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1.  Mapping of the IRF8 gene identifies a 3’ UTR variant associated with risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia but not other common non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes 
Our genome-wide association study (GWAS) of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) identified 4 highly-correlated intronic variants within the IRF8 gene that were associated with CLL. These results were further supported by a recent meta-analysis of our GWAS with two other GWAS of CLL, supporting the IRF8 gene as a strong candidate for CLL risk.
To refine the genetic association of CLL risk, we performed Sanger sequencing of IRF8 in 94 CLL cases and 96 controls. We then performed fine-mapping by genotyping 39 variants (of which 10 were identified from sequencing) in 745 CLL cases and 1521 controls. We also assessed these associations with risk of other non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes.
The strongest association with CLL risk was observed with a common SNP located within the 3’ UTR of IRF8 (rs1044873, log additive odds ratio = 0.7, P=1.81×10−6). This SNP was not associated with the other NHL subtypes (all P>0.05).
We provide evidence that rs1044873 in the IRF8 gene accounts for the initial GWAS signal for CLL risk. This association appears to be unique to CLL with little support for association with other common NHL subtypes. Future work is needed to assess functional role of IRF8 in CLL etiology.
These data provide support that a functional variant within the 3’ UTR of IRF8 may be driving the GWAS signal seen on 16q24.1 for CLL risk.
PMCID: PMC3596428  PMID: 23307532
CLL; NHL; SNPs; IRF8; risk locus
2.  Autoimmune Cytopenia in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (CLL): Changes in Clinical Presentation and Prognosis 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2009;50(8):1261-1268.
Improved medical care could have altered the clinical presentation and survival of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL) complicated by autoimmune cytopenia (AID cytopenia). We reviewed the clinical characteristics, treatment, and outcome of AID cytopenia that was diagnosed in 75 (4.3%) of 1750 CLL patients seen at a single institution over 10 years. Compared to historical reported data, our study shows a lower rate of autoimmune hemolytic anemia (2.3%), and similar rates of immune thrombocytopenia (2.0%) and pure red blood cell aplasia (0.5%). AID cytopenia occurred at all stages of CLL, responded well to treatment, did not alter overall survival, and contributed to death in only 6 (12%) patients. We propose that more sensitive and accurate diagnostic methods for CLL have decreased the perceived prevalence of AID cytopenia and that improvements in management could have increased the survival of these patients.
PMCID: PMC3917557  PMID: 19811329
3.  Statin and Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Use In Relation to Clinical Outcome Among Patients with Rai Stage 0 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2010;51(7):1233-1240.
Statins and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most commonly prescribed medications. In vitro studies suggest that statins and NSAIDs may have potential as anti-cancer therapies in low grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and a recent observational study found statin use was associated with improved event free survival in patients with follicular lymphoma. Other studies have suggested that statins reduce the efficacy of rituximab by inhibiting binding to CD20. We therefore conducted an observational cohort study of 686 patients with newly diagnosed Rai stage 0 CLL to evaluate whether statin or NSAID use was related to their clinical outcome or influenced the efficacy of rituximab therapy. At diagnosis, 136 (20%) patients took statins and 230 (34%) scheduled daily aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. No difference in time to treatment was observed based on statin or NSAID use. Among patients receiving a rituximab containing first-line therapy, no difference in time to salvage treatment was observed based on statin use. Although previous studies suggested statins may improve event free survival among patients with follicular lymphoma, we find no impact of statins on time to initial therapy in this large study of patients with Rai stage 0 CLL. The in vitro observation that statins reduce rituximab efficacy does not appear to have clinical significance in CLL care.
PMCID: PMC3913168  PMID: 20496995
4.  Age at Diagnosis and the Utility of Prognostic Testing in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) 
Cancer  2010;116(20):4777-4787.
To analyze the survival of CLL patients relative to age-matched individuals in the general population and determined the age-stratified utility of prognostic testing.
All 2487 patients diagnosed with CLL between January 1995 and June 2008 and cared for in the Mayo Division of Hematology were categorized by age at diagnosis and evaluated for differences in clinical characteristics, time to first treatment(TFT), and overall survival(OS).
Among Rai stage 0 patients, survival was shorter than the age-matched general population for patients age<55 years(p<0.001), 55-64 years(p<0.001), and 65-74 years(p<0.001) but not those age≥75 at diagnosis(p=NS). CD38, IGHV mutation, and ZAP-70 each predicted TFT independent of stage for all age groups(all p <0.04) but had less value for predicting OS, particularly as age increased. IGHV and FISH predicted OS independent of stage for patients
Survival of CLL patients age<75 is shorter than the age-matched general population regardless of disease stage. Among patients age<75, the simple combinations of stage and IGHV or stage and FISH identifies those with excess risk of death relative to the age-matched population. Although useful for predicting TFT independent of stage for patients of all ages, prognostic testing had little utility for predicting OS independent of stage among patients age≥75.
PMCID: PMC3902481  PMID: 20578179
Cancer  2011;118(7):1827-1837.
The impact of physicians’ disease-specific expertise on patient outcome is unknown. While previous studies suggest a survival advantage for cancer patients cared for at high volume centers, these observations may simply reflect referral bias or better access to advanced technologies, clinical trials, and multidisciplinary support at large centers.
We evaluated time to first treatment(TTFT) and overall survival(OS) of patients with newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma(CLL) at a single academic center based on whether they were cared for by a hematologist/oncologist who sub-specializes in CLL(CLL hematologist) or a hematologist/oncologist with expertise in other areas(non-CLL hematologist).
Among 1309 newly diagnosed patients with CLL cared for between 1999–2009, 773(59%) were cared for by CLL hematologists and 536 were cared for by non-CLL hematologists. Among early stage patients(Rai 0-I), median TTFT(9.2 vs. 6.1 years; p<0.001) and OS(10.5 years vs. 8.8 years; p<0.001) were superior for patients cared for by CLL hematologists. For all patients, OS was superior for patients cared for by CLL hematologists(10.5 years vs. 8.4 years; p=0.001). Physician’s disease-specific expertise remained an independent predictor of OS after adjusting for age, stage, sex, and lymphocyte count. Patients seen by a CLL hematologist were also more likely participate in clinical trials(48% vs. 16%; p<0.001).
Physician disease-specific expertise appears to influence outcome in patients with CLL. To the greatest extent possible, patients should be cared for by a hematologist/oncologist expert in the care of their specific malignancy. When not possible, practice guidelines developed by disease-specific experts should be followed.
PMCID: PMC3893049  PMID: 22009554
chronic lymphocytic lymphoma(CLL); small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL); prognosis; physician expertise
Annals of epidemiology  2012;22(12):855-862.
To evaluate the association of body mass index (BMI) and physical activity (PA) during adulthood and at age 18 with risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
We enrolled 950 newly diagnosed NHL patients and 1146 frequency-matched clinic-based controls. Height, weight, and PA (recent adult and at age 18) were self-reported. Odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), and tests for trend were estimated using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for age, gender, and residence.
BMI at age 18 was associated with an increased NHL risk (OR=1.38 for highest vs. lowest quartile, p-trend=0.0012), which on stratified analysis was specific to females (OR=1.90, p-trend=0.00025). There was no association of adult BMI with NHL risk. Higher physical activity in adulthood (OR=1.03, p-trend=0.85) or at age 18 (OR=0.88, 95%CI: 0.72–1.07) was not associated with risk, but there was an inverse association for adult physical activity that was specific to females (OR=0.71, p-trend=0.039). Only BMI at age 18 remained significantly associated with NHL risk when modeled together with adult or age 18 physical activity. There was little evidence for heterogeneity in these results for the common NHL subtypes.
Early adult BMI may be of greatest relevance to NHL risk, particularly in females.
PMCID: PMC3513768  PMID: 23146413
body mass index; exercise; lymphoma; non-Hodgkin; etiology; case-control studies
British journal of haematology  2012;159(5):572-576.
A recent meta-analysis of three genome-wide association studies of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) identified two common variants at the 6p21.31 locus that are associated with CLL risk. To verify and further explore the association of these variants with other non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes, we genotyped 1196 CLL cases, 1699 NHL cases, and 2410 controls. We found significant associations between the 6p21.31 variants and CLL risk (rs210134: P=0.01; rs210142: P=6.8×10−3). These variants also showed a trend towards association with some of the other NHL subtypes. Our results validate the prior work and support specific genetic pathways for risk among NHL subtypes.
PMCID: PMC3614403  PMID: 23025533
CLL; NHL; SNPs; BAK1; risk locus
Cytokine  2012;60(3):882-889.
Abnormal immune function is a key factor in predisposition to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). We evaluated the association of 30 cytokines individually and as a profile with diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) and follicular (FL) lymphomas.
We used a multiplexed assay to measure 30 cytokine concentrations in pre-treatment serum in a case-control study of 234 FL, 188 DLBCL, and 400 control participants. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for age and sex, and polytomous regression was used to evaluate heterogeneity between FL and DLBCL. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to assess cytokine profiles associated with FL and DLBCL.
In single cytokine modeling, we found that 12 of the 30 circulating serum cytokines were significantly (P<0.05) associated with FL and/or DLBCL after accounting for multiple testing (q<0.05). Soluble IL-2R (sIL-2R) had the strongest association with both FL (OR=6.0 for highest versus lowest tertile, 95% CI 3.8–9.5; p-trend=1.8 × 10−21) and DLBCL (OR=7.6, 95% CI 4.5–13.1; p-trend=7.2 × 10−20). IL1RA and IL-12p40 also showed similar associations for DLBCL and FL. In contrast, HGF, MIG, and MIP-1α had a stronger association with DLBCL compared to FL, and IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IFN-γ, IP-10, and VEGF were only statistically significantly associated with DLBCL after accounting for multiple testing. However, in PCA modeling, a cytokine profile based on sIL-2R, IL-1RA, MIG, IP-10, IL-8, and IL-12p40 explained most of the variability between controls and both FL and DLBCL.
We identified some single cytokines unique to DLBCL, but overall cytokine associations were more similar than distinct for DLBCL and FL. While these data are limited by concerns of reverse causality, they do suggest cytokines and cytokine profiles that can be prioritized in future studies.
PMCID: PMC3483382  PMID: 23010502
non-Hodgkin lymphoma; biomarkers; cytokines; case-control
Antioxidants, primarily from fruits and vegetables, have been hypothesized to protect against non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) assay, which measures total antioxidant capacity of individual foods and accounts for synergism, can be estimated using a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ). We tested the hypothesis that higher intake of antioxidant nutrients from foods, supplements, and FFQ-based ORAC values are associated with a lower risk of NHL in a clinic-based study of 603 incident cases and 1007 frequency-matched controls. Diet was assessed with a 128-item FFQ. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for age, sex, residence and total energy. Dietary intake of α-tocopherol (OR=0.50; p-trend=0.0002), β-carotene (OR=0.58; p-trend=0.0005), lutein/zeaxanthin (OR=0.62; p-trend=0.005), zinc (OR=0.54; p-trend=0.003) and chromium (OR=0.68; p-trend=0.032) were inversely associated with NHL risk. Inclusion of supplement use had little impact on these associations. Total vegetables (OR=0.52; p-trend<0.0001), particularly green leafy (OR=0.52; p-trend<0.0001) and cruciferous (OR=0.68; p-trend=0.045) vegetables, were inversely associated with NHL risk. NHL risk was inversely associated with both hydrophilic ORAC (OR=0.61, p-trend=0.003) and lipophilic ORAC (OR=0.48, p-trend=0.0002), although after simultaneous adjustment for other antioxidants or total vegetables only the association for lipophilic ORAC remained significant. There was no striking heterogeneity in results across the common NHL subtypes. Higher antioxidant intake as estimated by the FFQ-ORAC, particularly the lipophilic component, was associated with a lower NHL risk after accounting for other antioxidant nutrients and vegetable intake, supporting this as potentially useful summary measure of total antioxidant intake.
PMCID: PMC3306533  PMID: 22038870
Diet; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; vegetables; antioxidants; ORAC
American journal of hematology  2012;87(9):865-869.
While standard clinical prognostic factors predict outcome in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), predicting the outcome of patients might be further refined using biological factors. We tested whether serum cytokines could provide prognostic information in DLBCL patients. Thirty cytokines were measured in pre-treatment samples from newly diagnosed DLBCL patients using a multiplex ELISA. Sixty-nine patients treated with R-CHOP plus epratuzumab were used in an initial cohort and 185 patients treated with standard R-CHOP served as a subsequent validation cohort. In the initial cohort, elevated serum IL-10 (interleukin-10; HR=6.6, p=0.022), GM-CSF (granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor; HR=10.8, p=0.027) and IP-10 (interferon-inducible protein-10, CXCL10; HR=3.32, p=0.015) were associated with event-free survival (EFS). An identical analysis of the subsequent validation cohort confirmed that elevated serum levels of IP-10 were strongly associated with a poor EFS (HR=2.42, p= 0.0007); and also identified IL-8 (interleukin-8; HR=3.40, p= 0.00002) and IL-2R (interleukin-2 receptor, CD25; HR=2.59, p= 0.0012) as significantly associated with prognosis. The prognostic significance of elevated IP-10 remained significant after adjustment for the International Prognostic Index (IPI; EFS – HR 1.99, p=0.009, overall survival- HR 1.93, p=0.021). Elevated pretreatment serum IP-10 levels are therefore associated with an increased likelihood of disease relapse and an inferior survival in patients with DLBCL.
PMCID: PMC3429646  PMID: 22674570
IP-10; CXCL10; cytokines; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; prognosis
American journal of hematology  2012;87(9):880-885.
The complement pathway plays a central role in innate immunity, and also functions as a regulator of the overall immune response. We evaluated whether polymorphisms in complement genes are associated with event-free survival (EFS) in follicular (FL) and diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) lymphoma. We genotyped 167 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 30 complement pathway genes in a prospective cohort study of newly diagnosed FL (N=107) and DLBCL (N=82) patients enrolled at the Mayo Clinic from 2002–2005. Cox regression was used to estimate Hazard Ratios (HRs) for individual SNPs with EFS, adjusting for FLIPI or IPI and treatment. For gene-level analyses, we used a principal components based gene-level test. In gene-level analyses for FL EFS, CFH (p=0.009), CD55 (p=0.006), CFHR5 (p=0.01), C9 (p=0.02), CFHR1 (p=0.03), and CD46 (p=0.03) were significant at p<0.05, and these genes remained noteworthy after accounting for multiple testing (q<0.15). SNPs in CFH, CFHR1, and CFHR5 showed stronger associations among patients receiving any rituximab, while SNPs from CD55 and CD46 showed stronger associations among patients who were observed. For DLBCL, only CLU (p=0.001) and C7 (p=0.03) were associated with EFS, but did not remain noteworthy after accounting for multiple testing (q>0.15). Genes from the Regulators of Complement Activation (CFH, CD55, CFHR1, CFHR5, CD46) at 1q32-q32.1, along with C9, were associated with FL EFS after adjusting for clinical variables, and if replicated, these findings add further support for the role of host innate immunity in FL prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3586263  PMID: 22718493
non-Hodgkin lymphoma; complement pathway; SNPs; prognosis; prospective cohort
Owing to their role in controlling the efflux of toxic compounds, transporters are central players in the process of detoxification and elimination of xenobiotics, which in turn is related to cancer risk. Among these transporters, ATP-binding cassette B1/multidrug resistance 1 (ABCB1/MDR1), ABCC2/multidrug resistance protein 2 (MRP2), and ABCG2/breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) affect susceptibility to many hematopoietic malignancies. The maintenance of regulated expression of these transporters is governed through the activation of intracellular “xenosensors” like the nuclear receptor 1I2/pregnane X receptor (NR1I2/PXR). SNPs in genes encoding these regulators have also been implicated in the risk of several cancers. Using a tagging approach, we tested the hypothesis that common polymorphisms in the transporter genes ABCB1, ABCC2, ABCG2, and the regulator gene NR1I2 could be implicated in lymphoma risk. We selected 68 SNPs in the 4 genes, and we genotyped them in 1,481 lymphoma cases and 1,491 controls of the European cases-control study (EpiLymph) using the Illumina™ GoldenGate assay technology.Carriers of the SNP rs6857600 minor allele in ABCG2, was associated with a decrease in risk of B-cell lymphoma (B-NHL) overall (p<0.001). Furthermore, a decreased risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) was associated with the ABCG2 rs2231142 variant (p=0.0004), which could be replicated in an independent population. These results suggest a role for this gene in B-NHL susceptibility, especially for CLL.
PMCID: PMC3432449  PMID: 21918980
Lymphoma; multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1); multidrug resistance protein 2 (MRP2); breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP); pregnane X receptor (PXR)
Leukemia  2012;27(2):515-516.
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a premalignant precursor to multiple myeloma (MM). Though several genetic variants have been identified for MM, none have been identified for MGUS. Recently, Broderick et al. conducted a GWAS of MM and identified three novel loci at 3p22.1 (rs1052501), 7p15.3 (rs4487645) and 2p23.3 (rs6746082) associated with MM risk. We examined the association of these variants with MGUS in a clinic-based case-control study of 391 MGUS cases and 365 controls. We also attempted to replicate the reported association with MM (243 MM cases, 365 controls). We found rs1052501 associated with increased risk of both MGUS (OR=1.32; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.72; p=0.04) and MM (OR=1.39; 95% CI, 1.04, 1.86; p=0.03). However, there were no associations with the other two loci, rs6746082 and rs4487645, for either MGUS or MM. We identified one genetic variant that may exert its influence on MM through its association with MGUS.
PMCID: PMC3707297  PMID: 22945773
genetic variation; MGUS; MM; single nucleotide polymorphism
Leukemia & lymphoma  2012;53(6):1105-1112.
Both LMO2 mRNA and protein expression in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) have been associated with superior survival; however, a role for germline genetic variation in LMO2 has not been previously reported. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) for LMO2 was conducted on tumor tissue from diagnostic biopsies, and 20 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from LMO2 were genotyped from germline DNA. LMO2 IHC positivity was associated with superior survival (HR=0.55; 95% CI 0.31–0.97). Four LMO2 SNPs (rs10836127, rs941940, rs750781, rs1885524) were associated with survival after adjusting for LMO2 IHC and clinical factors (p<0.05), and one of these SNPs (rs941940) was also associated with IHC positivity (p=0.02). Compared to a model with clinical factors only (c-statistic=0.676), adding the 4 SNPs (c-statistic=0.751) or LMO2 IHC (c-statistic=0.691) increased the predictive ability of the model, while inclusion of all 3 factors (c-statistic=0.754) did not meaningfully add predictive ability above a model with clinical factors and the 4 SNPs. In conclusion, germline genetic variation in LMO2 was associated with DLBCL prognosis and provided slightly stronger predictive ability relative to LMO2 IHC status.
PMCID: PMC3575512  PMID: 22066713
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; LMO2; prognosis; single nucleotide polymorphisms
British Journal of Haematology  2012;157(4):472-475.
Previously, we reported increased risk of heavy-chain (HC) monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) among first-degree (1°) relatives of multiple myeloma (MM) or HC-MGUS probands. This study investigated whether there was comparable risk for light-chain (LC) MGUS among 911 relatives of the same HC-MGUS/MM probands versus a reference population of 21,463. Seventeen 1° relatives had LC-MGUS (adjusted prevalence =1.7%, 95% CI=0.9%–2.6%). There was increased risk of LC-MGUS in relatives of MM probands (RR=3.4, 95% CI=2.0–5.5). We saw no increased risk in relatives of HC-MGUS probands. We conclude that the prevalence of LC-MGUS is significantly higher among 1° relatives of MM probands.
PMCID: PMC3375594  PMID: 22629552
MGUS; myeloma; epidemiology
Gut  2011;61(9):1299-1305.
Postmenopausal hormone (PMH) therapy may reduce colorectal cancer (CRC) risk, but existing data are inconclusive.
To evaluate associations between PMH therapy and incident CRC, overall and by molecularly defined subtypes, in the population-based Iowa Women’s Health Study of older women.
Exposure data were collected from Iowa Women’s Health Study participants (55–69 years) at baseline (1986). Archived, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens for 553 CRC cases were collected and analysed to determine microsatellite instability (MSI-L/MSS or MSI-H), CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP-negative or CIMP-positive) and BRAF mutation (BRAF-wildtype or BRAF-mutated) status. Multivariable Cox regression models were fit to estimate RRs and 95% CIs.
PMH therapy (ever vs never use) was inversely associated with incident CRC overall (RR=0.82; 95% CI 0.72 to 0.93), with a significantly lower risk for MSI-L/MSS tumours (RR=0.75; 95% CI 0.60 to 0.94), and borderline significantly lower risks for CIMP-negative (RR=0.79; 95% CI 0.63 to 1.01) and BRAF-wildtype (RR=0.83; 95% CI 0.66 to 1.04) tumours. For PMH therapy >5 years, the subtype-specific risk estimates for MSI-L/MSS, CIMP-negative and BRAF-wildtype tumours were: RR=0.60, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.91; RR=0.68, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.03; and RR=0.70, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.05, respectively. PMH therapy was not significantly associated with the MSI-H, CIMP-positive or BRAF-mutated CRC subtypes.
In this prospective cohort study, PMH therapy was inversely associated with distinct molecularly defined CRC subtypes, which may be related to differential effects from oestrogen and/or progestin on heterogeneous pathways of colorectal carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3584677  PMID: 22027477
Increased alcohol consumption is a putative colorectal cancer (CRC) risk factor. However, existing data are less conclusive for women than men. Also, to date, relatively few studies have reported alcohol-related CRC risks based on molecularly-defined tumor subtypes. We evaluated associations between alcohol intake and incident CRC, overall and by microsatellite instability (MSI-H or MSI-L/MSS), CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP-positive or CIMP-negative) and BRAF mutation (mutated or wild-type) status in the prospective, population-based Iowa Women's Health Study (IWHS; n = 41,836). Subjects were 55–69 years at baseline (1986) and exposure data were obtained by self-report. Incident CRCs were prospectively identified and archived, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens were collected from 732 representative cases, diagnosed through December 31, 2002. Multivariate Cox regression models were fit to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Among alcohol consumers, the median intake (range) was 3.4 (0.9–292.8) g/day. Compared to non-consumers, alcohol intake levels of ≤ 3.4 g/day (RR = 1.00; 95% CI = 0.86–1.15) and > 3.4 g/d (RR = 1.06; 95% CI = 0.91–1.24) were not significantly associated with overall CRC risk. Analyses based on alcohol intake levels of ≤ 30 g/d and > 30 g/d or quartile distributions yielded similar risk estimates. Null associations were also observed between each alcohol intake level and the MSI-, CIMP- or BRAF-defined CRC subtypes (p > 0.05 for each comparison). These data do not support an adverse effect from alcohol intake on CRC risk, overall or by specific molecularly-defined subtypes, among older women.
PMCID: PMC3584678  PMID: 21900595
Colorectal Cancer; Alcohol; Older Women; Cohort Study
Nutrition and cancer  2012;64(7):899-910.
Folate and related micronturients may affect colorectal cancer (CRC) risk, but the molecular mechanism(s) remain incompletely defined. We analyzed associations between dietary folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine with incident CRC, overall and by microsatellite instability (MSS/MSI-L or MSI-H), CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP-negative or CIMP-positive), BRAF mutation (negative or positive), and KRAS mutation (negative or positive) status in the prospective, population-based Iowa Women’s Health Study (IWHS; 55–69 years at baseline; n = 41,836). Intake estimates were obtained from baseline, self-reported food frequency questionnaires. Molecular marker data were obtained for 514 incident CRC cases. Folate intake was inversely associated with overall CRC risk in age-adjusted Cox regression models, while methionine intake was inversely associated with overall CRC risk in multivariable-adjusted models (RR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.69–0.95; p trend = 0.001 and RR = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.54–0.96; p trend = 0.03 for highest versus lowest quartiles, respectively). None of the dietary exposures were associated with MSI, CIMP, BRAF, or KRAS defined CRC subtypes. These data provide minimal support for major effects from the examined micronutrients on overall or molecularly defined CRC risks in the IWHS cohort.
PMCID: PMC3584680  PMID: 23061900
Colorectal Cancer; Alcohol; Older Women; Cohort Study
Postmenopausal hormone (PMH) therapy represents a controversial colorectal cancer (CRC) preventive intervention. Since colorectal carcinogenesis is a heterogeneous process, we evaluated associations between PMH therapy and incident CRC in relation to KRAS mutation status in a population-based cohort of older women (Iowa Women’s Health Study [IWHS]).
The IWHS enrolled 41,836 randomly selected women, ages 55–69 years, in 1986. PMH therapy and other exposure data were recorded at baseline. Tissue samples from prospectively identified CRC cases (n = 507) were analyzed for somatic KRAS mutations (exon 2, codons 12 and 13). Multivariable Cox regression models were fit to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
PMH therapy (ever vs. never) was inversely associated with KRAS mutation-negative (RR = 0.83; 95% CI = 0.66–1.06; p = 0.14) and KRAS mutation-positive (RR = 0.82; 95% CI = 0.58–1.16; p = 0.27) tumors, although the observed risk estimates were not statistically significant. When anatomic subsite was additionally considered, the strongest association was found for KRAS mutation-negative, distal colorectal tumors (RR = 0.64; 95% CI = 0.43–0.96; p = 0.03).
To our knowledge, we provide the first report of KRAS-defined CRC risks associated with PMH therapy. These data suggest that PMH therapy may reduce CRC risk through mechanisms beyond KRAS mutation status, but might provide greater benefits for KRAS mutation-negative than mutation-positive tumors (at least in the distal colorectum).
Findings from this prospective cohort study provide novel insights regarding the molecular biology of PMH therapy-related CRC risk reduction.
PMCID: PMC3584684  PMID: 22337533
Postmenopausal hormone therapy; colorectal cancer; cohort study; KRAS
Bju International  2011;108(10):1610-1615.
To determine if polymorphisms in the cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) enzyme gene (prostaglandin synthase 2; PTGS2) were associated with development of benign prostate enlargement (BPE), and whether associations were modified by use of NSAIDs. Participants were men residing in Olmsted County, MN, who were between 40 and 79 years of age in 1990 (N = 356). Prostate volume was measured by transrectal ultrasound and men reported all the medication that they were taking at the time of the examination. Men were followed biennially for 16 years. Ten tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PTGS2 gene were typed using the Illumina GoldenGate™ Assay. Associations between SNPs and development of BPE (volume > 30 mL) were assessed by Cox proportional hazards models. Models were also stratified by NSAID use.
We observed significant associations between four polymorphisms in the PTGS2 gene and development of BPE (all P < 0.05). These associations were not observed among men who used NSAIDs.
Variants in the PTGS2 gene may increase the risk of prostate enlargement, but the increased risk may be minimized by use of NSAIDs.
PMCID: PMC3315350  PMID: 21481131
Leukemia & lymphoma  2010;51(4):620-627.
Treatment of autoimmune cytopenia complicating progressive chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is constrained by intolerance of myelosuppression and the risk of exacerbation of autoimmune cytopenia by purine analogs particularly when used as single agents. We report on 20 such patients treated with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CVP). Autoimmune cytopenia responded in 19 patients (14 complete remissions (CR), five partial remissions (PR)) with a median time to next treatment (TTT) for autoimmune cytopenia of 21.7 months. Progressive CLL responded in 17 patients (nine CR/complete clinical response, eight PR) with a median TTT of 27.7 months. Five patients have not required any re-treatment at 15–30 months. Grade 3–4 toxicities were infections (n = 3) and drug-induced pneumonitis (n = 1). No patient required blood cell transfusions after cycle 1 of therapy. We conclude that R-CVP is effective and tolerable therapy for autoimmune cytopenia complicating progressive CLL, but the duration of response is suboptimal.
PMCID: PMC3448550  PMID: 20302386
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; autoimmune hemolytic anemia; immune thrombocytopenia; pure red blood cell aplasia; therapy
Human Heredity  2011;71(4):221-233.
Our goal was to evaluate the influence of quality control (QC) decisions using two genotype calling algorithms, CRLMM and Birdseed, designed for the Affymetrix SNP Array 6.0.
Various QC options were tried using the two algorithms and comparisons were made on subject and call rate and on association results using two data sets.
For Birdseed, we recommend using the contrast QC instead of QC call rate for sample QC. For CRLMM, we recommend using the signal-to-noise rate ≥4 for sample QC and a posterior probability of 90% for genotype accuracy. For both algorithms, we recommend calling the genotype separately for each plate, and dropping SNPs with a lower call rate (<95%) before evaluating samples with lower call rates. To investigate whether the genotype calls from the two algorithms impacted the genome-wide association results, we performed association analysis using data from the GENOA cohort; we observed that the number of significant SNPs were similar using either CRLMM or Birdseed.
Using our suggested workflow both algorithms performed similarly; however, fewer samples were removed and CRLMM took half the time to run our 854 study samples (4.2 h) compared to Birdseed (8.4 h).
PMCID: PMC3136375  PMID: 21734406
Genotype call; Birdseed; CRLMM; Quality control decisions; Association
Monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is a hematologic condition wherein small B cell clones can be detected in the blood of asymptomatic individuals. Most MBL have an immunophenotype similar to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and “CLL-like” MBL is a precursor to CLL. We used flow cytometry to identify MBL from unaffected members of CLL kindreds. We identified 101 MBL cases from 622 study subjects; of these, 82 individuals with MBL were further characterized. Ninety-one unique MBL clones were detected: 73 CLL-like MBL (CD5+CD20dimsIgdim), 11 atypical MBL (CD5+CD20+sIg+), and 7 CD5neg MBL (CD5negCD20+sIgneg). Extended immunophenotypic characterization of these MBL subtypes was performed, and significant differences in cell surface expression of CD23, CD49d, CD79b, and FMC-7 were observed among the groups. Markers of risk in CLL such as CD38, ZAP70, and CD49d were infrequently expressed in CLL-like MBL, but were expressed in the majority of atypical MBL. Interphase cytogenetics was performed in 35 MBL cases, and del 13q14 was most common (22/30 CLL-like MBL cases). Gene expression analysis using oligonucleotide arrays was performed on 7 CLL-like MBL, and showed activation of B cell receptor associated pathways. Our findings underscore the diversity of MBL subtypes and further clarify the relationship between MBL and other lymphoproliferative disorders.
PMCID: PMC3164475  PMID: 21617698
The t(14;18)(q32;q21) is the most commonly observed chromosomal translocation in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), resulting in constitutive Bcl-2 expression and apoptosis inhibition. In addition, germline variation in both BCL2L11 (BIM) and CASP9, known regulators of apoptosis, have recently been linked to NHL risk. We conducted a comprehensive evaluation of 36 apoptosis pathway genes with risk of NHL.
We genotyped 226 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 36 candidate genes in a clinic-based study of 441 newly diagnosed NHL cases and 475 frequency matched controls. We used principal components analysis to assess gene-level associations, and logistic regression to assess SNP-level associations. MACH was used for imputation of SNPs in BCL2L11 and CASP9.
In gene level analyses, BCL2L11 (p=0.0019), BCLAF1 (p=0.0097), BAG5 (p=0.026) and CASP9 (p=0.0022) were associated with NHL risk after accounting for multiple testing (tail strength 0.38; 95% CI 0.05, 0.70). Two of the 5 BCL2L11 tagSNPs (rs6746608 and rs12613243), both genotyped BCLAF1 tagSNPs (rs797558 and rs703193), the single genotyped BAG5 tagSNP (rs7693), and 3 of the 7 genotyped CASP9 tagSNPs (rs6685648, rs2020902, rs2042370) were significant at p<0.05. We successfully imputed BCL2L11 and CASP9 SNPs previously linked to NHL, and replicated all 4 BCL2L11 and 2 of 3 CASP9 SNPs.
We replicated the association of BCL2L11 and CASP9 with NHL risk at the gene and SNP-level, and identified novel associations with BCLAF1 and BAG5.
Closer evaluation of germline variation of genes in the apoptosis pathway with risk of NHL and its subtypes is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2976783  PMID: 20855536
Bcl-2 pathways; caspases; molecular epidemiology; non-Hodgkin lymphoma
British journal of haematology  2010;151(2):152-158.
Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is an asymptomatic haematological condition characterized by low absolute levels of B-cell clones with a surface immunophenotype similar to that of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). In the general population, MBL increases with age with a prevalence of 5–9% in individuals over age 60 years. It has been reported to be higher among first-degree relatives from CLL families. We report results of multi-parameter flow cytometry among 505 first-degree relatives with no personal history of lymphoproliferative disease from 140 families having at least two cases of CLL. Seventeen percent of relatives had MBL. Age was the most important determinant where the probability for developing MBL by age 90 years was 61%. MBL clustered in certain families but clustering was independent of the number of known CLL cases in a family. As is the case with CLL, males had a significantly higher risk for MBL than did females (p=0.04). MBL patients had significantly higher mean absolute lymphocyte counts (2.4 × 109/l) and B-cell counts (0.53 × 109/l) than those with a normal B-cell immunophenotype. Our findings show that MBL occurs at a very high rate in high risk CLL families. Both the age and gender distribution of MBL are parallel to CLL, implying a shared inherited risk.
PMCID: PMC2966536  PMID: 20738309
chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; high risk families; monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis; flow cytometry

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