Testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) is the most common cancer in young men and is notable for its high familial risks1,2. To date, six loci associated with TGCT have been reported3-7. From GWAS analysis of 307,291 SNPs in 986 cases and 4,946 controls, we selected for follow-up 694 SNPs, which we genotyped in a further 1,064 TGCT cases and 10,082 controls from the UK. We identified SNPs at nine new loci showing association with TGCT (P<5×10−8), at 1q22, 1q24.1, 3p24.3, 4q24, 5q31.1, 8q13.3, 16q12.1, 17q22 and 21q22.3, which together account for an additional 4-6% of the familial risk of TGCT. The loci include genes plausibly related to TGCT development. PRDM14, at 8q13.3, is essential for early germ cell specification8 whilst DAZL, at 3p24.3, is required for regulation of germ cell development9. Furthermore, PITX1, at 5q31.1 regulates TERT expression, and is the third TGCT locus implicated in telomerase regulation10.
We conducted a meta-analysis to identify new loci for testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) susceptibility. In the discovery phase, 931 affected individuals and 1,975 controls from three genome wide association studies (GWAS) were analyzed. Replication was conducted in six independent sample sets totaling 3,211 affected individuals and 7,591 controls. In the combined analysis, TGCT risk was significantly associated with markers at four novel loci: 4q22.2 in HPGDS (per allele odds ratio (OR) 1.19, 95%CI 1.12–1.26, P = 1.11×10−8); 7p22.3 in MAD1L1 (OR 1.21, 95%CI 1.14–1.29, P = 5.59×10−9); 16q22.3 in RFWD3 (OR 1.26, 95%CI 1.18–1.34, P = 5.15×10−12); and 17q22 (rs9905704; OR 1.27, 95%CI 1.18–1.33; P = 4.32×10−13, and rs7221274; OR 1.20, 95%CI 1.12–1.28 P = 4.04×10−9), a locus which includes TEX14, RAD51C and PPM1E. The new TGCT susceptibility loci contain biologically plausible genes encoding proteins important for male germ cell development, chromosomal segregation and DNA damage response.
To further investigate susceptibility loci identified by genome-wide association studies, we genotyped 5,500 SNPs across 14 associated regions in 8,000 samples from a control group and 3 diseases: type 2 diabetes (T2D), coronary artery disease (CAD) and Graves’ disease. We defined, using Bayes theorem, credible sets of SNPs that were 95% likely, based on posterior probability, to contain the causal disease-associated SNPs. In 3 of the 14 regions, TCF7L2 (T2D), CTLA4 (Graves’ disease) and CDKN2A-CDKN2B (T2D), much of the posterior probability rested on a single SNP, and, in 4 other regions (CDKN2A-CDKN2B (CAD) and CDKAL1, FTO and HHEX (T2D)), the 95% sets were small, thereby excluding most SNPs as potentially causal. Very few SNPs in our credible sets had annotated functions, illustrating the limitations in understanding the mechanisms underlying susceptibility to common diseases. Our results also show the value of more detailed mapping to target sequences for functional studies.
The genetic component of breast cancer predisposition remains largely unexplained. Candidate-gene case-control resequencing has identified predisposition genes characterised by rare, protein truncating mutations that confer moderate risks of disease. In theory, exome sequencing should yield additional genes of this class. Here, we explore the feasibility and design considerations of this approach.
We performed exome sequencing in 50 individuals with familial breast cancer, applying frequency and protein function filters to identify variants most likely to be pathogenic. We identified 867,378 variants that passed the call quality filters of which 1,296 variants passed the frequency and protein truncation filters. The median number of validated, rare, protein truncating variants (PTVs) was 10 in individuals with, and without, mutations in known genes. The functional candidacy of mutated genes was similar in both groups. Without prior knowledge, the known genes would not have been recognisable as breast cancer predisposition genes. Everyone carries multiple rare mutations that are plausibly related to disease. Exome sequencing in common conditions will therefore require intelligent sample and variant prioritisation strategies in large case-control studies to deliver robust genetic evidence of disease association.
breast cancer predisposition; exome sequencing; common disease genetics; missing heritability
We conducted a genome-wide association study for testicular germ cell tumor genotyping 298,782 SNPs in 979 cases and 4,947 controls from the UK and replicating associations in a further 664 cases and 3,456 controls. We identified three novel susceptibility loci, two of which include genes that are involved in telomere regulation. We identified two independent signals within the TERT-CLPTM1L locus on chromosome 5 which has been associated with multiple other cancers (rs4635969, OR=1.54 (95%CI 1.33-1.79), P=1.14×10−23 and rs2736100, OR 1.33 (1.18-1.50) P=7.55 ×10−15). We also identified a locus on chromosome 12 (rs2900333, OR=1.27 (95%CI 1.12-1.44), P=6.16×10−10) that contains ATF7IP, a regulator of TERT expression. Finally we identified a locus on chromosome 9 (rs755383, OR=1.37 (95%CI 1.21-1.55), P=1.12×10−23) containing the sex determination gene DMRT1, which has been linked with teratoma susceptibility in mice.
GEN1 was recently identified as a key Holliday junction resolvase involved in homologous recombination. Somatic truncating GEN1 mutations have been reported in two breast cancers. Together these data led to the proposition that GEN1 is a breast cancer predisposition gene. In this article we have formally investigated this hypothesis. We performed full-gene mutational analysis of GEN1 in 176 BRCA1/2-negative familial breast cancer samples and 159 controls. We genotyped six SNPs tagging the 30 common variants in the transcribed region of GEN1 in 3,750 breast cancer cases and 4,907 controls. Mutation analysis revealed one truncating variant, c.2515_2519del-AAGTT, which was present in 4% of cases and 4% of controls. We identified control individuals homozygous for the deletion, demonstrating that the last 69 amino acids of GEN1 are dispensable for its function. We identified 17 other variants, but their frequency did not significantly differ between cases and controls. Analysis of 3,750 breast cancer cases and 4,907 controls demonstrated no evidence of significant association with breast cancer for six SNPs tagging the 30 common GEN1 variants. These data indicate that although it also plays a key role in double-strand DNA break repair, GEN1 does not make an appreciable contribution to breast cancer susceptibility by acting as a high- or intermediate-penetrance breast cancer predisposition gene like BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, ATM, BRIP1 and PALB2 and that common GEN1 variants do not act as low-penetrance susceptibility alleles analogous to SNPs in FGFR2. Furthermore, our analyses demonstrate the importance of undertaking appropriate genetic investigations, typically full gene screening in cases and controls together with large-scale case–control association analyses, to evaluate the contribution of genes to cancer susceptibility.
Breast cancer; Genetic susceptibility; DNA repair; Cancer genes
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in developed countries. To identify common breast cancer susceptibility alleles, we conducted a genome-wide association study in which 582,886 SNPs were genotyped in 3,659 cases with a family history of the disease and 4,897 controls. Promising associations were evaluated in a second stage, comprising 12,576 cases and 12,223 controls. We identified five new susceptibility loci, on chromosomes 9, 10 and 11 (P = 4.6 × 10−7 to P = 3.2 × 10−15). We also identified SNPs in the 6q25.1 (rs3757318, P = 2.9 × 10−6), 8q24 (rs1562430, P = 5.8 × 10−7) and LSP1 (rs909116, P = 7.3 × 10−7) regions that showed more significant association with risk than those reported previously. Previously identified breast cancer susceptibility loci were also found to show larger effect sizes in this study of familial breast cancer cases than in previous population-based studies, consistent with polygenic susceptibility to the disease.
Wilms tumor is the most common renal malignancy of childhood. To identify common variants that confer susceptibility to Wilms tumor we conducted a genome-wide association study in 757 cases and 1,879 controls. We evaluated ten SNPs in regions significant at P<5×10−5 in two independent replication series from the UK (769 cases and 2,814 controls) and the US (719 cases and 1,037 controls). We identified clear significant associations at two loci, 2p24 (rs3755132, P=1.03×10−14 and rs807624, P=1.32×10−14) and 11q14 (rs790356, P=4.25 ×10−15). Both regions contain genes that are plausibly related to Wilms tumorigenesis. We also identified candidate signals at 5q14, 22q12 and Xp22.
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.
Using exome sequencing and a variant prioritisation strategy that focuses on loss-of-function variants, we identified biallelic, loss-of-function CEP57 mutations as a cause of constitutional mosaic aneuploidies. CEP57 is a centrosomal protein and is involved in nucleating and stabilizing microtubules. Our data indicate that these and/or additional functions of CEP57 are crucial in maintaining correct chromosomal number during cell division.
Percent mammographic breast density (PMD) is a strong heritable risk factor for breast cancer. However, the pathways through which this risk is mediated are still unclear. To explore whether PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis, we identified genetic variants most strongly associated with PMD in a published meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and used these to construct risk scores for 3628 breast cancer cases and 5190 controls from the UK2 GWAS of breast cancer. The signed per-allele effect estimates of SNPs were multiplied with the respective allele counts in the individual and summed over all SNPs to derive the risk score for an individual. These scores were included as the exposure variable in a logistic regression model with breast cancer case-control status as the outcome. This analysis was repeated using ten different cut-offs for the most significant density SNPs (1-10% representing 5,222-50,899 SNPs). Permutation analysis was also performed across all 10 cut-offs. The association between risk score and breast cancer was significant for all cut-offs from 3-10% of top density SNPs, being most significant for the 6% (2-sided P=0.002) to 10% (P=0.001) cut-offs (overall permutation P=0.003). Women in the top 10% of the risk score distribution had a 31% increased risk of breast cancer [OR= 1.31 (95%CI 1.08-1.59)] compared to women in the bottom 10%. Together, our results demonstrate that PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis that is mediated through a large number of common variants.
breast cancer; mammographic density; SNPs; polygenic; Mendelian Randomisation
Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that accounts for approximately 10% of all paediatric oncology deaths1,2. To identify genetic risk factors for neuroblastoma, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 2,251 patients and 6,097 control subjects of European ancestry from four case series. Here we report a significant association within LIM domain only 1 (LMO1) at 11p15.4 (rs110419, combined P = 5.2 × 10−16, odds ratio of risk allele = 1.34 (95% confidence interval 1.25–1.44)). The signal was enriched in the subset of patients with the most aggressive form of the disease. LMO1 encodes a cysteine-rich transcriptional regulator, and its paralogues (LMO2, LMO3 and LMO4) have each been previously implicated in cancer. In parallel, we analysed genome-wide DNA copy number alterations in 701 primary tumours. We found that the LMO1 locus was aberrant in 12.4% through a duplication event, and that this event was associated with more advanced disease (P < 0.0001) and survival (P = 0.041). The germline single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) risk alleles and somatic copy number gains were associated with increased LMO1 expression in neuroblastoma cell lines and primary tumours, consistent with a gain-of-function role in tumorigenesis. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated depletion of LMO1 inhibited growth of neuroblastoma cells with high LMO1 expression, whereas forced expression of LMO1 in neuroblastoma cells with low LMO1 expression enhanced proliferation. These data show that common polymorphisms at the LMO1 locus are strongly associated with susceptibility to developing neuroblastoma, but also may influence the likelihood of further somatic alterations at this locus, leading to malignant progression.
Somatic defects at five loci, WT1, CTNNB1, WTX, TP53 and the imprinted 11p15 region, are implicated in Wilms tumor, the commonest childhood kidney cancer. In this study we analysed all five loci in 120 Wilms tumors. We identified epigenetic 11p15 abnormalities in 69% of tumors, 37% were H19 epimutations and 32% were paternal uniparental disomy (pUPD). We identified mutations of WTX in 32%, CTNNB1 in 15%, WT1 in 12% and TP53 in 5% of tumors. We identified several significant associations: between 11p15 and WTX (P=0.007), between WT1 and CTNNB1 (P<0.001), between WT1 and pUPD 11p15 (P=0.01), and a strong negative association between WT1 and H19 epimutation (P<0.001). We next used these data to stratify Wilms tumor into three molecular Groups, based on the status at 11p15 and WT1. Group 1 tumors (63%) were defined as 11p15-mutant and WT1-normal; a third also had WTX mutations. Group 2 tumors (13%) were WT1-mutant. They either had 11p15 pUPD or were 11p15-normal. Almost all had CTNNB1 mutations but none had H19 epimutation. Group 3 tumors (25%) were defined as 11p15-normal and WT1-normal and were typically normal at all five loci (P<0.001). We also identified a novel clinical association between H19 epimutation and bilateral disease (P<0.001). These data provide new insights into the pattern, order, interactions and clinical associations of molecular events in Wilms tumor.
Wilms tumor; WT1; WTX; CTNNB1; TP53; 11p15; somatic genetic mutation; epigenetic
The biological processes controlling human growth are diverse, complex and poorly understood. Genetic factors are important and human height has been shown to be a highly polygenic trait to which common and rare genetic variation contributes. Weaver syndrome is a human overgrowth condition characterised by tall stature, dysmorphic facial features, learning disability and variable additional features. We performed exome sequencing in four individuals with Weaver syndrome, identifying a mutation in the histone methyltransferase, EZH2, in each case. Sequencing of EZH2 in additional individuals with overgrowth identified a further 15 mutations. The EZH2 mutation spectrum in Weaver syndrome shows considerable overlap with the inactivating somatic EZH2 mutations recently reported in myeloid malignancies. Our data establish EZH2 mutations as the cause of Weaver syndrome and provide further links between histone modifications and regulation of human growth.
EZH2; Weaver syndrome; height; myeloid malignancies; histone methyltransferase
Proteins encoded by Fanconi anemia (FA) and/or breast cancer (BrCa) susceptibility genes cooperate in a common DNA damage repair signaling pathway. To gain deeper insight into this pathway and its influence on cancer risk, we searched for novel components through protein physical interaction screens.
Protein physical interactions were screened using the yeast two-hybrid system. Co-affinity purifications and endogenous co-immunoprecipitation assays were performed to corroborate interactions. Biochemical and functional assays in human, mouse and Caenorhabditis elegans models were carried out to characterize pathway components. Thirteen FANCD2-monoubiquitinylation-positive FA cell lines excluded for genetic defects in the downstream pathway components and 300 familial BrCa patients negative for BRCA1/2 mutations were analyzed for genetic mutations. Common genetic variants were genotyped in 9,573 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers for associations with BrCa risk.
A previously identified co-purifying protein with PALB2 was identified, MRG15 (MORF4L1 gene). Results in human, mouse and C. elegans models delineate molecular and functional relationships with BRCA2, PALB2, RAD51 and RPA1 that suggest a role for MRG15 in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Mrg15-deficient murine embryonic fibroblasts showed moderate sensitivity to γ-irradiation relative to controls and reduced formation of Rad51 nuclear foci. Examination of mutants of MRG15 and BRCA2 C. elegans orthologs revealed phenocopy by accumulation of RPA-1 (human RPA1) nuclear foci and aberrant chromosomal compactions in meiotic cells. However, no alterations or mutations were identified for MRG15/MORF4L1 in unclassified FA patients and BrCa familial cases. Finally, no significant associations between common MORF4L1 variants and BrCa risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers were identified: rs7164529, Ptrend = 0.45 and 0.05, P2df = 0.51 and 0.14, respectively; and rs10519219, Ptrend = 0.92 and 0.72, P2df = 0.76 and 0.07, respectively.
While the present study expands on the role of MRG15 in the control of genomic stability, weak associations cannot be ruled out for potential low-penetrance variants at MORF4L1 and BrCa risk among BRCA2 mutation carriers.
Genetic mutations in the mitotic regulatory kinase BUBR1 are associated with the cancer susceptible disorder mosaic variegated aneuploidy (MVA). In patients with biallelic mutations, a missense mutation pairs with a truncating mutation. Here we show that cell lines derived from MVA patients with biallelic mutations have an impaired mitotic checkpoint, chromosome alignment defects, and low overall BUBR1 abundance. Ectopic expression of BUBR1 restored mitotic checkpoint activity, proving that BUBR1 dysfunction causes chromosome segregation errors in the patients. Combined analysis of patient cells and functional protein replacement demonstrates that all MVA mutations fall in two distinct classes: those that impose specific defects in checkpoint activity or microtubule attachment and those that lower BUBR1 protein abundance. Low protein abundance is the direct result of the absence of transcripts from truncating mutants combined with high protein turnover of missense mutants. In this group of missense mutants, the amino acid change consistently occurs in or near the BUBR1 kinase domain. Our findings provide a molecular explanation for chromosomal instability in patients with biallelic genetic mutations in BUBR1.
Mitosis; Cancer; BUBR1; Aneuploidy; Mitotic Checkpoint
Familial non‐Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is rare and in most cases, no underlying cause is identifiable. We report homozygous truncating mutations in the mismatch repair gene MSH2 (226C→T; Q76X) in three siblings who each developed T‐cell NHL in early childhood. All three children had hyperpigmented and hypopigmented skin lesions.
Constitutional biallelic MSH2 mutations have previously been reported in five individuals, all of whom developed malignancy in childhood. Familial lymphoma has not been reported in this context or in association with biallelic mutations in the other mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH6 or PMS2. In addition, hypopigmented skin lesions have not previously been reported in biallelic MSH2 carriers. Our findings therefore expand the spectrum of phenotypes associated with biallelic MSH2 mutations and identify a new cause of familial lymphoma. Moreover, the diagnosis has important management implications as it allows the avoidance of chemotherapeutic agents likely to be ineffective and mutagenic in the proband, and the provision of cascade genetic testing and tumour screening for relatives.
DNA mismatch repair; MSH2; non‐Hodgkin's lymphoma; hereditary non‐polyposis colorectal cancer
DNA sequence and annotation of the entire human chromosome 7, encompassing nearly 158 million nucleotides of DNA and 1917 gene structures, are presented. To generate a higher order description, additional structural features such as imprinted genes, fragile sites, and segmental duplications were integrated at the level of the DNA sequence with medical genetic data, including 440 chromosome rearrangement breakpoints associated with disease. This approach enabled the discovery of candidate genes for developmental diseases including autism.
PMID: 12690205 CAMSID: cams403
We conducted a genome-wide association study for testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT), genotyping 307,666 SNPs in 730 cases and 1,435 controls from the UK and replicating associations in a further 571 cases and 1,806 controls. We found strong evidence for susceptibility loci on chromosome 5 (per allele OR = 1.37 (95% CI = 1.19–1.58), P = 3 × 10−13), chromosome 6 (OR = 1.50 (95% = CI = 1.28–1.75), P = 10−13) and chromosome 12 (OR = 2.55 (95% CI = 2.05–3.19), P = 10−31). KITLG, encoding the ligand for the receptor tyrosine kinase KIT, which has previously been implicated in the pathogenesis of TGCT and the biology of germ cells, may explain the association on chromosome 12.
PALB2 interacts with BRCA2, and biallelic mutations in PALB2 (also known as FANCN), similar to biallelic BRCA2 mutations, cause Fanconi anemia. We identified monoallelic truncating PALB2 mutations in 10/923 individuals with familial breast cancer compared with 0/1,084 controls (P = 0.0004) and show that such mutations confer a 2.3-fold higher risk of breast cancer (95% confidence interval (c.i.) = 1.4–3.9, P = 0.0025). The results show that PALB2 is a breast cancer susceptibility gene and further demonstrate the close relationship of the Fanconi anemia–DNA repair pathway and breast cancer predisposition.
We conducted a SNP-based genome-wide association study (GWAS) focused on the high-risk subset of neuroblastoma1. As our previous unbiased GWAS showed strong association of common 6p22 SNP alleles with aggressive neuroblastoma2, we now restricted our analysis to 397 high-risk cases compared to 2,043 controls. We detected new significant association of six SNPs at 2q35 within the BARD1 gene locus (Pallelic = 2.35×10−9 − 2.25×10−8). Each SNP association was confirmed in a second series of 189 high-risk cases and 1,178 controls (Pallelic = 7.90×10−7 − 2.77×10−4). The two most significant SNPs (rs6435862, rs3768716) were also tested in two additional independent high-risk neuroblastoma case series, yielding combined allelic odds-ratios of 1.68 each (P = 8.65×10−18 and 2.74×10−16, respectively). Significant association was also found with known BARD1 nsSNPs. These data show that common variation in BARD1 contributes to the etiology of the aggressive and most clinically relevant subset of human neuroblastoma.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified seven breast cancer susceptibility loci, but these explain only a small fraction of the familial risk of the disease. Five of these loci were identified through a two-stage GWAS involving 390 familial cases and 364 controls in the first stage, and 3,990 cases and 3,916 controls in the second stage1. To identify additional loci, we tested over 800 promising associations from this GWAS in a further two stages involving 37,012 cases and 40,069 controls from 33 studies in the CGEMS collaboration and Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We found strong evidence for additional susceptibility loci on 3p (rs4973768: per-allele OR = 1.11, 95% CI = 1.08–1.13, P = 4.1 × 10−23) and 17q (rs6504950: per-allele OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.92–0.97, P = 1.4 × 10−8). Potential causative genes include SLC4A7 and NEK10 on 3p and COX11 on 17q.
Neuroblastoma is a malignancy of the developing sympathetic nervous system that most commonly affects young children and is often lethal. The etiology of this embryonal cancer is not known.
We performed a genome-wide association study by first genotyping 1,032 neuroblastoma patients and 2,043 controls of European descent using the Illumina HumanHap550 BeadChip. Three independent groups of neuroblastoma cases (N=720) and controls (N=2128) were then genotyped to replicate significant associations.
We observed highly significant association between neuroblastoma and the common minor alleles of three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within a 94.2 kilobase (Kb) linkage disequilibrium block at chromosome band 6p22 containing the predicted genes FLJ22536 and FLJ44180 (P-value range = 1.71×10-9-7.01×10-10; allelic odds ratio range 1.39-1.40). Homozygosity for the at-risk G allele of the most significantly associated SNP, rs6939340, resulted in an increased likelihood of developing neuroblastoma of 1.97 (95% CI 1.58-2.44). Subsequent genotyping of these 6p22 SNPs in the three independent case series confirmed our observation of association (P=9.33×10-15 at rs6939340 for joint analysis). Furthermore, neuroblastoma patients homozygous for the risk alleles at 6p22 were more likely to develop metastatic (Stage 4) disease (P=0.02), show amplification of the MYCN oncogene in the tumor cells (P=0.006), and to have disease relapse (P=0.01).
Common genetic variation at chromosome band 6p22 is associated with susceptibility to neuroblastoma.
Breast cancer exhibits familial aggregation, consistent with variation in genetic susceptibility to the disease. Known susceptibility genes account for less than 25% of the familial risk of breast cancer, and the residual genetic variance is likely to be due to variants conferring more moderate risks. To identify further susceptibility alleles, we conducted a two-stage genome-wide association study in 4,398 breast cancer cases and 4,316 controls, followed by a third stage in which 30 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested for confirmation in 21,860 cases and 22,578 controls from 22 studies. We used 227,876 SNPs that were estimated to correlate with 77% of known common SNPs in Europeans at r2>0.5. SNPs in five novel independent loci exhibited strong and consistent evidence of association with breast cancer (P<10−7). Four of these contain plausible causative genes (FGFR2, TNRC9, MAP3K1 and LSP1). At the second stage, 1,792 SNPs were significant at the P<0.05 level compared with an estimated 1,343 that would be expected by chance, indicating that many additional common susceptibility alleles may be identifiable by this approach.
The CHEK2 1100delC protein-truncating mutation has a carrier frequency of ~0.7% in Northern and Western European populations and confers an ~2-fold increased risk of breast cancer. It has also been suggested to increase risks of colorectal and prostate cancer, but its involvement with these or other types of cancer has not been confirmed. The incidence of cancer other than breast cancer in 11,116 individuals from 734 non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer families from the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and the United States was compared with that predicted by population rates. Relative risks (RR) to carriers and noncarriers were estimated by maximum likelihood, via the expectation-maximization algorithm to allow for unknown genotypes. Sixty-seven families contained at least one tested CHEK2 1100delC mutation carrier. There was evidence of underreporting of cancers in male relatives (422 cancers observed, 860 expected) but not in females (322 observed, 335 expected); hence, we focused on cancer risks in female carriers. The risk of cancers other than breast cancer in female carriers was not significantly elevated, although a modest increase in risk could not be excluded (RR, 1.18; 95% confidence interval, 0.64-2.17). The carrier risk was not significantly raised for any individual cancer site, including colorectal cancer (RR, 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 0.54-4.71). However, between ages 20 to 50 years, the risks of colorectal and lung cancer were both higher in female carriers than noncarriers (P = 0.041 and 0.0001, respectively). There was no evidence of a higher prostate cancer risk in carriers than noncarriers (P = 0.26), although underreporting of male cancers limited our power to detect such a difference. Our results suggest that the risk of cancer associated with CHEK2 1100delC mutations is restricted to breast cancer, although we cannot rule out a small increase in overall cancer risk.