The cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) is involved in the metabolism of testosterone. Functional changes in this enzyme may influence endogenous hormone exposure, which has been associated with risk of breast cancer. To assess potential associations between two functional polymorphisms CYP2B6_516_G>T (rs3745274) and CYP2B6_785_A>G (rs2279343) and breast cancer risk we established a specific matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) assay. The GENICA breast cancer case-control study showed associations between the variant genotypes CYP2B6_516_TT and CYP2B6_785_GG and breast cancer risk with odds ratios (ORs) of 1.34 (p = 0.001) and 1.31 (p = 0.002), respectively. A similar effect was observed for carriers of the CYP2B6_516_T allele in a validation study including four independent studies from Germany, Sweden and USA. In a pooled analysis of all five studies involving 4,638 breast cancer cases and 3,594 controls of European ancestry, carriers of the CYP2B6_516_G and the CYP2B6_785_G variant had an increased breast cancer risk with ORs of 1.10 (p = 0.027) and 1.10 (p = 0.031), respectively. We conclude that the genetic variants CYP2B6_516_G and CYP2B6_785_G (designated CYP2B6*6), which are known to decrease activity of the CYP2B6 enzyme, contribute to an increased breast cancer risk.
CYP2B6; polymorphism; testosterone; breast cancer risk
Women using menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) are at increased risk to develop breast cancer (BC). To detect genetic modifiers of the association between current use of MHT and BC risk, we conducted a meta-analysis of four genome-wide case-only studies followed by replication in eleven case-control studies. We used a case-only design to assess interactions between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and current MHT use on risk of overall and lobular BC. The discovery stage included 2,920 cases (541 lobular) from four genome-wide association studies. The top 1,391 SNPs showing P-values for interaction (Pint) <3.0×10−03 were selected for replication using pooled case-control data from eleven studies of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, including 7,689 cases (676 lobular) and 9,266 controls. Fixed effects meta-analysis was used to derive combined Pint. No SNP reached genome-wide significance in either the discovery or combined stage. We observed effect modification of current MHT use on overall BC risk by two SNPs on chr13 near POMP (combined Pint≤8.9×10−06), two SNPs in SLC25A21 (combined Pint≤4.8×10−05), and three SNPs in PLCG2 (combined Pint≤4.5×10−05). The association between lobular BC risk was potentially modified by one SNP in TMEFF2 (combined Pint≤2.7×10−05), one SNP in CD80 (combined Pint≤8.2×10−06), three SNPs on chr17 near TMEM132E (combined Pint≤2.2×10−06), and two SNPs on chr18 near SLC25A52 (combined Pint≤4.6×10−05). In conclusion, polymorphisms in genes related to solute transportation in mitochondria, transmembrane signaling and immune cell activation are potentially modifying BC risk associated with current use of MHT. These findings warrant replication in independent studies.
breast cancer; genetic variation; menopausal hormone therapy; genome-wide
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.
Mammographic density, the white radiolucent part of a mammogram, is a marker of breast cancer risk and mammographic sensitivity. There are several means of measuring mammographic density, among which are area-based and volumetric-based approaches. Current volumetric methods use only unprocessed, raw mammograms, which is a problematic restriction since such raw mammograms are normally not stored. We describe fully automated methods for measuring both area and volumetric mammographic density from processed images.
The data set used in this study comprises raw and processed images of the same view from 1462 women. We developed two algorithms for processed images, an automated area-based approach (CASAM-Area) and a volumetric-based approach (CASAM-Vol). The latter method was based on training a random forest prediction model with image statistical features as predictors, against a volumetric measure, Volpara, for corresponding raw images. We contrast the three methods, CASAM-Area, CASAM-Vol and Volpara directly and in terms of association with breast cancer risk and a known genetic variant for mammographic density and breast cancer, rs10995190 in the gene ZNF365. Associations with breast cancer risk were evaluated using images from 47 breast cancer cases and 1011 control subjects. The genetic association analysis was based on 1011 control subjects.
All three measures of mammographic density were associated with breast cancer risk and rs10995190 (p<0.025 for breast cancer risk and p<1×10−6 for rs10995190). After adjusting for one of the measures there remained little or no evidence of residual association with the remaining density measures (p>0.10 for risk, p>0.03 for rs10995190).
Our results show that it is possible to obtain reliable automated measures of volumetric and area mammographic density from processed digital images. Area and volumetric measures of density on processed digital images performed similar in terms of risk and genetic association.
Individual differences in breast size are a conspicuous feature of variation in human females and have been associated with fecundity and advantage in selection of mates. To identify common variants that are associated with breast size, we conducted a large-scale genotyping association meta-analysis in 7,169 women of European descent across 3 independent sample collections with digital or screen film mammograms.
The samples consisted of the Swedish KARMA, LIBRO-1 and SASBAC studies genotyped on iCOGS, a custom illumina iSelect genotyping array comprising of 211,155 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) designed for replication and fine mapping of common and rare variants with relevance to breast, ovary and prostate cancer. Breast size of each subject was ascertained by measuring total breast area (mm2) on a mammogram.
We confirm genome-wide significant associations at 8p11.23 (rs10086016, P = 1.3 × 10−14) and report a new locus at 22q13 (rs5995871, P = 3.2 × 10−8). The latter region contains the MKL1 gene, which has been shown to impact endogenous estrogen-receptor α transcriptional activity and is recruited on estradiol-sensitive genes. We also replicated previous GWAS findings for breast size at four other loci.
A new locus at 22q13 may be associated with female breast size.
Genome-wide association studies; population genetics; meta-analysis; breast size
Treatment-related stomach cancer is an important cause of morbidity and mortality among the growing number of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors, but risks associated with specific HL treatments are unclear.
Patients and Methods
We conducted an international case-control study of stomach cancer nested in a cohort of 19,882 HL survivors diagnosed from 1953 to 2003, including 89 cases and 190 matched controls. For each patient, we quantified cumulative doses of specific alkylating agents (AAs) and reconstructed radiation dose to the stomach tumor location.
Stomach cancer risk increased with increasing radiation dose to the stomach (Ptrend < .001) and with increasing number of AA-containing chemotherapy cycles (Ptrend = .02). Patients who received both radiation to the stomach ≥ 25 Gy and high-dose procarbazine (≥ 5,600 mg/m2) had strikingly elevated stomach cancer risk (25 cases, two controls; odds ratio [OR], 77.5; 95% CI, 14.7 to 1452) compared with those who received radiation < 25 Gy and procarbazine < 5,600 mg/m2 (Pinteraction < .001). Risk was also elevated (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.3 to 6.4) among patients who received radiation to the stomach ≥ 25 Gy but procarbazine < 5,600 mg/m2; however, no procarbazine-related risk was evident with radiation < 25 Gy. Treatment with dacarbazine also increased stomach cancer risk (12 cases, nine controls; OR, 8.8; 95% CI, 2.1 to 46.6), after adjustment for radiation and procarbazine doses.
Patients with HL who received subdiaphragmatic radiotherapy had dose-dependent increased risk of stomach cancer, with marked risks for patients who also received chemotherapy containing high-dose procarbazine. For current patients, risks and benefits of exposure to both procarbazine and subdiaphragmatic radiotherapy should be weighed carefully. For patients treated previously, GI symptoms should be evaluated promptly.
Accurate estimation of systemic tumor load from the blood of cancer patients has enormous potential. One avenue is to measure the presence of cell-free circulating tumor DNA in plasma. Various approaches have been investigated, predominantly covering hotspot mutations or customized, patient-specific assays. Therefore, we investigated the utility of using exome sequencing to monitor circulating tumor DNA levels through the detection of single nucleotide variants in plasma. Two technologies, claiming to offer efficient library preparation from nanogram levels of DNA, were evaluated. This allowed us to estimate the proportion of starting molecules measurable by sequence capture (<5%). As cell-free DNA is highly fragmented, we designed and provide software for efficient identification of PCR duplicates in single-end libraries with a varying size distribution. On average, this improved sequence coverage by 38% in comparison to standard tools. By exploiting the redundant information in PCR-duplicates the background noise was reduced to ∼1/35000. By applying our optimized analysis pipeline to a simulation analysis, we determined the current sensitivity limit to ∼1/2400, starting with 30 ng of cell-free DNA. Subsequently, circulating tumor DNA levels were assessed in seven breast- and one prostate cancer patient. One patient carried detectable levels of circulating tumor DNA, as verified by break-point specific PCR. These results demonstrate exome sequencing on cell-free DNA to be a powerful tool for disease monitoring of metastatic cancers. To enable a broad implementation in the diagnostic settings, the efficiency limitations of sequence capture and the inherent noise levels of the Illumina sequencing technology must be further improved.
To assess the dose-response relationship for stomach cancer following radiotherapy for cervical cancer.
Methods and Materials
We conducted a nested, matched case-control study of 201 cases and 378 controls among 53,547 5-year survivors of cervical cancer diagnosed from 1943–1995, from five international, population-based cancer registries. We estimated individual radiation doses to the site of the stomach cancer for all cases and to corresponding sites for the matched controls (overall mean stomach tumor dose, 2.56 gray [Gy], range 0.03–46.1 and following parallel opposed pelvic fields, 1.63 Gy, range 0.12–6.3).
Over 90% of women received radiotherapy, mostly with external beam therapy in combination with brachytherapy. Stomach cancer risk was non-significantly increased (odds ratios [ORs] 1.27–2.28) for women receiving between 0.5–4.9 Gy to the stomach cancer site and significantly increased at doses ≥5 Gy (OR=4.20, 95% confidence interval, 1.41–13.4, Ptrend=0.047) compared to non-irradiated women. A highly significant radiation dose-response relationship was evident when analyses were restricted to the 131 cases (251 controls) whose stomach cancer was located in the middle and lower portions of the stomach (Ptrend=0.003), whereas there was no indication of increasing risk with increasing dose for 30 cases (57 controls) whose cancer was located in the upper stomach (Ptrend=0.23).
Our findings showed for the first time a significant linear dose-response relationship for risk of stomach cancer in long-term survivors of cervical cancer.
cervical cancer; stomach cancer; radiotherapy; case-control; second primary cancer
Tamoxifen treatment is associated with a reduction in mammographic density and an improved survival. However, the extent to which change in mammographic density during adjuvant tamoxifen therapy can be used to measure response to treatment is unknown.
Patients and Methods
Overall, 974 postmenopausal patients with breast cancer who had both a baseline and a follow-up mammogram were eligible for analysis. On the basis of treatment information abstracted from medical records, 474 patients received tamoxifen treatment and 500 did not. Mammographic density was measured by using an automated thresholding method and expressed as absolute dense area. Change in mammographic density was calculated as percentage change from baseline. Survival analysis was performed by using delayed-entry Cox proportional hazards regression models, with death as a result of breast cancer as the end point. Analyses were adjusted for a range of patient and tumor characteristics.
During a 15-year follow-up, 121 patients (12.4%) died from breast cancer. Women treated with tamoxifen who experienced a relative density reduction of more than 20% between baseline and first follow-up mammogram had a reduced risk of death as a result of breast cancer of 50% (hazard ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.93) compared with women with stable mammographic density. In the no-tamoxifen group, there was no statistically significant association between mammographic density change and survival. The survival advantage was not observed when absolute dense areas at baseline or follow-up were evaluated separately.
A decrease in mammographic density after breast cancer diagnosis appears to serve as a prognostic marker for improved long-term survival in patients receiving adjuvant tamoxifen, and these data should be externally validated.
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.
In a consortium including 23 637 breast cancer patients and 25 579 controls of East Asian ancestry, we investigated 70 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 67 independent breast cancer susceptibility loci recently identified by genome-wide association studies (GWASs) conducted primarily in European-ancestry populations. SNPs in 31 loci showed an association with breast cancer risk at P < 0.05 in a direction consistent with that reported previously. Twenty-one of them remained statistically significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons with the Bonferroni-corrected significance level of <0.0015. Eight of the 70 SNPs showed a significantly different association with breast cancer risk by estrogen receptor (ER) status at P < 0.05. With the exception of rs2046210 at 6q25.1, the seven other SNPs showed a stronger association with ER-positive than ER-negative cancer. This study replicated all five genetic risk variants initially identified in Asians and provided evidence for associations of breast cancer risk in the East Asian population with nearly half of the genetic risk variants initially reported in GWASs conducted in European descendants. Taken together, these common genetic risk variants explain ∼10% of excess familial risk of breast cancer in Asian populations.
The aim of this study is to quantify excess absolute risk (EAR) and excess relative risk (ERR) of secondary leukemia among a large population-based group of testicular cancer survivors.
We identified 42,722 1-year survivors of testicular cancer within 14 population-based cancer registries in Europe and North America (1943–2002). Poisson regression analysis was used to model EAR (per 100,000 person-years [PY]) and ERR of secondary leukemia. Cumulative risks were calculated using a competing risk model.
Secondary leukemia developed in 89 patients (EAR = 10.8 per 100,000 PY, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.6–14.6; ERR = 1.6, 95%CI = 1.0–2.2). Statistically significantly elevated risks were observed for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (EAR = 7.2, 95%CI = 4.7–10.2) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (EAR = 1.3, 95%CI = 0.4–2.8). In multivariate analyses, AML risk was higher among patients whose initial management included chemotherapy compared to those receiving radiotherapy alone (p = 0.1). Excess cumulative leukemia risk was approximately 0.23% by 30 years after testicular cancer diagnosis.
Although ERR of leukemia following testicular cancer is large, EAR and cumulative risk, which are better gauges of the population burden, are small.
Testicular Neoplasms; Leukemia; Second Primary Neoplasms; Cohort Studies
Using the ImmunoChip custom genotyping array, we analysed 14,498 multiple sclerosis subjects and 24,091 healthy controls for 161,311 autosomal variants and identified 135 potentially associated regions (p-value < 1.0 × 10-4). In a replication phase, we combined these data with previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from an independent 14,802 multiple sclerosis subjects and 26,703 healthy controls. In these 80,094 individuals of European ancestry we identified 48 new susceptibility variants (p-value < 5.0 × 10-8); three found after conditioning on previously identified variants. Thus, there are now 110 established multiple sclerosis risk variants in 103 discrete loci outside of the Major Histocompatibility Complex. With high resolution Bayesian fine-mapping, we identified five regions where one variant accounted for more than 50% of the posterior probability of association. This study enhances the catalogue of multiple sclerosis risk variants and illustrates the value of fine-mapping in the resolution of GWAS signals.
GPs need to recognise significant pigmented skin lesions, given rising UK incidence rates for malignant melanoma. The 7-point checklist (7PCL) has been recommended by NICE (2005) for routine use in UK general practice to identify clinically significant lesions which require urgent referral.
To validate the Original and Weighted versions of the 7PCL in the primary care setting.
Design and setting
Diagnostic validation study, using data from a SIAscopic diagnostic aid randomised controlled trial in eastern England.
Adults presenting in general practice with a pigmented skin lesion that could not be immediately diagnosed as benign were recruited into the trial. Reference standard diagnoses were histology or dermatology expert opinion; 7PCL scores were calculated blinded to the reference diagnosis. A case was defined as a clinically significant lesion for primary care referral to secondary care (total 1436 lesions: 225 cases, 1211 controls); or melanoma (36).
For diagnosing clinically significant lesions there was a difference between the performance of the Original and Weighted 7PCLs (respectively, area under curve: 0.66, 0.69, difference = 0.03, P<0.001). For the identification of melanoma, similar differences were found. Increasing the Weighted 7PCL’s cut-off score from recommended 3 to 4 improved detection of clinically significant lesions in primary care: sensitivity 73.3%, specificity 57.1%, positive predictive value 24.1%, negative predictive value 92.0%, while maintaining high sensitivity of 91.7% and moderate specificity of 53.4% for melanoma.
The Original and Weighted 7PCLs both performed well in a primary care setting to identify clinically significant lesions as well as melanoma. The Weighted 7PCL, with a revised cut-off score of 4 from 3, performs slightly better and could be applied in general practice to support the recognition of clinically significant lesions and therefore the early identification of melanoma.
diagnostic techniques and procedures; general practice; melanoma; pigmented skin lesions
Genes that alter disease risk only in combination with certain
environmental exposures may not be detected in genetic association analysis. By
using methods accounting for gene-environment (G × E) interaction, we
aimed to identify novel genetic loci associated with breast cancer risk. Up to
34,475 cases and 34,786 controls of European ancestry from up to 23 studies in
the Breast Cancer Association Consortium were included. Overall, 71,527 single
nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), enriched for association with breast cancer,
were tested for interaction with 10 environmental risk factors using three
recently proposed hybrid methods and a joint test of association and
interaction. Analyses were adjusted for age, study, population stratification,
and confounding factors as applicable. Three SNPs in two independent loci showed
statistically significant association: SNPs rs10483028 and rs2242714 in perfect
linkage disequilibrium on chromosome 21 and rs12197388 in ARID1B on chromosome
6. While rs12197388 was identified using the joint test with parity and with age
at menarche (P-values = 3 × 10−07),
the variants on chromosome 21 q22.12, which showed interaction with adult body
mass index (BMI) in 8,891 postmenopausal women, were identified by all methods
applied. SNP rs10483028 was associated with breast cancer in women with a BMI
below 25 kg/m2 (OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.15–1.38) but not in women
with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher (OR = 0.89, 95% CI 0.72–1.11,
P for interaction = 3.2 × 10−05).
Our findings confirm comparable power of the recent methods for detecting G
× E interaction and the utility of using G × E interaction
analyses to identify new susceptibility loci.
breast cancer risk; gene-environment interaction; polymorphisms; body mass index; case-control study
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.
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
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.
Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is associated with an elevated risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. To identify genetic loci that modify breast cancer risk related to MHT use in postmenopausal women, we conducted a two-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) with replication. In stage I, we performed a case-only GWAS in 731 invasive breast cancer cases from the German case-control study Mammary Carcinoma Risk Factor Investigation (MARIE). The 1,200 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showing the lowest P values for interaction with current MHT use (within 6 months prior to breast cancer diagnosis), were carried forward to stage II, involving pooled case-control analyses including additional MARIE subjects (1,375 cases, 1,974 controls) as well as 795 cases and 764 controls of a Swedish case-control study. A joint P value was calculated for a combined analysis of stages I and II. Replication of the most significant interaction of the combined stage I and II was performed using 5,795 cases and 5,390 controls from nine studies of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). The combined stage I and II yielded five SNPs on chromosomes 2, 7, and 18 with joint P values <6 × 10−6 for effect modification of current MHT use. The most significant interaction was observed for rs6707272 (P = 3 × 10−7) on chromosome 2 but was not replicated in the BCAC studies (P = 0.21). The potentially modifying SNPs are in strong linkage disequilibrium with SNPs in TRIP12 and DNER on chromosome 2 and SETBP1 on chromosome 18, previously linked to carcinogenesis. However, none of the interaction effects reached genome-wide significance. The inability to replicate the top SNP × MHT interaction may be due to limited power of the replication phase. Our study, however, suggests that there are unlikely to be SNPs that interact strongly enough with MHT use to be clinically significant in European women.
Postmenopausal breast cancer risk; Menopausal hormone therapy; Polymorphisms; Gene-environment interaction; Genome-wide association study; Case-only study
The length of female reproductive lifespan is associated with multiple adverse outcomes, including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and infertility. The biological processes that govern the timing of the beginning and end of reproductive life are not well understood. Genetic variants are known to contribute to ∼50% of the variation in both age at menarche and menopause, but to date the known genes explain <15% of the genetic component. We have used genome-wide association in a bivariate meta-analysis of both traits to identify genes involved in determining reproductive lifespan. We observed significant genetic correlation between the two traits using genome-wide complex trait analysis. However, we found no robust statistical evidence for individual variants with an effect on both traits. A novel association with age at menopause was detected for a variant rs1800932 in the mismatch repair gene MSH6 (P = 1.9 × 10−9), which was also associated with altered expression levels of MSH6 mRNA in multiple tissues. This study contributes to the growing evidence that DNA repair processes play a key role in ovarian ageing and could be an important therapeutic target for infertility.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of breast cancer defined by hormone receptor status have revealed loci contributing to susceptibility of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative subtypes. To identify additional genetic variants for ER-negative breast cancer, we conducted the largest meta-analysis of ER-negative disease to date, comprising 4754 ER-negative cases and 31 663 controls from three GWAS: NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) (2188 ER-negative cases; 25 519 controls of European ancestry), Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC) (1562 triple negative cases; 3399 controls of European ancestry) and African American Breast Cancer Consortium (AABC) (1004 ER-negative cases; 2745 controls). We performed in silico replication of 86 SNPs at P ≤ 1 × 10-5 in an additional 11 209 breast cancer cases (946 with ER-negative disease) and 16 057 controls of Japanese, Latino and European ancestry. We identified two novel loci for breast cancer at 20q11 and 6q14. SNP rs2284378 at 20q11 was associated with ER-negative breast cancer (combined two-stage OR = 1.16; P = 1.1 × 10−8) but showed a weaker association with overall breast cancer (OR = 1.08, P = 1.3 × 10–6) based on 17 869 cases and 43 745 controls and no association with ER-positive disease (OR = 1.01, P = 0.67) based on 9965 cases and 22 902 controls. Similarly, rs17530068 at 6q14 was associated with breast cancer (OR = 1.12; P = 1.1 × 10−9), and with both ER-positive (OR = 1.09; P = 1.5 × 10−5) and ER-negative (OR = 1.16, P = 2.5 × 10−7) disease. We also confirmed three known loci associated with ER-negative (19p13) and both ER-negative and ER-positive breast cancer (6q25 and 12p11). Our results highlight the value of large-scale collaborative studies to identify novel breast cancer risk loci.
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.
Mammographic density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. Apart from hormone replacement therapy (HRT), little is known about lifestyle factors that influence breast density.
We examined the effect of smoking, alcohol and physical activity on mammographic density in a population-based sample of postmenopausal women without breast cancer. Lifestyle factors were assessed by a questionnaire and percentage and area measures of mammographic density were measured using computer-assisted software. General linear models were used to assess the association between lifestyle factors and mammographic density and effect modification by body mass index (BMI) and HRT was studied.
Overall, alcohol intake was positively associated with percent mammographic density (P trend = 0.07). This association was modified by HRT use (P interaction = 0.06): increasing alcohol intake was associated with increasing percent density in current HRT users (P trend = 0.01) but not in non-current users (P trend = 0.82). A similar interaction between alcohol and HRT was found for the absolute dense area, with a positive association being present in current HRT users only (P interaction = 0.04). No differences in mammographic density were observed across categories of smoking and physical activity, neither overall nor in stratified analyses by BMI and HRT use.
Increasing alcohol intake is associated with an increase in mammography density, whereas smoking and physical activity do not seem to influence density. The observed interaction between alcohol and HRT may pose an opportunity for HRT users to lower their mammographic density and breast cancer risk.
HNF1B is overexpressed in clear cell epithelial ovarian cancer, and we observed epigenetic silencing in serous epithelial ovarian cancer, leading us to hypothesize that variation in this gene differentially associates with epithelial ovarian cancer risk according to histological subtype. Here we comprehensively map variation in HNF1B with respect to epithelial ovarian cancer risk and analyse DNA methylation and expression profiles across histological subtypes. Different single-nucleotide polymorphisms associate with invasive serous (rs7405776 odds ratio (OR) = 1.13, P = 3.1 × 10−10) and clear cell (rs11651755 OR = 0.77, P = 1.6 × 10−8) epithelial ovarian cancer. Risk alleles for the serous subtype associate with higher HNF1B-promoter methylation in these tumours. Unmethylated, expressed HNF1B, primarily present in clear cell tumours, coincides with a CpG island methylator phenotype affecting numerous other promoters throughout the genome. Different variants in HNF1B associate with risk of serous and clear cell epithelial ovarian cancer; DNA methylation and expression patterns are also notably distinct between these subtypes. These findings underscore distinct mechanisms driving different epithelial ovarian cancer histological subtypes.