A multi-ethnic study demonstrates that the extrapolation of genetic disease risk models from European populations to other ethnicities is compromised more strongly by genetic structure than by environmental or global genetic background in differential genetic risk associations across ethnicities.
The vast majority of genome-wide association study (GWAS) findings reported to date are from populations with European Ancestry (EA), and it is not yet clear how broadly the genetic associations described will generalize to populations of diverse ancestry. The Population Architecture Using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study is a consortium of multi-ancestry, population-based studies formed with the objective of refining our understanding of the genetic architecture of common traits emerging from GWAS. In the present analysis of five common diseases and traits, including body mass index, type 2 diabetes, and lipid levels, we compare direction and magnitude of effects for GWAS-identified variants in multiple non-EA populations against EA findings. We demonstrate that, in all populations analyzed, a significant majority of GWAS-identified variants have allelic associations in the same direction as in EA, with none showing a statistically significant effect in the opposite direction, after adjustment for multiple testing. However, 25% of tagSNPs identified in EA GWAS have significantly different effect sizes in at least one non-EA population, and these differential effects were most frequent in African Americans where all differential effects were diluted toward the null. We demonstrate that differential LD between tagSNPs and functional variants within populations contributes significantly to dilute effect sizes in this population. Although most variants identified from GWAS in EA populations generalize to all non-EA populations assessed, genetic models derived from GWAS findings in EA may generate spurious results in non-EA populations due to differential effect sizes. Regardless of the origin of the differential effects, caution should be exercised in applying any genetic risk prediction model based on tagSNPs outside of the ancestry group in which it was derived. Models based directly on functional variation may generalize more robustly, but the identification of functional variants remains challenging.
The number of known associations between human diseases and common genetic variants has grown dramatically in the past decade, most being identified in large-scale genetic studies of people of Western European origin. But because the frequencies of genetic variants can differ substantially between continental populations, it's important to assess how well these associations can be extended to populations with different continental ancestry. Are the correlations between genetic variants, disease endpoints, and risk factors consistent enough for genetic risk models to be reliably applied across different ancestries? Here we describe a systematic analysis of disease outcome and risk-factor–associated variants (tagSNPs) identified in European populations, in which we test whether the effect size of a tagSNP is consistent across six populations with significant non-European ancestry. We demonstrate that although nearly all such tagSNPs have effects in the same direction across all ancestries (i.e., variants associated with higher risk in Europeans will also be associated with higher risk in other populations), roughly a quarter of the variants tested have significantly different magnitude of effect (usually lower) in at least one non-European population. We therefore advise caution in the use of tagSNP-based genetic disease risk models in populations that have a different genetic ancestry from the population in which original associations were first made. We then show that this differential strength of association can be attributed to population-dependent variations in the correlation between tagSNPs and the variant that actually determines risk—the so-called functional variant. Risk models based on functional variants are therefore likely to be more robust than tagSNP-based models.
Pancreatic phospholipase A2, product of PLA2G1B, catalyzes the release of fatty acids from dietary phospholipids.Diet is the ultimate source of arachidonic acid in cellular phospholipids, precursor of eicosanoid signaling molecules, linked to inflammation, cell proliferation and colorectal carcinogenesis. We evaluated the association of PLA2G1B tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms with colorectal neoplasia risk. A linkage-disequilibrium-based tagSNP algorithm (r2=0.90, MAF≥4%) identified three tagSNPs. The SNPs were genotyped on the Illumina platform in three population-based, case-control studies: colon cancer (1424 cases/1780 controls); rectal cancer (583/775); colorectal adenomas (485/578). Evaluating gene-wide associations, principal-component and haplotype analysis were conducted, individual SNPs were evaluated by logistic regression. Two PLA2G1B variants were statistically significantly associated with reduced risk of rectal cancer (rs5637, 3702 G>A Ser98Ser, p-trend=0.03; rs9657930, 1593 C>T, p-trend=0.01); principal component analysis showed that genetic variation in the gene overall was statistically significantly associated with rectal cancer (p=0.02). NSAID users with the rs2070873 variant had a reduced rectal cancer risk (P-inter=0.02). Specific associations were observed with tumor subtypes (TP53/KRAS). The results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in PLA2G1B affect susceptibility to rectal cancer.
Phospholipase A2G1B; polymorphism; colorectal neoplasia; case-control study
Inflammatory processes, including, specifically, the inflammatory conditions Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) predispose to colorectal cancer. Interleukin-23 is part of pro-inflammatory signaling and genetic variation in the interleukin-23 receptor (IL23R) has been consistently associated with CD and UC risk. In three case-control studies of colorectal adenoma (n = 485 cases/578 controls), colon cancer (n = 1424 cases/1780 controls) and rectal cancer (n = 583 cases/775 controls), we investigated associations between 18 candidate and tagSNPs in IL23R and risk. The three studies were genotyped using an identical Illumina GoldenGate assay, allowing thorough investigation of genetic variability across stages and locations of colorectal neoplasia. We further investigated associations with molecular subtypes (MSI+, CIMP+, KRAS2mut, TP53mut) of colon and rectal cancers. In this comprehensive study of genetic variability in IL23R across the spectrum of colorectal carcinogenesis, as well as within colon and rectal tumor molecular subtypes, we observed associations between SNPs in IL23R and risk of rectal cancer:, the 88413 C > A (rs10889675) and 69450 C > A (rs7542081) polymorphisms were associated with decreased rectal cancer risk overall and specifically with rectal tumors bearing a TP53 mutation. 88413C > A (rs10889675) was also associated with a statistically non-significant decreased risk of adenomas. After adjustment for multiple comparisons, there were no statistically significant associations in any of the three studies. These data provide some evidence that genetic variability in IL23R may contribute to rectal cancer risk and add further support to the role of IL23R in gastrointestinal diseases.
IL23R; colorectal cancer; colorectal polyps; genetics
Women who receive chemotherapy for a first primary breast cancer have been observed to have a reduced risk of contralateral breast cancer (CBC), however, whether the genetic profile of a patient modifies this protective effect is currently not understood. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of germline genetic variation in genes coding for drug metabolizing enzymes, transporters, and targets on the association between chemotherapy and risk of CBC.
From the population-based Women’s Environment Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology (WECARE) Study, we included 636 Caucasian women with CBC (cases) and 1,224 women with unilateral breast cancer (controls). The association between common chemotherapeutic regimens, CMF and FAC/FEC, and risk of CBC stratified by genotype of 180 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 14 genes selected for their known involvement in metabolism, action, and transport of breast cancer chemotherapeutic agents, were determined using conditional logistic regression.
CMF (RR = 0.5, 95 % CI 0.4, 0.7) and FAC/FEC (RR = 0.7, 95 % CI 0.4, 1.0) are associated with lower CBC risk relative to no chemotherapy in multivariable-adjusted models. Here we show that genotype of selected genes involved in the metabolism and uptake of these therapeutic agents does not significantly alter the protective effect of either CMF or FAC/FEC on risk of CBC.
The results of this study show that germline genetic variation in selected gene does not significantly alter the protective effect of CMF, FAC, and FEC on risk of CBC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10552-013-0237-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Genetic variation; Chemotherapy; CMF; Contralateral breast cancer
Glutathione peroxidases (GPXs) are selenium-dependent enzymes that reduce and, thus, detoxify hydrogen peroxide and a wide variety of lipid hydroperoxides. We investigated tagSNPs in GPX1-4 in relation to colorectal neoplasia in three independent study populations capturing the range of colorectal carcinogenesis from adenoma to cancer. A linkage-disequilibrium (LD)-based tagSNP selection algorithm (r2≥0.90, MAF≥4%) identified 21 tagSNPs. We used an identical Illumina platform to genotype GPX SNPs in three population-based case-control studies of colon cancer (1424 cases/1780 controls), rectal cancer (583 cases/775 controls), and colorectal adenomas (485 cases/578 controls). For gene-level associations, we conducted principal components analysis (PCA); multiple logistic regression was used for single SNPs. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and study center and restricted to non-Hispanic white participants. Analyses of cancer endpoints were stratified by molecular subtypes. Without correction for multiple testing, one polymorphism in GPX2 and three polymorphisms in GPX3 were associated with a significant risk reduction for rectal cancer at α=0.05, specifically for rectal cancers with TP53 mutations. The associations regarding the three polymorphisms in GPX3 remained statistically significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons. The PCA confirmed an overall association of GPX3 with rectal cancer (p=0.03). No other statistically significant associations were observed. Our data provide preliminary evidence that genetic variability in GPX3 contributes to risk of rectal cancer but not of colon cancer and thusprovide additional support for differences in underlying pathogenetic mechanisms for colon and rectal cancer.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglyceride (TG) levels are influenced by both genes and the environment. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified ~100 common genetic variants associated with HDL-C, LDL-C, and/or TG levels, mostly in populations of European descent, but little is known about the modifiers of these associations. Here, we investigated whether GWAS-identified SNPs for lipid traits exhibited heterogeneity by sex in the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study.
A sex-stratified meta-analysis was performed for 49 GWAS-identified SNPs for fasting HDL-C, LDL-C, and ln(TG) levels among adults self-identified as European American (25,013). Heterogeneity by sex was established when phet < 0.001. There was evidence for heterogeneity by sex for two SNPs for ln(TG) in the APOA1/C3/A4/A5/BUD13 gene cluster: rs28927680 (phet = 7.4x10-7) and rs3135506 (phet = 4.3x10-4), one SNP in PLTP for HDL levels (rs7679; phet = 9.9x10-4), and one in HMGCR for LDL levels (rs12654264; phet = 3.1x10-5). We replicated heterogeneity by sex in five of seventeen loci previously reported by genome-wide studies (binomial p = 0.0009). We also present results for other racial/ethnic groups in the supplementary materials, to provide a resource for future meta-analyses.
We provide further evidence for sex-specific effects of SNPs in the APOA1/C3/A4/A5/BUD13 gene cluster, PLTP, and HMGCR on fasting triglyceride levels in European Americans from the PAGE study. Our findings emphasize the need for considering context-specific effects when interpreting genetic associations emerging from GWAS, and also highlight the difficulties in replicating interaction effects across studies and across racial/ethnic groups.
Lipids; Genetics; Cardiovascular disease; Heterogeneity; Sex-specific effect; Association study
Selenium is an essential trace element and circulating selenium concentrations have been associated with a wide range of diseases. Candidate gene studies suggest that circulating selenium concentrations may be impacted by genetic variation; however, no study has comprehensively investigated this hypothesis. Therefore, we conducted a two-stage genome-wide association study to identify genetic variants associated with serum selenium concentrations in 1203 European descents from two cohorts: the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening and the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). We tested association between 2,474,333 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and serum selenium concentrations using linear regression models. In the first stage (PLCO) 41 SNPs clustered in 15 regions had p < 1 × 10−5. None of these 41 SNPs reached the significant threshold (p = 0.05/15 regions = 0.003) in the second stage (WHI). Three SNPs had p < 0.05 in the second stage (rs1395479 and rs1506807 in 4q34.3/AGA-NEIL3; and rs891684 in 17q24.3/SLC39A11) and had p between 2.62 × 10−7 and 4.04 × 10−7 in the combined analysis (PLCO + WHI). Additional studies are needed to replicate these findings. Identification of genetic variation that impacts selenium concentrations may contribute to a better understanding of which genes regulate circulating selenium concentrations.
selenium; serum; selenoprotein; genome-wide association study; AGA; NEIL3; SLC39A11
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over a dozen loci associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. Here we examined potential effect-modification between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 10 of these loci and probable or established environmental risk factors for CRC in 7,016 CRC cases and 9,723 controls from nine cohort and case-control studies. We used meta-analysis of an efficient empirical-Bayes estimator to detect potential multiplicative interactions between each of the SNPs [rs16892766 at 8q23.3 (EIF3H/UTP23); rs6983267 at 8q24 (MYC); rs10795668 at 10p14 (FLJ3802842); rs3802842 at11q23 (LOC120376); rs4444235 at 14q22.2 (BMP4); rs4779584 at15q13 (GREM1); rs9929218 at16q22.1 (CDH1); rs4939827 at18q21 (SMAD7); rs10411210 at19q13.1 (RHPN2); and rs961253 at 20p12.3 (BMP2)] and select major CRC risk factors (sex, body mass index, height, smoking status, aspirin/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use, alcohol use, and dietary intake of calcium, folate, red meat, processed meat, vegetables, fruit, and fiber). The strongest statistical evidence for a gene-environment interaction across studies was for vegetable consumption and rs16892766, located on chromosome 8q23.3, near the EIF3H and UTP23 genes (nominal p-interaction =1.3×10–4; adjusted p-value 0.02). The magnitude of the main effect of the SNP increased with increasing levels of vegetable consumption. No other interactions were statistically significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. Overall, the association of most CRC susceptibility loci identified in initial GWAS appears to be invariant to the other risk factors considered; however, our results suggest potential modification of the rs16892766 effect by vegetable consumption.
Colorectal Cancer; Epidemiology; Gene-environment interactions; Genotype phenotype correlations; Polymorphisms in genes that modify dietary exposures
Tamoxifen has been shown to greatly reduce risk of recurrence and contralateral breast cancer (CBC). Still, second primary contralateral breast cancer is the most common malignancy to follow a first primary breast cancer. Genetic variants in CYP2D6 and other drug-metabolizing enzymes that alter the metabolism of tamoxifen may be associated with CBC risk in women who receive the drug. This is the first study to investigate the impact of this variation on risk of CBC in women who receive tamoxifen. From the population-based Women’s Environment Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology (WECARE) Study, we included 624 Caucasian women with CBC (cases) and 1,199 women with unilateral breast cancer (controls) with complete information on tumor characteristics and treatment. Conditional logistic regression was used to assess the risk of CBC associated with 112 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 8 genes involved in the metabolism of tamoxifen among tamoxifen users and non-users. After adjustment for multiple testing, no significant association was observed between any of the genotyped variants and CBC risk in either tamoxifen users or non-users. These results suggest that when using a tagSNP approach, common variants in selected genes involved in the metabolism of tamoxifen are not associated with risk of CBC among women treated with the drug.
Contralateral breast cancer; tamoxifen; single nucleotide polymorphisms
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified approximately three dozen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) consistently associated with prostate cancer (PCa) risk. Despite the reproducibility of these associations, the molecular mechanism for most of these SNPs has not been well elaborated as most lie within non-coding regions of the genome. Androgens play a key role in prostate carcinogenesis. Recently, using ChIP-on-chip technology, 22,447 androgen receptor (AR) binding sites have been mapped throughout the genome, greatly expanding the genomic regions potentially involved in androgen-mediated activity.
To test the hypothesis that sequence variants in AR binding sites are associated with PCa risk, we performed a systematic evaluation among two existing PCa GWAS cohorts; the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) study population. We demonstrate that regions containing AR binding sites are significantly enriched for PCa risk-associated SNPs, i.e. more than expected by chance alone. In addition, compared with the entire genome, these newly observed risk-associated SNPs in these regions are significantly more likely to overlap with established PCa risk-associated SNPs from previous GWAS. These results are consistent with our previous finding from a bioinformatics analysis that one-third of the 33 known PCa risk-associated SNPs discovered by GWAS are located in regions of the genome containing AR binding sites.
The results to date provide novel statistical evidence suggesting an androgen-mediated mechanism by which some PCa associated SNPs act to influence PCa risk. However, these results are hypothesis generating and ultimately warrant testing through in-depth molecular analyses.
AR; prostate cancer; GWAS; pathway association study
Methylation of the MLH1 gene promoter region is an underlying cause of colorectal cancer (CRC) with high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) diagnosed in persons without a germline mutation in a mismatch repair (MMR) gene (non-Lynch Syndrome CRC). It is unclear whether relatives of CRC cases with MLH1 methylation have an increased risk of colorectal or other cancers. In this retrospective cohort study, we assessed risk of CRC and other cancers for the first- and second-degree relatives of CRC cases with a methylated MLH1 gene, by comparing observed numbers of cases with those expected based on age- sex- and country-specific cancer incidences (standardized incidence ratios – SIRs). The cohort consisted of 3128 first- and second-degree relatives of the 233 MLH1-methylated CRC cases with no MMR or MUTYH gene mutations. The SIR for CRC was 1.60 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.22-2.16) for first-degree relatives (FDR) and 1.08 (0.74-1.60) for second-degree relatives (SDR). The SIR for gastric cancer was 2.58 (1.52-4.71) for FDR and 4.52 (2.23-10.61) for SDR and for ovarian cancer it was 2.16 (1.29-3.86) for FDR. The risk of liver cancer was also increased significantly in FDR but the estimate was based on only two cases. These data imply that relatives of CRC cases with MLH1 methylation may be at increased risk of CRC and stomach cancer and possibly ovarian and liver cancer, suggesting that there may be a heritable factor for CRC and other cancers associated with MLH1 methylation in non-Lynch Syndrome CRC’s.
Colorectal cancer; microsatellite instability; MLH1 methylation; family cancer; history; gastric cancer; liver cancer; ovarian cancer
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified a number of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. However, these susceptibility loci known today explain only a small fraction of the genetic risk. Gene-gene interaction (GxG) is considered to be one source of the missing heritability. To address this, we performed a genome-wide search for pair-wise GxG associated with CRC risk using 8,380 cases and 10,558 controls in the discovery phase and 2,527 cases and 2,658 controls in the replication phase. We developed a simple, but powerful method for testing interaction, which we term the Average Risk Due to Interaction (ARDI). With this method, we conducted a genome-wide search to identify SNPs showing evidence for GxG with previously identified CRC susceptibility loci from 14 independent regions. We also conducted a genome-wide search for GxG using the marginal association screening and examining interaction among SNPs that pass the screening threshold (p<10−4). For the known locus rs10795668 (10p14), we found an interacting SNP rs367615 (5q21) with replication p = 0.01 and combined p = 4.19×10−8. Among the top marginal SNPs after LD pruning (n = 163), we identified an interaction between rs1571218 (20p12.3) and rs10879357 (12q21.1) (nominal combined p = 2.51×10−6; Bonferroni adjusted p = 0.03). Our study represents the first comprehensive search for GxG in CRC, and our results may provide new insight into the genetic etiology of CRC.
Meta-analyses of European populations has successfully identified genetic variants in over 100 loci associated with lipid levels, but our knowledge in other ethnicities remains limited. To address this, we performed dense genotyping of ∼2,000 candidate genes in 7,657 African Americans, 1,315 Hispanics and 841 East Asians, using the IBC array, a custom ∼50,000 SNP genotyping array. Meta-analyses confirmed 16 lipid loci previously established in European populations at genome-wide significance level, and found multiple independent association signals within these lipid loci. Initial discovery and in silico follow-up in 7,000 additional African American samples, confirmed two novel loci: rs5030359 within ICAM1 is associated with total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (p = 8.8×10−7 and p = 1.5×10−6 respectively) and a nonsense mutation rs3211938 within CD36 is associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels (p = 13.5×10−12). The rs3211938-G allele, which is nearly absent in European and Asian populations, has been previously found to be associated with CD36 deficiency and shows a signature of selection in Africans and African Americans. Finally, we have evaluated the effect of SNPs established in European populations on lipid levels in multi-ethnic populations and show that most known lipid association signals span across ethnicities. However, differences between populations, especially differences in allele frequency, can be leveraged to identify novel signals, as shown by the discovery of ICAM1 and CD36 in the current report.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is the most important predictor of fracture risk. We performed the largest meta-analysis to date on lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD, including 17 genome-wide association studies and 32,961 individuals of European and East Asian ancestry. We tested the top-associated BMD markers for replication in 50,933 independent subjects and for risk of low-trauma fracture in 31,016 cases and 102,444 controls. We identified 56 loci (32 novel)associated with BMD atgenome-wide significant level (P<5×10−8). Several of these factors cluster within the RANK-RANKL-OPG, mesenchymal-stem-cell differentiation, endochondral ossification and the Wnt signalling pathways. However, we also discovered loci containing genes not known to play a role in bone biology. Fourteen BMD loci were also associated with fracture risk (P<5×10−4, Bonferroni corrected), of which six reached P<5×10−8 including: 18p11.21 (C18orf19), 7q21.3 (SLC25A13), 11q13.2 (LRP5), 4q22.1 (MEPE), 2p16.2 (SPTBN1) and 10q21.1 (DKK1). These findings shed light on the genetic architecture and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying BMD variation and fracture susceptibility.
Selenium may prevent colorectal cancer. However, several previous studies are small and few investigated the associations between selenium and colorectal cancer among women, whose selenium metabolism may differ from men.
This nested case-control study investigated whether serum selenium concentration and genetic variants in five selenoenzymes (glutathione peroxidase 1-4 and selenoprotein P) were associated with colorectal cancer risk in 804 colorectal cancer cases and 805 matched controls from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study. A meta-analysis was conducted to compare the WHI result with previous studies including 12 observational studies and two clinical trials on selenium.
Within the WHI, selenium concentrations were relatively high (mean = 135.6 μg/L) and were not associated with colorectal cancer risk (p for trend = 0.10); the adjusted odds ratio (OR) comparing the fifth with first quintile was 1.26 [95% confidence intervals (CI) = 0.91-1.73]. Moreover, genetic variants in selenoenzymes were not significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk. Consistent with the finding in WHI, our meta-analysis showed no association between selenium and colorectal tumor risk in women (OR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.79-1.18 comparing the highest quantile with the lowest); however, in men, there was a significant inverse association (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.57-0.82) (p = 0.01).
Consistent with previous studies, we observed no protective effect of selenium on colorectal cancer among women.
Our analyses suggest a population with relatively high selenium concentrations, especially women, would not benefit from increasing selenium intake.
The QT interval (QT) is heritable and its prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular tachyarrhythmias and sudden death. Most genetic studies of QT have examined European ancestral populations; however, the increased genetic diversity in African Americans provides opportunities to narrow association signals and identify population-specific variants. We therefore evaluated 6,670 SNPs spanning eleven previously identified QT loci in 8,644 African American participants from two Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) studies: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study and Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial. Of the fifteen known independent QT variants at the eleven previously identified loci, six were significantly associated with QT in African American populations (P≤1.20×10−4): ATP1B1, PLN1, KCNQ1, NDRG4, and two NOS1AP independent signals. We also identified three population-specific signals significantly associated with QT in African Americans (P≤1.37×10−5): one at NOS1AP and two at ATP1B1. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns in African Americans assisted in narrowing the region likely to contain the functional variants for several loci. For example, African American LD patterns showed that 0 SNPs were in LD with NOS1AP signal rs12143842, compared with European LD patterns that indicated 87 SNPs, which spanned 114.2 Kb, were in LD with rs12143842. Finally, bioinformatic-based characterization of the nine African American signals pointed to functional candidates located exclusively within non-coding regions, including predicted binding sites for transcription factors such as TBX5, which has been implicated in cardiac structure and conductance. In this detailed evaluation of QT loci, we identified several African Americans SNPs that better define the association with QT and successfully narrowed intervals surrounding established loci. These results demonstrate that the same loci influence variation in QT across multiple populations, that novel signals exist in African Americans, and that the SNPs identified as strong candidates for functional evaluation implicate gene regulatory dysfunction in QT prolongation.
The QT interval (QT) provides a measure of a ventricular action potential, and its prolongation is associated with sudden death and ventricular arrhythmias. Genome-wide association studies performed in European populations have identified common genetic variants that influence QT. However, it is unclear whether these variants are relevant in other populations, including African Americans. The increased genetic diversity in African Americans also provides opportunities to narrow association signals and identify candidates for functional evaluation. We therefore used data from 8,644 African Americans to further characterize previously identified QT loci. Of the fifteen known independent QT variants at the eleven previously identified QT loci, six were associated with QT in African Americans. We also identified three variants that were independent from previously reported signals and narrowed intervals flanking association signals using patterns of linkage disequilibrium. Finally, bioinformatic-based characterization pointed to candidates located outside protein coding regions. Our results underscore the utility of genetic studies in African ancestral populations to identify novel variants and narrow intervals surrounding established loci. These results suggest that known QT loci are important in African Americans and that further characterization of these loci in other populations may provide additional insights into the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying QT.
Invasive ovarian cancer is a significant cause of gynecologic cancer mortality.
We examined whether this mortality was associated with inherited variation in ~170 candidate genes/regions (993 SNPs) in a multi-stage analysis based initially on 312 Mayo Clinic cases (172 deaths). Additional analyses used The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA; 127 cases, 62 deaths). For the most compelling gene, we immunostained Mayo Clinic tissue micro-arrays (TMAs, 326 cases) and conducted consortium-based SNP replication analysis (2,560 cases, 1,046 deaths).
The strongest initial mortality association was in HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) at rs1800793 (HR 1.7, 95% CI 1.3–2.2, p=2.0×10−5) and with overall variation in HGF (gene-level test, p=3.7×10−4). Analysis of TCGA data revealed consistent associations (e.g., rs5745709 [r2=0.96 with rs1800793]: TCGA 2.4, 1.4–4.1, p=2.2×10−3; Mayo Clinic+TCGA 1.6, 1.3–1.9, p=7.0×10−5) and suggested genotype correlation with reduced HGF mRNA levels (p=0.01). In Mayo Clinic TMAs, protein levels of HGF, its receptor MET, and phospho-MET were not associated with genotype and did not serve as an intermediate phenotype; however, phospho-MET was associated with reduced mortality (p=0.01) likely due to higher expression in early-stage disease. In eight additional ovarian cancer case series, HGF rs5745709 was not associated with mortality (1.0, 0.9–1.1, p=0.87).
We conclude that although HGF signaling is critical to migration, invasion, and apoptosis, it is unlikely that genetic variation plays a major role in ovarian cancer mortality; any minor role is not related to genetically-determined expression.
Our study demonstrates the utility of multiple data types and multiple datasets in observational studies.
gynecologic neoplasms; angiogenesis; single nucleotide polymorphism
We have previously identified several colorectal cancer (CRC)-associated polymorphisms using genome-wide association (GWA) analysis. We sought to fine-map the location of the functional variants for three of these regions at 8q23.3 (EIF3H), 16q22.1 (CDH1/CDH3) and 19q13.11 (RHPN2). We genotyped two case–control sets at high density in the selected regions and used existing data from four other case–control sets, comprising a total of 9328 CRC cases and 10 480 controls. To improve marker density, we imputed genotypes from the 1000 Genomes Project and Hapmap3 data sets. All three regions contained smaller areas in which a cluster of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showed clearly stronger association signals than surrounding SNPs, allowing us to assign those areas as the most likely location of the disease-associated functional variant. Further fine-mapping within those areas was generally unhelpful in identifying the functional variation based on strengths of association. However, functional annotation suggested a relatively small number of functional SNPs, including some with potential regulatory function at 8q23.3 and 16q22.1 and a non-synonymous SNP in RPHN2. Interestingly, the expression quantitative trait locus browser showed a number of highly associated SNP alleles correlated with mRNA expression levels not of EIF3H and CDH1 or CDH3, but of UTP23 and ZFP90, respectively. In contrast, none of the top SNPs within these regions was associated with transcript levels at EIF3H, CDH1 or CDH3. Our post-GWA study highlights benefits of fine-mapping of common disease variants in combination with publicly available data sets. In addition, caution should be exercised when assigning functionality to candidate genes in regions discovered through GWA analysis.
The genetic determinants for aggressiveness of prostate cancer (PCa) are poorly understood. Copy-number variations (CNVs) are one of the major sources for genetic diversity and critically modulate cellular biology and human diseases. We hypothesized that CNVs may be associated with PCa aggressiveness. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a genome-wide common CNVs analysis in 448 aggressive and 500 nonaggressive PCa cases recruited from Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH1) using Affymetrix 6.0 arrays. Suggestive associations were further confirmed using single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that tagged the CNVs of interest in an additional 2895 aggressive and 3094 nonaggressive cases, including those from the remaining case subjects of the JHH study (JHH2), the NCI Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) Study, and the CAncer of the Prostate in Sweden (CAPS) Study. We found that CNP2454, a 32.3 kb deletion polymorphism at 20p13, was significantly associated with aggressiveness of PCa in JHH1 [odds ratio (OR) = 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01–1.68; P = 0.045]. The best-tagging SNP for CNP2454, rs2209313, was used to confirm this finding in both JHH1 (P = 0.045) and all confirmation study populations combined (P = 1.77 × 10−3). Pooled analysis using all 3353 aggressive and 3584 nonaggressive cases showed the T allele of rs2209313 was significantly associated with an increased risk of aggressive PCa (OR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.07–1.27; P = 2.75 × 10−4). Our results indicate that genetic variations at 20p13 may be responsible for the progression of PCa.
Clinical trials have suggested a protective effect of selenium supplementation on the risk of esophageal cancer, which may be mediated through the antioxidant activity of selenoenzymes. We investigated whether serum selenium concentrations, selenoenzyme activity, oxidative stress and genetic variation in selenoenzymes were associated with the risk of neoplastic progression to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) and two intermediate endpoints, aneuploidy and tetraploidy. In this prospective cohort study, during an average follow-up of 7.3 years, 47 EA cases, 41 aneuploidy cases and 51 tetraploidy cases accrued among 361 participants from the Seattle Barrett's Esophagus Research Study who were free of EA at the time of blood draw and had at least one follow-up visit. Development to EA was assessed histologically and aneuploidy and tetraploidy by DNA content flow cytometry. Serum selenium concentrations were measured using atomic absorption spectrometry, activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPX) 1 and GPX3 by substrate-specific coupled test procedures, selenoprotein P (SEPP1) concentrations and protein carbonyl content by ELISA method and malondialdehyde concentrations by HPLC. Genetic variants in GPX1-4 and SEPP1 were genotyped. Serum selenium was not associated with the risk of neoplastic progression to EA, aneuploidy or tetraploidy (P for trend = 0.25 to 0.85). SEPP1 concentrations were positively associated with the risk of EA [hazard ratio (HR) = 3.95, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.42–10.97 comparing the third tertile with the first] and with aneuploidy (HR = 6.53, 95% CI = 1.31–32.58), but not selenoenzyme activity or oxidative stress markers. No genetic variants, overall, were associated with the risk of neoplastic progression to EA (global p = 0.12–0.69). Our results do not support a protective effect of selenium on risk of neoplastic progression to EA. Our study is the first to report positive associations of plasma SEPP1 concentrations with the risk of EA and aneuploidy, which warrants further investigation.
C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation has been shown to be influenced by genetic variation in the CRP gene.
In this study, we test the hypothesis that genetic variation in CRP influences both the risk of developing colon and rectal cancer and survival. Two population-based studies of colon cancer (n=1574 cases, 1970 controls) and rectal (n=791 cases, 999 controls) were conducted. We evaluated four CRP tagSNPs: rs1205 (G>A, 3’ UTR); rs1417938 (T>A, intron); rs1800947 (G>C, L184L); and rs3093075 (C>A, 3’ flanking).
The CRP rs1205 AA genotype was associated with an increased risk of colon cancer (OR 1.3, 95%CI 1.1-1.7), whereas the rs3093075 A allele was associated with a reduced risk of rectal cancer (OR 0.7, 95%CI 0.5-0.9). The strongest association for the rs1205 polymorphism and colon cancer was observed among those with KRAS2 mutations (OR 1.5, 95%CI 1.1-2.0). The CRP rs1205 AA genotype also was associated with an increased risk of CIMP+ rectal tumors (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.3); conversely, the rs1417938 A allele was associated with a reduced risk of CIMP+ rectal tumors (OR 0.5, 95%CI 0.3-0.9). We observed interactions between CRP rs1800947 and BMI and family history of CRC in modifying risk of both colon and rectal cancer.
These data suggest that genetic variation in the CRP gene influences risk of both colon and rectal cancer development.
inflammation; colon cancer; rectal cancer; C-reactive protein; BMI; family history; survival; genetic variation; polymorphism; CRP; CIMP+; KRAS2
Rare deleterious mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are associated with an elevated risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Whether or not common variants in these genes are independently associated with risk of breast cancer remains unclear. In this study, we included 632 Caucasian women with asynchronous contralateral breast cancer (CBC, cases) and 1,221 women with unilateral breast cancer (controls) from the WECARE (Women’s Environment, Cancer And Radiation Epidemiology) Study. BRCA1 and BRCA2 deleterious mutation status was measured using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography followed by direct sequencing, yielding including 88 BRCA1 and 60 BRCA2 deleterious mutation carriers. We also genotyped samples on the Illumina Omni1-Quad platform. We assessed the association between CBC risk and common (minor allele frequency>0.05) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in BRCA1 (n SNPs=22) and BRCA2 (n SNPs=30) and haplotypes using conditional logistic regression accounting for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation status. We found no significant associations between any single-SNPs or haplotypes of BRCA1 or BRCA2 and risk of CBC among all women. When we stratified by BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carrier status, we found suggestive evidence that risk estimates for selected SNPs in BRCA1 (rs8176318, rs1060915 and rs16940) and BRCA2 (rs11571686, rs206115 and rs206117) may differ in non-carriers and carriers of deleterious mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. One common haplotype on BRCA1 was inversely significantly associated with risk only among non-BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers. The association between common variants in BRCA1 and BRCA2 and risk of CBC may differ depending on BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carrier status.
BRCA1; BRCA2; haplotype; polymorphism; breast cancer; contralateral
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is widely used for prostate cancer screening but its levels are influenced by many non cancer-related factors. The goal of the study is to estimate the effect of genetic variants on PSA levels.
We evaluated the association of SNPs that were reported to be associated with prostate cancer risk in recent genome-wide association studies with plasma PSA levels in a Swedish study population, including 1,722 control subjects without a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Of the 16 SNPs analyzed in control subjects, significant associations with PSA levels (P≤0.05) were found for six SNPs. These six SNPs had a cumulative effect on PSA levels; the mean PSA levels in men were almost twofold increased across increasing quintile of number of PSA associated alleles, P-trend=3.4×10−14. In this Swedish study population risk allele frequencies were similar among T1c case patients (cancer detected by elevated PSA levels alone) as compared to T2 and above prostate cancer case patients.
Results from this study may have two important clinical implications. The cumulative effect of six SNPs on PSA levels suggests genetic-specific PSA cutoff values may be used to improve the discriminatory performance of this test for prostate cancer; and the dual associations of these SNPs with PSA levels and prostate cancer risk raise a concern that some of reported prostate cancer risk-associated SNPs may be confounded by the prevalent use of PSA screening.
genetic; bias; KLK3
The Metabochip is a custom genotyping array designed for replication and fine mapping of metabolic, cardiovascular, and anthropometric trait loci and includes low frequency variation content identified from the 1000 Genomes Project. It has 196,725 SNPs concentrated in 257 genomic regions. We evaluated the Metabochip in 5,863 African Americans; 89% of all SNPs passed rigorous quality control with a call rate of 99.9%. Two examples illustrate the value of fine mapping with the Metabochip in African-ancestry populations. At CELSR2/PSRC1/SORT1, we found the strongest associated SNP for LDL-C to be rs12740374 (p = 3.5×10−11), a SNP indistinguishable from multiple SNPs in European ancestry samples due to high correlation. Its distinct signal supports functional studies elsewhere suggesting a causal role in LDL-C. At CETP we found rs17231520, with risk allele frequency 0.07 in African Americans, to be associated with HDL-C (p = 7.2×10−36). This variant is very rare in Europeans and not tagged in common GWAS arrays, but was identified as associated with HDL-C in African Americans in a single-gene study. Our results, one narrowing the risk interval and the other revealing an associated variant not found in Europeans, demonstrate the advantages of high-density genotyping of common and rare variation for fine mapping of trait loci in African American samples.