 controls. The fixed effects estimate per rs1834481 allele was null (OR=0.99, 95% CI: 0.94, 1.05) when data from the twelve OCAC studies were combined. The effect estimate remained unchanged with the addition of the initial NCO data. This analysis demonstrates the importance of consortia, like the OCAC, in either confirming or refuting the validity of putative findings in studies with smaller sample sizes.
ovarian cancer; inflammation; consortia; SNPs; IL18
The Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium selected 7 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), for which there is evidence from previous studies of an association with variation in ovarian cancer or breast cancer risks. The SNPs selected for analysis were F31I (rs2273535) in AURKA, N372H (rs144848) in BRCA2, rs2854344 in intron 17 of RB1, rs2811712 5′ flanking CDKN2A, rs523349 in the 3′ UTR of SRD5A2, D302H (rs1045485) in CASP8 and L10P (rs1982073) in TGFB1. Fourteen studies genotyped 4,624 invasive epithelial ovarian cancer cases and 8,113 controls of white non-Hispanic origin. A marginally significant association was found for RB1 when all studies were included [ordinal odds ratio (OR) 0.88 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79-1.00) p = 0.041 and dominant OR 0.87 (95% CI 0.76-0.98) p = 0.025]; when the studies that originally suggested an association were excluded, the result was suggestive although no longer statistically significant (ordinal OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.79-1.06). This SNP has also been shown to have an association with decreased risk in breast cancer. There was a suggestion of an association for AURKA, when one study that caused significant study heterogeneity was excluded [ordinal OR 1.10 (95% CI 1.01-1.20) p = 0.027; dominant OR 1.12 (95% CI 1.01-1.24) p = 0.03]. The other 5 SNPs in BRCA2, CDKN2A, SRD5A2, CASP8 and TGFB1 showed no association with ovarian cancer risk; given the large sample size, these results can also be considered to be informative. These null results for SNPs identified from relatively large initial studies shows the importance of replicating associations by a consortium approach.
association study; neoplasms; ovarian cancer; replication; single nucleotide polymorphism
Because both ovarian and breast cancer are hormone-related and are known to have some predisposition genes in common, we evaluated 11 of the most significant hits (six with confirmed associations with breast cancer) from the breast cancer genome-wide association study for association with invasive ovarian cancer. Eleven SNPs were initially genotyped in 2927 invasive ovarian cancer cases and 4143 controls from six ovarian cancer case-control studies. Genotype frequencies in cases and controls were compared using a likelihood ratio test in a logistic regression model stratified by study. Initially, three SNPs (rs2107425 in MRPL23, rs7313833 in PTHLH, rs3803662 in TNRC9) were weakly associated with ovarian cancer risk and one SNP (rs4954956 in NXPH2) was associated with serous ovarian cancer in non-Hispanic white subjects (P-trend<0.1). These four SNPs were then genotyped in an additional 4060 cases and 6308 controls from eight independent studies. Only rs4954956 was significantly associated with ovarian cancer risk both in the replication study and in combined analyses. This association was stronger for the serous histological sub-type (per minor allele odds ratio (OR) 1.07 95%CI 1.01-1.13, P-trend=0.02 for all types of ovarian cancer and OR 1.14 95%CI 1.07-1.22, P-trend = 0.00017 for serous ovarian cancer). In conclusion, we found that rs4954956 was associated with increased ovarian cancer risk, particularly for serous ovarian cancer. However none of the six confirmed breast cancer susceptibility variants we tested were associated with ovarian cancer risk. Further work will be needed to identify the causal variant associated with rs4954956 or elucidate its function.
Objective To describe the factors that contributed to successful recruitment of more than 200 000 women to the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening, one of the largest ever randomised controlled trials.
Design Descriptive study.
Setting 13 NHS trusts in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Participants Postmenopausal women aged 50-74; exclusion criteria included ovarian malignancy, bilateral oophorectomy, increased risk of familial ovarian cancer, active non-ovarian malignancy, and participation in other ovarian cancer screening trials.
Main outcome measures Achievement of target recruitment, acceptance rates of invitation, and recruitment rates.
Results The trial was set up in 13 centres with 27 adjoining local health authorities. The coordinating centre team was led by one of the senior investigators, who was closely involved in planning and day to day trial management. Of 1 243 282 women invited, 23.2% (288 955) replied that they were eligible and would like to participate. Of those sent appointments, 73.6% (205 090) attended for recruitment. The acceptance rate varied from 19% to 33% between trial centres. Measures to ensure target recruitment included named coordinating centre staff supporting and monitoring each centre, prompt identification and resolution of logistic problems, varying the volume of invitations by centre, using local non-attendance rates to determine the size of recruitment clinics, and organising large ad hoc clinics supported by coordinating centre staff. The trial randomised 202 638 women in 4.3 years.
Conclusions Planning and trial management are as important as trial design and require equal attention from senior investigators. Successful recruitment needs constant monitoring by a committed proactive management team that is willing to explore individual solutions for different centres and use central resources to improve local recruitment. Automation of trial processes with web based trial management systems is crucial in large multicentre randomised controlled trials. Recruitment can be further enhanced by using information videos and group discussions.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN22488978.