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2.  Absence of Functional LIN28B Mutations in a Large Cohort of Patients with Idiopathic Central Precocious Puberty 
Hormone research in paediatrics  2012;78(3):144-150.
To investigate LIN28B gene variants in children with idiopathic central precocious puberty (CPP).
Patients and Methods
We studied 178 Brazilian children with CPP (171 girls,16.8% familial cases). A large multiethnic group (1599 subjects; MEC cohort) was used as control. DNA analysis and biochemical in vitro studies were performed.
A heterozygous LIN28B variant, p.H199R, was identified in a girl who developed CPP at 5.2 yrs. This variant was absent in 310 Brazilian control individuals, but it was found in the same allele frequency in women from the MEC cohort, independently of the age of menarche. Functional studies revealed that when ectopically expressed in cells the mutant protein was capable of binding pre-let-7 miRNA and inhibiting let-7 expression to the same extent as wild-type Lin28B protein. Other rare LIN28B variants (p.P173P, c.198+32_33delCT, g.9575731A>C and c.-11C>T) were identified in CPP patients and controls. Therefore, no functional mutation was identified.
In vitro studies revealed that the rare LIN28B p.H199R variant identified in a girl with CPP does not affect the Lin28B function in the regulation of let-7 expression. Although LIN28B SNPs were associated with normal pubertal timing, rare variations in this gene do not seem to be commonly involved in the molecular pathogenesis of CPP.
PMCID: PMC3526815  PMID: 22964795
LIN28B; central precocious puberty; let-7; microRNA; early and late menarche
3.  The association of body mass index with mortality in the California Teachers Study 
Although underweight and obesity have been associated with increased risk of mortality, it remains unclear whether the associations differ by hormone therapy (HT) use and smoking. The authors examined the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and mortality within the California Teachers Study (CTS), specifically considering the impact of hormone therapy (HT) and smoking. The authors examined the associations of underweight and obesity with risks of all-cause and cause-specific mortality, among 115,433 women participating in the CTS, and specifically examined whether HT use or smoking modifies the effects of obesity. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression provided estimates of relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). During follow up, 10,574 deaths occurred. All-cause mortality was increased for underweight (BMI < 18.5; adjusted relative risk [RR] = 1.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.20–1.47) and obese participants (BMI ≥ 30: RR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.19–1.37) relative to BMI of 18.5 – 24.9). Respiratory disease mortality was increased for underweight and obese participants. Death from any cancer, and breast cancer specifically, and cardiovascular disease was observed only for obese participants. The obesity and mortality association remained after stratification on HT and smoking. Obese participants remained at greater risk for mortality after stratification on menopausal hormone therapy and smoking. Obesity was associated with increased all-cause mortality, as well as death from any cancer (including breast), and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. These findings help to identify groups at risk for BMI-related poor health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3246901  PMID: 21207419
4.  Oral contraceptives, menopausal hormone therapy use and risk of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the California Teachers Study 
We examined oral contraceptive (OC) and menopausal hormonal therapy (MHT) use in relation to risk of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Women under age 85 years participating in the California Teachers Study with no history of hematopoietic cancer were followed from 1995 through 2007. 516 of 114,131 women eligible for OC use analysis and 402 of 54,758 postmenopausal women eligible for MHT use analysis developed B-cell NHL. Multivariable adjusted and stratified Cox proportional hazards models were fit to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Ever versus never OC use was marginally associated with lower B-cell NHL risk, particularly among women first using OCs before age 25 years (RR=0.72, 95%CI=0.51-0.99); yet, no duration-response effect was observed. No association was observed for ever versus never MHT use among postmenopausal women (RR=1.05, 95%CI=0.83-1.33) overall, or by formulation (estrogen alone, ET, or estrogen plus progestin, EPT). Among women with no MHT use, having bilateral oophorectomy plus hysterectomy was associated with greater B-cell NHL risk than having natural menopause (RR=3.15, 95%CI=1.62-6.13). Bilateral oophorectomy plus hysterectomy was not associated with risk among women who used ET or EPT. These results indicate that exogenous hormone use does not strongly influence B-cell NHL risk.
PMCID: PMC3258672  PMID: 20957632
non-Hodgkin lymphoma; oral contraceptives; menopausal hormonal therapy; hysterectomy; bilateral oophorectomy
5.  Oral contraceptive use and survival in women with invasive breast cancer 
Oral contraceptives (OCs) are widely used in the U.S. Although the relation between OC use and breast cancer incidence has been widely studied, the few studies examining associations between OC use prior to breast cancer diagnosis and survival are inconsistent.
Women with invasive breast cancer participating in the Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences (CARE) Study, a population-based case-control study (4565 women ages 35–64 years), and the California Teachers Study (CTS) cohort (3929 women ages 28–91 years) were followed for vital status. 1064 women died in the CARE Study (median follow-up, 8.6 years) and 523 died in the CTS (median follow-up, 6.1 years). Cox proportional hazards regression provided hazard rate ratio estimates (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for risk of death from any cause and from breast cancer.
No association was observed for any OC use prior to diagnosis and all-cause mortality (CARE Study: RR=1.01 (95% CI=0.86–1.19); CTS: RR=0.84 (95% CI=0.67–1.05)). A decreased risk of all-cause mortality was observed in the CTS among women with more than 10 years of OC use (RR=0.67, 95% CI=0.47–0.96); however, no trend of decreasing risk with increasing OC duration was observed (P-trend=0.22), and no association was observed in the CARE study. No associations were observed for breast cancer-specific mortality.
OC use is not associated with all-cause or breast cancer-specific mortality among women with invasive breast cancer.
These two independent studies demonstrated no overall association between OC use and survival among women with breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3132273  PMID: 21551244
Oral contraceptives; breast cancer; survival; risk assessment
Results from studies examining the association between hormone therapy (HT) and lung cancer risk disagree.
We examined the associations between HT use and lung cancer risk among 60,592 postmenopausal women enrolled in the prospective California Teachers Study cohort. Between 1995 and 2007, 727 women were diagnosed with lung cancer. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were fit using age as the time metric.
No measure of HT use was associated with lung cancer risk (all p-values for trend≥0.4). In addition, no variations in risk by smoking status (never, ever, former, current), type of HT (E-alone, E+P use), type of menopause, or lung cancer histology were observed.
Our findings do not support an association between HT and lung cancer.
This large-scale, prospective study, which capitalizes on the detailed hormone use, smoking history, and type of menopause information available within this unique cohort, was unable to find any association between intake of HT and lung cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3065239  PMID: 21266521
7.  Age-specific effects of hormone therapy use on overall mortality and ischemic heart disease mortality among women in the California Teachers Study 
Menopause (New York, N.y.)  2011;18(3):253-261.
Although the Women’s Health Initiative trial (WHI) suggested that menopausal hormone therapy (HT) does not reduce coronary heart disease mortality overall, subsequent results have suggested that there may be a benefit in younger women. The California Teachers Cohort Study (CTS) questionnaire and mortality data was used to examine whether age modified the association between HT and the relative risk of overall mortality and ischemic heart disease (IHD) deaths.
Participants from the CTS were 71,237 postmenopausal women (mean age = 63, range 36 to 94 years) followed prospectively for mortality and other outcomes from 1995–1996 through 2004.
Age at baseline was a much more important modifier of HT effects than age at start of therapy. Risks for all-cause mortality (n=8,399) were lower for younger current HT users at baseline than for never users (for women ≤60 years: HR=0.54, 95% CI=0.46–0.62). These risk reductions greatly diminished, in a roughly linear fashion, with increasing baseline age (for women 85–94 years HR=0.94, 95% CI=0.81–1.10 for all-cause mortality). Similar results were seen for IHD deaths (n=1,464). No additional significant modifying effects of age at first use, duration of use, or formulation were apparent.
These results provide evidence that reduced risks of mortality associated with HT use are observed among younger users but not for older postmenopausal women even those starting therapy close to their time of menopause.
PMCID: PMC3253313  PMID: 20881652
Overall mortality; heart disease; menopausal hormone therapy; risk; survival; age
8.  Associations of Insulin Resistance and Adiponectin With Mortality in Women With Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;29(1):32-39.
Overweight or obese breast cancer patients have a worse prognosis compared with normal-weight patients. This may be attributed to hyperinsulinemia and dysregulation of adipokine levels associated with overweight and obesity. Here, we evaluate whether low levels of adiponectin and a greater level of insulin resistance are associated with breast cancer mortality and all-cause mortality.
Patients and Methods
We measured glucose, insulin, and adiponectin levels in fasting serum samples from 527 women enrolled in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study, a multiethnic, prospective cohort study of women diagnosed with stage I-IIIA breast cancer. We evaluated the association between adiponectin and insulin and glucose levels (expressed as the Homeostatic Model Assessment [HOMA] score) represented as continuous measures and median split categories, along with breast cancer mortality and all-cause mortality, using Cox proportional hazards models.
Increasing HOMA scores were associated with reduced breast cancer survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.12; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.20) and reduced all-cause survival (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.15) after adjustment for possible confounders. Higher levels of adiponectin (above the median: 15.5 μg/mL) were associated with longer breast cancer survival (HR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.95) after adjustment for covariates. A continuous measure of adiponectin was not associated with either breast cancer–specific or all-cause mortality.
Elevated HOMA scores and low levels of adiponectin, both associated with obesity, were associated with increased breast cancer mortality. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the association between low levels of adiponectin and increased breast cancer mortality in breast cancer survivors.
PMCID: PMC3055857  PMID: 21115858
9.  Menopausal hormone therapy and subsequent risk of specific invasive breast cancer subtypes in the California Teachers Study 
Although it is well established that combined estrogen-progestin therapy (EPT) increases breast cancer risk, questions remain regarding the impact of different formulations of hormones, whether certain women are at particularly high risk, and whether risk varies by tumor subtype.
We investigated hormone therapy (HT) use in relation to breast cancer risk in the California Teachers Study cohort; after a mean follow-up of 9.8 years 2,857 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed.
Compared to women who had never used HT, women who reported 15 or more years of estrogen therapy (ET) use had 19% greater risk of breast cancer (95% Confidence Interval (CI), 1.03-1.37), while women using EPT for 15 or more years had 83% greater risk (95% CI, 1.48-2.26). Breast cancer risk was highest among women using continuous combined EPT regimens. Risks associated with EPT and ET use were increased with duration of HT use for women with body mass index (BMI)<29.9 kg/m2 but not for women with BMI≥30 kg/m2. Elevated risks associated with EPT and ET use were confined to tumors that were positive for both estrogen and progesterone receptors and those that were HER2+ but were slightly diminished for HER2- tumors.
Breast cancer risks increased with longer duration of ET and EPT use, and risks were highest for continuous-combined EPT use. Further, risks varied by BMI and tumor subtype.
These findings underscore the need for personalized risk-benefit discussions with women contemplating HT use.
PMCID: PMC2936672  PMID: 20699377
10.  Genetic Determinants of Pubertal Timing in the General Population 
Puberty is an important developmental stage during which reproductive capacity is attained. The timing of puberty varies greatly among healthy individuals in the general population and is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Although genetic variation is known to influence the normal spectrum of pubertal timing, the specific genes involved remain largely unknown. Genetic analyses have identified a number of genes responsible for rare disorders of pubertal timing such as hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and Kallmann syndrome. Recently, the first loci with common variation reproducibly associated with population variation in the timing of puberty were identified at 6q21 in or near LIN28B and at 9q31.2. However, these two loci explain only a small fraction of the genetic contribution to population variation in pubertal timing, suggesting the need to continue to consider other loci and other types of variants. Here we provide an update of the genes implicated in disorders of puberty, discuss genes and pathways that may be involved in the timing of normal puberty, and suggest additional avenues of investigation to identify genetic regulators of puberty in the general population.
PMCID: PMC2891370  PMID: 20144687
puberty; pubertal timing; genetics; hypogonadotropic hypgonadism; Kallmann syndrome; genetic regulation
11.  Parents’ Ages at Birth and Risk of Adult-onset Hematologic Malignancies Among Female Teachers in California 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;171(12):1262-1269.
Although advanced parental age at one's birth has been associated with increased risk of breast and prostate cancers, few studies have examined its effect on adult-onset sporadic hematologic malignancies. The authors examined the association of parents’ ages at women's births with risk of hematologic malignancies among 110,999 eligible women aged 22–84 years recruited into the prospective California Teachers Study. Between 1995 and 2007, 819 women without a family history of hematologic malignancies were diagnosed with incident lymphoma, leukemia (primarily acute myeloid leukemia), or multiple myeloma. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models provided estimates of relative risks and 95% confidence intervals. Paternal age was positively associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after adjustment for race and birth order (relative risk for age ≥40 vs. <25 years = 1.51, 95% confidence interval: 1.08, 2.13; P-trend = 0.01). Further adjustment for maternal age did not materially alter the association. By contrast, the elevated non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk associated with advanced maternal age (≥40 years) became null when paternal age was included in the statistical model. No association was observed for acute myeloid leukemia or multiple myeloma. Advanced paternal age may play a role in non-Hodgkin lymphoma etiology. Potential etiologic mechanisms include de novo gene mutations, aberrant paternal gene imprinting, or telomere/telomerase biology.
PMCID: PMC2915497  PMID: 20507900
cohort studies; hematologic neoplasms; leukemia, myeloid, acute; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; maternal age; paternal age
13.  The association of polymorphisms in hormone metabolism pathway genes, menopausal hormone therapy, and breast cancer risk: a nested case-control study in the California Teachers Study cohort 
The female sex steroids estrogen and progesterone are important in breast cancer etiology. It therefore seems plausible that variation in genes involved in metabolism of these hormones may affect breast cancer risk, and that these associations may vary depending on menopausal status and use of hormone therapy.
We conducted a nested case-control study of breast cancer in the California Teachers Study cohort. We analyzed 317 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 24 hormone pathway genes in 2746 non-Hispanic white women: 1351 cases and 1395 controls. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by fitting conditional logistic regression models using all women or subgroups of women defined by menopausal status and hormone therapy use. P values were adjusted for multiple correlated tests (PACT).
The strongest associations were observed for SNPs in SLCO1B1, a solute carrier organic anion transporter gene, which transports estradiol-17β-glucuronide and estrone-3-sulfate from the blood into hepatocytes. Ten of 38 tagging SNPs of SLCO1B1 showed significant associations with postmenopausal breast cancer risk; 5 SNPs (rs11045777, rs11045773, rs16923519, rs4149057, rs11045884) remained statistically significant after adjusting for multiple testing within this gene (PACT = 0.019-0.046). In postmenopausal women who were using combined estrogen-progestin therapy (EPT) at cohort enrollment, the OR of breast cancer was 2.31 (95% CI = 1.47-3.62) per minor allele of rs4149013 in SLCO1B1 (P = 0.0003; within-gene PACT = 0.002; overall PACT = 0.023). SNPs in other hormone pathway genes evaluated in this study were not associated with breast cancer risk in premenopausal or postmenopausal women.
We found evidence that genetic variation in SLCO1B1 is associated with breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, particularly among those using EPT.
PMCID: PMC3219200  PMID: 21457551
14.  Passive Smoking and Risk of Breast Cancer in the California Teachers Study*†‡ 
Although recent reviews have suggested active smoking to be a risk factor for breast cancer, the association with passive smoke exposure remains controversial. This risk association was explored in a large prospective study of women, the California Teachers Study.
Detailed lifetime information on passive smoke exposure by setting (home, work, or social) and by age of exposure were collected in 1997 from 57,523 women who were lifetime nonsmokers and had no history of breast cancer. In the ensuing decade, a total of 1,754 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Cox proportional hazards models were fit to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) associated with several lifetime passive smoke exposure metrics.
For all breast cancer, measures of higher lifetime passive smoking intensity and duration were associated with non-statistically significant HRs of 1.11 to 1.14. For postmenopausal women, HRs for lifetime low, medium and high cumulative exposure were 1.17 (95%CI 0.91, 1.49), 1.19 (95%CI 0.93, 1.53), and 1.26 (95% CI 0.99, 1.60). For women exposed in adulthood (age ≥20) risk was elevated at the highest level of cumulative exposure (HR=1.18, 95% CI 1.00, 1.40), primarily among postmenopausal women (HR=1.25, 95% CI 1.01, 1.56). A statistically significant dose response was detected when analysis was restricted to women with moderate to high levels of passive smoke exposure.
These results suggest that cumulative exposures to high levels of side stream smoke may increase breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women who themselves have never smoked tobacco products.
PMCID: PMC2908531  PMID: 19959687
passive smoking; tobacco; breast cancer; cohort study; women
15.  Body Size, Recreational Physical Activity, and B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk Among Women in the California Teachers Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2009;170(10):1231-1240.
Nutritional status and physical activity are known to alter immune function, which may be relevant to lymphomagenesis. The authors examined body size measurements and recreational physical activity in relation to risk of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in the prospective California Teachers Study. Between 1995 and 2007, 574 women were diagnosed with incident B-cell NHL among 121,216 eligible women aged 22–84 years at cohort entry. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by fitting Cox proportional hazards models for all B-cell NHL combined and for the 3 most common subtypes: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. Height was positively associated with risk of all B-cell NHLs (for >1.70 vs. 1.61–1.65 m, relative risk = 1.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.16, 1.96) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (relative risk = 1.93, 95% confidence interval: 1.09, 3.41). Weight and body mass index at age 18 years were positive predictors of B-cell NHL risk overall. These findings indicate that greater height, which may reflect genetics, early life immune function, infectious exposures, nutrition, or growth hormone levels, may play a role in NHL etiology. Adiposity at age 18 years may be more relevant to NHL etiology than that in later life.
PMCID: PMC2781760  PMID: 19822569
body mass index; body size; cohort studies; exercise; hip; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; waist-hip ratio
16.  Pregnancy-related factors and the risk of breast carcinoma in situ and invasive breast cancer among postmenopausal women in the California Teachers Study cohort 
Although pregnancy-related factors such as nulliparity and late age at first full-term pregnancy are well-established risk factors for invasive breast cancer, the roles of these factors in the natural history of breast cancer development remain unclear.
Among 52,464 postmenopausal women participating in the California Teachers Study (CTS), 624 were diagnosed with breast carcinoma in situ (CIS) and 2,828 with invasive breast cancer between 1995 and 2007. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression methods were used to estimate relative risks associated with parity, age at first full-term pregnancy, breastfeeding, nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, and preeclampsia.
Compared with never-pregnant women, an increasing number of full-term pregnancies was associated with greater risk reduction for both breast CIS and invasive breast cancer (both P trend < 0.01). Women having four or more full-term pregnancies had a 31% lower breast CIS risk (RR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.93) and 18% lower invasive breast cancer risk (RR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.72 to 0.94). Parous women whose first full-term pregnancy occurred at age 35 years or later had a 118% greater risk for breast CIS (RR = 2.18, 95% CI = 1.36 to 3.49) and 27% greater risk for invasive breast cancer (RR = 1.27, 95% CI = 0.99 to 1.65) than those whose first full-term pregnancy occurred before age 21 years. Furthermore, parity was negatively associated with the risk of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) or ER+/progesterone receptor-positive (PR+) while age at first full-term pregnancy was positively associated with the risk of ER+ or ER+/PR+ invasive breast cancer. Neither of these factors was statistically significantly associated with the risk of ER-negative (ER-) or ER-/PR- invasive breast cancer, tests for heterogeneity between subtypes did not reach statistical significance. No clear associations were detected for other pregnancy-related factors.
These results provide some epidemiologic evidence that parity and age at first full-term pregnancy are involved in the development of breast cancer among postmenopausal women. The role of these factors in risk of in situ versus invasive, and hormone receptor-positive versus -negative breast cancer merits further exploration.
PMCID: PMC2917030  PMID: 20565829
17.  Long-Term Exposure to Constituents of Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Mortality: Results from the California Teachers Study 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;118(3):363-369.
Several studies have reported associations between long-term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM) and cardiovascular mortality. However, the health impacts of long-term exposure to specific constituents of PM2.5 (PM with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm) have not been explored.
We used data from the California Teachers Study, a prospective cohort of active and former female public school professionals. We developed estimates of long-term exposures to PM2.5 and several of its constituents, including elemental carbon, organic carbon (OC), sulfates, nitrates, iron, potassium, silicon, and zinc. Monthly averages of exposure were created using pollution data from June 2002 through July 2007. We included participants whose residential addresses were within 8 and 30 km of a monitor collecting PM2.5 constituent data. Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated for long-term exposure for mortality from all nontraumatic causes, cardiopulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and pulmonary disease.
Approximately 45,000 women with 2,600 deaths lived within 30 km of a monitor. We observed associations of all-cause, cardiopulmonary, and IHD mortality with PM2.5 mass and each of its measured constituents, and between pulmonary mortality and several constituents. For example, for cardiopulmonary mortality, HRs for interquartile ranges of PM2.5, OC, and sulfates were 1.55 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.43–1.69], 1.80 (95% CI, 1.68–1.93), and 1.79 (95% CI, 1.58–2.03), respectively. Subsequent analyses indicated that, of the constituents analyzed, OC and sulfates had the strongest associations with all four outcomes.
Long-term exposures to PM2.5 and several of its constituents were associated with increased risks of all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality in this cohort. Constituents derived from combustion of fossil fuel (including diesel), as well as those of crustal origin, were associated with some of the greatest risks. These results provide additional evidence that reduction of ambient PM2.5 may provide significant public health benefits.
PMCID: PMC2854764  PMID: 20064787
cardiopulmonary mortality; chronic exposure; cohort study; elemental carbon; fine particles; organic carbon; PM2.5; species; sulfates
18.  Reproductive Factors and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk in the California Teachers Study 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8135.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a malignancy etiologically linked to immunomodulatory exposures and disorders. Endogenous female sex hormones may modify immune function and influence NHL risk. Few studies have examined associations between reproductive factors, which can serve as surrogates for such hormonal exposures, and NHL risk by subtype.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Women in the California Teachers Study cohort provided detailed data in 1995–1996 on reproductive history. Follow-up through 2007 identified 574 women with incident B-cell NHL. Hazard rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models to assess associations between reproductive factors and all B-cell NHL combined, diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, follicular lymphomas, and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemias/small lymphocytic lymphomas. Pregnancy was marginally associated with lower risk of B-cell NHL (RR = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.68–1.04). Much of the reduction in risk was observed after one full-term pregnancy relative to nulligravid women (RR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.54–1.06; P for trend <0.01), particularly for diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (P for trend = 0.13), but not among women who had only incomplete pregnancies. Age at first full-term pregnancy was marginally inversely associated with B-cell NHL risk overall (P for trend = 0.08) and for diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (P for trend = 0.056). Breast feeding was not associated with B-cell NHL risk overall or by subtype.
Full-term pregnancy and early age at first full-term pregnancy account for most of the observed reduction in B-cell NHL risk associated with gravidity. Pregnancy-related hormonal exposures, including prolonged and high-level exposure to progesterone during a full-term pregnancy may inhibit development of B-cell NHL.
PMCID: PMC2780313  PMID: 19956586
19.  Genetic polymorphisms of the GNRH1 and GNRHR genes and risk of breast cancer in the National Cancer Institute Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:257.
Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GNRH1) triggers the release of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone from the pituitary. Genetic variants in the gene encoding GNRH1 or its receptor may influence breast cancer risk by modulating production of ovarian steroid hormones. We studied the association between breast cancer risk and polymorphisms in genes that code for GNRH1 and its receptor (GNRHR) in the large National Cancer Institute Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (NCI-BPC3).
We sequenced exons of GNRH1 and GNRHR in 95 invasive breast cancer cases. Resulting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped and used to identify haplotype-tagging SNPs (htSNPS) in a panel of 349 healthy women. The htSNPs were genotyped in 5,603 invasive breast cancer cases and 7,480 controls from the Cancer Prevention Study-II (CPS-II), European Prospective Investigation on Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), Multiethnic Cohort (MEC), Nurses' Health Study (NHS), and Women's Health Study (WHS). Circulating levels of sex steroids (androstenedione, estradiol, estrone and testosterone) were also measured in 4713 study subjects.
Breast cancer risk was not associated with any polymorphism or haplotype in the GNRH1 and GNRHR genes, nor were there any statistically significant interactions with known breast cancer risk factors. Polymorphisms in these two genes were not strongly associated with circulating hormone levels.
Common variants of the GNRH1 and GNRHR genes are not associated with risk of invasive breast cancer in Caucasians.
PMCID: PMC2729775  PMID: 19640273
20.  Increased long-term recreational physical activity is associated with older age at natural menopause among heavy smokers: the California Teachers Study 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2013;20(3):282-290.
Although physical activity modulates the hypothalamic-ovarian-pituitary axis, the few studies investigating whether physical activity is associated with age at natural menopause have had mixed results. We set out to determine whether physical activity is associated with the timing of natural menopause in a large cohort of California women, overall, and by smoking history.
We investigated the association between long-term physical activity (hours/week/year) and age at natural menopause among 97,945 women in the California Teachers Study. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression methods were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The impact of cigarette smoking (never smoker, former-light smoker, former-heavy smoker, current-light smoker, current-heavy smoker) as an effect modifier was evaluated.
In a multivariable model adjusting for body mass index at age 18, age at menarche, race/ethnicity, and age at first full-term pregnancy, increased physical activity was statistically significantly associated with older age at natural menopause (ptrend=0.005). Higher body mass index at age 18 (ptrend=0.0003) and older age at menarche (ptrend=0.0003) were also associated with older age at natural menopause. Hispanic ethnicity (vs. non-Hispanic whites, HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.09–1.26), current smokers (vs. never smokers, HR 1.68, 95% CI 1.60–1.75 for current-light smokers; HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.33–1.44 for current-heavy smokers) and older age at first full-term pregnancy (HR≥29, 2+ full-term pregnancies vs. <29, 2+ full-term pregnancies 1.10, 95% CI 1.06–1.14) were associated with earlier age at natural menopause. Upon stratification by smoking history, increased physical activity was statistically significantly associated with older natural menopause among heavy smokers only (HRHighest vs. Lowest quartile 0.88, 95% CI 0.81–0.97, ptrend=0.02 for former-heavy smokers; HRHighest vs. Lowest quartile 0.89, 95% CI 0.80–0.99, ptrend=0.04 for current-heavy smokers).
Age at natural menopause is a complex trait; the determinants of age at natural menopause, including physical activity, may differ by smoking status.
PMCID: PMC3580010  PMID: 23435025
Physical activity; smoking status; age at natural menopause; reproductive factors; cohort studies
21.  Bilateral oophorectomy is not associated with increased mortality: the California Teachers Study 
Fertility and sterility  2011;97(1):111-117.
To investigate the effect of surgical menopause due to bilateral oophorectomy on mortality, in light of evidence that bilateral oophorectomy among premenopausal women rapidly reduces endogenous hormone levels thereby modifying risks of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
The California Teachers Study (CTS) is a prospective cohort study of 133,479 women initiated in 1995–1996 through a mailed, self-administered questionnaire. Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression.
CTS participants who, at baseline, reported having surgical menopause due to bilateral oophorectomy (n=9,785), were compared to participants with natural menopause (n=32,219).
Main outcome measures
We investigated whether bilateral oophorectomy was associated with all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality, overall and by menopausal hormone therapy (HT) use status.
Among participants younger than 45 years of age at menopause, multivariable relative risks were 0.86 (95% CI, 0.74–1.00), 0.85 (95% CI, 0.66–1.11) and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.67–1.23) for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and cancer mortality, respectively. Among participants with an age at menopause of 45 years or later, multivariable relative risks were 0.87 (95% CI, 0.80–0.94), 0.83 (95% CI, 0.71–0.96) and 0.84 (95% CI, 0.72–0.98) for all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, respectively. The association between bilateral oophorectomy and mortality did not differ by baseline status of HT use.
Surgical menopause due to bilateral oophorectomy vs. natural menopause does not increase all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality.
PMCID: PMC3245786  PMID: 22088205
surgical menopause and mortality; bilateral oophorectomy; mortality; California Teachers Study
22.  The efficacy of detecting variants with small effects on the Affymetrix 6.0 platform using pooled DNA 
Human genetics  2011;130(5):607-621.
Genome-wide genotyping of a cohort using pools rather than individual samples has long been proposed as a cost-saving alternative for performing genome-wide association (GWA) studies. However, successful disease gene mapping using pooled genotyping has thus far been limited to detecting common variants with large effect sizes, which tend not to exist for many complex common diseases or traits. Therefore, for DNA pooling to be a viable strategy for conducting GWA studies, it is important to determine whether commonly used genome-wide SNP array platforms such as the Affymetrix 6.0 array can reliably detect common variants of small effect sizes using pooled DNA. Taking obesity and age at menarche as examples of human complex traits, we assessed the feasibility of genome-wide genotyping of pooled DNA as a single-stage design for phenotype association. By individually genotyping the top associations identified by pooling, we obtained a 14- to 16-fold enrichment of SNPs nominally associated with the phenotype, but we likely missed the top true associations. In addition, we assessed whether genotyping pooled DNA can serve as an inexpensive screen as the second stage of a multi-stage design with a large number of samples by comparing the most cost-effective 3-stage designs with 80% power to detect common variants with genotypic relative risk of 1.1, with and without pooling. Given the current state of the specific technology we employed and the associated genotyping costs, we showed through simulation that a design involving pooling would be 1.07 times more expensive than a design without pooling. Thus, while a significant amount of information exists within the data from pooled DNA, our analysis does not support genotyping pooled DNA as a means to efficiently identify common variants contributing small effects to phenotypes of interest. While our conclusions were based on the specific technology and study design we employed, the approach presented here will be useful for evaluating the utility of other or future genome-wide genotyping platforms in pooled DNA studies.
PMCID: PMC3474315  PMID: 21424828
23.  Body size and the risk of ovarian cancer by hormone therapy use in the California Teachers Study cohort 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2010;21(12):2241-2248.
To investigate whether obesity and hormone therapy (HT) are associated with ovarian cancer risk among women in the California Teachers Study cohort.
Of 56,091 women age ≥45 years, 277 developed epithelial ovarian cancer between 1995 and 2007. Multivariate Cox regression was performed.
Among women who never used HT, greater adult weight gain, waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio, but not adult BMI, increased risk of ovarian cancer. Compared to women who never used HT and had a stable adult weight, risk of ovarian cancer was increased in women who gained ≥40 lb (relative risk (RR) 1.8, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0–3.0) or used HT for >5 years (RR 2.3 95% CI: 1.3–4.1). Having both exposures (RR 1.9, 95% CI: 0.99–3.5), however, did not increase risk more than having either alone. Results were similar for waist circumference and weight-to-height ratio; however, differences across HT groups were not statistically significant.
This study suggests that abdominal adiposity and weight gain, but not overall obesity, increase ovarian cancer risk and that there may be a threshold level beyond which additional hormones, whether exogenous or endogenous, do not result in additional elevation in risk. However, large pooled analyses are needed to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3120052  PMID: 20924664
Ovarian cancer; Obesity; Abdominal adiposity; Hormone therapy
24.  Body-Mass Index and Mortality among 1.46 Million White Adults 
The New England journal of medicine  2010;363(23):2211-2219.
A high body-mass index (BMI, the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, but the precise relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality remains uncertain.
We used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for an association between BMI and all-cause mortality, adjusting for age, study, physical activity, alcohol consumption, education, and marital status in pooled data from 19 prospective studies encompassing 1.46 million white adults, 19 to 84 years of age (median, 58).
The median baseline BMI was 26.2. During a median follow-up period of 10 years (range, 5 to 28), 160,087 deaths were identified. Among healthy participants who never smoked, there was a J-shaped relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality. With a BMI of 22.5 to 24.9 as the reference category, hazard ratios among women were 1.47 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.33 to 1.62) for a BMI of 15.0 to 18.4; 1.14 (95% CI, 1.07 to 1.22) for a BMI of 18.5 to 19.9; 1.00 (95% CI, 0.96 to 1.04) for a BMI of 20.0 to 22.4; 1.13 (95% CI, 1.09 to 1.17) for a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9; 1.44 (95% CI, 1.38 to 1.50) for a BMI of 30.0 to 34.9; 1.88 (95% CI, 1.77 to 2.00) for a BMI of 35.0 to 39.9; and 2.51 (95% CI, 2.30 to 2.73) for a BMI of 40.0 to 49.9. In general, the hazard ratios for the men were similar. Hazard ratios for a BMI below 20.0 were attenuated with longer-term follow-up.
In white adults, overweight and obesity (and possibly underweight) are associated with increased all-cause mortality. All-cause mortality is generally lowest with a BMI of 20.0 to 24.9.
PMCID: PMC3066051  PMID: 21121834
25.  Rapid Assessment of Genetic Ancestry in Populations of Unknown Origin by Genome-Wide Genotyping of Pooled Samples 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(3):e1000866.
As we move forward from the current generation of genome-wide association (GWA) studies, additional cohorts of different ancestries will be studied to increase power, fine map association signals, and generalize association results to additional populations. Knowledge of genetic ancestry as well as population substructure will become increasingly important for GWA studies in populations of unknown ancestry. Here we propose genotyping pooled DNA samples using genome-wide SNP arrays as a viable option to efficiently and inexpensively estimate admixture proportion and identify ancestry informative markers (AIMs) in populations of unknown origin. We constructed DNA pools from African American, Native Hawaiian, Latina, and Jamaican samples and genotyped them using the Affymetrix 6.0 array. Aided by individual genotype data from the African American cohort, we established quality control filters to remove poorly performing SNPs and estimated allele frequencies for the remaining SNPs in each panel. We then applied a regression-based method to estimate the proportion of admixture in each cohort using the allele frequencies estimated from pooling and populations from the International HapMap Consortium as reference panels, and identified AIMs unique to each population. In this study, we demonstrated that genotyping pooled DNA samples yields estimates of admixture proportion that are both consistent with our knowledge of population history and similar to those obtained by genotyping known AIMs. Furthermore, through validation by individual genotyping, we demonstrated that pooling is quite effective for identifying SNPs with large allele frequency differences (i.e., AIMs) and that these AIMs are able to differentiate two closely related populations (HapMap JPT and CHB).
Author Summary
Many association studies have been published looking for genetic variants contributing to a variety of human traits such as obesity, diabetes, and height. Because the frequency of genetic variants can differ across populations, it is important to have estimates of genetic ancestry in the individuals being studied. In this study, we were able to measure genetic ancestry in populations of mixed ancestry by genotyping pooled, rather than individual, DNA samples. This represents a rapid and inexpensive means for modeling genetic ancestry and thus could facilitate future association or population-genetic studies in populations of unknown ancestry for which whole-genome data do not already exist.
PMCID: PMC2832667  PMID: 20221249

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