One challenge in prostate cancer (PCa) is distinguishing indolent from aggressive disease at diagnosis. DNA promoter hypermethylation is a frequent epigenetic event in PCa, but few studies of DNA methylation in relation to features of more aggressive tumors or PCa recurrence have been completed.
We used the Infinium® HumanMethylation450 BeadChip to assess DNA methylation in tumor tissue from 407 patients with clinically localized PCa who underwent radical prostatectomy. Recurrence status was determined by follow-up patient surveys, medical record review, and linkage with the SEER registry. The methylation status of 14 genes for which promoter hypermethylation was previously correlated with advanced disease or biochemical recurrence was evaluated. Average methylation level for promoter region CpGs in patients who recurred compared to those with no evidence of recurrence was analyzed. For two genes with differential methylation, time to recurrence was examined.
During an average follow-up of 11.7 years, 104 (26%) patients recurred. Significant promoter hypermethylation in at least 50% of CpG sites in two genes, ABHD9 and HOXD3, was found in tumors from patients who recurred compared to those without recurrence. Evidence was strongest for HOXD3 (lowest P = 9.46x10−6), with higher average methylation across promoter region CpGs associated with reduced recurrence-free survival (P = 2×10−4). DNA methylation profiles did not differ by recurrence status for the other genes.
These results validate the association between promoter hypermethylation of ADHB9 and HOXD3 and PCa recurrence.
Tumor DNA methylation profiling may help distinguish PCa patients at higher risk for disease recurrence.
DNA methylation; prostate cancer recurrence; hypermethylation; HOXD3
Height has an extremely polygenic pattern of inheritance. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed hundreds of common variants that are associated with human height at genome-wide levels of significance. However, only a small fraction of phenotypic variation can be explained by the aggregate of these common variants. In a large study of African-American men and women (n = 14,419), we genotyped and analyzed 966,578 autosomal SNPs across the entire genome using a linear mixed model variance components approach implemented in the program GCTA (Yang et al Nat Genet 2010), and estimated an additive heritability of 44.7% (se: 3.7%) for this phenotype in a sample of evidently unrelated individuals. While this estimated value is similar to that given by Yang et al in their analyses, we remain concerned about two related issues: (1) whether in the complete absence of hidden relatedness, variance components methods have adequate power to estimate heritability when a very large number of SNPs are used in the analysis; and (2) whether estimation of heritability may be biased, in real studies, by low levels of residual hidden relatedness. We addressed the first question in a semi-analytic fashion by directly simulating the distribution of the score statistic for a test of zero heritability with and without low levels of relatedness. The second question was addressed by a very careful comparison of the behavior of estimated heritability for both observed (self-reported) height and simulated phenotypes compared to imputation R2 as a function of the number of SNPs used in the analysis. These simulations help to address the important question about whether today's GWAS SNPs will remain useful for imputing causal variants that are discovered using very large sample sizes in future studies of height, or whether the causal variants themselves will need to be genotyped de novo in order to build a prediction model that ultimately captures a large fraction of the variability of height, and by implication other complex phenotypes. Our overall conclusions are that when study sizes are quite large (5,000 or so) the additive heritability estimate for height is not apparently biased upwards using the linear mixed model; however there is evidence in our simulation that a very large number of causal variants (many thousands) each with very small effect on phenotypic variance will need to be discovered to fill the gap between the heritability explained by known versus unknown causal variants. We conclude that today's GWAS data will remain useful in the future for causal variant prediction, but that finding the causal variants that need to be predicted may be extremely laborious.
Previous GWAS studies have reported significant associations between various common SNPs and prostate cancer risk using cases unselected for family history. How these variants influence risk in familial prostate cancer is not well studied. Here, we analyzed 25 previously reported SNPs across 14 loci from prior prostate cancer GWAS. The International Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics (ICPCG) previously validated some of these using a family-based association method (FBAT). However, this approach suffered reduced power due to the conditional statistics implemented in FBAT. Here, we use a case-control design with an empirical analysis strategy to analyze the ICPCG resource for association between these 25 SNPs and familial prostate cancer risk. Fourteen sites contributed 12,506 samples (9,560 prostate cancer cases, 3,368 with aggressive disease, and 2,946 controls from 2,283 pedigrees). We performed association analysis with Genie software which accounts for relationships. We analyzed all familial prostate cancer cases and the subset of aggressive cases. For the familial prostate cancer phenotype, 20 of the 25 SNPs were at least nominally associated with prostate cancer and 16 remained significant after multiple testing correction (p≤1E−3) occurring on chromosomal bands 6q25, 7p15, 8q24, 10q11, 11q13, 17q12, 17q24, and Xp11. For aggressive disease, 16 of the SNPs had at least nominal evidence and 8 were statistically significant including 2p15. The results indicate that the majority of common, low-risk alleles identified in GWAS studies for all prostate cancer also contribute risk for familial prostate cancer, and that some may be contribute risk to aggressive disease.
prostate cancer; pedigrees; familial disease; simulation; replication
Domestic dogs are unique from other animal models of cancer in that they generally experience spontaneous disease. In addition, most types of cancer observed in humans are found in dogs, suggesting that canines may be an informative system for the study of cancer genetics. Domestic dogs are divided into over 175 breeds, with members of each breed sharing significant phenotypes. The breed barrier enhances the utility of the model, especially for genetic studies where small numbers of genes are hypothesized to account for the breed cancer susceptibility. These facts, combined with recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies allows for an unrivaled ability to use pet dog populations to find often subtle mutations that promote cancer susceptibility and progression in dogs as a whole. The meticulous record keeping associated with dog breeding makes the model still more powerful, as it facilitates both association analysis and family-based linkage studies. Key to the success of these studies is their cooperative nature, with owners, scientists, veterinarians and breed clubs working together to avoid the cost and unpopularity of developing captive populations. In this article we explore these principals and advocate for colony-free, genetic studies that will enhance our ability to diagnose and treat cancer in dogs and humans alike.
canine cancer; chip-seq, dog colony; exome; histiocytic sarcoma; osteosarcoma; RNA-seq; squamous cell carcinoma of the digit; transitional cell carcinoma; tumor sequencing; whole genome
Rare, inherited mutations account for 5%–10% of all prostate cancer (PCa) cases. However, to date, few causative mutations have been identified.
To identify rare mutations for PCa, we performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) in multiple kindreds (n = 91) from 19 hereditary prostate cancer (HPC) families characterized by aggressive or early onset phenotypes. Candidate variants (n = 130) identified through family- and bioinformatics-based filtering of WES data were then genotyped in an independent set of 270 HPC families (n = 819 PCa cases; n = 496 unaffected relatives) for replication. Two variants with supportive evidence were subsequently genotyped in a population-based case-control study (n = 1,155 incident PCa cases; n = 1,060 age-matched controls) for further confirmation. All participants were men of European ancestry.
The strongest evidence was for two germline missense variants in the butyrophilin-like 2 (BTNL2) gene (rs41441651, p.Asp336Asn and rs28362675, p.Gly454Cys) that segregated with affection status in two of the WES families. In the independent set of 270 HPC families, 1.5% (rs41441651; P = 0.0032) and 1.2% (rs28362675; P = 0.0070) of affected men, but no unaffected men, carried a variant. Both variants were associated with elevated PCa risk in the population-based study (rs41441651: OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 1.27–5.87; P = 0.010; rs28362675: OR = 2.5; 95% CI, 1.16–5.46; P = 0.019).
Results indicate that rare BTNL2 variants play a role in susceptibility to both familial and sporadic prostate cancer.
Results implicate BTNL2 as a novel PCa susceptibility gene.
Prostate cancer (PC) is the most common noncutaneous cancer in men, and epidemiological studies suggest that about 40% of PC risk is heritable. Linkage analyses in hereditary PC families have identified multiple putative loci. However, until recently, identification of specific risk alleles has proven elusive. Cooney et al used linkage mapping and segregation analysis to identify a putative risk locus on chromosome 17q21-22. In search of causative variant(s) in genes from the candidate region, a novel, potentially deleterious G84E substitution in homeobox transcription factor gene HOXB13 was observed in multiple hereditary PC families. In follow-up testing, the G84E allele was enriched in cases, especially those with an early diagnosis or positive family history of disease. This finding was replicated by others, confirming HOXB13 as a PC risk gene. The HOXB13 protein plays diverse biological roles in embryonic development and terminally differentiated tissue. In tumor cell lines, HOXB13 participates in a number of biological functions, including coactivation and localization of the androgen receptor and FOXA1. However, no consensus role has emerged and many questions remain. All HOXB13 variants with a proposed role in PC risk are predicted to damage the protein and lie in domains that are highly conserved across species. The G84E variant has the strongest epidemiological support and lies in a highly conserved MEIS protein-binding domain, which binds cofactors required for activation. On the basis of epidemiological and biological data, the G84E variant likely modulates the interaction between the HOXB13 protein and the androgen receptor, as well as affecting FOXA1-mediated transcriptional programming. However, further studies of the mutated protein are required to clarify the mechanisms by which this translates into PC risk.
prostate cancer risk; HOXB13
Prostate cancer (PC) is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin malignancy in men in the Western world, yet few disease-associated mutations have been found. Recently, a low frequency recurring mutation in the HOXB13 gene was reported among both hereditary PC families and men from the general population.
MATERIALS and METHODS
We determined the distribution and frequency of the G84E HOXB13 variant in 1,310 incipient PC cases and 1,259 age-mated controls from a population-based, case control study of PC.
The G84E mutation was more frequent in cases than controls (1.3% versus 0.4%, respectively), and men with the HOXB13 G84E variant had a 3.3-fold higher relative risk of PC compared with noncarriers (95% CI, 1.21–8.96). There was a stronger association between the G84E variant and PC among men with no first-degree relative with PC (OR, 4.04; 95% CI, 1.12–14.51) compared to men with a family history of PC (OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 0.30–7.50; p=0.36 for interaction). We observed some evidence of higher risk estimates associated with the variant for men with higher versus lower Gleason score (OR, 4.13; 95% CI, 1.38–12.38 vs OR, 2.71; 95% CI, 0.88–8.30), and advanced versus local stage (OR, 4.47; 95% CI, 1.28–15.57 vs OR, 2.98; 95% CI, 1.04–8.49), however these differences were not statistically different.
These results confirm the association of a rare HOXB13 mutation with PC in the general population and suggest that this variant may be associated with features of more aggressive disease.
polymorphism; prostate neoplasm; genetic susceptibility
While several studies showed that selenium may prevent prostate cancer (PCa), few studies have evaluated variation in selenoenzyme genes in relation to PCa risk and survival.
We studied common variants in seven selenoenzymes genes in relation to risk of PCa and PCa-specific mortality (PCSM). In a population-based case-control study of men of European ancestry (1,309 cases, 1,266 controls), we evaluated 35 common, tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in GPX1 (n = 2), GPX2 (n = 4), GPX3 (n = 6), GPX4 (n = 6), SEP15 (n = 4), SEPP1 (n = 6), and TXNRD1 (n = 7) in relation to PCa risk, and among cases, associations between these variants and risk of PCSM. We used logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate the relative risk of PCa and PCSM, respectively.
Of the SNPs examined, only GPX1 rs3448 was associated with overall PCa risk with an odds ratio of 0.62 for TT versus CC (95% confidence interval, 0.44–0.88). SNPs in GPX2, GPX3, GPX4, SEP15, and SEPP1 had different risk estimates for PCa in subgroups based on stage and grade. We observed associations between SNPs in GPX4 and TXNRD1 and risk of PCSM. None of these associations, however, remained significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons.
We found evidence that genetic variation in a subset of selenoenzyme genes may alter risk of PCa and PCSM. These results need validation in additional subsets.
prostate cancer; risk; mortality; selenoenzyme genes; genetic variation
A meta and pooled analysis of published and unpublished case-control studies was peNorrformed to evaluate the association of CYP17 (rs743572) and CYP3A4 (rs2740574) polymorphisms and prostate cancer in men from the USA, Caribbean and Africa.
Eight publications (7 studies) and two unpublished studies for CYP17 included 1,580 subjects (559 cases and 1,021 controls) and eleven publications and three unpublished studies for CYP3A4 included 3,400 subjects (1,429 cases and 1,971 controls).
Overall, the CYP17 heterozygous and homozygous variants were not associated with prostate cancer, but they confer a 60% increased risk of prostate cancer in a sub-group analysis restricted to African-American men (T/C+C/C, OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.1–2.4). No associations were observed for CYP3A4, overall and in stratified analyses for African-Americans and Africans. The pooled analysis suggests that after adjusting for study, age, PSA and family history of prostate cancer, CYP17 was found to be associated with prostate cancer for men of African ancestry (Adjusted OR: 3.5, 95% CI: 1.2–10.0).
Our findings suggest that genetic factors involved in the androgen pathway play a role in prostate cancer risk among men of African ancestry.
Prostate cancer; Genetics; African ancestry
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.
To identify genetic changes underlying dog domestication and reconstruct their early evolutionary history, we generated high-quality genome sequences from three gray wolves, one from each of the three putative centers of dog domestication, two basal dog lineages (Basenji and Dingo) and a golden jackal as an outgroup. Analysis of these sequences supports a demographic model in which dogs and wolves diverged through a dynamic process involving population bottlenecks in both lineages and post-divergence gene flow. In dogs, the domestication bottleneck involved at least a 16-fold reduction in population size, a much more severe bottleneck than estimated previously. A sharp bottleneck in wolves occurred soon after their divergence from dogs, implying that the pool of diversity from which dogs arose was substantially larger than represented by modern wolf populations. We narrow the plausible range for the date of initial dog domestication to an interval spanning 11–16 thousand years ago, predating the rise of agriculture. In light of this finding, we expand upon previous work regarding the increase in copy number of the amylase gene (AMY2B) in dogs, which is believed to have aided digestion of starch in agricultural refuse. We find standing variation for amylase copy number variation in wolves and little or no copy number increase in the Dingo and Husky lineages. In conjunction with the estimated timing of dog origins, these results provide additional support to archaeological finds, suggesting the earliest dogs arose alongside hunter-gathers rather than agriculturists. Regarding the geographic origin of dogs, we find that, surprisingly, none of the extant wolf lineages from putative domestication centers is more closely related to dogs, and, instead, the sampled wolves form a sister monophyletic clade. This result, in combination with dog-wolf admixture during the process of domestication, suggests that a re-evaluation of past hypotheses regarding dog origins is necessary.
The process of dog domestication is still poorly understood, largely because no studies thus far have leveraged deeply sequenced whole genomes from wolves and dogs to simultaneously evaluate support for the proposed source regions: East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. To investigate dog origins, we sequence three wolf genomes from the putative centers of origin, two basal dog breeds (Basenji and Dingo), and a golden jackal as an outgroup. We find that none of the wolf lineages from the hypothesized domestication centers is supported as the source lineage for dogs, and that dogs and wolves diverged 11,000–16,000 years ago in a process involving extensive admixture and that was followed by a bottleneck in wolves. In addition, we investigate the amylase (AMY2B) gene family expansion in dogs, which has recently been suggested as being critical to domestication in response to increased dietary starch. We find standing variation in AMY2B copy number in wolves and show that some breeds, such as Dingo and Husky, lack the AMY2B expansion. This suggests that, at the beginning of the domestication process, dogs may have been characterized by a more carnivorous diet than their modern day counterparts, a diet held in common with early hunter-gatherers.
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.
Two genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified the β-microseminoprotein (MSMB) promoter SNP, rs10993994:C>T, as significantly associated with prostate cancer (PC) risk. Follow-up studies demonstrate that the variant allele directly affects expression of the MSMB encoded protein, PSP94, and also suggest that it affects mRNA expression levels of an adjacent gene, NCOA4, which is involved in androgen receptor transactivation. In a population-based study of 1,323 cases and 1,268 age-matched controls, we found the NCOA4 SNP, rs7350420:T>C, was associated with a 15% reduction in PC risk, but the association was not significant after adjustment for the rs10993994:C>T genotype. Tumor tissue microarrays of 519 radical prostatectomy patients were used to measure PSP94 and NCOA4 protein expression. Taken together, these data confirm that the rs10993994:C>T variant allele is associated with decreased PSP94 expression, and the association is stronger in tumor compared to normal prostate tissue. No association was observed between rs10993994:C>T and NCOA4 expression, and only moderate associations were seen between two NCOA4 SNPs, rs10761618:T>C and rs7085433:G>A, and NCOA4 protein expression. These data indicate that the increase in PC risk associated with rs10993994:C>T is likely mediated by the variant’s effect on PSP94 expression; however this effect does not extend to NCOA4 in the data presented here.
Prostate cancer; MSMB; PSP94; NCOA4; protein expression; genetic variants
Through mediation of estrogen receptors, estradiol has been shown to have both carcinogenic and anti-carcinogenic effects on the prostate. We performed a population-based case-control study to investigate variants in estrogen-related genes ESR1, ESR2, CYP19A1, CYP1A1, and CYP1B1 and the potential association with risk of prostate cancer.
Materials and Methods
We evaluated prostate cancer risk conferred by 73 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 1,304 incident prostate cancer cases and 1,266 age-matched controls. Analysis included stratification by clinical features and assessment of environmental modifiers.
There was evidence of altered risk of developing prostate cancer for variants in ESR1, CYP1A1, and CYP1B1, however, only CYP1B1 rs1056836 retained significance after adjustment for multiple comparisons. An association with risk for more aggressive prostate cancer was observed for variants in ESR1, ESR2, and CYP19A1, but none was significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons. There was no effect modification by obesity.
Germline genetic variation of these estrogen pathway genes may contribute to risk of prostate cancer. Additional studies to validate these results and examine the functional consequence of validated variants are warranted.
Estrogen Receptor; Cytochrome P450; Aromatase; Prostate Neoplasm; Polymorphism
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.
Amine catabolism by Monoamine Oxidase A (MAOA) contributes to oxidative stress, which plays a role in prostate cancer (PCa) development and progression. An upstream variable-number tandem repeat (uVNTR) in the MAOA promoter influences gene expression and activity, and may thereby affect PCa susceptibility.
Caucasian (n=2,572) men from two population-based case-control studies of PCa were genotyped for the MAOA-VNTR. Logistic regression was used to assess PCa risk in relation to genotype.
Common alleles of the MAOA-VNTR were not associated with the relative risk of PCa, nor did the relationship differ by clinical features of the disease. The rare 5-copy variant (frequency: 0.5% in cases; 1.8% in controls), however, was associated with a reduced PCa risk (odds ratio, OR=0.30, 95% CI 0.13–0.71).
A rare polymorphism of the MAOA promoter previously shown to confer low expression was associated with a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. This novel finding awaits confirmation in other study populations.
MAOA; polymorphism; prostate cancer
The worldwide dog population is fragmented into >350 domestic breeds. Breeds share a common ancestor, the gray wolf. The intense artificial selection imposed by humans to develop breeds with particular behaviors and phenotypic traits has occurred primarily in the last 200–300 years. As a result, the number of genes controlling the major differences in body size, leg length, head shape, etc. that define each dog is small, and genetically tractable. This is in comparison to many human complex traits where small amounts of variance are controlled by literally hundreds of genes. We have been interested in disentangling the genetic mechanisms controlling breed-defining morphological traits in the domestic dog. The structure of the dog population, comprised large numbers of pure breeding populations, makes this task surprisingly doable. In this review, we summarize recent work on the genetics of body size, leg length and skull shape, while setting the stage for tackling other traits. It is our expectation that these results will contribute to a better understanding of mammalian developmental processes overall.
Prostate cancer (PC) is the most frequently diagnosed solid tumor in U.S. men. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 40 risk-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including variants in androgen pathway genes (e.g., KLK3 and AR). Androgens are important in PC and genes involved in this pathway are therefore candidates for conferring susceptibility to PC.
In this hypothesis-testing study, we evaluated PC risk in association with SNPs in 22 candidate genes involved in androgen metabolism or interactions with the androgen receptor (AR). A total of 187 SNPs were genotyped in 1,458 cases and 1,351 age-matched controls from a population-based study. PC risk was estimated using adjusted unconditional logistic regression and multinomial regression models.
Single SNP analyses showed evidence (p<0.05) for associations with 14 SNPs in 9 genes: NKX3.1, HSD17B3, AKR1C3, SULT2A1, CYP17A1, KLK3, JAK2, NCOA4 and STAT3. The most significant result was observed for rs2253502 in HSD17B3 (odds ratio, OR=0.57, 95% CI: 0.39–0.84). In addition, five SNPs in four genes (CYP17A1, HSD17B4, NCOA4, and SULT2A1) were associated with more aggressive disease (p<0.01).
Our results replicate previously reported associations for SNPs in CYP17A1, HSD17B3, ARK1C3, NKX3.1, NCOA4 and KLK3. In addition, novel associations were observed for SNPs in JAK2, HSD17B4, and SULT2A1. These results will require replication in larger studies.
Androgen pathway; JAK2; HSD17B3; prostate cancer; polymorphisms; genetic susceptibility
Medicine is rapidly applying exome and genome sequencing to the diagnosis and management of human disease. Somatic mosaicism, however, is not readily detectable by these means, and yet it accounts for a significant portion of undiagnosed disease. We present a rapid and sensitive method, the Continuous Distribution Function as applied to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array data, to quantify somatic mosaicism throughout the genome. We also demonstrate application of the method to novel diseases and mechanisms.
The domestic dog is a robust model for studying the genetics of complex disease susceptibility. The strategies used to develop and propagate modern breeds have resulted in an elevated risk for specific diseases in particular breeds. One example is that of Standard Poodles (STPOs), who have increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma of the digit (SCCD), a locally aggressive cancer that causes lytic bone lesions, sometimes with multiple toe recurrence. However, only STPOs of dark coat color are at high risk; light colored STPOs are almost entirely unaffected, suggesting that interactions between multiple pathways are necessary for oncogenesis. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on STPOs, comparing 31 SCCD cases to 34 unrelated black STPO controls. The peak SNP on canine chromosome 15 was statistically significant at the genome-wide level (Praw = 1.60×10−7; Pgenome = 0.0066). Additional mapping resolved the region to the KIT Ligand (KITLG) locus. Comparison of STPO cases to other at-risk breeds narrowed the locus to a 144.9-Kb region. Haplotype mapping among 84 STPO cases identified a minimal region of 28.3 Kb. A copy number variant (CNV) containing predicted enhancer elements was found to be strongly associated with SCCD in STPOs (P = 1.72×10−8). Light colored STPOs carry the CNV risk alleles at the same frequency as black STPOs, but are not susceptible to SCCD. A GWAS comparing 24 black and 24 light colored STPOs highlighted only the MC1R locus as significantly different between the two datasets, suggesting that a compensatory mutation within the MC1R locus likely protects light colored STPOs from disease. Our findings highlight a role for KITLG in SCCD susceptibility, as well as demonstrate that interactions between the KITLG and MC1R loci are potentially required for SCCD oncogenesis. These findings highlight how studies of breed-limited diseases are useful for disentangling multigene disorders.
Domesticated dogs offer a unique mechanism for disentangling complex genetic traits, such as cancer. Over 300 breeds exist worldwide, each selected for particular morphologic and behavioral traits. Unfortunately the breeding programs used to generate such diversity are associated with breed-specific increase in disease. Squamous cell carcinoma of the digit (SCCD) is a locally aggressive cancer that causes lytic bone lesions and, occasionally, death. Among the breeds with the highest risk is the Standard Poodle (STPO), where the disease is found only in dark-coated dogs. We show that the KITLG locus is highly associated with SCCD and that a 5.7-Kb copy number variant is likely causative for the disease when in an expanded form. Interestingly, light-colored STPO carry the putative causal variant at the same frequency as black STPOs, but are protected from SCCD. We show this is likely due to a compensatory mutation in the well-known coat color locus, MC1R. This work demonstrates the utility of dog breeds for understanding the genetic causes of complex diseases of interest to both human and animal health.
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.
In spite of intensive efforts, understanding of the genetic aspects of familial prostate cancer remains largely incomplete. In a previous microsatellite-based linkage scan of 1233 prostate cancer (PC) families, we identified suggestive evidence for linkage (i.e. LOD≥1.86) at 5q12, 15q11, 17q21, 22q12, and two loci on 8p, with additional regions implicated in subsets of families defined by age at diagnosis, disease aggressiveness, or number of affected members.
In an attempt to replicate these findings and increase linkage resolution, we used the Illumina 6000 SNP linkage panel to perform a genome-wide linkage scan of an independent set of 762 multiplex PC families, collected by 11 ICPCG groups.
Of the regions identified previously, modest evidence of replication was observed only on the short arm of chromosome 8, where HLOD scores of 1.63 and 3.60 were observed in the complete set of families and families with young average age at diagnosis, respectively. The most significant linkage signals found in the complete set of families were observed across a broad, 37 cM interval on 4q13-25, with LOD scores ranging from 2.02 to 2.62, increasing to 4.50 in families with older average age at diagnosis. In families with multiple cases presenting with more aggressive disease, LOD scores over 3.0 were observed at 8q24 in the vicinity of previously identified common PC risk variants, as well as MYC, an important gene in PC biology.
These results will be useful in prioritizing future susceptibility gene discovery efforts in this common cancer.
Prostate cancer (CaP) is the leading cancer among men of African descent in the USA, Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The estimated number of CaP deaths in SSA during 2008 was more than five times that among African Americans and is expected to double in Africa by 2030. We summarize publicly available CaP data and collected data from the men of African descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate (MADCaP) Consortium and the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) to evaluate CaP incidence and mortality in men of African descent worldwide. CaP incidence and mortality are highest in men of African descent in the USA and the Caribbean. Tumor stage and grade were highest in SSA. We report a higher proportion of T1 stage prostate tumors in countries with greater percent gross domestic product spent on health care and physicians per 100,000 persons. We also observed that regions with a higher proportion of advanced tumors reported lower mortality rates. This finding suggests that CaP is underdiagnosed and/or underreported in SSA men. Nonetheless, CaP incidence and mortality represent a significant public health problem in men of African descent around the world.
Recent advances in canine genomics are changing the landscape of veterinary biology, and by default, veterinary medicine. No longer are clinicians locked into traditional methods of diagnoses and therapy. Rather major advances in canine genetics and genomics from the past five years are now changing the way the veterinarian of the 21st century practices medicine.
First, the availability of a dense genome map gives canine genetics a much needed foothold in comparative medicine, allowing advances made in human and mouse genetics to be applied to companion animals. Second, the recently released 7.5x whole genome sequence of the dog is facilitating the identification of hereditary disease genes. Finally, development of genetic tools for rapid screening of families and populations at risk for inherited disease means that the cost of identifying and testing for disease loci will significantly decrease in coming years.
Out of these advances will come major changes in companion animal diagnostics and therapy. Clinicians will be able to offer their clients genetic testing and counseling for a myriad of disorders. Such advances are certain to generate healthier and more long lived dogs, improving quality of life for owner and pet alike. The clinician of the 21st century, therefore, faces incredible opportunities as well as challenges in the management of genetic disease. In this review we summarize recent findings in canine genomics and discuss their application to the study of canine cardiac health.
inherited disease; genome; canine; cardiac; heart