Populations in north central China are at high risk for gastric cancers (GC), and altered FAS-mediated cell signaling and/or apoptosis may contribute to this risk. We examined the association of 554 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 53 Fas signaling-related genes using a pathway-based approach in 1758 GC cases (1126 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas (GCA) and 632 gastric noncardia adenocarcinomas (GNCA)), and 2111 controls from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of GC in ethnic Chinese. SNP associations with risk of overall GC, GCA and GNCA were evaluated using unconditional logistic regressions controlling for age, sex and study. Gene- and pathway-based associations were tested using the adaptive rank-truncated product (ARTP) method. Statistical significance was evaluated empirically by permutation. Significant pathway-based associations were observed for Fas signaling with risk of overall GC (P = 5.5E-04) and GCA (P = 6.3E-03), but not GNCA (P = 8.1E-02). Among examined genes in the Fas signaling pathway, MAP2K4, FAF1, MAPK8, CASP10, CASP8, CFLAR, MAP2K1, CAP8AP2, PAK2 and IKBKB were associated with risk of GC (nominal P < 0.05), and FAF1 and MAPK8 were significantly associated with risk of both GCA and GNCA (nominal P < 0.05). Our examination of genetic variation in the Fas signaling pathway is consistent with an association of altered Fas signaling and/or apoptosis with risk of GC. As one of the first attempts to investigate a pathway-level association, our results suggest that these genes and the Fas signaling pathway warrant further evaluation in relation to GC risk in other populations.
Gastric cancer; gastric cardia; gastric noncardia; Fas signaling; genetic variants; GWAS; single nucleotide polymorphisms; pathway genes
Quantitative changes in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have been associated with the risk of a number of human cancers; however, the relationship between constitutive mtDNA copy number in blood and the risk of familial cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) has not been reported. We measured mtDNA copy number using quantitative PCR in blood-derived DNA from 136 CMM cases and 302 controls in 53 melanoma-prone families (23 segregating CDKN2A germline mutations). MtDNA copy number did not vary by age, sex, pigmentation characteristics, or CMM status. However, germline CDKN2A mutation carriers had significantly higher mean mtDNA copy number compared to non-carriers, particularly among CMM cases (geometric mean mtDNA copy number of 144 and 111 for carrier versus non-carrier, respectively; P= 0.02). When adjusting for age, sex, and familial correlation, having increasing mtDNA copy number was significantly associated with CDKN2A mutation status among CMM cases (OR=1.47, Ptrend=0.024). In particular, individuals with specific CDKN2A mutations with the potential to inactivate or reduce the level of the p16-INK4 reactive oxygen species (ROS) protective function had significantly increased mtDNA copy number levels (P=0.035). Future research in prospective studies is required to validate these findings and to further investigate mtDNA copy number in both blood and melanoma tissues in relation to CMM risk and CDKN2A mutation status.
Familial melanoma; CDKN2A; mtDNA copy number; peripheral blood
Although CDKN2A is the most frequent high-risk melanoma susceptibility gene, the underlying genetic factors for most melanoma-prone families remain unknown. Using whole exome sequencing, we identified a rare variant that arose as a founder mutation in the telomere shelterin POT1 gene (g.7:124493086 C>T, Ser270Asn) in five unrelated melanoma-prone families from Romagna, Italy. Carriers of this variant had increased telomere length and elevated fragile telomeres suggesting that this variant perturbs telomere maintenance. Two additional rare POT1 variants were identified in all cases sequenced in two other Italian families, yielding a frequency of POT1 variants comparable to that of CDKN2A mutations in this population. These variants were not found in public databases or in 2,038 genotyped Italian controls. We also identified two rare recurrent POT1 variants in American and French familial melanoma cases. Our findings suggest that POT1 is a major susceptibility gene for familial melanoma in several populations.
To identify common genetic variants that contribute to lung cancer susceptibility, we conducted a multistage genome-wide association study of lung cancer in Asian women who never smoked. We scanned 5,510 never-smoking female lung cancer cases and 4,544 controls drawn from 14 studies from mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We genotyped the most promising variants (associated at P < 5 × 10-6) in an additional 1,099 cases and 2,913 controls. We identified three new susceptibility loci at 10q25.2 (rs7086803, P = 3.54 × 10-18), 6q22.2 (rs9387478, P = 4.14 × 10-10) and 6p21.32 (rs2395185, P = 9.51 × 10-9). We also confirmed associations reported for loci at 5p15.33 and 3q28 and a recently reported finding at 17q24.3. We observed no evidence of association for lung cancer at 15q25 in never-smoking women in Asia, providing strong evidence that this locus is not associated with lung cancer independent of smoking.
In the National Cancer Institute Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) genome-wide association study of breast cancer, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker, rs999737, in the 14q24.1 interval, was associated with breast cancer risk. In order to fine map this region, we imputed a 3.93MB region flanking rs999737 for Stages 1 and 2 of the CGEMS study (5,692 cases, 5,576 controls) using the combined reference panels of the HapMap 3 and the 1000 Genomes Project. Single-marker association testing and variable-sized sliding-window haplotype analysis were performed, and for both analyses the initial tagging SNP rs999737 retained the strongest association with breast cancer risk. Investigation of contiguous regions did not reveal evidence for an additional independent signal. Therefore, we conclude that rs999737 is an optimal tag SNP for common variants in the 14q24.1 region and thus narrow the candidate variants that should be investigated in follow-up laboratory evaluation.
RAD51L1; breast cancer; genome-wide association study; fine-mapping; imputation
The genetic regulation of the human epigenome is not fully appreciated. Here we describe the effects of genetic variants on the DNA methylome in human lung based on methylation-quantitative trait loci (meQTL) analyses. We report 34,304 cis- and 585 trans-meQTLs, a genetic-epigenetic interaction of surprising magnitude, including a regulatory hotspot. These findings are replicated in both breast and kidney tissues and show distinct patterns: cis-meQTLs mostly localize to CpG sites outside of genes, promoters, and CpG islands (CGIs), while trans-meQTLs are over-represented in promoter CGIs. meQTL SNPs are enriched in CTCF binding sites, DNaseI hypersensitivity regions and histone marks. Importantly, 4 of the 5 established lung cancer risk loci in European ancestry are cis-meQTLs and, in aggregate, cis-meQTLs are enriched for lung cancer risk in a genome-wide analysis of 11,587 subjects. Thus, inherited genetic variation may affect lung carcinogenesis by regulating the human methylome.
Dysplastic nevi (DN) is a strong risk factor for cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM), and it frequently occurs in melanoma-prone families. To identify genetic variants for DN, we genotyped 677 tagSNPs in 38 melanoma candidate genes that are involved in pigmentation, DNA repair, cell cycle control, and melanocyte proliferation pathways in a total of 504 individuals (310 with DN, 194 without DN) from 53 melanoma-prone families (23 CDKN2A mutation positive and 30 negative). Conditional logistic regression, conditioning on families, was used to estimate the association between DN and each SNP separately, adjusted for age, sex, CMM and CDKN2A status. P-values for SNPs in the same gene were combined to yield gene-specific p-values. Two genes, CDK6 and XRCC1, were significantly associated with DN after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing (P=0.0001 and 0.00025, respectively), whereas neither gene was significantly associated with CMM. Associations for CDK6 SNPs were stronger in CDKN2A mutation positive families (rs2079147, Pinteraction=0.0033), whereas XRCC1 SNPs had similar effects in mutation-positive and negative families. The association for one of the associated SNPs in XRCC1 (rs25487) was replicated in two independent datasets (random effect meta-analysis: P<0.0001). Our findings suggest that some genetic variants may contribute to DN risk independently of their association with CMM in melanoma-prone families.
The DNA repair pathways help to maintain genomic integrity and therefore genetic variation in the pathways could affect the propensity to develop cancer. Selected germline single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the pathways have been associated with esophageal cancer and gastric cancer (GC) but few studies have comprehensively examined the pathway genes. We aimed to investigate associations between DNA repair pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and GC, using data from a genome-wide association study in a Han Chinese population where ESCC and GC are the predominant cancers. In sum, 1942 ESCC cases, 1758 GC cases and 2111 controls from the Shanxi Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Project (discovery set) and the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials (replication set) were genotyped for 1675 SNPs in 170 DNA repair-related genes. Logistic regression models were applied to evaluate SNP-level associations. Gene- and pathway-level associations were determined using the resampling-based adaptive rank-truncated product approach. The DNA repair pathways overall were significantly associated with risk of ESCC (P = 6.37 × 10−
4), but not with GC (P = 0.20). The most significant gene in ESCC was CHEK2 (P = 2.00 × 10−
6) and in GC was CLK2 (P = 3.02 × 10−
4). We observed several other genes significantly associated with either ESCC (SMUG1, TDG, TP53, GTF2H3, FEN1, POLQ, HEL308, RAD54B, MPG, FANCE and BRCA1) or GC risk (MRE11A, RAD54L and POLE) (P < 0.05). We provide evidence for an association between specific genes in the DNA repair pathways and the risk of ESCC and GC. Further studies are warranted to validate these associations and to investigate underlying mechanisms.
Evidence about the role for reproductive and hormonal factors in the etiology of lung cancer in women is conflicting. To clarify this question, we examined 407 female cases and 499 female controls from the Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) population-based case-control study. Subjects were interviewed in person using a computer-assisted personal interview to assess demographics, education, smoking history, medical history, occupational history, reproductive and hormonal factors. Associations of interest were investigated using logistic regression models, adjusted for catchment area and age (matching variables), cigarette smoking (status, pack-years, and time since quitting). Additional confounding variables were investigated but did not substantially affect the results. We observed a reduced risk of lung cancer among women with later age at first live birth (≥31 years: OR=0.57, 95%CI=0.31–1.06, p-trend=0.05), later age at menopause (≥51 years: OR=0.49, 95%CI=0.31–0.79, p-trend=0.003), and longer reproductive periods (≥41 years: OR=0.44, 95%CI=0.25–0.79, p-trend=0.01). A reduced risk was also observed for Hormone Replacement Therapy (OR=0.63, 95%CI=0.42–0.95, p=0.03) and oral contraceptive use (OR=0.67, 95%CI=0.45–1.00, p=0.05), but no trend with duration of use was detected. Menopausal status (both natural and induced) was associated with an augmented risk. No additional associations were identified for other reproductive variables. This study suggests that women who continue to produce estrogens have a lower lung cancer risk. Large studies with great number of never smoking women, biomarkers of estrogen and molecular classification of lung cancer are needed for a more comprehensive view of the association between reproductive factors and lung cancer risk.
case-control study; lung cancer; reproductive factors
The aim of the current study was to investigate the pattern of cancer
screening behavior in adult retinoblastoma survivors, who are at high risk
of developing second cancers.
Self-reported cancer screening practices were investigated in a
cohort of retinoblastoma survivors to evaluate whether they were receiving
adequate screening for specific cancers and compare these rates with those
of other adult survivors of childhood cancer and the general population. The
prevalence of breast self-examination, clinical breast examination,
mammography, Papanicolaou (Pap) test, testicular self-examination, and
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scanning was
determined from computer-aided telephone interviews with 836 retinoblastoma
survivors aged >18 years.
Among female survivors, 87% had a Pap test within the past 2
years, and 76% of females age >40 years reported having a
mammogram within the past 2 years; 17.4% of male survivors had
performed monthly testicular self-examinations. A significantly higher
proportion of hereditary compared with nonhereditary survivors reported
having undergone an MRI or CT scan in the past 5 years. Higher education,
greater contact with the medical care system, and having a second cancer
were found to be associated positively with most screening practices. Cancer
screening practices reported by retinoblastoma survivors were similar to
national screening rates for breast, cervical, and testicular cancer.
To the authors' knowledge, the current study provides the
first report of cancer screening practices of retinoblastoma survivors.
Survivors of hereditary retinoblastoma should be encouraged to maintain, if
not increase, their current screening practices to ensure early detection of
second cancers in this high-risk population.
In China, esophageal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death where essentially all cases are histologically esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), in contrast to esophageal adenocarcinoma in the West. Globally, ESCC is 2.4 times more common among men than women and recently it has been suggested that sex hormones may be associated with the risk of ESCC. We examined the association between genetic variants in sex hormone metabolic genes and ESCC risk in a population from north central China with high-incidence rates. A total of 1026 ESCC cases and 1452 controls were genotyped for 797 unique tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 51 sex hormone metabolic genes. SNP-, gene- and pathway-based associations with ESCC risk were evaluated using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for age, sex and geographical location and the adaptive rank truncated product (ARTP) method. Statistical significance was determined through use of permutation for pathway- and gene-based associations. No associations were observed for the overall sex hormone metabolic pathway (P = 0.14) or subpathways (androgen synthesis: P = 0.30, estrogen synthesis: P = 0.15 and estrogen removal: P = 0.19) with risk of ESCC. However, six individual genes (including SULT2B1, CYP1B1, CYP3A7, CYP3A5, SHBG and CYP11A1) were significantly associated with ESCC risk (P < 0.05). Our examination of genetic variation in the sex hormone metabolic pathway is consistent with a potential association with risk of ESCC. These positive findings warrant further evaluation in relation to ESCC risk and replication in other populations.
Dysplastic nevi (DN) are described as being on a continuum between common acquired nevi and melanoma because they are morphologically and biologically intermediate between these two entities. Since initially being reported as histologic lesions observed in melanoma-prone families, there has been considerable debate about the definition of dysplastic nevi, the histologic and clinical criteria used to define them, and their biological importance. Their role as precursor lesions for melanoma is not their primary role in their relationship to melanoma because of the rarity of transformation of any individual nevus to a melanoma. Although there is still no single universally agreed upon histologic or clinical definition or even name for these nevi, dysplastic nevi should be considered important because of their association with an increased risk for melanoma.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone malignancy of adolescents and young adults. In order to better understand the genetic etiology of osteosarcoma, we performed a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) consisting of 941 cases and 3,291 cancer-free adult controls of European ancestry. Two loci achieved genome-wide significance: rs1906953 at 6p21.3, in the glutamate receptor metabotropic 4 [GRM4] gene (P = 8.1 ×10-9), and rs7591996 and rs10208273 in a gene desert on 2p25.2 (P = 1.0 ×10-8 and 2.9 ×10-7). These two susceptibility loci warrant further exploration to uncover the biological mechanisms underlying susceptibility to osteosarcoma.
Increasing evidence suggests that some neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, are inversely related to cancer. Few epidemiologic studies have examined the relationship between cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), another major neurodegenerative disease. This study addresses that gap.
Using data from 16 population-based cancer registries of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the U.S. National Cancer Institute and death certificates, we followed 2.7 million cancer survivors who were diagnosed between 1973 and 2007, and who survived at least 1 year following cancer diagnosis. The standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of observed to expected ALS deaths in cancer survivors was calculated.
A total of 1,216 ALS deaths were reported among 1 year survivors of cancer over 16.6 million person-years of follow-up. ALS mortality was not significantly associated with the incidence of total cancers [SMR = 1.00 (95 % confidence interval (CI), 0.95–1.06)]. There was, however, a significantly elevated risk of ALS death among survivors of melanoma [SMR = 1.49 (95 % (CI), 1.17–1.85)] and of tongue cancer [SMR = 2.57 (95 % CI, 1.41–4.32)], and a significantly reduced ALS death risk among prostate cancer survivors [SMR = 0.86 (95 % CI, 0.76–0.96)].
Cancer at certain sites may be related to risk of ALS death. Possible biologic factors linking ALS to these cancers are discussed. Future studies should attempt to confirm these associations using incident ALS outcomes. Establishing relationships between cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, opens new opportunities for understanding related pathophysiologic and therapeutic possibilities for these diseases.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Neoplasms; Melanoma; Tongue neoplasms; Prostatic neoplasms
We developed three absolute risk models for second primary thyroid cancer to assist with long-term clinical monitoring of childhood cancer survivors.
Patients and Methods
We used data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) and two nested case-control studies (Nordic CCSS; Late Effects Study Group). Model M1 included self-reported risk factors, model M2 added basic radiation and chemotherapy treatment information abstracted from medical records, and model M3 refined M2 by incorporating reconstructed radiation absorbed dose to the thyroid. All models were validated in an independent cohort of French childhood cancer survivors.
M1 included birth year, initial cancer type, age at diagnosis, sex, and past thyroid nodule diagnosis. M2 added radiation (yes/no), radiation to the neck (yes/no), and alkylating agent (yes/no). Past thyroid nodule was consistently the strongest risk factor (M1 relative risk [RR], 10.8; M2 RR, 6.8; M3 RR, 8.2). In the validation cohort, 20-year absolute risk predictions for second primary thyroid cancer ranged from 0.04% to 7.4% for M2. Expected events agreed well with observed events for each model, indicating good calibration. All models had good discriminatory ability (M1 area under the receiver operating characteristics curve [AUC], 0.71; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.77; M2 AUC, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.86; M3 AUC, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.69 to 0.82).
We developed and validated three absolute risk models for second primary thyroid cancer. Model M2, with basic prior treatment information, could be useful for monitoring thyroid cancer risk in childhood cancer survivors.
A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of subjects from Japan and South Korea reported a novel association between the TP63 locus on chromosome 3q28 and risk of lung adenocarcinoma (p = 7.3 × 10−12); however, this association did not achieve genome-wide significance (p < 10−7) among never-smoking males or females. To determine if this association with lung cancer risk is independent of tobacco use, we genotyped the TP63 SNPs reported by the previous GWAS (rs10937405 and rs4488809) in 3,467 never-smoking female lung cancer cases and 3,787 never-smoking female controls from 10 studies conducted in Taiwan, Mainland China, South Korea, and Singapore. Genetic variation in rs10937405 was associated with risk of lung adenocarcinoma [n = 2,529 cases; p = 7.1 × 10−8; allelic risk = 0.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.74–0.87]. There was also evidence of association with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (n = 302 cases; p = 0.037; allelic risk = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.67–0.99). Our findings provide strong evidence that genetic variation in TP63 is associated with the risk of lung adenocarcinoma among Asian females in the absence of tobacco smoking.
The XPD(ERCC2) gene encodes a DNA helicase involved in DNA repair and transcription. Patients with mutations in XPD may have different autosomal recessive phenotypes including trichothiodystrophy (TTD) or xeroderma pigmentosum (XP). TTD patients have sulfur-deficient, brittle hair, short stature and developmental delay. In contrast, XP patients have freckle-like pigmentation and a greatly increased risk of sun-induced skin cancers. Mothers of TTD patients have been reported to have a high frequency of pregnancy and neonatal complications. We performed a molecular epidemiological study of 15 mothers of 17 TTD patients and 13 mothers of 17 XP patients, all with XPD mutations. We found that 94% (16/17) of the TTD pregnancies had pre-term delivery, pre-eclampsia, hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (HELLP) syndrome, prematurity or low birth weight. None of the 17 XP pregnancies had these complications (P<0.001). As mutations in XPD may have differential effects on DNA repair and transcription, these observations should provide insights into the role of XPD in human pregnancy and fetal development.
DNA repair; pre-eclampsia; transcription factor IIH
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 36 loci associated with body mass index (BMI), predominantly in populations of European ancestry. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the association of >3.2 million SNPs with BMI in 39,144 men and women of African ancestry, and followed up the most significant associations in an additional 32,268 individuals of African ancestry. We identified one novel locus at 5q33 (GALNT10, rs7708584, p=3.4×10−11) and another at 7p15 when combined with data from the Giant consortium (MIR148A/NFE2L3, rs10261878, p=1.2×10−10). We also found suggestive evidence of an association at a third locus at 6q16 in the African ancestry sample (KLHL32, rs974417, p=6.9×10−8). Thirty-two of the 36 previously established BMI variants displayed directionally consistent effect estimates in our GWAS (binomial p=9.7×10−7), of which five reached genome-wide significance. These findings provide strong support for shared BMI loci across populations as well as for the utility of studying ancestrally diverse populations.
Childhood cancer five-year survival now exceeds 70–80%. Childhood exposure to radiation is a known thyroid carcinogen; however, data are limited for the evaluation of radiation dose-response at high doses, modifiers of the dose-response relationship and joint effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. To address these issues, we pooled two cohort and two nested case-control studies of childhood cancer survivors including 16,757 patients, with 187 developing primary thyroid cancer. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for thyroid cancer by treatment with alkylating agents, anthracyclines or bleomycin were 3.25 (0.9–14.9), 4.5 (1.4–17.8) and 3.2 (0.8–10.4), respectively, in patients without radiotherapy, and declined with greater radiation dose (RR trends, P = 0.02, 0.12 and 0.01, respectively). Radiation dose-related RRs increased approximately linearly for <10 Gy, leveled off at 10–15-fold for 10–30 Gy and then declined, but remained elevated for doses >50 Gy. The fitted RR at 10 Gy was 13.7 (95% CI: 8.0–24.0). Dose-related excess RRs increased with decreasing age at exposure (P < 0.01), but did not vary with attained age or time-since-exposure, remaining elevated 25+ years after exposure. Gender and number of treatments did not modify radiation effects. Thyroid cancer risks remained elevated many decades following radiotherapy, highlighting the need for continued follow up of childhood cancer survivors.
We conducted a genome-wide association study of gastric cancer (GC) and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in ethnic Chinese subjects in which we genotyped 551,152 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We report a combined analysis of 2,240 GC cases, 2,115 ESCC cases, and 3,302 controls drawn from five studies. In logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, and study, multiple variants at 10q23 had genome-wide significance for GC and ESCC independently. A notable signal was rs2274223, a nonsynonymous SNP located in PLCE1, for GC (P=8.40×1010; per allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.31) and ESCC (P=3.85×10−9; OR = 1.34). The association with GC differed by anatomic subsite. For tumors located in the cardia the association was stronger (P=4.19 × 10−15; OR= 1.57) and for those located in the noncardia stomach it was absent (P=0.44; OR=1.05). Our findings at 10q23 could provide insight into the high incidence rates of both cancers in China.
Recent evidence suggests a link between constitutional telomere length (TL) and cancer risk. Previous studies have suggested that longer telomeres were associated with an increased risk of melanoma and larger size and number of nevi. The goal of this study was to examine whether TL modified the risk of melanoma in melanoma-prone families with and without CDKN2A germline mutations.
Materials and Methods
We measured TL in blood DNA in 119 cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) cases and 208 unaffected individuals. We also genotyped 13 tagging SNPs in TERT.
We found that longer telomeres were associated with an increased risk of CMM (adjusted OR = 2.81, 95% CI = 1.02–7.72, P = 0.04). The association of longer TL with CMM risk was seen in CDKN2A- cases but not in CDKN2A+ cases. Among CMM cases, the presence of solar injury was associated with shorter telomeres (P = 0.002). One SNP in TERT, rs2735940, was significantly associated with TL (P = 0.002) after Bonferroni correction.
Our findings suggest that TL regulation could be variable by CDKN2A mutation status, sun exposure, and pigmentation phenotype. Therefore, TL measurement alone may not be a good marker for predicting CMM risk.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway regulates cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival, and is frequently dysregulated in esophageal and gastric cancers. Few studies have comprehensively examined the association between germline genetic variants in the EGFR pathway and risk of esophageal and gastric cancers. Based on a genome-wide association study in a Han Chinese population, we examined 3443 SNPs in 127 genes in the EGFR pathway for 1942 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs), 1758 gastric cancers (GCs), and 2111 controls. SNP-level analyses were conducted using logistic regression models. We applied the resampling-based adaptive rank truncated product approach to determine the gene- and pathway-level associations. The EGFR pathway was significantly associated with GC risk (P = 2.16×10−3). Gene-level analyses found 10 genes to be associated with GC, including FYN, MAPK8, MAP2K4, GNAI3, MAP2K1, TLN1, PRLR, PLCG2, RPS6KB2, and PIK3R3 (P<0.05). For ESCC, we did not observe a significant pathway-level association (P = 0.72), but gene-level analyses suggested associations between GNAI3, CHRNE, PAK4, WASL, and ITCH, and ESCC (P<0.05). Our data suggest an association between specific genes in the EGFR signaling pathway and risk of GC and ESCC. Further studies are warranted to validate these associations and to investigate underlying mechanisms.