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1.  A genome-wide association study of marginal zone lymphoma shows association to the HLA region 
Vijai, Joseph | Wang, Zhaoming | Berndt, Sonja I. | Skibola, Christine F. | Slager, Susan L. | de Sanjose, Silvia | Melbye, Mads | Glimelius, Bengt | Bracci, Paige M. | Conde, Lucia | Birmann, Brenda M. | Wang, Sophia S. | Brooks-Wilson, Angela R. | Lan, Qing | de Bakker, Paul I. W. | Vermeulen, Roel C. H. | Portlock, Carol | Ansell, Stephen M. | Link, Brian K. | Riby, Jacques | North, Kari E. | Gu, Jian | Hjalgrim, Henrik | Cozen, Wendy | Becker, Nikolaus | Teras, Lauren R. | Spinelli, John J. | Turner, Jenny | Zhang, Yawei | Purdue, Mark P. | Giles, Graham G. | Kelly, Rachel S. | Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Anne | Ennas, Maria Grazia | Monnereau, Alain | Bertrand, Kimberly A. | Albanes, Demetrius | Lightfoot, Tracy | Yeager, Meredith | Chung, Charles C. | Burdett, Laurie | Hutchinson, Amy | Lawrence, Charles | Montalvan, Rebecca | Liang, Liming | Huang, Jinyan | Ma, Baoshan | Villano, Danylo J. | Maria, Ann | Corines, Marina | Thomas, Tinu | Novak, Anne J. | Dogan, Ahmet | Liebow, Mark | Thompson, Carrie A. | Witzig, Thomas E. | Habermann, Thomas M. | Weiner, George J. | Smith, Martyn T. | Holly, Elizabeth A. | Jackson, Rebecca D. | Tinker, Lesley F. | Ye, Yuanqing | Adami, Hans-Olov | Smedby, Karin E. | De Roos, Anneclaire J. | Hartge, Patricia | Morton, Lindsay M. | Severson, Richard K. | Benavente, Yolanda | Boffetta, Paolo | Brennan, Paul | Foretova, Lenka | Maynadie, Marc | McKay, James | Staines, Anthony | Diver, W. Ryan | Vajdic, Claire M. | Armstrong, Bruce K. | Kricker, Anne | Zheng, Tongzhang | Holford, Theodore R. | Severi, Gianluca | Vineis, Paolo | Ferri, Giovanni M. | Ricco, Rosalia | Miligi, Lucia | Clavel, Jacqueline | Giovannucci, Edward | Kraft, Peter | Virtamo, Jarmo | Smith, Alex | Kane, Eleanor | Roman, Eve | Chiu, Brian C. H. | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Wu, Xifeng | Cerhan, James R. | Offit, Kenneth | Chanock, Stephen J. | Rothman, Nathaniel | Nieters, Alexandra
Nature Communications  2015;6:5751.
Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is the third most common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here we perform a two-stage GWAS of 1,281 MZL cases and 7,127 controls of European ancestry and identify two independent loci near BTNL2 (rs9461741, P=3.95 × 10−15) and HLA-B (rs2922994, P=2.43 × 10−9) in the HLA region significantly associated with MZL risk. This is the first evidence that genetic variation in the major histocompatibility complex influences MZL susceptibility.
Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is a common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here the authors carry out a two-stage genome-wide association study in over 8,000 Europeans and identify two new MZL risk loci at chromosome 6p, implicating the major histocompatibility complex in the disease for the first time.
PMCID: PMC4287989  PMID: 25569183
2.  Calibrating a population-based job-exposure matrix using inspection measurements to estimate historical occupational exposure to lead for a population-based cohort in Shanghai, China 
The epidemiologic evidence for the carcinogenicity of lead is inconsistent and requires improved exposure assessment to estimate risk. We evaluated historical occupational lead exposure for a population-based cohort of women (n=74,942) by calibrating a job-exposure matrix (JEM) with lead fume (n=20,084) and lead dust (n=5,383) measurements collected over four decades in Shanghai, China. Using mixed-effect models, we calibrated intensity JEM ratings to the measurements using fixed-effects terms for year and JEM rating. We developed job/industry-specific estimates from the random-effects terms for job and industry. The model estimates were applied to subjects’ jobs when the JEM probability rating was high for either job or industry; remaining jobs were considered unexposed. The models predicted that exposure increased monotonically with JEM intensity rating and decreased 20–50-fold over time. The cumulative calibrated JEM estimates and job/industry-specific estimates were highly correlated (Pearson correlation=0.79–0.84). Overall, 5% of the person-years and 8% of the women were exposed to lead fume; 2% of the person-years and 4% of the women were exposed to lead dust. The most common lead-exposed jobs were manufacturing electronic equipment. These historical lead estimates should enhance our ability to detect associations between lead exposure and cancer risk in future epidemiologic analyses.
PMCID: PMC3508334  PMID: 22910004
lead; cancer; exposure assessment; occupational exposure; job exposure matrix; mixed-effects model
3.  A genome-wide association study of renal cell carcinoma among African Americans 
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in populations of European ancestry have identified four susceptibility loci. No GWAS has been conducted among African Americans (AAs), who experience a higher incidence of RCC. We conducted a GWAS in which we analyzed 1,136,723 common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among 255 cases and 375 controls of African ancestry, and further investigated 16 SNPs in a replication set (140 cases, 543 controls). The 12p11.23 variant rs10771279, located 77kb from the European-ancestry RCC marker rs718314, was associated with RCC risk in the GWAS (P=1.2 × 10−7) but did not replicate (P=0.99). Consistent with European-ancestry findings, the A allele of rs7105934 on 11q13.3 was associated with decreased risk [odds ratio (OR)=0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.64–0.91; P=0.0022]. The frequency of this allele was higher than that observed in the European-ancestry GWAS (0.56 and 0.07 respectively among controls). The rs7105934 association was stronger for clear cell RCC (ccRCC: OR=0.56; P=7.4 × 10−7) and absent for cases of other or unknown histology (OR=1.02; P=0.86). Analyses of rs7105934 by subtype among European-ancestry participants from these studies yielded similar findings (ORs 0.69 and 0.92 respectively). This study provides, to our knowledge, the first evidence that rs7105934 is an RCC susceptibility locus among AAs. Our finding that the association with this SNP may be specific to ccRCC is novel and requires additional investigation. Additional investigation of rs10771279 and other suggestive GWAS findings is also needed.
PMCID: PMC3901793  PMID: 24220910
4.  Differential urinary specific gravity as a molecular phenotype of the bladder cancer genetic association in the urea transporter gene, SLC14A1 
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified associations between markers within the solute carrier family 14 (urea transporter), member 1 (SLC14A1) gene and risk of bladder cancer. SLC14A1 defines the Kidd blood groups in erythrocytes and is also involved in concentration of the urine in the kidney. We evaluated the association between a representative genetic variant (rs10775480) of SLC14A1 and urine concentration, as measured by urinary specific gravity (USG), in a subset of 275 population-based controls enrolled in the New England Bladder Cancer Study. Overnight urine samples were collected and USG was measured using refractometry. Analysis of covariance was used to estimate adjusted least square means for USG in relation to rs10775480. We also examined the mRNA expression of both urea transporters, SLC14A1 and SLC14A2, in a panel of human tissues. USG was decreased with each copy of the rs10775480 risk T allele (p-trend= 0.011) with a significant difference observed for CC vs. TT genotypes (p-valuetukey=0.024). RNA-sequencing in the bladder tissue showed high expression of SLC14A1 and the absence of SLC14A2, while both transporters were expressed in the kidney. We suggest that the molecular phenotype of this GWAS finding is the genotype-specific biological activity of SLC14A1 in the bladder tissue. Our data suggest that SLC14A1 could be a unique urea transporter in the bladder that has the ability to influence urine concentration and that this mechanism might explain the increased bladder cancer susceptibility associated with rs10775480.
PMCID: PMC3797230  PMID: 23754249
Bladder Cancer; Urinary Specific Gravity; Genome-wide association study; Epidemiology
5.  IL10 and TNF variants and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma among three Asian populations 
Genetic variation in immune-related genes, such as IL10 and TNF, have been associated with the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in Caucasian populations. To test the hypothesis that IL10 and TNF polymorphisms may be associated with NHL risk in Asian populations, we genotyped 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the IL10 and TNF/LTA loci in three independent case–control studies (2635 cases and 4234 controls). IL10 rs1800871, rs1800872, and rs1800896 were genotyped in all three studies, while 5 of the remaining SNPs were genotyped in two studies, and 12 in a single study. IL10 rs1800896 was associated with B cell lymphoma [per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.25, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.08–1.45; ptrend = 0.003], specifically diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) (per-allele OR = 1.29, 95 % CI 1.08–1.53; ptrend = 0.004), as well as T cell lymphoma (per-allele OR = 1.44, 95 % CI 1.13–1.82; ptrend = 0.003). TNF rs1800629, which was genotyped in only two of our studies, was also associated with B cell lymphoma (per-allele OR = 0.77, 95 % CI 0.64–0.91; ptrend = 0.003), specifically DLBCL (per-allele OR = 0.69, 95 % CI 0.55–0.86; ptrend = 0.001). Our findings suggest that genetic variation in IL10 and TNF may also play a role in lymphomagenesis in Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC4241501  PMID: 23640160
NHL; DLBCL; Subtype; Asia; IL10; TNF
6.  Driver mutations among never smoking female lung cancer tissues in China identify unique EGFR and KRAS mutation pattern associated with household coal burning 
Respiratory medicine  2013;107(11):10.1016/j.rmed.2013.08.018.
Lung cancer in never smokers, which has been partially attributed to household solid fuel use (i.e coal), is etiologically and clinically different from lung cancer attributed to tobacco smoking. To explore the spectrum of driver mutations among lung cancer tissues from never smokers, specifically in a population where high lung cancer rates have been attributed to indoor air pollution from domestic coal use, multiplexed assays were used to detect >40 point mutations, insertions, and deletions (EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, HER2, NRAS, PIK3CA, MEK1, AKT1, and PTEN) among the lung tumors of confirmed never smoking females from Xuanwei, China [32 adenocarcinomas (ADCs), 7 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), 1 adenosquamous carcinoma (ADSC)]. EGFR mutations were detected in 35% of tumors. 46% of these involved EGFR exon 18 G719X, while 14% were exon 21 L858R mutations. KRAS mutations, all of which were G12C_34G>T, were observed in 15% of tumors. EGFR and KRAS mutations were mutually exclusive, and no mutations were observed in the other tested genes. Most point mutations were transversions and were also found in tumors from patients who used coal in their homes. Our high mutation frequencies in EGFR exon 18 and KRAS and low mutation frequency in EGFR exon 21 are strikingly divergent from those in other smoking and never smoking populations from Asia. Given that our subjects live in a region where coal is typically burned indoors, our findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of lung cancer among never smoking females exposed to indoor air pollution from coal.
PMCID: PMC3848251  PMID: 24055406
EGFR; KRAS; lung cancer; never smoking; China; driver mutations; tumor tissue
7.  Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and risk of gastric cancer in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study 
Purpose: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are byproducts of incomplete combustion of organic materials. Sources include tobacco smoke, charbroiled meat, and air pollution. Indirect evidence suggests that PAHs may be associated with carcinogenesis, but the association with gastric cancer is unclear. Methods: Using a nested case-control study design, we examined prediagnostic urinary concentrations of 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG), a PAH metabolite, in 153 gastric cancer cases and 306 matched controls within the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. Conditional logistic regression adjusted for potential risk factors was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). Results: Urinary 1-OHPG concentrations were slightly higher among cases than controls, with medians of 0.29 μmol/mol Cr (interquartile range, 0.16-0.48) and 0.24 μmol/mol Cr (interquartile range, 0.12-0.45), respectively. Increasing concentrations of 1-OHPG appeared to be associated with elevated risk of gastric cancer, but not within the highest category of 1-OHPG (Q4 vs Q1: OR = 1.4; 95% CI = 0.8-2.5). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that higher concentrations of 1-OHPG are related to gastric cancer risk, but no clear dose-response relationship was observed.
PMCID: PMC4214261  PMID: 25379133
1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; gastric cancer; China
8.  Identification of gene–environment interactions in cancer studies using penalization 
Genomics  2013;102(4):10.1016/j.ygeno.2013.08.006.
High-throughput cancer studies have been extensively conducted, searching for genetic markers associated with outcomes beyond clinical and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interactions can have important implications beyond main effects. The commonly-adopted single-marker analysis cannot accommodate the joint effects of a large number of markers. The existing joint-effects methods also have limitations. Specifically, they may suffer from high computational cost, do not respect the “main effect, interaction” hierarchical structure, or use ineffective techniques. We develop a penalization method for the identification of important G × E interactions and main effects. It has an intuitive formulation, respects the hierarchical structure, accommodates the joint effects of multiple markers, and is computationally affordable. In numerical study, we analyze prognosis data under the AFT (accelerated failure time) model. Simulation shows satisfactory performance of the proposed method. Analysis of an NHL (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) study with SNP measurements shows that the proposed method identifies markers with important implications and satisfactory prediction performance.
PMCID: PMC3869641  PMID: 23994599
Gene–environment interaction; Penalized marker identification; Cancer prognosis
9.  Role of One-carbon Metabolizing Pathway Genes and Gene-Nutrient Interaction in the Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(10):1875-1884.
Genetic polymorphisms in one-carbon metabolizing pathway genes have been associated with risk of malignant lymphoma. However, the results have been inconsistent. The objectives of this study were to examine the potential relationship between gene-nutrient interactions and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
We examined 25 polymorphisms in 16 one-carbon metabolism genes for their main effect and gene-nutrient interactions in relation to NHL risk among 518 incident cases and 597 population-based controls of Connecticut women enrolled between 1996 and 2000.
A significantly reduced risk of NHL was associated with the homozygous TT genotype in CBS (rs234706, Ex9+33C>T) (OR = 0.51, 95%CI, 0.31–0.84), the homozygous CC genotype in MBD2 (rs603097, −2176C>T) (OR = 0.37, 95%CI, 0.17–0.79), the heterozygote AG genotype in FTHFD (rs1127717, Ex21+31A>G) (OR = 0.73, 95%CI, 0.55–0.98), and a borderline significantly reduced risk of NHL was observed for the homozygous CC genotype in MTRR (rs161870, Ex5+136T>C) (OR = 0.23, 95%CI, 0.05–1.04). The reduced risk of NHL associated with these genotypes was predominately in those with higher dietary vitamin B6 and methionine intakes, as well as with higher dietary folate intake although results were less stable. A borderline significantly increased risk of NHL was also observed for CBS (rs1801181, Ex13+41C>T), FTHFD (rs2305230, Ex10-40G>T), SHMT1 (rs1979277, Ex12+138C>T), and SHMT1 (rs1979276, Ex12+236T>C), and these associations appeared to be contingent on dietary nutrient intakes.
Our results suggest that variation in several one-carbon metabolizing pathway genes may influence the risk of NHL through gene-nutrient interactions involving dietary nutrient intakes.
PMCID: PMC3951097  PMID: 23913011
dietary nutrients; folate; one-carbon metabolizing genes; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; cancer
10.  Household air pollution and lung cancer in China: a review of studies in Xuanwei 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2014;33(10):471-475.
Over half of the world's population is exposed to household air pollution from the burning of solid fuels at home. Household air pollution from solid fuel use is a leading risk factor for global disease and remains a major public health problem, especially in low- and mid-income countries. This is a particularly serious problem in China, where many people in rural areas still use coal for household heating and cooking. This review focuses on several decades of research carried out in Xuanwei County, Yunnan Province, where household coal use is a major source of household air pollution and where studies have linked household air pollution exposure to high rates of lung cancer. We conducted a series of case-control and cohort studies in Xuanwei to characterize the lung cancer risk in this population and the factors associated with it. We found lung cancer risk to vary substantially between different coal types, with a higher risk associated with smoky (i.e., bituminous) coal use compared to smokeless (i.e., anthracite) coal use. The installation of a chimney in homes resulted in a substantial reduction in lung cancer incidence and mortality. Overall, our research underscores the need among existing coal users to improve ventilation, use the least toxic fuel, and eventually move toward the use of cleaner fuels, such as gas and electricity.
PMCID: PMC4198749  PMID: 25223911
Coal; household air pollution; lung cancer
11.  Genome-wide association analysis identifies new lung cancer susceptibility loci in never-smoking women in Asia 
Lan, Qing | Hsiung, Chao A | Matsuo, Keitaro | Hong, Yun-Chul | Seow, Adeline | Wang, Zhaoming | Hosgood, H Dean | Chen, Kexin | Wang, Jiu-Cun | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Hu, Wei | Wong, Maria Pik | Zheng, Wei | Caporaso, Neil | Park, Jae Yong | Chen, Chien-Jen | Kim, Yeul Hong | Kim, Young Tae | Landi, Maria Teresa | Shen, Hongbing | Lawrence, Charles | Burdett, Laurie | Yeager, Meredith | Yuenger, Jeffrey | Jacobs, Kevin B | Chang, I-Shou | Mitsudomi, Tetsuya | Kim, Hee Nam | Chang, Gee-Chen | Bassig, Bryan A | Tucker, Margaret | Wei, Fusheng | Yin, Zhihua | Wu, Chen | An, She-Juan | Qian, Biyun | Lee, Victor Ho Fun | Lu, Daru | Liu, Jianjun | Jeon, Hyo-Sung | Hsiao, Chin-Fu | Sung, Jae Sook | Kim, Jin Hee | Gao, Yu-Tang | Tsai, Ying-Huang | Jung, Yoo Jin | Guo, Huan | Hu, Zhibin | Hutchinson, Amy | Wang, Wen-Chang | Klein, Robert | Chung, Charles C | Oh, In-Jae | Chen, Kuan-Yu | Berndt, Sonja I | He, Xingzhou | Wu, Wei | Chang, Jiang | Zhang, Xu-Chao | Huang, Ming-Shyan | Zheng, Hong | Wang, Junwen | Zhao, Xueying | Li, Yuqing | Choi, Jin Eun | Su, Wu-Chou | Park, Kyong Hwa | Sung, Sook Whan | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Chen, Yuh-Min | Liu, Li | Kang, Chang Hyun | Hu, Lingmin | Chen, Chung-Hsing | Pao, William | Kim, Young-Chul | Yang, Tsung-Ying | Xu, Jun | Guan, Peng | Tan, Wen | Su, Jian | Wang, Chih-Liang | Li, Haixin | Sihoe, Alan Dart Loon | Zhao, Zhenhong | Chen, Ying | Choi, Yi Young | Hung, Jen-Yu | Kim, Jun Suk | Yoon, Ho-Il | Cai, Qiuyin | Lin, Chien-Chung | Park, In Kyu | Xu, Ping | Dong, Jing | Kim, Christopher | He, Qincheng | Perng, Reury-Perng | Kohno, Takashi | Kweon, Sun-Seog | Chen, Chih-Yi | Vermeulen, Roel | Wu, Junjie | Lim, Wei-Yen | Chen, Kun-Chieh | Chow, Wong-Ho | Ji, Bu-Tian | Chan, John K C | Chu, Minjie | Li1, Yao-Jen | Yokota, Jun | Li, Jihua | Chen, Hongyan | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Yu, Chong-Jen | Kunitoh, Hideo | Wu, Guoping | Jin, Li | Lo, Yen-Li | Shiraishi, Kouya | Chen, Ying-Hsiang | Lin, Hsien-Chih | Wu, Tangchun | Wu, Yi-Long | Yang, Pan-Chyr | Zhou, Baosen | Shin, Min-Ho | Fraumeni, Joseph F | Lin, Dongxin | Chanock, Stephen J | Rothman, Nathaniel
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1330-1335.
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.
PMCID: PMC4169232  PMID: 23143601
12.  History of lung disease and risk of lung cancer in a population with high household fuel combustion exposures in rural China 
Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands)  2013;81(3):10.1016/j.lungcan.2013.06.019.
History of chronic lung diseases and household coal use for heating and cooking are established risk factors of lung cancer; however, few studies have been able to explore these risk factors simultaneously. Xuanwei, China, has some of the highest rates of lung cancer in China and most residents experience substantial in-home coal smoke exposures. Using a population-based case-control study of 498 lung cancer cases and 498 age-matched controls, we evaluated the risk of lung cancer in relation to coal smoke exposure and history of chronic lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, tuberculosis (TB), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by conditional logistic regression adjusting for potential confounders. We observed an increased risk of lung cancer with history of any chronic lung disease among males (OR=14.2; 95%CI =4.3 to 46.9), females (OR=2.6; 95%CI =1.1 to 6.3), smokers (OR=12.7; 95%CI =3.5 to 45.8), and nonsmokers (OR=2.6; 95%CI =1.1 to 6.4). Specifically, TB (OR=83.7; 95%CI =11.0 to 634.7), COPD (OR=3.2; 95%CI =1.7 to 6.0), and emphysema and chronic bronchitis (OR=3.3; 95%CI =1.7 to 6.4) were associated with increased risks. These findings suggest that history of chronic lung diseases may also increase risk of lung cancer in populations with indoor coal smoke exposures.
PMCID: PMC3845667  PMID: 23891511
Chronic lung disease; lung cancer; never smoking; Xuanwei; China
13.  Polymorphisms in JAK/STAT Signaling Pathway Genes and Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
Leukemia research  2013;37(9):1120-1124.
Impaired function of Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling pathway genes leads to immunodeficiency and various hematopoietic disorders. We evaluated the association between genetic polymorphisms (SNPs) in 12 JAK/STAT pathway genes (JAK3, STAT1, STAT2, STAT3, STAT4, STAT5a, STAT5b, STAT6, SCOS1, SCOS2, SCOS3, and SCOS4) and NHL risk in a population-based case-control study of Connecticut women. We identified three SNPs in STAT3 (rs12949918 and rs6503695) and STAT4 (rs932169) associated with NHL risk after adjustment for multiple comparison. Our results suggest that genetic variation in JAK/STAT pathway genes may play a role in lymphomagenesis and warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3998836  PMID: 23768868
JAK/STAT signaling pathway; Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma; polymorphism; case-control study
14.  Can a genotype for lactase persistence be used as a tool to assess the relationship between renal cell carcinoma and milk drinking? Pitfalls in the application of Mendelian randomization 
Increased risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with milk consumption has been reported from observational studies including that involved here. Whether this represents causal association or whether it is the result of confounding or bias is unclear. We aimed to assess the potential for genetic variation in lactase persistence to be used as a tool for the interrogation of these relationships.
Using a large, hospital based case control study, we use a combination of observational genetic and phenotypic data to determine whether the MCM6 -13910 C/T(rs4988235) variant may be used as an non-confounded and unbiased marker for milk consumption.
Consumption of milk during adulthood was associated with increased risk of RCC (OR=1.35 95% CI 1.03, 1.76 p=0.03). Among controls, consumption of milk was associated with the lactase persistence genotype at rs4988235 (2.39[1.81, 3.15], p=6.9*10−10), however the same genotype was not associated with RCC (OR=1.01 95% CI 0.83, 1.22 p=0.9). In controls, milk consumption was associated with confounding factors including smoking, and educational attainment, while the lactase persistence genotype at rs4988235 genotype showed negligible association with confounding factors.
The absence of an association between the MCM6 genotype and RCC suggests that observational associations between milk consumption and RCC may be due to confounding or bias. However, if the association between genotype and behavioral exposure is weak, then the power of this test may be low. The nature of intermediate risk factor instrumentation is an important consideration in the undertaking and interpretation of this type of causal analysis experiment.
PMCID: PMC4141143  PMID: 20447925
Mendelian randomization; lactase persistence; renal carcinoma
15.  Biological and Statistical Approaches for Modeling Exposure to Specific Trihalomethanes and Bladder Cancer Risk 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(4):652-660.
Lifetime exposure to trihalomethanes (THM) has been associated with increased risk of bladder cancer. We explored methods of analyzing bladder cancer risk associated with 4 THM (chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform) as surrogates for disinfection by-product (DBP) mixtures in a case-control study in Spain (1998–2001). Lifetime average concentrations of THM in the households of 686 incident bladder cancer cases and 750 matched hospital-based controls were calculated. Several exposure metrics were modeled through conditional logistic regression, including the following analyses: total THM (μg/L), cytotoxicity-weighted sum of total THM (pmol/L), 4 THM in separate models, 4 THM in 1 model, chloroform and the sum of brominated THM in 1 model, and a principal-components analysis. THM composition, concentrations, and correlations varied between areas. The model for total THM was stable and showed increasing dose-response trends. Models for separate THM provided unstable estimates and inconsistent dose-response relationships. Risk estimation for specific THM is hampered by the varying composition of the mixture, correlation between species, and imprecision of historical estimates. Total THM (μg/L) provided a proxy measure of DBPs that yielded the strongest dose-response relationship with bladder cancer risk. A variety of metrics and statistical approaches should be used to evaluate this association in other settings.
PMCID: PMC3736753  PMID: 23648803
chloroform; complex mixtures; logistic models; principal-components analysis; Spain; trihalomethanes; urinary bladder neoplasms
16.  Single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes encoding for CC chemokines were not associated with the risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
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 NHL risk.
PMCID: PMC3753095  PMID: 23640258
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; CC chemokine gene; Single nucleotide polymorphism
17.  Polymorphisms in DNA Repair Pathway Genes, Body Mass Index, and Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
American journal of hematology  2013;88(7):606-611.
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.
PMCID: PMC3902049  PMID: 23619945
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; BMI; polymorphisms; DNA repair genes
18.  Predictors and Variability of Repeat Measurements of Urinary Phenols and Parabens in a Cohort of Shanghai Women and Men 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(7):733-740.
Background: Exposure to certain phenols is ubiquitous because of their use in many consumer and personal care products. However, predictors of exposure have not been well characterized in most populations.
Objectives: We sought to identify predictors of exposure and to assess the reproducibility of phenol concentrations across serial spot urine samples among Chinese adults.
Methods: We measured 2,4-dichlorophenol, 2,5-dichlorophenol, butyl paraben, methyl paraben, propyl paraben, benzophenone-3, bisphenol A, and triclosan in urine collected during 1997–2006 from 50 participants of the Shanghai Women’s Health Study cohort and during 2002–2006 from 50 participants of the Shanghai Men’s Health Study cohort. We investigated predictors of concentrations using the Satterthwaite t-test, and assessed reproducibility among serial samples using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and Spearman correlation coefficients (SCCs).
Results: Creatinine-corrected phenol concentrations were generally higher among women than men. Participants who had taken medicine within the previous 24 hr had higher concentrations of propyl paraben. Cigarette smoking was associated with lower concentrations of propyl and methyl parabens among men. Bottled water consumption was associated with higher bisphenol A, 2,4-dichlorophenol, and 2,5-dichlorophenol concentrations among women. Among men, reproducibility across serial samples was moderate for 2,4-dichlorophenol and 2,5-dichlorophenol (ICC = 0.54–0.60, SCC = 0.43–0.56), but lower for other analytes (ICC = 0.20–0.29). Reproducibility among women was low (ICC = 0.13–0.39), but increased when restricted to morning-only urine samples.
Conclusions: Among these 100 Shanghai residents, urinary phenol concentrations varied by sex, smoking, and consumption of bottled water. Our results suggest that a single urine sample may be adequate for ranking exposure to the precursors of 2,4-dichlorophenol and 2,5-dichlorophenol among men and, under certain circumstances, among women.
Citation: Engel LS, Buckley JP, Yang G, Liao LM, Satagopan J, Calafat AM, Matthews CE, Cai Q, Ji BT, Cai H, Engel SM, Wolff MS, Rothman N, Zheng W, Xiang YB, Shu XO, Gao YT, Chow WH. 2014. Predictors and variability of repeat measurements of urinary phenols and parabens in a cohort of Shanghai women and men. Environ Health Perspect 122:733–740;
PMCID: PMC4080538  PMID: 24659570
19.  Joint effects between five identified risk variants, allergy, and autoimmune conditions on glioma risk 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(10):1885-1891.
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.
PMCID: PMC4074857  PMID: 23903690
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms; Glioma; Allergies; Autoimmune conditions; Gene–environment interaction
20.  An investigation of risk factors for renal cell carcinoma by histologic subtype in two case-control studies 
To investigate whether renal cell carcinoma (RCC) histologic subtypes possess different etiologies, we conducted analyses of established RCC risk factors by subtype (clear cell, papillary, chromophobe) in two case-control studies conducted in the United States (1,217 cases, 1,235 controls) and Europe (1,097 cases, 1,476 controls). Histology was ascertained for 706 U.S. cases (58% of total) and 917 European cases (84%) through a central slide review conducted by a single pathologist. For the remaining cases, histology was abstracted from the original diagnostic pathology report. Case-only analyses were performed to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) summarizing subtype differences by age, sex, and race. Case-control analyses were performed to compute subtype-specific ORs for other risk factors using polytomous regression. In case-only analyses, papillary cases (N=237) were older (OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.1–1.4 per 10-year increase), less likely to be female (OR=0.5, 95 % CI=0.4- 0.8) and more likely to be black (OR=2.6, 95% CI=1.8–3.9) compared to clear cell cases (N=1,524). In case-control analyses, BMI was associated with clear cell (OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.1–1.3 per 5kg/m2 increase) and chromophobe RCC (N=80; OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.1- 1.4), but not papillary RCC (OR=1.1, 95% CI=1.0–1.2; test vs. clear cell, P=0.006). No subtype differences were observed for associations with smoking, hypertension or family history of kidney cancer. Our findings support the existence of distinct age, sex and racial distributions for RCC subtypes, and suggest that the obesity-RCC association differs by histology.
PMCID: PMC3717609  PMID: 23150424
Renal cell carcinoma; histology; case-control studies; body mass index
21.  Genetic Variation in the TP53 Pathway and Bladder Cancer Risk. A Comprehensive Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e89952.
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.
PMCID: PMC4018346  PMID: 24818791
22.  A prospective study of leukocyte telomere length and risk of renal cell carcinoma 
It has been hypothesized that genomic instability related to telomere dysfunction may contribute to carcinogenesis. There is some evidence from case-control studies suggesting that short leukocyte telomere length (TL) may be associated with an increased risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC); however, this association has not been investigated prospectively.
We conducted a nested case-control study (209 cases, 410 controls) of RCC risk in relation to pre-diagnostic leukocyte TL in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using conditional logistic regression.
Leukocyte TL was not significantly associated with future risk of RCC (highest quartile vs. lowest: OR=0.8, 95% CI=0.5–1.5; Ptrend=0.6). Analyses stratified by sex, age, and time from blood collection to RCC diagnosis were similarly null.
The results of this study, to our knowledge the first prospective investigation of its kind, do not support an association between pre-diagnostic leukocyte TL and risk of RCC.
In contrast to some earlier reports, our findings add to the evidence that leukocyte TL is not a biomarker of risk related to the etiology of RCC.
PMCID: PMC3655903  PMID: 23513041
telomeres; telomere length; renal cell carcinoma; kidney cancer
23.  Characterization of Changes in Gene Expression and Biochemical Pathways at Low Levels of Benzene Exposure 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e91828.
Benzene, a ubiquitous environmental pollutant, causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Recently, through transcriptome profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), we reported dose-dependent effects of benzene exposure on gene expression and biochemical pathways in 83 workers exposed across four airborne concentration ranges (from <1 ppm to >10 ppm) compared with 42 subjects with non-workplace ambient exposure levels. Here, we further characterize these dose-dependent effects with continuous benzene exposure in all 125 study subjects. We estimated air benzene exposure levels in the 42 environmentally-exposed subjects from their unmetabolized urinary benzene levels. We used a novel non-parametric, data-adaptive model selection method to estimate the change with dose in the expression of each gene. We describe non-parametric approaches to model pathway responses and used these to estimate the dose responses of the AML pathway and 4 other pathways of interest. The response patterns of majority of genes as captured by mean estimates of the first and second principal components of the dose-response for the five pathways and the profiles of 6 AML pathway response-representative genes (identified by clustering) exhibited similar apparent supra-linear responses. Responses at or below 0.1 ppm benzene were observed for altered expression of AML pathway genes and CYP2E1. Together, these data show that benzene alters disease-relevant pathways and genes in a dose-dependent manner, with effects apparent at doses as low as 100 ppb in air. Studies with extensive exposure assessment of subjects exposed in the low-dose range between 10 ppb and 1 ppm are needed to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC4006721  PMID: 24786086
24.  Sources of Variability in Metabolite Measurements from Urinary Samples 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95749.
The application of metabolomics in epidemiological studies would potentially allow researchers to identify biomarkers associated with exposures and diseases. However, within-individual variability of metabolite levels caused by temporal variation of metabolites, together with technical variability introduced by laboratory procedures, may reduce the study power to detect such associations. We assessed the sources of variability of metabolites from urine samples and the implications for designing epidemiologic studies.
We measured 539 metabolites in urine samples from the Navy Colon Adenoma Study using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). The study collected 2–3 samples per person from 17 male subjects (age 38–70) over 2–10 days. We estimated between-individual, within-individual, and technical variability and calculated expected study power with a specific focus on large case-control and nested case-control studies.
Overall technical reliability was high (median intraclass correlation = 0.92), and for 72% of the metabolites, the majority of total variance can be attributed to between-individual variability. Age, gender and body mass index explained only a small proportion of the total metabolite variability. For a relative risk (comparing upper and lower quartiles of “usual” levels) of 1.5, we estimated that a study with 500, 1,000, and 5,000 individuals could detect 1.0%, 4.5% and 75% of the metabolite associations.
The use of metabolomics in urine samples from epidemiological studies would require large sample sizes to detect associations with moderate effect sizes.
PMCID: PMC4006796  PMID: 24788433
25.  Alterations in serum immunoglobulin levels in workers occupationally exposed to trichloroethylene 
Carcinogenesis  2012;34(4):799-802.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) has been associated with a variety of immunotoxic effects and may be associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Altered serum immunoglobulin (Ig) levels have been reported in NHL patients and in animals exposed to TCE. Recently, we reported that occupational exposure to TCE is associated with immunosuppressive effects and immune dysfunction, including suppression of B-cell counts and activation, even at relatively low levels. We hypothesized that TCE exposure would also affect Ig levels in humans. We measured serum levels of IgG, IgM and IgE, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in TCE-exposed workers (n = 80) and unexposed controls (n = 45), matched by age and gender, in a cross-sectional, molecular epidemiology study of occupational exposure to TCE in Guangdong, China. Exposed workers had about a 17.5% decline in serum levels of IgG compared with unexposed controls (P = 0.0002). Similarly, serum levels of IgM were reduced by about 38% in workers exposed to TCE compared with unexposed controls (P < 0.0001). Serum levels of both IgG and IgM were significantly decreased in workers exposed to TCE levels below 12 p.p.m., the median exposure level. Adjustment for B-cell counts had minimal impact on our findings. IgE levels were not significantly different between exposed and control subjects. These results provide further evidence that TCE is immunotoxic at relatively low exposure levels and provide additional biologic plausibility for the reported association of TCE with NHL.
PMCID: PMC3616671  PMID: 23276795

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