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1.  Association of serum myeloperoxidase with the ankle—brachial index and peripheral arterial disease 
Atherosclerosis  2009;206(2):575-580.
Myeloperoxidase (MPO) is an enzymatic mediator of several inflammatory cascades and higher serum levels have been associated with increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events. We investigated the association of serum MPO with the ankle–brachial index (ABI) and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in a bi-ethnic cohort of African-Americans and non-Hispanic white individuals. Participants included 1324 African-Americans (mean age 64 years, 71% women) and 1237 non-Hispanic white individuals (mean age 59 years, 57% women) belonging to hypertensive sibships. Serum levels of MPO were measured by solid phase sandwich immunoassay. ABI was measured using a standard protocol and PAD was defined as an ABI < 0.90. Multivariable regression analysis using generalized estimating equations were performed to assess whether serum MPO levels were associated with ABI and the presence of PAD. After adjustment for age and sex, higher MPO levels were significantly associated with lower ABI and the presence of PAD in African-Americans (p = 0.004 and p = 0.005, respectively) and in non-Hispanic white individuals (p = 0.001 and p = 0.016, respectively). After additional adjustment for conventional risk factors (diabetes, smoking status, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, waist circumference, hypertension), prior history of myocardial infarction or stroke, and medication use (statins, aspirin, estrogen), higher MPO levels remained significantly associated with lower ABI and the presence of PAD in both African-Americans (p = 0.008 and p = 0.010, respectively) and non-Hispanic white individuals (p = 0.001 and p = 0.018, respectively). We conclude that higher MPO levels are associated with lower ABI and the presence of PAD in African-Americans and non-Hispanic white individuals.
PMCID: PMC3773523  PMID: 19423112
ankle–brachial index; inflammation; myeloperoxidase; peripheral arterial disease
2.  Association tests for rare and common variants based on genotypic and phenotypic measures of similarity between individuals 
BMC Proceedings  2011;5(Suppl 9):S89.
Genome-wide association studies have helped us identify thousands of common variants associated with several widespread complex diseases. However, for most traits, these variants account for only a small fraction of phenotypic variance or heritability. Next-generation sequencing technologies are being used to identify additional rare variants hypothesized to have higher effect sizes than the already identified common variants, and to contribute significantly to the fraction of heritability that is still unexplained. Several pooling strategies have been proposed to test the joint association of multiple rare variants, because testing them individually may not be optimal. Within a gene or genomic region, if there are both rare and common variants, testing their joint association may be desirable to determine their synergistic effects. We propose new methods to test the joint association of several rare and common variants with binary and quantitative traits. Our association test for quantitative traits is based on genotypic and phenotypic measures of similarity between pairs of individuals. For the binary trait or case-control samples, we recently proposed an association test based on the genotypic similarity between individuals. Here, we develop a modified version of this test for rare variants. Our tests can be used for samples taken from multiple subpopulations. The power of our test statistics for case-control samples and quantitative traits was evaluated using the GAW17 simulated data sets. Type I error rates for the proposed tests are well controlled. Our tests are able to identify some of the important causal genes in the GAW17 simulated data sets.
PMCID: PMC3287930  PMID: 22373048
3.  Therapeutic equivalence in survival for hepatic arterial chemoembolization and 90Yttrium microspheres (Y90) treatments in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: a 2 cohort study 
Cancer  2010;116(5):1305-1314.
Intra-hepatic arterial 90Yttrium (Y90) microspheres (Theraspheres) have been proposed as a less toxic, invasive therapeutic option to trans-hepatic arterial chemoembolization (TACE) for surgically unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). TACE has been shown to prolong survival. However, long term survival remains uncertain.
A 2 cohort experience of the treatment of advanced, unresectable and biopsy-proven HCC in North American patients is presented. 691 patients received repetitive cisplatin-based chemoembolization and a following 99 patient cohort with similar treatment criteria, received a planned single dose of Y90. Over this time period, an additional 142 patients were followed without treatment (total: 932 patients).
Overall survival was slightly better in the Y90 group compared to TACE, median of 11.5 vs. 8.5 months. However, selection criteria indicated a small but significant bias towards milder disease in the Y90 group. Using stratification in a 3 tier model, with cases dichotomized by bilirubin of less than 1.5 mg/dL, patients without PVT or with low alpha-fetoprotein plasma levels of less than 25 units/dL, analysis of survival in clinical subgroups showed that the 2 treatments resulted in similar survival. Similarly, patients with PVT or a high alpha-fetoprotein also had similar survival in the 2 treatment groups.
Given the present evidence of therapeutic equivalence in survival, Y90 and TACE seem to be equivalent regional therapies for patients with unresectable, non-metastatic HCC.
PMCID: PMC2829376  PMID: 20066715
HCC; hepatoma; chemotherapy; Yttrium; internal radiation
4.  Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity is associated with walking distance in patients referred for peripheral arterial disease evaluation 
Atherosclerosis  2009;206(1):173-178.
Impaired functional capacity predicts morbidity and increased mortality in patients with PAD. We hypothesized that brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), a measure of arterial stiffness, is associated with functional capacity in patients undergoing noninvasive evaluation for peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
We studied 114 patients (age 68 ± 10 years) referred to Mayo Clinic’s noninvasive vascular laboratory. Functional capacity was estimated in terms of distance walked in 5 min on a treadmill at a speed of 1.0–2.0 mph. Ankle-brachial index (ABI) was obtained with Doppler method before and 1 min after exercise. baPWV was estimated noninvasively using an oscillometric device. The association of baPWV with walking distance was assessed using accelerated failure time and Cox proportional-hazards models.
The mean baPWV was higher in patients who were unable to complete the walk test compared to those who successfully completed the test (P = 0.008). Higher baPWV was associated with a lower walking distance after adjustment for heart rate, mean arterial pressure, and cardiovascular risk factors (P = 0.017) and after additional adjustment for pulse pressure (P = 0.034) and ABI (P = 0.030). Higher baPWV was associated with failure to complete the treadmill walk test, after adjustment for heart rate, mean arterial pressure, and cardiovascular risk factors (P = 0.025) and after additional adjustment for pulse pressure (P = 0.041) and ABI (P = 0.039).
Increased baPWV, a measure of arterial stiffness, is associated with impaired functional capacity in patients undergoing evaluation for PAD.
PMCID: PMC2956123  PMID: 19278681
Arterial stiffness; Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity; Functional capacity; Peripheral arterial disease
5.  Relation of Plasma Midregional Proatrial Natriuretic Peptide to Target Organ Damage in Adults With Systemic Hypertension 
The American journal of cardiology  2009;103(9):1255-1260.
We tested the hypothesis that, in adults with essential hypertension, plasma levels of midregional proatrial natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP) are associated with target organ damage. MR-proANP is a newly described stable fragment of N-terminal proatrial natriuretic peptide. Participants included 1,919 adults with hypertension identified from the community (1,037 African-Americans, 65 ± 9 years of age, 72% women; 882 non-Hispanic whites, 61 ± 9 years of age, 55% women). We measured MR-proANP by an immunoluminometric assay. Measurements of target organ damage included the ankle–brachial index (ABI), urinary albumin–creatinine ratio (UACR), and left ventricular (LV) mass (available only in African-Americans). Generalized estimating equations were used to assess whether plasma MR-proANP was associated with measurements of target organ damage, independent of potential confounding variables. In African-Americans, higher MR-proANP was significantly associated with lower ABI (p < 0.0001), higher UACR (p<0.0001), and greater LV mass (indexed to height to the power of 2.7, p < 0.0001). After adjustment for age, gender, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, estimated glomerular filtration rate, smoking history, diabetes mellitus, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterols, medication (blood pressure lowering, statin, and aspirin) use, and previous myocardial infarction or stroke, higher MR-proANP levels remained significantly associated with lower ABI (p = 0.01), higher UACR (p = 0.0007), and greater LV mass index (p<0.0001). In non-Hispanic whites, higher MR-proANP levels were significantly associated with lower ABI (p = 0.002) and greater UACR (p = 0.001), but not after adjustment for the covariates listed earlier. In conclusion, plasma MR-proANP may be a marker of target organ damage in the setting of hypertension, especially in African-Americans.
PMCID: PMC2956127  PMID: 19406268
6.  Forearm Vascular Reactivity and Arterial Stiffness in Asymptomatic Subjects from the Community 
Hypertension  2008;51(6):1512-1518.
Vascular reactivity may affect the stiffness characteristics of the arterial wall. We investigated the association between forearm microcirculatory and conduit artery function and measures of arterial stiffness in 527 asymptomatic non-Hispanic white adults without known cardiovascular disease. High-resolution ultrasonography of the brachial artery (ba) was performed to assess forearm microcirculatory function (ba blood flow velocity, local shear stress, and forearm vascular resistance at rest and during reactive hyperemia) and conduit artery function (ba flow-mediated dilatation baFMD and ba nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation baNMD). Arterial stiffness was assessed by cuff-derived brachial pulse pressure and aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV) measured by applanation tonometry. In regression analyses that adjusted for heart rate, mean arterial pressure, height, cardiovascular risk factors, and hypertension medication and statin use, higher baseline ba systolic velocity and systolic shear stress were associated with greater pulse pressure (P=0.0002 and P=0.006, respectively) and higher aPWV (each P<0.0001). During hyperemia, lower ba mean velocity and lower mean shear stress were associated with higher pulse pressure (P=0.045 and P=0.036, respectively) while both systolic and mean velocity (P<0.0001 and P=0.002, respectively) and systolic and mean shear stress (P<0.0001 and P=0.003, respectively) were inversely associated with aPWV. baFMD was not associated with pulse pressure but was inversely associated with aPWV (P=0.011). baNMD was inversely associated with pulse pressure (P=0.0002) and aPWV (P=0.008). Our findings demonstrate that impaired forearm microvascular function (in the form of elevated resting blood flow velocity and impaired flow reserve) and impaired brachial artery reactivity are associated with increased arterial stiffness.
PMCID: PMC2869626  PMID: 18426995
microvascular function; flow-mediated dilatation; nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation; arterial stiffness; pulse pressure; pulse wave velocity
7.  The Influence of Radiographic Phenotype and Smoking Status on Peripheral Blood Biomarker Patterns in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6865.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by both airway remodeling and parenchymal destruction. The identification of unique biomarker patterns associated with airway dominant versus parenchymal dominant patterns would support the existence of unique phenotypes representing independent biologic processes. A cross-sectional study was performed to examine the association of serum biomarkers with radiographic airway and parenchymal phenotypes of COPD.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Serum from 234 subjects enrolled in a CT screening cohort was analyzed for 33 cytokines and growth factors using a multiplex protein array. The association of serum markers with forced expiratory volume in one second percent predicted (FEV1%) and quantitative CT measurements of airway thickening and emphysema was assessed with and without stratification for current smoking status. Significant associations were found with several serum inflammatory proteins and measurements of FEV1%, airway thickening, and parenchymal emphysema independent of smoking status. The association of select analytes with airway thickening and emphysema was independent of FEV1%. Furthermore, the relationship between other inflammatory markers and measurements of physiologic obstruction or airway thickening was dependent on current smoking status.
Airway and parenchymal phenotypes of COPD are associated with unique systemic serum biomarker profiles. Serum biomarker patterns may provide a more precise classification of the COPD syndrome, provide insights into disease pathogenesis and identify targets for novel patient-specific biological therapies.
PMCID: PMC2730536  PMID: 19718453
8.  Gender-based outcomes differences in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma 
Hepatology International  2007;2(1):95-101.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. HCC is notably more prevalent in males worldwide, with reported male:female ratios ranging from 2:1 to 8:1. The reasons for sex differences in the incidence of HCC are unclear. Furthermore, differences in rates of disease progression and longevity are not well studied and few series have compared the clinicopathologic characteristics of patients and their impact on survival with specific reference to gender in a large sample set.
The present study is a large single-institution study of 1138 HCC cases referred to a single individual carried out over a period of 17 years. The primary endpoint measure was over-all survival measured in months, which was defined as the time between the date of diagnosis and date of death. Differences in median survival for each subgroup analysis in survival rates were compared by log rank test.
There are differences in both the distribution of evidence of disease progression at the time of diagnosis and the time for survival following diagnosis in patients with HCC between the two genders. Females had a longer survival than males in subsets matched for residual liver function and tumor extension, suggesting that the natural history of HCC is different between men and women.
The present study provides evidence that female gender provides a distinct survival advantage over males in unresectable HCC presenting with similar tumor characteristics, liver function, and coexisting liver disease.
PMCID: PMC2716876  PMID: 19669284
Gender; Outcome; Unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma; Survival; Female
9.  Inverse association of plasma IL-13 and inflammatory chemokines with lung function impairment in stable COPD: a cross-sectional cohort study 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):64.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous syndrome characterized by varying degrees of airflow limitation and diffusion impairment. There is increasing evidence to suggest that COPD is also characterized by systemic inflammation. The primary goal of this study was to identify soluble proteins in plasma that associate with the severity of airflow limitation in a COPD cohort with stable disease. A secondary goal was to assess whether unique markers associate with diffusion impairment, based on diffusion capacity of carbon monoxide (DLCO), independent of the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1).
A cross sectional study of 73 COPD subjects was performed in order to examine the association of 25 different plasma proteins with the severity of lung function impairment, as defined by the baseline measurements of the % predicted FEV1 and the % predicted DLCO. Plasma protein concentrations were assayed using multiplexed immunobead-based cytokine profiling. Associations between lung function and protein concentrations were adjusted for age, gender, pack years smoking history, current smoking, inhaled corticosteroid use, systemic corticosteroid use and statin use.
Plasma concentrations of CCL2/monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (CCL2/MCP-1), CCL4/macrophage inflammatory protein-1β (CCL4/MIP -1β), CCL11/eotaxin, and interleukin-13 (IL-13) were inversely associated with the % FEV1. Plasma concentrations of soluble Fas were associated with the % DLCO, whereas CXCL9/monokine induced by interferon-γ (CXCL9/Mig), granulocyte- colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and IL-13 showed inverse relationships with the % DLCO.
Systemic inflammation in a COPD cohort is characterized by cytokines implicated in inflammatory cell recruitment and airway remodeling. Plasma concentrations of IL-13 and chemoattractants for monocytes, T lymphocytes, and eosinophils show associations with increasing severity of disease. Soluble Fas, G-CSF and CXCL9/Mig may be unique markers that associate with disease characterized by disproportionate abnormalities in DLCO independent of the FEV1.
PMCID: PMC2064925  PMID: 17868461

Results 1-9 (9)