Presenting treatment options to men with localized prostate cancer is difficult because of the lack of definitive evidence and the range of treatment options available. Active surveillance and monitoring programs are now a recognized treatment option for men with low-risk localized prostate cancer, but many patients are not fully aware of the details of such programs, and most still opt for immediate radical (surgery or radiotherapy) treatment. The provision of high-quality information with decision aids has been shown to increase the acceptability of active surveillance/monitoring programs. This chapter outlines techniques for providing high-quality information about active surveillance/monitoring, based on the findings of a randomized controlled trial of treatments for localized prostate cancer. The ProtecT (Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment) trial has randomized over 1500 men between active monitoring, radical surgery, and radical radiotherapy by ensuring that information was tailored to men’s existing knowledge and views. Care was taken with the content, order, and enthusiasm of the presentation of treatments by recruitment staff, and clinicians and other health professionals were supported to feel comfortable with being open about the uncertainties in the evidence and helped to rephrase terminology likely to be misinterpreted by patients. These techniques of information provision should be added to the use of decision aids to enable patients diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer in routine practice to reach well-informed and reasoned decisions about their treatment, including full consideration of active surveillance and monitoring programs.
Only a minority of the genetic component of prostate cancer (PrCa) risk has been explained. Some observed associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with PrCa might arise from associations of these SNPs with circulating prostate specific antigen (PSA) because PSA values are used to select controls.
We undertook a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of screen detected PrCa (ProtecT 1146 cases and 1804 controls); meta-analysed the results with those from the previously published UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study (1854 cases and 1437 controls); investigated associations of SNPs with PrCa using either ‘low’ (PSA <0.5ng/ml) or ‘high’ (PSA ≥3ng/ml, biopsy negative) PSA controls; and investigated associations of SNPs with PSA.
The ProtecT GWAS confirmed previously reported associations of PrCa at 3 loci: 10q11.23, 17q24.3 and 19q13.33. The meta-analysis confirmed associations of PrCa with SNPs near 4 previously identified loci (8q24.21,10q11.23, 17q24.3 and 19q13.33). When comparing PrCa cases with low PSA controls, alleles at genetic markers rs1512268, rs445114, rs10788160, rs11199874, rs17632542, rs266849 and rs2735839 were associated with an increased risk of PrCa, but the effect-estimates were attenuated to the null when using high PSA controls (p for heterogeneity in effect-estimates<0.04). We found a novel inverse association of rs9311171-T with circulating PSA.
Differences in effect estimates for PrCa observed when comparing low vs. high PSA controls, may be explained by associations of these SNPs with PSA.
These findings highlight the need for inferences from genetic studies of PrCa risk to carefully consider the influence of control selection criteria.
Prostate Specific Antigen; research design; prostate cancer; case-control studies; genome wide association studies
Vitamin D pathway single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are potentially useful proxies for investigating whether circulating vitamin D metabolites [total 25-hydroxyvitamin-D, 25(OH)D; 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin, 1,25(OH)2D] are causally related to prostate cancer. We investigated associations of sixteen SNPs across seven genes with prostate-specific antigen-detected prostate cancer.
In a nested case–control study (within the ProtecT trial), we estimated odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) quantifying associations between SNPs and prostate cancer. Subgroup analyses investigated whether associations were stronger in men who had high/low sun exposure [a proxy for 25(OH)D]. We quantified associations of SNPs with stage (T1–T2/T3–T4) and grade (<7/≥7). Multiple variant scores included SNPs encoding proteins involved in 25(OH)D synthesis and metabolism.
We included 1,275 prostate cancer cases (141 locally advanced, 385 high grades) and 2,062 healthy controls. Vitamin D-binding protein SNPs were associated with prostate cancer (rs4588-A: OR 1.20, CI 1.01, 1.41, p = 0.04; rs7041-T: OR 1.19, CI 1.02, 1.38, p = 0.03). Low 25(OH)D metabolism score was associated with high (vs low) grade (OR 0.76, CI 0.63, 0.93, p = 0.01); there was a similar association of its component variants: rs6013897-A in CYP24A1 (OR 0.78, CI 0.60, 1.01, p = 0.06) and rs10877012-T in CYP27B1 (OR 0.80, CI 0.63, 1.02, p = 0.07). There was no evidence that associations differed by level of sun exposure.
We found some evidence that vitamin D pathway SNPs were associated with prostate cancer risk and grade, but not stage. There was no evidence of an association in men with deficient vitamin D (measured by having low sun exposure).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10552-014-0500-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Prostate cancer; Vitamin D; Vitamin D pathway genes; 25 hydroxyvitamin-D; 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D
Prostate cancer (PC) incidence and progression may be influenced by dietary factors, but little is known about the acceptability of dietary modification to men at increased risk of PC. Qualitative interviews with men participating in the ProDiet study were undertaken to explore the feasibility of implementing dietary interventions for the prevention of prostate cancer.
An interview study nested within the ProDiet randomised feasibility trial of dietary interventions to prevent a PC diagnosis. Men (n = 133) who previously participated in community based prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing without PC but who were at increased risk of the disease were randomly allocation to both lycopene (lycopene or placebo capsules or lycopene rich diet) and green tea (green tea or placebo capsules or green tea drink) for 6 months. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants shortly after randomisation, to investigate attitudes towards dietary modification for PC prevention and dietary information. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed to identify common themes.
Interviews were conducted with 21 participants aged 52-72 years with PSA levels between 2.5 and 2.95 ng/ml, or a negative prostate biopsy result. Most men identified the major causes of cancer in general to include diet, environment, ageing and genetic factors. This contrasted sharply with men’s uncertainty about PC aetiology, and the function of the prostate. Men were confused by conflicting messages in the media about dietary practices to promote health overall, but were positive about the potential of lycopene and green tea in relation to PC prevention, valuing their natural components. Furthermore these men wanted tailored dietary advice for PC prevention from their clinicians, whom they considered a trusted source of information.
Men at elevated risk of PC reported uncertainty about PC aetiology and the role of diet in PC prevention, but enthusiasm for dietary modifications that were perceived as ‘simple’ and ‘natural’. The men looked to clinicians to provide consistent disease specific dietary advice. These factors should be taken into consideration by clinicians discussing elevated PSA results with patients and those planning to embark on future trials investigating dietary modification interventions for the prevention of a PC diagnosis.
Diet; Green Tea; Lycopene; Prostatic neoplasms; Qualitative research
Patients’ treatment preferences are often cited as barriers to recruitment in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We investigated how RCT recruiters reacted to patients’ treatment preferences and identified key strategies to improve informed decision-making and trial recruitment.
Audio-recordings of 103 RCT recruitment appointments with 96 participants in three UK multicenter pragmatic RCTs were analyzed using content and thematic analysis. Recruiters’ responses to expressed treatment preferences were assessed in one RCT (ProtecT - Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment) in which training on exploring preferences had been given, and compared with two other RCTs where this specific training had not been given.
Recruiters elicited treatment preferences similarly in all RCTs but responses to expressed preferences differed substantially. In the ProtecT RCT, patients’ preferences were not accepted at face value but were explored and discussed at length in three key ways: eliciting and acknowledging the preference rationale, balancing treatment views, and emphasizing the need to keep an open mind and consider all treatments. By exploring preferences, recruiters enabled participants to become clearer about whether their views were robust enough to be sustained or were sufficiently weak that participation in the RCT became possible. Conversely, in the other RCTs, treatment preferences were often readily accepted without further discussion or understanding the reasoning behind them, suggesting that patients were not given the opportunity to fully consider all treatments and trial participation.
Recruiters can be trained to elicit and address patients’ treatment preferences, enabling those who may not have considered trial participation to do so. Without specific guidance, some RCT recruiters are likely to accept initial preferences at face value, missing opportunities to promote more informed decision-making. Training interventions for recruiters that incorporate key strategies to manage treatment preferences, as in the ProtecT study, are required to facilitate recruitment and informed consent.
ProtecT RCT: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN20141297. The other two trials are registered but have asked to be anonymized.
Treatment preferences; Qualitative research methods; Randomized controlled trials; Recruitment to randomized controlled trials; Informed consent; ProtecT study
The aim of the study was to investigate how doctors considered and experienced the concept of equipoise while recruiting patients to randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Study Design and Setting
In-depth interviews with 32 doctors in six publicly funded pragmatic RCTs explored their perceptions of equipoise as they undertook RCT recruitment. The RCTs varied in size, duration, type of complex intervention, and clinical specialties. Interview data were analyzed using qualitative content and thematic analytical methods derived from grounded theory and synthesized across six RCTs.
All six RCTs suffered from poor recruitment. Doctors wanted to gather robust evidence but experienced considerable discomfort and emotion in relation to their clinical instincts and concerns about patient eligibility and safety. Although they relied on a sense of community equipoise to justify participation, most acknowledged having “hunches” about particular treatments and patients, some of which undermined recruitment. Surgeons experienced these issues most intensely. Training and support promoted greater confidence in equipoise and improved engagement and recruitment.
Recruitment to RCTs is a fragile process and difficult for doctors intellectually and emotionally. Training and support can enable most doctors to become comfortable with key RCT concepts including equipoise, uncertainty, patient eligibility, and randomization, promoting a more resilient recruitment process in partnership with patients.
Randomized controlled trials; Recruitment; Equipoise; Uncertainty; Qualitative research; Uncertainty; Training
There is a need for evidence of the clinical effectiveness of minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of esophageal cancer, but randomized controlled trials in surgery are often difficult to conduct. The ROMIO (Randomized Open or Minimally Invasive Oesophagectomy) study will establish the feasibility of a main trial which will examine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of minimally invasive and open surgical procedures for the treatment of esophageal cancer.
A pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT), in two centers (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust) will examine numbers of incident and eligible patients who consent to participate in the ROMIO study. Interventions will include esophagectomy by: (1) open gastric mobilization and right thoracotomy, (2) laparoscopic gastric mobilization and right thoracotomy, and (3) totally minimally invasive surgery (in the Bristol center only). The primary outcomes of the feasibility study will be measures of recruitment, successful development of methods to monitor quality of surgery and fidelity to a surgical protocol, and development of a core outcome set to evaluate esophageal cancer surgery. The study will test patient-reported outcomes measures to assess recovery, methods to blind participants, assessments of surgical morbidity, and methods to capture cost and resource use. ROMIO will integrate methods to monitor and improve recruitment using audio recordings of consultations between recruiting surgeons, nurses, and patients to provide feedback for recruiting staff.
The ROMIO study aims to establish efficient methods to undertake a main trial of minimally invasive surgery versus open surgery for esophageal cancer.
The pilot trial has Current Controlled Trials registration number ISRCTN59036820(25/02/2013) at http://www.controlled-trials.com; the ROMIO trial record at that site gives a link to the original version of the study protocol.
Feasibility studies; Upper gastrointestinal neoplasms; Pilot study; Surgical procedures; Minimally invasive; Randomized controlled trial
The diagnosis of prostate cancer (PC) can provide a trigger for dietary change, and there is evidence that healthier diets may improve quality of life and clinical outcomes. However, men’s views about dietary change in PC survivorship are largely unknown. This multi-centre qualitative interview study explored men’s views about dietary change in PC survivorship, to better understand motivations for, and barriers to, achieving desired changes. The role of radical and active surveillance treatments on dietary change and the influence of men’s partners were examined. Focus groups also evaluated stakeholder opinion, including healthcare professionals, about the provision of dietary advice to PC patients.
A multi-centre interview study explored views about diet and motivations for, and barriers to, dietary change in men at elevated risk or diagnosed with PC following prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing. 58 men and 11 partners were interviewed. Interviews and focus groups were undertaken with 11 healthcare professionals, 5 patients and 4 partners to evaluate stakeholders’ opinions about the feasibility and acceptability of providing dietary advice to PC patients. Data were analysed using methods of constant comparison and thematic analysis.
Over half of diagnosed men reported making dietary changes, primarily to promote general or prostate health or facilitate coping, despite their uncertainty about diet-PC links. Interest in dietary advice was high. Information needs varied depending on treatment received, with men on active surveillance more frequently modifying their diet and regarding this as an adjunct therapy. Men considered their partners integral to implementing changes. Provision of dietary advice to men diagnosed with PC was considered by healthcare professionals and men to be feasible and appropriate in the context of a holistic ‘care package’.
Many men make positive dietary changes after PC diagnosis, which are perceived by men and their partners to bring psychological and general health benefits and could help future dietary intervention trials. Men and their partners desire more and better dietary information that may support PC survivorship, particularly among those embarking on active surveillance/monitoring programmes. There are opportunities for healthcare professionals to support PC patients both clinically and psychologically by the routine integration of healthy eating advice into survivorship care plans.
Cancer; Diet; Oncology; Prostatic neoplasms; Qualitative research; Survivors
The HOXB13 gene has been implicated in prostate cancer (PrCa) susceptibility. We performed a high resolution fine-mapping analysis to comprehensively evaluate the association between common genetic variation across the HOXB genetic locus at 17q21 and PrCa risk. This involved genotyping 700 SNPs using a custom Illumina iSelect array (iCOGS) followed by imputation of 3195 SNPs in 20,440 PrCa cases and 21,469 controls in The PRACTICAL consortium. We identified a cluster of highly correlated common variants situated within or closely upstream of HOXB13 that were significantly associated with PrCa risk, described by rs117576373 (OR 1.30, P = 2.62×10−14). Additional genotyping, conditional regression and haplotype analyses indicated that the newly identified common variants tag a rare, partially correlated coding variant in the HOXB13 gene (G84E, rs138213197), which has been identified recently as a moderate penetrance PrCa susceptibility allele. The potential for GWAS associations detected through common SNPs to be driven by rare causal variants with higher relative risks has long been proposed; however, to our knowledge this is the first experimental evidence for this phenomenon of synthetic association contributing to cancer susceptibility.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous low penetrance disease susceptibility variants, yet few causal alleles have been unambiguously identified. The underlying causal variants are expected to be predominantly common; however synthetic associations with rare, higher penetrance variants have been hypothesised though not yet observed. Here, we report detection of a novel common, low penetrance prostate cancer association at the HOXB locus at ch17q and show that this signal can actually be attributed to a previously identified rare, moderate penetrance coding variant (G84E) in HOXB13. This study therefore provides the first experimental evidence for the existence of synthetic associations in cancer and shows that where GWAS signals arise through this phenomenon, risk predictions derived using the tag SNP would substantially underestimate the relative risk conferred and overestimate the number of carriers of the causal variant. Synthetic associations at GWAS signals could therefore account for a proportion of the missing heritability of complex diseases.
The prevalence of severe and complex obesity is increasing worldwide and surgery may offer an effective and lasting treatment. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery are the two main surgical procedures performed.
This open parallel-group randomised controlled trial will compare the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and acceptability of gastric band (Band) versus gastric bypass (Bypass) in adults with severe and complex obesity. It has an internal pilot phase (in two centres) with integrated qualitative research to establish effective and optimal methods for recruitment. Adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 kg/m2 or more, or a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or more and other co-morbidities will be recruited. At the end of the internal pilot the study will expand into more centres if the pre-set progression criteria of numbers and rates of eligible patients screened and randomised are met and if the expected rates of retention and adherence to treatment allocation are achieved. The trial will test the joint hypotheses that Bypass is non-inferior to Band with respect to more than 50% excess weight loss and that Bypass is superior to Band with respect to health related quality of life (HRQOL, EQ-5D) at three years. Secondary outcomes include other weight loss measures, waist circumference and remission/resolution of co-morbidities; generic and symptom-specific HRQOL; nutritional blood test results; resource use; eating behaviours and adverse events. A core outcome set for reporting the results of obesity surgery will be developed and a systematic review of the evidence for sleeve gastrectomy undertaken to inform the main study design.
By-Band is the first pragmatic study to compare the two most commonly performed bariatric surgical procedures for severe and complex obesity. The design will enable and empower surgeons to learn to recruit and participate in a randomised study. Early evidence shows that timely recruitment is possible.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN00786323.
Complex obesity; Gastric band; Gastric bypass; Integrated qualitative research
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple common genetic variants associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (PrCa), but these explain less than one-third of the heritability. To identify further susceptibility alleles, we conducted a meta-analysis of four GWAS including 5953 cases of aggressive PrCa and 11 463 controls (men without PrCa). We computed association tests for approximately 2.6 million SNPs and followed up the most significant SNPs by genotyping 49 121 samples in 29 studies through the international PRACTICAL and BPC3 consortia. We not only confirmed the association of a PrCa susceptibility locus, rs11672691 on chromosome 19, but also showed an association with aggressive PrCa [odds ratio = 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.03–1.21), P = 1.4 × 10−8]. This report describes a genetic variant which is associated with aggressive PrCa, which is a type of PrCa associated with a poorer prognosis.
Recruitment of sufficient participants in an efficient manner is still widely acknowledged to be a major challenge to the mounting and completion of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Few recruitment interventions have involved staff undertaking recruitment. This study aimed i) to understand the recruitment process from the perspective of recruiters actively recruiting RCT participants in six pragmatic RCTs, and ii) to identify opportunities for interventions to improve recruitment.
Interviews were undertaken with 72 individuals (32 doctors or RCT Chief investigators (CIs); 40 nurses/other health professionals) who were actively recruiting participants in six RCTs to explore their experiences of recruitment. The RCTs varied in scale, duration, and clinical contexts. Interviews were fully transcribed and analysed using qualitative content and thematic analytic methods derived from grounded theory. For this analysis, data were systematically extracted from each RCT and synthesised across all six RCTs to produce a detailed and nuanced understanding of the recruitment process from the perspectives of the recruiters.
Recruiters readily identified organisational difficulties, fewer than expected eligible patients, and patients’ treatment preferences as the key barriers to recruitment. As they described their experiences of recruitment, several previously hidden issues related to their roles as researchers and clinicians emerged, imbued with discomfort and emotion. The synthesis across the RCTs showed that doctors were uncomfortable about aspects of patient eligibility and the effectiveness of interventions, whereas nurses were anxious about approaching potential RCT participants and conflicts between the research and their clinical responsibilities. Recruiters seemed unaware that their views contributed to recruitment difficulties. Their views were not known to RCT CIs. Training and support needs were identified for both groups of staff.
The synthesis showed that recruitment to these RCTs was a complex and fragile process. Clear obstacles were identified but hidden challenges related to recruiters’ roles undermined recruitment, unbeknown to RCT CIs. Qualitative research can elicit and identify the hidden challenges. Training and support are then needed for recruiters to become more comfortable with the design and principles of RCTs, so that they can engage more openly with potentially eligible participants and create a more resilient recruitment process.
Equipoise; Qualitative research; Randomised controlled trials; Recruitment
Chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a relatively common and potentially serious condition with a limited evidence base for treatment. Specialist treatment for paediatric CFS/ME uses interventions recommended by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) including cognitive behavioural therapy, graded exercise therapy and activity management. The Lightning Process® (LP) is a trademarked intervention derived from osteopathy, life-coaching and neuro-linguistic programming, delivered over three consecutive days as group sessions. Although over 250 children with CFS/ME attend LP courses each year, there are no reported studies on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness.
This pragmatic randomised controlled trial is set within a specialist paediatric CFS/ME service in the south west of England. Children and young people with CFS/ME (n = 80 to 112), aged 12 to 18 years old will be randomised to specialist medical care (SMC) or SMC plus the LP. The primary outcome will be physical function (SF-36 physical function short form) and fatigue (Chalder Fatigue Scale).
This study will tell us whether adding the LP to SMC is effective and cost-effective compared to SMC alone. This study will also provide detailed information on the implementation of the LP and SMC.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN81456207 (31 July 2012).
Fatigue; Paediatrics; Chronic fatigue syndrome; Myalgic encephalomyelitis
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in males in developed countries. To identify common prostate cancer susceptibility alleles, we genotyped 211,155 SNPs on a custom Illumina array (iCOGS) in blood DNA from 25,074 prostate cancer cases and 24,272 controls from the international PRACTICAL Consortium. Twenty-three new prostate cancer susceptibility loci were identified at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8). More than 70 prostate cancer susceptibility loci, explaining ~30% of the familial risk for this disease, have now been identified. On the basis of combined risks conferred by the new and previously known risk loci, the top 1% of the risk distribution has a 4.7-fold higher risk than the average of the population being profiled. These results will facilitate population risk stratification for clinical studies.
Ecological and epidemiological studies have identified an inverse association of intensity and duration of sunlight exposure with prostate cancer, which may be explained by a reduction in vitamin D synthesis. Pigmentation traits influence sun exposure and therefore may affect prostate cancer risk. Because observational studies are vulnerable to confounding and measurement error, we used Mendelian randomization to examine the relationship of sun exposure with both prostate cancer risk and the intermediate phenotype, plasma levels of vitamin D.
We created a tanning, a skin color and a freckling score as combinations of SNPs that have been previously associated with these phenotypes. A higher score indicates propensity to burn, have a lighter skin color and freckles. The scores were tested for association with vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin-D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D) and PSA-detected prostate cancer in 3123 white British individuals enrolled in the Prostate Testing for cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study.
The freckling score was inversely associated with 25(OH)D levels (change in 25(OH)D per score unit −0.27; 95%CI: −0.52, −0.01), and the tanning score was positively associated with prostate cancer risk (OR 1.05; 95%CI: 1.02,1.09), after adjustment for population stratification and potential confounders.
Individuals who tend to burn are more likely to spend less time in the sun and consequently have lower plasma vitamin D levels and higher susceptibility to prostate cancer.
The use of pigmentation related genetic scores is valuable for the assessment of the potential benefits of sun exposure with respect to prostate cancer risk.
pigmentation; tanning; sun exposure; vitamin D; prostate cancer
Alcohol is an established carcinogen but not an established risk factor for prostate cancer, despite some recent prospective studies suggesting increased risk among heavy drinkers. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of alcohol on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and prostate cancer risk. Two thousand four hundred PSA detected prostate cancer cases and 12,700 controls matched on age and general practice were identified through a case-control study nested in the PSA-testing phase of a large UK-based randomized controlled trial for prostate cancer treatment (ProtecT). Linear and multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate ratios of geometric means (RGMs) of PSA and relative risk ratios (RRRs) of prostate cancer by stage and grade, with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), associated with weekly alcohol intake and drinking patterns. We found evidence of lower PSA (RGM 0.98, 95% CI: 0.98–0.99) and decreased risk of low Gleason-grade (RRR 0.96; 95%CI 0.93–0.99) but increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer (RRR 1.04; 95%CI 0.99–1.08; pdifference=0.004) per 10 units/week increase in alcohol consumption, not explained by current BMI, blood pressure, comorbidities, or reverse causation. This is the first large population-based study to find evidence of lower PSA levels for increasing alcohol consumption, with potential public health implications for the detection of prostate cancer. Our results also support a modestly higher risk of high-grade disease for heavy drinkers, but require independent replication to establish the nature of the association of alcohol with low-grade disease, preferably in cohorts with a heterogeneous case-mix.
Alcohol is not an established risk factor for prostate cancer; however, the current work suggests that heavy drinking could cause a small increase in risk of the more aggressive forms. If the results are confirmed to be causal, prostate cancer risk will be added to the many long-term health risks of heavy drinking, and public health strategies will then also reduce high-risk, poorer prognosis prostate cancer. The authors also found that heavy drinkers have lower PSA levels, suggesting that heavy alcohol consumption could be used as a marker to identify men in whom some cancers might be missed.
alcohol; prostate cancer; prostate specific antigen; ProtecT, nested case–control
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.
Opt-in consent is usually required for research, but is known to introduce selection bias. This is a particular problem for large scale epidemiological studies using only pre-collected health data. Most previous studies have shown that members of the public value opt-in consent and can perceive research without consent as an invasion of privacy. Past research has suggested that people are generally unaware of research processes and existing safeguards, and that education may increase the acceptability of research without prior informed consent, but this recommendation has not been formally evaluated. Our objectives were to determine the range of public opinion about the use of existing medical data for research and to explore views about consent to a secondary review of medical records for research. We also investigated the effect of the provision of detailed information about the potential effect of selection bias on public acceptability of the use of data for research.
We carried out a systematic review of existing literature on public attitudes to secondary use of existing health records identified by searching PubMed (1966-present), Embase (1974-present) and reference lists of identified studies to provide a general overview, followed by a qualitative focus group study with 19 older men recruited from rural and suburban primary care practices in the UK to explore key issues in detail.
The systematic review identified twenty-seven relevant papers and the findings suggested that males and older people were more likely to consent to a review of their medical data. Many studies noted participants’ lack of knowledge about research processes and existing safeguards and this was reflected in the focus groups. Focus group participants became more accepting of the use of pre-collected medical data without consent after being given information about selection bias and research processes. All participants were keen to contribute to NHS-related research but some were concerned about data-sharing for commercial gain and the potential misuse of information.
Increasing public education about research and specific targeted information provision could promote trust in research processes and safeguards, which in turn could increase the acceptability of research without specific consent where the need for consent would lead to biased findings and impede research necessary to improve public health.
Medical record; Informed consent; Selection bias; Secondary research; Confidentiality
Western countries, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer of men, and one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in men. Several genome-wide association studies have yielded numerous common variants conferring risk of prostate cancer. In the present study we analyzed 32.5 million variants discovered by whole-genome sequencing 1,795 Icelanders. One variant was found to be associated with prostate cancer in European populations: rs188140481[A] (OR = 2.90, Pcomb = 6.2×10−34) located on 8q24, with an average risk allele control frequency of 0.54%. This variant is only very weakly correlated (r2 ≤ 0.06) with previously reported risk variants on 8q24, and remains significant after adjustment for all of them. Carriers of rs188140481[A] were diagnosed with prostate cancer 1.26 years younger than non-carriers (P = 0.0059). We also report results for the previously described HOXB13 mutation (rs138213197[T]), confirming it as prostate cancer risk variant in populations from all over Europe.
There have been few genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of prostate cancer among diverse populations. To search for novel prostate cancer risk variants, we conducted GWAS of prostate cancer in Japanese and Latinos. In addition, we tested prostate cancer risk variants and developed genetic risk models of prostate cancer for Japanese and Latinos.
Our first stage GWAS of prostate cancer included Japanese (cases/controls=1,033/1,042) and Latino (cases/controls=1,043/1,057) from the Multiethnic Cohort. Significant associations from stage 1 (P < 1.0×10−4) were examined in silico in GWAS of prostate cancer (stage 2) in Japanese (cases/controls=1,583/3,386) and Europeans (cases/controls=1,854/1,894).
No novel stage 1 SNPs outside of known risk regions reached genome-wide significance. For Japanese, in stage 1, the most notable putative novel association was seen with 10 SNPs (P<8.0. x10−6) at chromosome 2q33; however, this was not replicated in stage 2. For Latinos, the most significant association was observed with rs17023900 at the known 3p12 risk locus (stage 1: OR=1.45; P=7.01×10−5 and stage 2: OR=1.58; P =3.05×10−7). The majority of the established risk variants for prostate cancer, 79% and 88%, were positively associated with prostate cancer in Japanese and Latinos (stage I), respectively. The cumulative effects of these variants significantly influence prostate cancer risk (OR per allele=1.10; P = 2.71×10−25 and OR=1.07; P = 1.02×10−16 for Japanese and Latinos, respectively).
Conclusion and Impact
Our GWAS of prostate cancer did not identify novel genome-wide significant variants. However, our findings demonstrate that established risk variants for prostate cancer significantly contribute to risk among Japanese and Latinos.
Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 5p15 and multiple cancer types have been reported. We have previously shown evidence for a strong association between prostate cancer (PrCa) risk and rs2242652 at 5p15, intronic in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene that encodes TERT. To comprehensively evaluate the association between genetic variation across this region and PrCa, we performed a fine-mapping analysis by genotyping 134 SNPs using a custom Illumina iSelect array or Sequenom MassArray iPlex, followed by imputation of 1094 SNPs in 22 301 PrCa cases and 22 320 controls in The PRACTICAL consortium. Multiple stepwise logistic regression analysis identified four signals in the promoter or intronic regions of TERT that independently associated with PrCa risk. Gene expression analysis of normal prostate tissue showed evidence that SNPs within one of these regions also associated with TERT expression, providing a potential mechanism for predisposition to disease.
Measuring serum levels of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) is the most common screening method for prostate cancer. However, PSA levels are affected by a number of factors apart from neoplasia. Notably, around 40% of the variability of PSA levels in the general population is accounted for by inherited factors, suggesting that it may be possible to improve both sensitivity and specificity by adjusting test results for genetic effects. In order to search for sequence variants that associate with PSA levels, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up analysis using PSA information from 15,757 Icelandic and 454 British men not diagnosed with prostate cancer. Overall, we detected a genome-wide significant association between PSA levels and SNPs at six loci: 5p15.33 (rs2736098), 10q11 (rs10993994), 10q26 (rs10788160), 12q24 (rs11067228), 17q12 (rs4430796), and 19q13.33 (rs17632542 (KLK3: I179T), each with Pcombined < 3×10−10. Among 3,834 men who underwent a biopsy of the prostate, the 10q26, 12q24, and 19q13.33 alleles that associate with high PSA levels are associated with higher probability of a negative biopsy (OR between 1.15 and 1.27). Assessment of association between the 6 loci and prostate cancer risk in 5,325 cases and 41,417 controls from Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain, Romania, and the US showed that the SNPs at 10q26 and 12q24 were exclusively associated with PSA levels, whereas the other 4 loci also were associated with prostate cancer risk. We propose that a personalized PSA cutoff value, based on genotype, should be used when deciding to perform a prostate biopsy.
To identify new risk variants for cutaneous basal cell carcinoma, we performed a genome-wide association study of 16 million SNPs identified through whole-genome sequencing of 457 Icelanders. We imputed genotypes for 41,675 Illumina SNP chip-typed Icelanders and their relatives. In the discovery phase, the strongest signal came from rs78378222[C] (odds ratio (OR) = 2.36, P = 5.2 × 10−17), which has a frequency of 0.0192 in the Icelandic population. We then confirmed this association in non-Icelandic samples (OR = 1.75, P = 0.0060; overall OR = 2.16, P = 2.2 × 10−20). rs78378222 is in the 3′ untranslated region of TP53 and changes the AATAAA polyadenylation signal to AATACA, resulting in impaired 3′-end processing of TP53 mRNA. Investigation of other tumor types identified associations of this SNP with prostate cancer (OR = 1.44, P = 2.4 × 10−6), glioma (OR = 2.35, P = 1.0 × 10−5) and colorectal adenoma (OR = 1.39, P = 1.6 × 10−4). However, we observed no effect for breast cancer, a common Li-Fraumeni syndrome tumor (OR = 1.06, P = 0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.88–1.27).
Prostate cancer (PrCa) is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed among males in developed countries and the second leading cause of cancer mortality, yet little is known regarding its etiology and factors that influence clinical outcome. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of PrCa have identified at least 30 distinct loci associated with small differences in risk. We conducted a GWAS in 2782 advanced PrCa cases (Gleason grade ≥ 8 or tumor stage C/D) and 4458 controls with 571 243 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Based on in silico replication of 4679 SNPs (Stage 1, P < 0.02) in two published GWAS with 7358 PrCa cases and 6732 controls, we identified a new susceptibility locus associated with overall PrCa risk at 2q37.3 (rs2292884, P= 4.3 × 10−8). We also confirmed a locus suggested by an earlier GWAS at 12q13 (rs902774, P= 8.6 × 10−9). The estimated per-allele odds ratios for these loci (1.14 for rs2292884 and 1.17 for rs902774) did not differ between advanced and non-advanced PrCa (case-only test for heterogeneity P= 0.72 and P= 0.61, respectively). Further studies will be needed to assess whether these or other loci are differentially associated with PrCa subtypes.