Genetic variations, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in microRNAs (miRNA) or in the miRNA binding sites may affect the miRNA dependent gene expression regulation, which has been implicated in various cancers, including breast cancer, and may alter individual susceptibility to cancer. We investigated associations between miRNA related SNPs and breast cancer risk. First we evaluated 2,196 SNPs in a case-control study combining nine genome wide association studies (GWAS). Second, we further investigated 42 SNPs with suggestive evidence for association using 41,785 cases and 41,880 controls from 41 studies included in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Combining the GWAS and BCAC data within a meta-analysis, we estimated main effects on breast cancer risk as well as risks for estrogen receptor (ER) and age defined subgroups. Five miRNA binding site SNPs associated significantly with breast cancer risk: rs1045494 (odds ratio (OR) 0.92; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.88–0.96), rs1052532 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95–0.99), rs10719 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.94–0.99), rs4687554 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95–0.99, and rs3134615 (OR 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01–1.05) located in the 3′ UTR of CASP8, HDDC3, DROSHA, MUSTN1, and MYCL1, respectively. DROSHA belongs to miRNA machinery genes and has a central role in initial miRNA processing. The remaining genes are involved in different molecular functions, including apoptosis and gene expression regulation. Further studies are warranted to elucidate whether the miRNA binding site SNPs are the causative variants for the observed risk effects.
The single nucleotide polymorphism 5p12-rs10941679has been found to be associated with risk of breast cancer, particularly estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease. We aimed to further explore this association overall, and by tumor histopathology, in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.
Data were combined from 37 studies, including 40,972 invasive cases, 1,398 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and 46,334 controls, all of white European ancestry, as well as 3,007 invasive cases and 2,337 controls of Asian ancestry. Associations overall and by tumor invasiveness and histopathology were assessed using logistic regression.
For white Europeans, the per-allele odds ratio (OR) associated with 5p12-rs10941679 was 1.11 (95% confidence interval [CI] =1.08–1.14, P=7×10−18) for invasive breast cancer and 1.10 (95%CI=1.01–1.21, P=0.03) for DCIS. For Asian women, the estimated OR for invasive disease was similar (OR=1.07, 95%CI=0.99–1.15, P=0.09). Further analyses suggested that the association in white Europeans was largely limited to progesterone receptor (PR)-positive disease (per-allele OR=1.16, 95%CI=1.12–1.20, P=1×10−18 versus OR=1.03, 95%CI=0.99–1.07, P=0.2 for PR-negative disease; P-heterogeneity=2×10−7); heterogeneity by estrogen receptor status was not observed (P=0.2) once PR status was accounted for. The association was also stronger for lower-grade tumors (per-allele OR [95%CI]=1.20 [1.14–1.25], 1.13 [1.09–1.16] and 1.04 [0.99–1.08] for grade 1, 2 and 3/4, respectively; P–trend=5×10−7).
5p12 is a breast cancer susceptibility locus for PR-positive, lower gradebreast cancer.
Multi-centre fine-mapping studies of this region are needed as a first step to identifying the causal variant or variants.
Breast cancer; SNP; susceptibility; disease subtypes
To prospectively assess circulating tumor cell (CTC) status at baseline (CTCBL) and after one cycle of a new line of systemic therapy (CTC1C), and changes from CTCBL to CTC1C (CTC kinetics, CTCKIN) for their utility in predicting response, progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
CTCBL and CTC1C status was determined as negative (-) or positive (+) for < 5 or ≥ 5 CTCs/7.5 ml blood using CellSearch™ (Veridex). CTCKIN was categorized as favorable (CTC1C-) or unfavorable (CTC1C+). Tumor response was to be assessed every 2–3 months using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria. Statistical analysis focused on the relation between CTC status and CTCKIN, and response, PFS, and OS.
133/393 (34%) patients enrolled were CTCBL+. CTC1C status after one cycle and radiological tumor response were assessed after median (range) periods of 1.2 (0.5–3.2) and 2.9 (0.5–4.8) months, respectively. 57/201 (28%) were CTC1C+. Median [95% confidence interval] PFS and OS (months) were significantly reduced in CTCBL+ vs. CTCBL- patients (PFS 4.7 [3.7–6.1] vs. 7.8 [6.4–9.2]; OS 10.4 [7.9–15.0] vs. 27.2 [22.3–29.9]), and for CTC1C+ vs. CTC1C- patients (PFS 4.3 [3.6–6.0] vs. 8.5 [6.6–10.4]; OS 7.7 [6.4–13.9] vs. 30.6 [22.6–not available]). Unfavorable CTCKIN was significantly associated with progressive disease. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed prognostic factors for shorter PFS (CTCBL+, persistent CTCs after one cycle, ≥ 3rd-line therapy, and triple-negative receptor status) and shorter OS (CTCBL+, persistent CTCs after one cycle, bone-and-visceral/local metastases, ≥ 3rd-line therapy, and triple-negative receptor status).
CTCBL, CTC1C, and CTCKIN are predictive of outcome in MBC. Serial CTC enumeration is useful in tailoring systemic treatment of MBC.
Metastatic breast cancer; Circulating tumor cells; Systemic therapy; Treatment response; Survival
Candidate variant association studies have been largely unsuccessful in identifying common breast cancer susceptibility variants, although most studies have been underpowered to detect associations of a realistic magnitude. We assessed 41 common non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) for which evidence of association with breast cancer risk had been previously reported. Case-control data were combined from 38 studies of white European women (46 450 cases and 42 600 controls) and analyzed using unconditional logistic regression. Strong evidence of association was observed for three nsSNPs: ATXN7-K264R at 3p21 [rs1053338, per allele OR = 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04–1.10, P = 2.9 × 10−6], AKAP9-M463I at 7q21 (rs6964587, OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.03–1.07, P = 1.7 × 10−6) and NEK10-L513S at 3p24 (rs10510592, OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.07–1.12, P = 5.1 × 10−17). The first two associations reached genome-wide statistical significance in a combined analysis of available data, including independent data from nine genome-wide association studies (GWASs): for ATXN7-K264R, OR = 1.07 (95% CI = 1.05–1.10, P = 1.0 × 10−8); for AKAP9-M463I, OR = 1.05 (95% CI = 1.04–1.07, P = 2.0 × 10−10). Further analysis of other common variants in these two regions suggested that intronic SNPs nearby are more strongly associated with disease risk. We have thus identified a novel susceptibility locus at 3p21, and confirmed previous suggestive evidence that rs6964587 at 7q21 is associated with risk. The third locus, rs10510592, is located in an established breast cancer susceptibility region; the association was substantially attenuated after adjustment for the known GWAS hit. Thus, each of the associated nsSNPs is likely to be a marker for another, non-coding, variant causally related to breast cancer risk. Further fine-mapping and functional studies are required to identify the underlying risk-modifying variants and the genes through which they act.
Invasive lobular breast cancer (ILC) accounts for 10–15% of all invasive breast carcinomas. It is generally ER positive (ER+) and often associated with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Genome-wide association studies have identified more than 70 common polymorphisms that predispose to breast cancer, but these studies included predominantly ductal (IDC) carcinomas. To identify novel common polymorphisms that predispose to ILC and LCIS, we pooled data from 6,023 cases (5,622 ILC, 401 pure LCIS) and 34,271 controls from 36 studies genotyped using the iCOGS chip. Six novel SNPs most strongly associated with ILC/LCIS in the pooled analysis were genotyped in a further 516 lobular cases (482 ILC, 36 LCIS) and 1,467 controls. These analyses identified a lobular-specific SNP at 7q34 (rs11977670, OR (95%CI) for ILC = 1.13 (1.09–1.18), P = 6.0×10−10; P-het for ILC vs IDC ER+ tumors = 1.8×10−4). Of the 75 known breast cancer polymorphisms that were genotyped, 56 were associated with ILC and 15 with LCIS at P<0.05. Two SNPs showed significantly stronger associations for ILC than LCIS (rs2981579/10q26/FGFR2, P-het = 0.04 and rs889312/5q11/MAP3K1, P-het = 0.03); and two showed stronger associations for LCIS than ILC (rs6678914/1q32/LGR6, P-het = 0.001 and rs1752911/6q14, P-het = 0.04). In addition, seven of the 75 known loci showed significant differences between ER+ tumors with IDC and ILC histology, three of these showing stronger associations for ILC (rs11249433/1p11, rs2981579/10q26/FGFR2 and rs10995190/10q21/ZNF365) and four associated only with IDC (5p12/rs10941679; rs2588809/14q24/RAD51L1, rs6472903/8q21 and rs1550623/2q31/CDCA7). In conclusion, we have identified one novel lobular breast cancer specific predisposition polymorphism at 7q34, and shown for the first time that common breast cancer polymorphisms predispose to LCIS. We have shown that many of the ER+ breast cancer predisposition loci also predispose to ILC, although there is some heterogeneity between ER+ lobular and ER+ IDC tumors. These data provide evidence for overlapping, but distinct etiological pathways within ER+ breast cancer between morphological subtypes.
Invasive lobular breast cancer (ILC) accounts for 10–15% of invasive breast cancer and is generally ER positive (ER+). To date, none of the genome-wide association studies that have identified loci that predispose to breast cancer in general or to ER+ or ER-negative breast cancer have focused on lobular breast cancer. In this lobular breast cancer study we identified a new variant that appears to be specific to this morphological subtype. We also ascertained which of the known variants predisposes specifically to lobular breast cancer and show for the first time that some of these loci are also associated with lobular carcinoma in situ, a non-obligate precursor of breast cancer and also a risk factor for contralateral breast cancer. Our study shows that the genetic pathways of invasive lobular cancer and ER+ ductal carcinoma mostly overlap, but there are important differences that are likely to provide insights into the biology of lobular breast tumors.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Common variants at 27 loci have been identified as associated with susceptibility to breast cancer, and these account for ~9% of the familial risk of the disease. We report here a meta-analysis of 9 genome-wide association studies, including 10,052 breast cancer cases and 12,575 controls of European ancestry, from which we selected 29,807 SNPs for further genotyping. These SNPs were genotyped in 45,290 cases and 41,880 controls of European ancestry from 41 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). The SNPs were genotyped as part of a collaborative genotyping experiment involving four consortia (Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, COGS) and used a custom Illumina iSelect genotyping array, iCOGS, comprising more than 200,000 SNPs. We identified SNPs at 41 new breast cancer susceptibility loci at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8). Further analyses suggest that more than 1,000 additional loci are involved in breast cancer susceptibility.
Estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors represent 20–30% of all breast cancers, with a higher proportion occurring in younger women and women of African ancestry1. The etiology2 and clinical behavior3 of ER-negative tumors are different from those of tumors expressing ER (ER positive), including differences in genetic predisposition4. To identify susceptibility loci specific to ER-negative disease, we combined in a meta-analysis 3 genome-wide association studies of 4,193 ER-negative breast cancer cases and 35,194 controls with a series of 40 follow-up studies (6,514 cases and 41,455 controls), genotyped using a custom Illumina array, iCOGS, developed by the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS). SNPs at four loci, 1q32.1 (MDM4, P = 2.1 × 10−12 and LGR6, P = 1.4 × 10−8), 2p24.1 (P = 4.6 × 10−8) and 16q12.2 (FTO, P = 4.0 × 10−8), were associated with ER-negative but not ER-positive breast cancer (P > 0.05). These findings provide further evidence for distinct etiological pathways associated with invasive ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancers.
Background: Recent genome-wide DNA methylation studies have found a pronounced difference in methylation of the F2RL3 gene (also known as PAR-4) in blood DNA according to smoking exposure. Knowledge on the variation of F2RL3 methylation by various degrees of smoking exposure is still very sparse.
Objectives: We aimed to assess dose–response relationships of current and lifetime active smoking exposure with F2RL3 methylation.
Methods: In a large population-based study, we quantified blood DNA methylation at F2RL3 for 3,588 participants using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Associations of smoking exposure with methylation intensity were examined by multiple linear regression, controlling for potential confounding factors and paying particular attention to dose–response patterns with respect to current and lifetime smoking exposure as well as time since cessation of smoking.
Results: F2RL3 methylation intensity showed a strong association with smoking status (p < 0.0001), which persisted after controlling for potential confounding factors. Clear inverse dose–response relationships with F2RL3 methylation intensity were seen for both current intensity and lifetime pack-years of smoking. Among former smokers, F2RL3 methylation intensity increased gradually from levels close to those of current smokers for recent quitters to levels close to never smokers for long-term (> 20 years) quitters.
Conclusions: F2RL3 methylation is a promising biomarker for both current and long-term past tobacco exposure, and its predictive value for smoking-related diseases warrants further exploration.
Citation: Zhang Y, Yang R, Burwinkel B, Breitling LP, Brenner H. 2014. F2RL3 methylation as a biomarker of current and lifetime smoking exposures. Environ Health Perspect 122:131–137; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306937
We tested the hypotheses that CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity is associated with increased risk of early death, breast cancer–specific death, and risk of a second breast cancer in women with a first breast cancer.
Patients and Methods
From 22 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, 25,571 white women with invasive breast cancer were genotyped for CHEK2*1100delC and observed for up to 20 years (median, 6.6 years). We examined risk of early death and breast cancer–specific death by estrogen receptor status and risk of a second breast cancer after a first breast cancer in prospective studies.
CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity was found in 459 patients (1.8%). In women with estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, multifactorially adjusted hazard ratios for heterozygotes versus noncarriers were 1.43 (95% CI, 1.12 to 1.82; log-rank P = .004) for early death and 1.63 (95% CI, 1.24 to 2.15; log-rank P < .001) for breast cancer–specific death. In all women, hazard ratio for a second breast cancer was 2.77 (95% CI, 2.00 to 3.83; log-rank P < .001) increasing to 3.52 (95% CI, 2.35 to 5.27; log-rank P < .001) in women with estrogen receptor–positive first breast cancer only.
Among women with estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity was associated with a 1.4-fold risk of early death, a 1.6-fold risk of breast cancer–specific death, and a 3.5-fold risk of a second breast cancer. This is one of the few examples of a genetic factor that influences long-term prognosis being documented in an extensive series of women with breast cancer.
Cervical artery dissection (CeAD) occurs in healthy young individuals and often entails ischemic stroke. Skin biopsies from most CeAD-patients show minor connective tissue alterations. We search for rare genetic deletions and duplication that may predispose to CeAD. Forty-nine non-traumatic CeAD-patients with electron microscopic (EM) alterations of their dermal connective tissue (EM+ patients) and 21 patients with normal connective tissue in skin biopsies (EM− patients) were analyzed. Affymetrix 6.0 microarrays (Affymetrix) from all patients were screened for copy number variants (CNVs). CNVs absent from 403 control subjects and from 2402 published disease-free individuals were considered as CeAD-associated. The genetic content of undentified CNVs was analyzed by means of the Gene Ontology (GO) Term Mapper to detect associations with biological processes. In 49 EM+ patients we identified 13 CeAD-associated CNVs harboring 83 protein-coding genes. In 21 EM− patients we found five CeAD-associated CNVs containing only nine genes (comparison of CNV gene density between the groups: Mann–Whitney P=0.039). Patients' CNVs were enriched for genes involved in extracellular matrix organization (COL5A2, COL3A1, SNTA1, P=0.035), collagen fibril organization COL5A2, COL3A1, (P=0.0001) and possibly for genes involved in transforming growth factor beta (TGF)-beta receptor signaling pathway (COL3A1, DUPS22, P=0.068). We conclude that rare genetic variants may contribute to the pathogenesis of CeAD, in particular in patients with a microscopic connective tissue phenotype.
carotid and vertebral artery dissection; copy number variants (CNVs); connective tissue morphology; cerebral ischemic stroke
Over the last few years, circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as promising novel and minimally invasive markers for various diseases, including cancer. We already showed that certain miRNAs are deregulated in the plasma of breast cancer patients when compared to healthy women. Herein we have further explored their potential to serve as breast cancer early detection markers in blood plasma. Circulating miR-127-3p, miR-376a and miR-652, selected as candidates from a miRNA array-based screening, were found to be associated with breast cancer for the first time (n = 417). Further we validated our previously reported circulating miRNAs (miR-148b, miR-376c, miR-409-3p and miR-801) in an independent cohort (n = 210) as elevated in the plasma of breast cancer patients compared to healthy women. We described, for the first time in breast cancer, an over-representation of deregulated miRNAs (miR-127-3p, miR-376a, miR-376c and miR-409-3p) originating from the chromosome 14q32 region. The inclusion of patients with benign breast tumors enabled the observation that miR-148b, miR-652 and miR-801 levels are even elevated in the plasma of women with benign tumors when compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, an analysis of samples stratified by cancer stage demonstrated that miR-127-3p, miR-148b, miR-409-3p, miR-652 and miR-801 can detect also stage I or stage II breast cancer thus making them attractive candidates for early detection. Finally, ROC curve analysis showed that a panel of these seven circulating miRNAs has substantial diagnostic potential with an AUC of 0.81 for the detection of benign and malignant breast tumors, which further increased to 0.86 in younger women (up to 50 years of age).
TERT-locus single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and leucocyte telomere measures are reportedly associated with risks of multiple cancers. Using the iCOGs chip, we analysed ~480 TERT-locus SNPs in breast (n=103,991), ovarian (n=39,774) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (11,705) cancer cases and controls. 53,724 participants have leucocyte telomere measures. Most associations cluster into three independent peaks. Peak 1 SNP rs2736108 minor allele associates with longer telomeres (P=5.8×10−7), reduced estrogen receptor negative (ER-negative) (P=1.0×10−8) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P=1.1×10−5) breast cancer risks, and altered promoter-assay signal. Peak 2 SNP rs7705526 minor allele associates with longer telomeres (P=2.3×10−14), increased low malignant potential ovarian cancer risk (P=1.3×10−15) and increased promoter activity. Peak 3 SNPs rs10069690 and rs2242652 minor alleles increase ER-negative (P=1.2×10−12) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P=1.6×10−14) breast and invasive ovarian (P=1.3×10−11) cancer risks, but not via altered telomere length. The cancer-risk alleles of rs2242652 and rs10069690 respectively increase silencing and generate a truncated TERT splice-variant.
Our recent genome-wide association study identified a novel breast cancer susceptibility locus at 9q31.2 (rs865686).
To further investigate the rs865686–breast cancer association, we conducted a replication study within the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, which comprises 37 case–control studies (48,394 cases, 50,836 controls).
This replication study provides additional strong evidence of an inverse association between rs865686 and breast cancer risk [study-adjusted per G-allele OR, 0.90; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.88; 0.91, P = 2.01 × 10–29] among women of European ancestry. There were ethnic differences in the estimated minor (G)-allele frequency among controls [0.09, 0.30, and 0.38 among, respectively, Asians, Eastern Europeans, and other Europeans; P for heterogeneity (Phet) = 1.3 × 10–143], but no evidence of ethnic differences in per allele OR (Phet = 0.43). rs865686 was associated with estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) disease (per G-allele OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.86–0.91; P = 3.13 × 10–22) but less strongly, if at all, with ER-negative (ER–) disease (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.94–1.02; P = 0.26; Phet = 1.16 × 10–6), with no evidence of independent heterogeneity by progesterone receptor or HER2 status. The strength of the breast cancer association decreased with increasing age at diagnosis, with case-only analysis showing a trend in the number of copies of the G allele with increasing age at diagnosis (P for linear trend = 0.0095), but only among women with ER+ tumors.
This study is the first to show that rs865686 is a susceptibility marker for ER+ breast cancer.
The findings further support the view that genetic susceptibility varies according to tumor subtype.
Recent genome-wide association studies identified 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with breast cancer (BC) risk. We investigated these and 62 other SNPs for their prognostic relevance. Confirmed BC risk SNPs rs17468277 (CASP8), rs1982073 (TGFB1), rs2981582 (FGFR2), rs13281615 (8q24), rs3817198 (LSP1), rs889312 (MAP3K1), rs3803662 (TOX3), rs13387042 (2q35), rs4973768 (SLC4A7), rs6504950 (COX11) and rs10941679 (5p12) were genotyped for 25 853 BC patients with the available follow-up; 62 other SNPs, which have been suggested as BC risk SNPs by a GWAS or as candidate SNPs from individual studies, were genotyped for replication purposes in subsets of these patients. Cox proportional hazard models were used to test the association of these SNPs with overall survival (OS) and BC-specific survival (BCS). For the confirmed loci, we performed an accessory analysis of publicly available gene expression data and the prognosis in a different patient group. One of the 11 SNPs, rs3803662 (TOX3) and none of the 62 candidate/GWAS SNPs were associated with OS and/or BCS at P<0.01. The genotypic-specific survival for rs3803662 suggested a recessive mode of action [hazard ratio (HR) of rare homozygous carriers=1.21; 95% CI: 1.09–1.35, P=0.0002 and HR=1.29; 95% CI: 1.12–1.47, P=0.0003 for OS and BCS, respectively]. This association was seen similarly in all analyzed tumor subgroups defined by nodal status, tumor size, grade and estrogen receptor. Breast tumor expression of these genes was not associated with prognosis. With the exception of rs3803662 (TOX3), there was no evidence that any of the SNPs associated with BC susceptibility were associated with the BC survival. Survival may be influenced by a distinct set of germline variants from those influencing susceptibility.
Mean telomere length (TL) in blood cells is heritable and has been reported to be associated with risks of several diseases, including cancer. We conducted a meta-analysis of three GWAS for TL (total n=2240) and selected 1629 variants for replication via the “iCOGS” custom genotyping array. All ∼200 000 iCOGS variants were analysed with TL, and those displaying associations in healthy controls (n = 15 065) were further tested in breast cancer cases (n = 11 024). We found a novel TL association (Ptrend < 4 × 10−10) at 3p14.4 close to PXK and evidence (Ptrend < 7 × 10−7) for TL loci at 6p22.1 (ZNF311) and 20q11.2 (BCL2L1). We additionally confirmed (Ptrend < 5 × 10−14) the previously reported loci at 3q26.2 (TERC), 5p15.3 (TERT) and 10q24.3 (OBFC1) and found supportive evidence (Ptrend < 5 × 10−4) for the published loci at 2p16.2 (ACYP2), 4q32.2 (NAF1) and 20q13.3 (RTEL1). SNPs tagging these loci explain TL differences of up to 731 bp (corresponding to 18% of total TL in healthy individuals), however, they display little direct evidence for association with breast, ovarian or prostate cancer risks.
A recent two-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified five novel breast cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 9, 10 and 11. To provide more reliable estimates of the relative risk associated with these loci and investigate possible heterogeneity by subtype of breast cancer, we genotyped the variants rs2380205, rs1011970, rs704010, rs614367, rs10995190 in 39 studies from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), involving 49,608 cases and 48,772 controls of predominantly European ancestry. Four of the variants showed clear evidence of association (P ≤ 3 × 10−9) and weak evidence was observed for rs2380205 (P = 0.06). The strongest evidence was obtained for rs614367, located on 11q13 (per-allele odds ratio 1.21, P = 4 × 10−39). The association for rs614367 was specific to estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease and strongest for ER plus progesterone receptor (PR)-positive breast cancer, whereas the associations for the other three loci did not differ by tumor subtype.
breast cancer susceptibility; polymorphisms; genome wide association; risk factors; hormone receptor status; 11q13
In the recent years, circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have garnered a lot of attention and interest in the field of disease biomarkers. With characteristics such as high stability, low cost, possibility of repeated sampling and minimal invasiveness, circulating miRNAs are ideal for development into diagnostic tests. There have been many studies reported on the potential of circulating miRNAs as early detection, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers in cancer. Here, we have reviewed the application of plasma and serum miRNAs as biomarkers for cancer focusing on epithelial carcinomas [prostate, breast, lung, colorectal, and gastric cancer (GC)] and hematological malignancies (leukemia and lymphoma). We have also addressed the common challenges that need to be overcome to achieve a successful bench to bedside transition.
circulating miRNA; cancer; biomarkers; prognostic marker; detection marker
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. To date, 22 common breast cancer susceptibility loci have been identified accounting for ~ 8% of the heritability of the disease. We followed up 72 promising associations from two independent Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) in ~70,000 cases and ~68,000 controls from 41 case-control studies and nine breast cancer GWAS. We identified three new breast cancer risk loci on 12p11 (rs10771399; P=2.7 × 10−35), 12q24 (rs1292011; P=4.3×10−19) and 21q21 (rs2823093; P=1.1×10−12). SNP rs10771399 was associated with similar relative risks for both estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and ER-positive breast cancer, whereas the other two loci were associated only with ER-positive disease. Two of the loci lie in regions that contain strong plausible candidate genes: PTHLH (12p11) plays a crucial role in mammary gland development and the establishment of bone metastasis in breast cancer, while NRIP1 (21q21) encodes an ER co-factor and has a role in the regulation of breast cancer cell growth.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers. Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have been suggested as potentially promising markers for early detection of CRC. We aimed to identify and evaluate a panel of miRNAs that might be suitable for CRC early detection.
MiRNAs were profiled by TaqMan MicroRNA Array and screened for differential expression in 5 pools of plasma samples of CRC patients (N = 50) and 5 pools of neoplasm-free controls (N = 50). Additional miRNAs were selected from a literature review. Identified candidates were evaluated in independent validation samples with respect to discrimination of CRC patients (N = 80) or advanced adenoma patients (N = 50) and neoplasm-free controls (N = 194). Diagnostic performance of the panel of miRNAs was assessed by multiple logistic regression, using bootstrap analysis to correct for over-optimism.
Five miRNAs identified to be differentially expressed from TaqMan MicroRNA Array (miR-29a, -106b, -133a, -342-3p, -532-3p), and seven miRNAs reported to be differentially expressed in the literature (miR-18a, -20a, -21, -92a, -143, -145, -181b) were selected for validation. Nine of the twelve miRNAs (miR-18a, -20a, -21, -29a, -92a, -106b, -133a, -143, -145) were found to be differentially expressed in CRC patients and controls in the validation samples. The optimism-corrected area under the curve was 0.745 (95% confidence interval: 0.708–0.846). None of the selected miRNAs showed significant differential expression between advanced adenoma patients and neoplasm-free controls.
The identified panel of miRNAs could be of potential use in the development of a multi-marker blood based test for early detection of CRC. Impact: The study underscores the high potential of plasma miRNAs for the improvement of current offers of non-invasive CRC screening.
Common genetic variants contribute to the observed variation in breast cancer risk for BRCA2 mutation carriers; those known to date have all been found through population-based genome-wide association studies (GWAS). To comprehensively identify breast cancer risk modifying loci for BRCA2 mutation carriers, we conducted a deep replication of an ongoing GWAS discovery study. Using the ranked P-values of the breast cancer associations with the imputed genotype of 1.4 M SNPs, 19,029 SNPs were selected and designed for inclusion on a custom Illumina array that included a total of 211,155 SNPs as part of a multi-consortial project. DNA samples from 3,881 breast cancer affected and 4,330 unaffected BRCA2 mutation carriers from 47 studies belonging to the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 were genotyped and available for analysis. We replicated previously reported breast cancer susceptibility alleles in these BRCA2 mutation carriers and for several regions (including FGFR2, MAP3K1, CDKN2A/B, and PTHLH) identified SNPs that have stronger evidence of association than those previously published. We also identified a novel susceptibility allele at 6p24 that was inversely associated with risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers (rs9348512; per allele HR = 0.85, 95% CI 0.80–0.90, P = 3.9×10−8). This SNP was not associated with breast cancer risk either in the general population or in BRCA1 mutation carriers. The locus lies within a region containing TFAP2A, which encodes a transcriptional activation protein that interacts with several tumor suppressor genes. This report identifies the first breast cancer risk locus specific to a BRCA2 mutation background. This comprehensive update of novel and previously reported breast cancer susceptibility loci contributes to the establishment of a panel of SNPs that modify breast cancer risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers. This panel may have clinical utility for women with BRCA2 mutations weighing options for medical prevention of breast cancer.
Women who carry BRCA2 mutations have an increased risk of breast cancer that varies widely. To identify common genetic variants that modify the breast cancer risk associated with BRCA2 mutations, we have built upon our previous work in which we examined genetic variants across the genome in relation to breast cancer risk among BRCA2 mutation carriers. Using a custom genotyping platform with 211,155 genetic variants known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we genotyped 3,881 women who had breast cancer and 4,330 women without breast cancer, which represents the largest possible, international collection of BRCA2 mutation carriers. We identified that a SNP located at 6p24 in the genome was associated with lower risk of breast cancer. Importantly, this SNP was not associated with breast cancer in BRCA1 mutation carriers or in a general population of women, indicating that the breast cancer association with this SNP might be specific to BRCA2 mutation carriers. Combining this BRCA2-specific SNP with 13 other breast cancer risk SNPs also known to modify risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers, we were able to derive a risk prediction model that could be useful in helping women with BRCA2 mutations weigh their risk-reduction strategy options.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 1p11.2 and 14q24.1 (RAD51L1) as breast cancer susceptibility loci. The initial GWAS suggested stronger effects for both loci for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors. Using data from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), we sought to determine whether risks differ by ER, progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), grade, node status, tumor size, and ductal or lobular morphology. We genotyped rs11249433 at 1p.11.2, and two highly correlated SNPs rs999737 and rs10483813 (r2= 0.98) at 14q24.1 (RAD51L1), for up to 46 036 invasive breast cancer cases and 46 930 controls from 39 studies. Analyses by tumor characteristics focused on subjects reporting to be white women of European ancestry and were based on 25 458 cases, of which 87% had ER data. The SNP at 1p11.2 showed significantly stronger associations with ER-positive tumors [per-allele odds ratio (OR) for ER-positive tumors was 1.13, 95% CI = 1.10–1.16 and, for ER-negative tumors, OR was 1.03, 95% CI = 0.98–1.07, case-only P-heterogeneity = 7.6 × 10−5]. The association with ER-positive tumors was stronger for tumors of lower grade (case-only P= 6.7 × 10−3) and lobular histology (case-only P= 0.01). SNPs at 14q24.1 were associated with risk for most tumor subtypes evaluated, including triple-negative breast cancers, which has not been described previously. Our results underscore the need for large pooling efforts with tumor pathology data to help refine risk estimates for SNP associations with susceptibility to different subtypes of breast cancer.
The 19p13.1 breast cancer susceptibility locus is a modifier of breast cancer risk in BRCA1 mutation carriers and is also associated with risk of ovarian cancer. Here we investigated 19p13.1 variation and risk of breast cancer subtypes, defined by estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) status, using 48,869 breast cancer cases and 49,787 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Variants from 19p13.1 were not associated with breast cancer overall or with ER-positive breast cancer but were significantly associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk [rs8170 Odds Ratio (OR)=1.10, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.05 – 1.15, p=3.49 × 10-5] and triple negative (TN) (ER, PR and HER2 negative) breast cancer [rs8170 OR=1.22, 95% CI 1.13 – 1.31, p=2.22 × 10-7]. However, rs8170 was no longer associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk when TN cases were excluded [OR=0.98, 95% CI 0.89 – 1.07, p=0.62]. In addition, a combined analysis of TN cases from BCAC and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC) (n=3,566) identified a genome-wide significant association between rs8170 and TN breast cancer risk [OR=1.25, 95% CI 1.18 – 1.33, p=3.31 × 10-13]. Thus, 19p13.1 is the first triple negative-specific breast cancer risk locus and the first locus specific to a histological subtype defined by ER, PR, and HER2 to be identified. These findings provide convincing evidence that genetic susceptibility to breast cancer varies by tumor subtype and that triple negative tumors and other subtypes likely arise through distinct etiologic pathways.
genetic susceptibility; association study; subtype; neoplasms; common variant
Breast cancers demonstrate substantial biological, clinical and etiological heterogeneity. We investigated breast cancer risk associations of eight susceptibility loci identified in GWAS and two putative susceptibility loci in candidate genes in relation to specific breast tumor subtypes. Subtypes were defined by five markers (ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6, EGFR) and other pathological and clinical features. Analyses included up to 30 040 invasive breast cancer cases and 53 692 controls from 31 studies within the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We confirmed previous reports of stronger associations with ER+ than ER− tumors for six of the eight loci identified in GWAS: rs2981582 (10q26) (P-heterogeneity = 6.1 × 10−18), rs3803662 (16q12) (P = 3.7 × 10−5), rs13281615 (8q24) (P = 0.002), rs13387042 (2q35) (P = 0.006), rs4973768 (3p24) (P = 0.003) and rs6504950 (17q23) (P = 0.002). The two candidate loci, CASP8 (rs1045485, rs17468277) and TGFB1 (rs1982073), were most strongly related with the risk of PR negative tumors (P = 5.1 × 10−6 and P = 4.1 × 10−4, respectively), as previously suggested. Four of the eight loci identified in GWAS were associated with triple negative tumors (P ≤ 0.016): rs3803662 (16q12), rs889312 (5q11), rs3817198 (11p15) and rs13387042 (2q35); however, only two of them (16q12 and 2q35) were associated with tumors with the core basal phenotype (P ≤ 0.002). These analyses are consistent with different biological origins of breast cancers, and indicate that tumor stratification might help in the identification and characterization of novel risk factors for breast cancer subtypes. This may eventually result in further improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment.
The 6q25.1 locus was first identified via a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in Chinese women and marked by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2046210, approximately 180 Kb upstream of ESR1. There have been conflicting reports about the association of this locus with breast cancer in Europeans, and a GWAS in Europeans identified a different SNP, tagged here by rs12662670. We examined the associations of both SNPs in up to 61,689 cases and 58,822 controls from forty-four studies collaborating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, of which four studies were of Asian and 39 of European descent. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Case-only analyses were used to compare SNP effects in Estrogen Receptor positive (ER+) versus negative (ER−) tumours. Models including both SNPs were fitted to investigate whether the SNP effects were independent. Both SNPs are significantly associated with breast cancer risk in both ethnic groups. Per-allele ORs are higher in Asian than in European studies [rs2046210: OR (A/G) = 1.36 (95% CI 1.26–1.48), p = 7.6×10−14 in Asians and 1.09 (95% CI 1.07–1.11), p = 6.8×10−18 in Europeans. rs12662670: OR (G/T) = 1.29 (95% CI 1.19–1.41), p = 1.2×10−9 in Asians and 1.12 (95% CI 1.08–1.17), p = 3.8×10−9 in Europeans]. SNP rs2046210 is associated with a significantly greater risk of ER− than ER+ tumours in Europeans [OR (ER−) = 1.20 (95% CI 1.15–1.25), p = 1.8×10−17 versus OR (ER+) = 1.07 (95% CI 1.04–1.1), p = 1.3×10−7, pheterogeneity = 5.1×10−6]. In these Asian studies, by contrast, there is no clear evidence of a differential association by tumour receptor status. Each SNP is associated with risk after adjustment for the other SNP. These results suggest the presence of two variants at 6q25.1 each independently associated with breast cancer risk in Asians and in Europeans. Of these two, the one tagged by rs2046210 is associated with a greater risk of ER− tumours.