Recently, polygenic risk scores have been shown to be associated with certain complex diseases. The approach has been based on the contribution of counting multiple alleles associated with disease across independent loci, without requiring compelling evidence that every locus had already achieved definitive genome-wide statistical significance. Whether polygenic risk scores assist in the prediction of risk of common cancers is unknown. We built polygenic risk scores from lists of genetic markers prioritized by their association with breast or prostate cancer in a training data set and evaluated whether these scores could improve current genetic prediction of these specific cancers in independent test samples. We used genome-wide association data on 1,145 breast cancer cases and 1,142 controls from the Nurses’ Health Study and 1,164 prostate cancer cases and 1,113 controls from the Prostate Lung Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Ten-fold cross validation was used to build and evaluate polygenic risk scores with 10 to 60,000 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). For both breast and prostate cancer, the models that included only published risk alleles maximized the cross-validation estimate of the area under the ROC curve (0.53 for breast and 0.57 for prostate). We found no significant evidence that polygenic risk scores using common variants improved risk prediction for breast and prostate cancer over replicated SNP scores.
single nucleotide polymorphisms; genome-wide association study; human genetics
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.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified multiple common genetic variants associated with an increased risk of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs). A previous GWAS reported a possible TGCT susceptibility locus on chromosome 1q23 in the UCK2 gene, but failed to reach genome-wide significance following replication. We interrogated this region by conducting a meta-analysis of two independent GWASs including a total of 940 TGCT cases and 1559 controls for 122 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 1q23 and followed up the most significant SNPs in an additional 2202 TGCT cases and 2386 controls from four case–control studies. We observed genome-wide significant associations for several UCK2 markers, the most significant of which was for rs3790665 (PCombined = 6.0 × 10−9). Additional support is provided from an independent familial study of TGCT where a significant over-transmission for rs3790665 with TGCT risk was observed (PFBAT = 2.3 × 10−3). Here, we provide substantial evidence for the association between UCK2 genetic variation and TGCT risk.
Chemokines play a pivotal role in immune regulation and response, and
previous studies suggest an association between immune deficiency and
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
We evaluated the association between NHL and polymorphisms in 18
genes (CCL1, CCL2, CCL5, CCL7, CCL8, CCL11, CCL13, CCL18, CCL20,
CCL24, CCL26, CCR1, CCR3, CCR4, CCR6, CCR7, CCR8 and CCR9)
encoding for the CC chemokines using data from a population-based
case-control study of NHL conducted in Connecticut women.
CCR8 was associated with diffuse large B-cell
lymphoma (DLBCL) (p = 0.012) and CCL13 was
associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma
(CLL/SLL) (p = 0.003) at gene level. After adjustment for
multiple comparisons, none of the genes or SNPs were associated with risk of
overall NHL or NHL subtypes.
Our results suggest that the genes encoding for CC chemokines are not
significantly associated with the risk of NHL, and further studies are
needed to verify these findings.
Our data indicate that CC chemokine genes were not associated with
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; CC chemokine gene; Single nucleotide polymorphism
We conducted a population-based case-control study in Connecticut women to test the hypothesis that genetic variations in DNA repair pathway genes may modify the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Compared to those with BMI < 25, women with BMI ≥ 25 had significantly increased risk of NHL among women who carried BRCA1 (rs799917) CT/TT, ERCC2 (rs13181) AA, XRCC1 (rs1799782) CC, and WRN (rs1801195) GG genotypes, but no increase in NHL risk among women who carried BRCA1 CC, ERCC2 AC/CC, XRCC1 CT/TT, and WRN GT/TT genotypes. A significant interaction with BMI was only observed for WRN (rs1801195, P=0.004) for T-cell lymphoma and ERCC2 (rs13181, P=0.002) for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The results suggest that common genetic variation in DNA repair pathway genes may modify the association between BMI and NHL risk.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; BMI; polymorphisms; DNA repair genes
Common variants in two of the five genetic regions recently identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of risk of glioma were reported to interact with a history of allergic symptoms. In a pooled analysis of five epidemiologic studies, we evaluated the association between the five GWAS implicated gene variants and allergies and autoimmune conditions (AIC) on glioma risk (851 adult glioma cases and 3,977 controls). We further evaluated the joint effects between allergies and AIC and these gene variants on glioma risk. Risk estimates were calculated as odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI), adjusted for age, gender, and study. Joint effects were evaluated by conducting stratified analyses whereby the risk associations (OR and 95 % CI) with the allergy or autoimmune conditions for glioma were evaluated by the presence or absence of the ‘at-risk’ variant, and estimated p interaction by fitting models with the main effects of allergy or autoimmune conditions and genotype and an interaction (product) term between them. Four of the five SNPs previously reported by others were statistically significantly associated with increased risk of glioma in our study (rs2736100, rs4295627, rs4977756, and rs6010620); rs498872 was not associated with glioma in our study. Reporting any allergies or AIC was associated with reduced risks of glioma (allergy: adjusted OR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.55–0.91; AIC: adjusted OR = 0.65, 95 % CI 0.47–0.90). We did not observe differential association between allergic or autoimmune conditions and glioma by genotype, and there were no statistically significant p interactions. Stratified analysis by glioma grade (low and high grade) did not suggest risk differences by disease grade. Our results do not provide evidence that allergies or AIC modulate the association between the four GWAS-identified SNPs examined and risk of glioma.
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms; Glioma; Allergies; Autoimmune conditions; Gene–environment interaction
Urothelial bladder cancer (UBC) is heterogeneous at the clinical, pathological, and genetic levels. Tumor invasiveness (T) and grade (G) are the main factors associated with outcome and determine patient management (1). A discovery exome sequencing screen (n=17), followed by a prevalence screen (n=60), identified new genes mutated in this tumor coding for proteins involved in chromatin modification (MLL2, ASXL2, BPTF), cell division (STAG2, SMC1A, SMC1B), and DNA repair (ATM, ERCC2, FANCA). STAG2, a subunit of cohesin, was significantly and commonly mutated/lost in UBC, mainly in tumors of low stage/grade, and its loss was associated with improved outcome. Loss of expression was often observed in chromosomally-stable tumors and STAG2 knockdown in bladder cancer cells did not increase aneuploidy. STAG2 reintroduction in non-expressing cells led to reduced colony formation. Our findings indicate that STAG2 is a novel UBC tumor suppressor acting through mechanisms that are different from its role to prevent aneuploidy.
exome sequencing; bladder cancer; STAG2; cohesin; aneuploidy; tumorsuppressor
Familial cancer can be used to leverage genetic association studies. Recent genome-wide association studies have reported independent associations between seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and risk of glioma. The aim of this study was to investigate whether glioma cases with a positive family history of brain tumours, defined as having at least one first or second degree relative with a history of brain tumour, are associated with known glioma risk loci. 1431 glioma cases and 2868 cancer-free controls were identified from four case-control studies and two prospective cohorts from USA, Sweden, and Denmark and genotyped for seven SNPs previously reported to be associated with glioma risk in case-control designed studies. Odds ratios were calculated by unconditional logistic regression. In analyses including glioma cases with a family history of brain tumours (n=104) and control subjects free of glioma at baseline, three out of seven SNPs were associated with glioma risk; rs2736100 (5p15.33, TERT), rs4977756 (9p21.3, CDKN2A-CDKN2B), and rs6010620 (20q13.33, RTEL1). After Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons, only one marker was statistically significantly associated with glioma risk, rs6010620 (ORtrend for the minor (A) allele, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.25–0.61; Bonferroni adjusted ptrend, 1.7×10−4). In conclusion, as previously shown for glioma regardless of family history of brain tumours, rs6010620 (RTEL1) was associated with an increased risk of glioma when restricting to cases with family history of brain tumours. These findings require confirmation in further studies with a larger number of glioma cases with a family history of brain tumours.
Glioma; brain tumours; genome-wide association study; single nucleotide polymorphism
The National Cancer Institute’s NCI-60 cell line panel, the most extensively characterized set of cells in existence and a public resource, is frequently used as a screening tool for drug discovery. Since many laboratories around the world rely on data from the NCI-60 cells, confirmation of their genetic identities represents an essential step in validating results from them. Given the consequences of cell line contamination or misidentification, quality control measures should routinely include DNA fingerprinting. We have, therefore, used standard DNA microsatellite short tandem repeats to profile the NCI-60, and the resulting DNA fingerprints are provided here as a reference. Consistent with previous reports, the fingerprints suggest that several NCI-60 lines have common origins: the melanoma lines MDA-MB-435, MDA-N, and M14; the central nervous system lines U251 and SNB-19; the ovarian lines OVCAR-8 and OVCAR-8/ADR (also called NCI/ADR); and the prostate lines DU-145, DU-145 (ATCC), and RC0.1. Those lines also demonstrate that the ability to connect two fingerprints to the same origin is not affected by stable transfection or by the development of multidrug resistance. As expected, DNA fingerprints were not able to distinguish different tissues-of-origin. The fingerprints serve principally as a barcodes.
DNA fingerprinting; NCI-60; cell contamination
Germline variants in TP63 have been consistently associated with several tumors, including bladder cancer, indicating the importance of TP53 pathway in cancer genetic susceptibility. However, variants in other related genes, including TP53 rs1042522 (Arg72Pro), still present controversial results. We carried out an in depth assessment of associations between common germline variants in the TP53 pathway and bladder cancer risk.
Material and Methods
We investigated 184 tagSNPs from 18 genes in 1,058 cases and 1,138 controls from the Spanish Bladder Cancer/EPICURO Study. Cases were newly-diagnosed bladder cancer patients during 1998–2001. Hospital controls were age-gender, and area matched to cases. SNPs were genotyped in blood DNA using Illumina Golden Gate and TaqMan assays. Cases were subphenotyped according to stage/grade and tumor p53 expression. We applied classical tests to assess individual SNP associations and the Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO)-penalized logistic regression analysis to assess multiple SNPs simultaneously.
Based on classical analyses, SNPs in BAK1 (1), IGF1R (5), P53AIP1 (1), PMAIP1 (2), SERINPB5 (3), TP63 (3), and TP73 (1) showed significant associations at p-value≤0.05. However, no evidence of association, either with overall risk or with specific disease subtypes, was observed after correction for multiple testing (p-value≥0.8). LASSO selected the SNP rs6567355 in SERPINB5 with 83% of reproducibility. This SNP provided an OR = 1.21, 95%CI 1.05–1.38, p-value = 0.006, and a corrected p-value = 0.5 when controlling for over-estimation.
We found no strong evidence that common variants in the TP53 pathway are associated with bladder cancer susceptibility. Our study suggests that it is unlikely that TP53 Arg72Pro is implicated in the UCB in white Europeans. SERPINB5 and TP63 variation deserve further exploration in extended studies.
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.
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.
Dietary and circulating carotenoids have been inversely associated with breast cancer risk, but observed associations may be due to confounding. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in β-carotene 15,15′-monooxygenase 1 (BCMO1), a gene encoding the enzyme involved in the first step of synthesizing vitamin A from dietary carotenoids, have been associated with circulating carotenoid concentrations and may serve as unconfounded surrogates for those biomarkers. We determined associations between variants in BCMO1 and breast cancer risk in a large cohort consortium.
We used unconditional logistic regression to test four SNPs in BCMO1 for associations with breast cancer risk in 9,226 cases and 10,420 controls from the National Cancer Institute Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3). We also tested weighted multi-SNP scores composed of the two SNPs with strong, confirmed associations with circulating carotenoid concentrations.
Neither the individual SNPs nor the weighted multi-SNP scores were associated with breast cancer risk (odds ratio (95% confidence interval) comparing extreme quintiles of weighted multi-SNP scores =1.04 (0.94–1.16) for β-carotene, 1.08 (0.98–1.20) for α-carotene, 1.04 (0.94–1.16) for β-cryptoxanthin, 0.95 (0.87–1.05) for lutein/zeaxanthin, and 0.92 (0.83–1.02) for retinol). Furthermore, no associations were observed when stratifying by estrogen receptor status, but power was limited.
Our results do not support an association between SNPs associated with circulating carotenoid concentrations and breast cancer risk.
Future studies will need additional genetic surrogates and/or sample sizes at least three times larger to contribute evidence of a causal link between carotenoids and breast cancer.
breast cancer; BCMO1; β-carotene 15,15′-monooxygenase 1; carotenoids; single nucleotide polymorphism
Genotype imputation substantially increases available markers for analysis in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) by leveraging linkage disequilibrium from a reference panel. We sought to (i) investigate the performance of imputation from the August 2010 release of the 1000 Genomes Project (1000GP) in an existing GWAS of prostate cancer, (ii) look for novel associations with prostate cancer risk, (iii) fine-map known prostate cancer susceptibility regions using an approximate Bayesian framework and stepwise regression, and (iv) compare power and efficiency of imputation and de novo sequencing.
We used 2,782 aggressive prostate cancer cases and 4,458 controls from the NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium aggressive prostate cancer GWAS to infer 5.8 million well-imputed autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Imputation quality, as measured by correlation between imputed and true allele counts, was higher among common variants than rare variants. We found no novel prostate cancer associations among a subset of 1.2 million well-imputed low-frequency variants. At a genome-wide sequencing cost of $2,500, imputation from SNP arrays is a more powerful strategy than sequencing for detecting disease associations of SNPs with minor allele frequencies above 1%.
1000GP imputation provided dense coverage of previously-identified prostate cancer susceptibility regions, highlighting its potential as an inexpensive first-pass approach to fine-mapping in regions such as 5p15 and 8q24. Our study shows 1000GP imputation can accurately identify low-frequency variants and stresses the importance of large sample size when studying these variants.
rare variants; association; fine mapping
Genes that alter disease risk only in combination with certain
environmental exposures may not be detected in genetic association analysis. By
using methods accounting for gene-environment (G × E) interaction, we
aimed to identify novel genetic loci associated with breast cancer risk. Up to
34,475 cases and 34,786 controls of European ancestry from up to 23 studies in
the Breast Cancer Association Consortium were included. Overall, 71,527 single
nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), enriched for association with breast cancer,
were tested for interaction with 10 environmental risk factors using three
recently proposed hybrid methods and a joint test of association and
interaction. Analyses were adjusted for age, study, population stratification,
and confounding factors as applicable. Three SNPs in two independent loci showed
statistically significant association: SNPs rs10483028 and rs2242714 in perfect
linkage disequilibrium on chromosome 21 and rs12197388 in ARID1B on chromosome
6. While rs12197388 was identified using the joint test with parity and with age
at menarche (P-values = 3 × 10−07),
the variants on chromosome 21 q22.12, which showed interaction with adult body
mass index (BMI) in 8,891 postmenopausal women, were identified by all methods
applied. SNP rs10483028 was associated with breast cancer in women with a BMI
below 25 kg/m2 (OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.15–1.38) but not in women
with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher (OR = 0.89, 95% CI 0.72–1.11,
P for interaction = 3.2 × 10−05).
Our findings confirm comparable power of the recent methods for detecting G
× E interaction and the utility of using G × E interaction
analyses to identify new susceptibility loci.
breast cancer risk; gene-environment interaction; polymorphisms; body mass index; case-control study
Dietary factors, including meat, fruits, vegetables and fiber, are associated with colorectal cancer; however, there is limited information as to whether these dietary factors interact with genetic variants to modify risk of colorectal cancer. We tested interactions between these dietary factors and approximately 2.7 million genetic variants for colorectal cancer risk among 9,287 cases and 9,117 controls from ten studies. We used logistic regression to investigate multiplicative gene-diet interactions, as well as our recently developed Cocktail method that involves a screening step based on marginal associations and gene-diet correlations and a testing step for multiplicative interactions, while correcting for multiple testing using weighted hypothesis testing. Per quartile increment in the intake of red and processed meat were associated with statistically significant increased risks of colorectal cancer and vegetable, fruit and fiber intake with lower risks. From the case-control analysis, we detected a significant interaction between rs4143094 (10p14/near GATA3) and processed meat consumption (OR = 1.17; p = 8.7E-09), which was consistently observed across studies (p heterogeneity = 0.78). The risk of colorectal cancer associated with processed meat was increased among individuals with the rs4143094-TG and -TT genotypes (OR = 1.20 and OR = 1.39, respectively) and null among those with the GG genotype (OR = 1.03). Our results identify a novel gene-diet interaction with processed meat for colorectal cancer, highlighting that diet may modify the effect of genetic variants on disease risk, which may have important implications for prevention.
High intake of red and processed meat and low intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber are associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. We investigate if the effect of these dietary factors on colorectal cancer risk is modified by common genetic variants across the genome (total of about 2.7 million genetic variants), also known as gene-diet interactions. We included over 9,000 colorectal cancer cases and 9,000 controls that were not diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Our results provide strong evidence for a gene-diet interaction and colorectal cancer risk between a genetic variant (rs4143094) on chromosome 10p14 near the gene GATA3 and processed meat consumption (p = 8.7E-09). This genetic locus may have interesting biological significance given its location in the genome. Our results suggest that genetic variants may interact with diet and in combination affect colorectal cancer risk, which may have important implications for personalized cancer care and provide novel insights into prevention strategies.
The 13th International Meeting on Human Genome Variation and Complex Genome Analysis (HGV2012: Shanghai, China, 6th 8th September 2012) was a stimulating workshop where researchers from academia and industry explored the latest progress, challenges, and opportunities in genome variation research. Key themes included advancements in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, investigation of common and rare diseases, employing NGS in the clinic, utilizing large datasets that leverage biobanks and population-specific cohorts, and exploration of genomic features.
variation; SNP; GWAS; next generation sequencing; NGS; inherited disease
Studies suggest that vitamin D status may be associated with prostate cancer risk, although the direction and strength of this association differs between experimental and observational studies. Genome-wide association studies have identified genetic variants associated with 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) status. We examined prostate cancer risk in relation to SNPs in four genes shown to predict circulating levels of 25(OH)D.
SNP markers localized to each of four genes (GC, CYP24A1, CYP2R1, and DHCR7) previously associated with 25(OH)D were genotyped in 10,018 cases and 11,052 controls from the NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium. Logistic regression was used to estimate the individual and cumulative association between genetic variants and risk of overall and aggressive prostate cancer.
We observed a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer among men with the allele in rs6013897 near CYP24A1 associated with lower serum 25(OH)D (per A allele, OR=0.86, 95%CI=0.80–0.93, p-trend=0.0002), but an increased risk for non-aggressive disease (per a allele: OR=1.10, 95%CI=1.04–1.17, p-trend=0.002). Examination of a polygenic score of the four SNPs revealed statistically significantly lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer among men with a greater number of low vitamin D alleles (OR for 6–8 vs. 0–1 alleles = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.44 – 0.98; p-trend=0.003).
In this large, pooled analysis, genetic variants related to lower 25(OH)D were associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Our genetic findings do not support a protective association between loci known to influence vitamin D levels and prostate cancer risk.
Vitamin D; prostatic neoplasms; data pooling; genes; SNPs
In 2012, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) engaged the scientific community to provide a vision for cancer epidemiology in the 21st century. Eight overarching thematic recommendations, with proposed corresponding actions for consideration by funding agencies, professional societies, and the research community emerged from the collective intellectual discourse. The themes are (i) extending the reach of epidemiology beyond discovery and etiologic research to include multilevel analysis, intervention evaluation, implementation, and outcomes research; (ii) transforming the practice of epidemiology by moving towards more access and sharing of protocols, data, metadata, and specimens to foster collaboration, to ensure reproducibility and replication, and accelerate translation; (iii) expanding cohort studies to collect exposure, clinical and other information across the life course and examining multiple health-related endpoints; (iv) developing and validating reliable methods and technologies to quantify exposures and outcomes on a massive scale, and to assess concomitantly the role of multiple factors in complex diseases; (v) integrating “big data” science into the practice of epidemiology; (vi) expanding knowledge integration to drive research, policy and practice; (vii) transforming training of 21st century epidemiologists to address interdisciplinary and translational research; and (viii) optimizing the use of resources and infrastructure for epidemiologic studies. These recommendations can transform cancer epidemiology and the field of epidemiology in general, by enhancing transparency, interdisciplinary collaboration, and strategic applications of new technologies. They should lay a strong scientific foundation for accelerated translation of scientific discoveries into individual and population health benefits.
big data; clinical trials; cohort studies; epidemiology; genomics; medicine; public health; technologies; training; translational research
BACKGROUND & AIMS
Heritable factors contribute to the development of colorectal cancer. Identifying the genetic loci associated with colorectal tumor formation could elucidate the mechanisms of pathogenesis.
We conducted a genome-wide association study that included 14 studies, 12,696 cases of colorectal tumors (11,870 cancer, 826 adenoma), and 15,113 controls of European descent. The 10 most statistically significant, previously unreported findings were followed up in 6 studies; these included 3056 colorectal tumor cases (2098 cancer, 958 adenoma) and 6658 controls of European and Asian descent.
Based on the combined analysis, we identified a locus that reached the conventional genome-wide significance level at less than 5.0 × 10−8: an intergenic region on chromosome 2q32.3, close to nucleic acid binding protein 1 (most significant single nucleotide polymorphism: rs11903757; odds ratio [OR], 1.15 per risk allele; P = 3.7 × 10−8). We also found evidence for 3 additional loci with P values less than 5.0 × 10−7: a locus within the laminin gamma 1 gene on chromosome 1q25.3 (rs10911251; OR, 1.10 per risk allele; P = 9.5 × 10−8), a locus within the cyclin D2 gene on chromosome 12p13.32 (rs3217810 per risk allele; OR, 0.84; P = 5.9 × 10−8), and a locus in the T-box 3 gene on chromosome 12q24.21 (rs59336; OR, 0.91 per risk allele; P = 3.7 × 10−7).
In a large genome-wide association study, we associated polymorphisms close to nucleic acid binding protein 1 (which encodes a DNA-binding protein involved in DNA repair) with colorectal tumor risk. We also provided evidence for an association between colorectal tumor risk and polymorphisms in laminin gamma 1 (this is the second gene in the laminin family to be associated with colorectal cancers), cyclin D2 (which encodes for cyclin D2), and T-box 3 (which encodes a T-box transcription factor and is a target of Wnt signaling to β-catenin). The roles of these genes and their products in cancer pathogenesis warrant further investigation.
Colon Cancer; Genetics; Risk Factors; SNP
Bladder cancer results from the combined effects of environmental and genetic factors, smoking being the strongest risk factor. Evaluating absolute risks resulting from the joint effects of smoking and genetic factors is critical to evaluate the public health relevance of genetic information. Analyses included up to 3,942 cases and 5,680 controls of European background in seven studies. We tested for multiplicative and additive interactions between smoking and 12 susceptibility loci, individually and combined as a polygenic risk score (PRS). Thirty-year absolute risks and risk differences by levels of the PRS were estimated for US-males aged 50-years. Six out of 12 variants showed significant additive gene-environment interactions, most notably NAT2 (P=7×10-4) and UGT1A6 (P=8×10-4). The 30-year absolute risk of bladder cancer in US males was 6.2% for all current smokers. This risk ranged from 2.9% for current smokers in the lowest quartile of the PRS to 9.9% for current smokers in the upper quartile. Risk difference estimates indicated that 8,200 cases would be prevented if elimination of smoking occurred in 100,000 men in the upper PRS quartile, compared to 2,000 cases prevented by a similar effort in the lowest PRS quartile (P-additive =1×10-4). The impact of eliminating smoking the on number of bladder cancer cases prevented is larger for individuals at higher than lower genetic risk. Our findings could have implications for targeted prevention strategies. However, other smoking-related diseases, as well as practical and ethical considerations, need to be considered before any recommendations could be made.
Beta-microseminoprotein (MSP)/MSMB is an immunoglobulin superfamily protein synthesized by prostate epithelial cells and secreted into seminal plasma. Variants in the promoter of the MSMB gene have been associated with the risk of prostate cancer (PCa) in several independent genome-wide association studies. Both MSMB and an adjacent gene, NCOA4, are subjected to transcriptional control via androgen response elements. The gene product of NCOA4 interacts directly with the androgen receptor as a co-activator to enhance AR transcriptional activity. Here, we provide evidence for the expression of full-length MSMB-NCOA4 fusion transcripts regulated by the MSMB promoter. The predominant MSMB-NCOA4 transcript arises by fusion of the 5′UTR and exons 1–2 of the MSMB pre-mRNA, with exons 2–10 of the NCOA4 premRNA, producing a stable fusion protein, comprising the essential domains of NCOA4. Analysis of the splice sites of this transcript shows an unusually strong splice acceptor at NCOA4 exon 2 and the presence of Alu repeats flanking the exons potentially involved in the splicing event. Transfection experiments using deletion clones of the promoter coupled with luciferase reporter assays define a core MSMB promoter element located between –27 and –236 of the gene, and a negative regulatory element immediately upstream of the start codon. Computational network analysis reveals that the MSMB gene is functionally connected to NCOA4 and the androgen receptor signaling pathway. The data provide an example of how GWAS-associated variants may have multiple genetic and epigenetic effects.