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1.  Using Genetic Technologies To Reduce, Rather Than Widen, Health Disparities 
Health affairs (Project Hope)  2016;35(8):1367-1373.
Evidence shows that both biological and nonbiological factors contribute to health disparities. Genetics, in particular, plays a part in how common diseases manifest themselves. Today, unprecedented advances in genetically based diagnoses and treatments provide opportunities for personalized medicine. However, disadvantaged groups may lack access to these advances, and treatments based on research on non-Hispanic whites might not be generalizable to members of minority groups. Unless genetic technologies become universally accessible, existing disparities could be widened. Addressing this issue will require integrated strategies, including expanding genetic research, improving genetic literacy, and enhancing access to genetic technologies among minority populations in a way that avoids harms such as stigmatization.
PMCID: PMC5100696  PMID: 27503959
2.  Mutation spectrum and risk of colorectal cancer in African American families with Lynch Syndrome 
Gastroenterology  2015;149(6):1446-1453.
Background & Aims
African Americans (AAs) have the highest incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer (CRC) in the United States (US). Few data are available on genetic and non-genetic risk factors for CRC among AAs. Little is known about cancer risks and mutations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes in AAs with the most common inherited CRC syndrome, Lynch syndrome. We aimed to characterize phenotype, mutation spectrum, and risk of CRC in AAs with Lynch Syndrome.
We performed a retrospective study of AAs with mutations in MMR genes (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2) using databases from 13 US referral centers. We analyzed data on personal and family histories of cancer. Modified segregation analysis conditioned on ascertainment criteria was used to estimate age- and sex-specific CRC cumulative risk studying members of the mutation-carrying families.
We identified 51 AA families with deleterious mutations that disrupt function of the MMR gene product: 31 in MLH1 (61%), 11 in MSH2 (21%), 3 in MSH6 (6%), and 6 in PMS2 (12%); 8 mutations were detected in more than 1 individual and 11 have not been previously reported. In the 920 members of the 51 families with deleterious mutations, the cumulative risks of CRC at an age of 80 y were estimated to be 36.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.5%–83.9%) for men and 29.7% (95% CI, 8.31%–76.1%) for women. CRC risk was significantly higher among individuals with mutations in MLH1 or MSH2 (hazard ratio, 13.9; 95% CI, 3.44–56.5).
We estimate the cumulative risk for CRC in AAs with MMR gene mutations to be similar to that of individuals of European descent with Lynch syndrome. Two-thirds of mutations were found in MLH1—some were found in multiple individuals and some have not been previously reported. Differences in the mutation spectrum are likely to reflect the genetic diversity of this population.
PMCID: PMC4648287  PMID: 26248088
colon cancer; African descent; hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; DNA repair
3.  Frequent PIK3CA Mutations in Colorectal and Endometrial Cancer with Double Somatic Mismatch Repair Mutations 
Gastroenterology  2016;151(3):440-447.e1.
Background & Aims
Double somatic mutations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes have recently been described in colorectal and endometrial cancers with microsatellite instability (MSI) not attributable to MLH1 hypermethylation or germline mutation. We sought to define the molecular phenotype of this newly recognized tumor subtype.
From two prospective Lynch syndrome screening studies, we identified patients with colorectal and endometrial tumors harboring ≥2 somatic MMR mutations, but normal germline MMR testing (“double somatic”). We determined the frequencies of tumor PIK3CA, BRAF, KRAS, NRAS, and PTEN mutations by targeted next-generation sequencing and used logistic-regression models to compare them to: Lynch syndrome, MLH1 hypermethylated, and microsatellite stable (MSS) tumors. We validated our findings using independent datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).
Among colorectal cancer cases, we found that 14/21 (67%) of double somatic cases had PIK3CA mutations vs. 4/18 (22%) Lynch syndrome, 2/10 (20%) MLH1 hypermethylated, and 12/78 (15%) MSS tumors; p<0.0001. PIK3CA mutations were detected in 100% of 13 double somatic endometrial cancers (p=0.04). BRAF mutations were absent in double somatic and Lynch syndrome colorectal tumors. We found highly similar results in a validation cohort from TCGA (113 colorectal, 178 endometrial cancer), with 100% of double somatic cases harboring a PIK3CA mutation (p<0.0001).
PIK3CA mutations are present in double somatic mutated colorectal and endometrial cancers at substantially higher frequencies than other MSI subgroups. PIK3CA mutation status may better define an emerging molecular entity in colorectal and endometrial cancers, with the potential to inform screening and therapeutic decision making.
PMCID: PMC5016834  PMID: 27302833
MSI; MMR; Lynch-like syndrome; PI3K; PIK3CA
5.  PMS2 monoallelic mutation carriers: the known unknown 
Germline mutations in MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 have been shown to cause Lynch syndrome. The penetrance for cancer and tumor spectrum has been repeatedly studied and multiple professional societies have proposed clinical management guidelines for affected individuals. Several studies have demonstrated a reduced penetrance for monoallelic carriers of PMS2 mutations compared to the other mismatch repair (MMR) genes, but clinical management guidelines have largely proposed the same screening recommendations for all MMR gene carriers. The authors considered whether enough evidence existed to propose new screening guidelines specific to PMS2 mutation carriers with regard to age of onset and frequency of colonic screening. Published reports of PMS2 germline mutations were combined with unpublished cases from the authors’ research registries and clinical practices, and a discussion of potential modification of cancer screening guidelines was pursued. A total of 234 monoallelic PMS2 mutation carriers from 170 families were included. Approximately 8% of those with CRC were diagnosed under age 30 and each of these tumors presented on the left-side of the colon. As it is currently unknown what causes the early-onset of CRC in some families with monoallelic PMS2 germline mutations, the authors recommend against reducing cancer surveillance guidelines in families found having monoallelic PMS2 mutations in spite of the documented reduced penetrance.
PMCID: PMC4834863  PMID: 25856668
6.  ACG Clinical Guideline: Genetic Testing and Management of Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancer Syndromes 
This guideline presents recommendations for the management of patients with hereditary gastrointestinal cancer syndromes. The initial assessment is the collection of a family history of cancers and premalignant gastrointestinal conditions and should provide enough information to develop a preliminary determination of the risk of a familial predisposition to cancer. Age at diagnosis and lineage (maternal and/or paternal) should be documented for all diagnoses, especially in first- and second-degree relatives. When indicated, genetic testing for a germline mutation should be done on the most informative candidate(s) identified through the family history evaluation and/or tumor analysis to confirm a diagnosis and allow for predictive testing of at-risk relatives. Genetic testing should be conducted in the context of pre- and post-test genetic counseling to ensure the patient's informed decision making. Patients who meet clinical criteria for a syndrome as well as those with identified pathogenic germline mutations should receive appropriate surveillance measures in order to minimize their overall risk of developing syndrome-specific cancers. This guideline specifically discusses genetic testing and management of Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP), MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP), Peutz–Jeghers syndrome, juvenile polyposis syndrome, Cowden syndrome, serrated (hyperplastic) polyposis syndrome, hereditary pancreatic cancer, and hereditary gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC4695986  PMID: 25645574
8.  Colon and Endometrial Cancers with Mismatch Repair Deficiency can Arise from Somatic, Rather Than Germline, Mutations 
Gastroenterology  2014;147(6):1308-1316.e1.
Background & Aims
Patients with Lynch syndrome carry germline mutations in single alleles of genes encoding the MMR proteins MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2; when the second allele becomes mutated, cancer can develop. Increased screening for Lynch syndrome has identified patients with tumors that have deficiency in MMR, but no germline mutations in genes encoding MMR proteins. We investigated whether tumors with deficient MMR had acquired somatic mutations in patients without germline mutations in MMR genes using next-generation sequencing.
We analyzed blood and tumor samples from 32 patients with colorectal or endometrial cancer who participated in Lynch syndrome screening studies in Ohio and were found to have tumors with MMR deficiency (based on microsatellite instability and/or absence of MMR proteins in immunohistochemical analysis, without hypermethylation of MLH1), but no germline mutations in MMR genes. Tumor DNA was sequenced for MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, EPCAM, POLE and POLD1 with ColoSeq and mutation frequencies were established.
Twenty-two of 32 patients (69%) were found to have two somatic (tumor) mutations in MMR genes encoding proteins that were lost from tumor samples, based on immunohistochemistry. Of the 10 tumors without somatic mutations in MMR genes, 3 had somatic mutations with possible loss of heterozygosity that could lead to MMR deficiency, 6 were found to be false-positive results (19%), and 1 had no mutations known to be associated with MMR deficiency. All of the tumors found to have somatic MMR mutations were of the hypermutated phenotype (>12 mutations/Mb); 6 had mutation frequencies >200 per Mb, and 5 of these had somatic mutations in POLE, which encodes a DNA polymerase.
Some patients are found to have tumors with MMR deficiency during screening for Lynch syndrome, yet have no identifiable germline mutations in MMR genes. We found that almost 70% of these patients acquire somatic mutations in MMR genes, leading to a hypermutated phenotype of tumor cells. Patients with colon or endometrial cancers with MMR deficiency not explained by germline mutations might undergo analysis for tumor mutations in MMR genes, to guide future surveillance guidelines.
PMCID: PMC4294551  PMID: 25194673
colon cancer; MSI; genomic instability; dMMR
9.  Combined Microsatellite Instability, MLH1 Methylation Analysis, and Immunohistochemistry for Lynch Syndrome Screening in Endometrial Cancers From GOG210: An NRG Oncology and Gynecologic Oncology Group Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2015;33(36):4301-4308.
The best screening practice for Lynch syndrome (LS) in endometrial cancer (EC) remains unknown. We sought to determine whether tumor microsatellite instability (MSI) typing along with immunohistochemistry (IHC) and MLH1 methylation analysis can help identify women with LS.
Patients and Methods
ECs from GOG210 patients were assessed for MSI, MLH1 methylation, and mismatch repair (MMR) protein expression. Each tumor was classified as having normal MMR, defective MMR associated with MLH1 methylation, or probable MMR mutation (ie, defective MMR but no methylation). Cancer family history and demographic and clinical features were compared for the three groups. Lynch mutation testing was performed for a subset of women.
Analysis of 1,002 ECs suggested possible MMR mutation in 11.8% of tumors. The number of patients with a family history suggestive of LS was highest among women whose tumors were classified as probable MMR mutation (P = .001). Lynch mutations were identified in 41% of patient cases classified as probable mutation (21 of 51 tested). One of the MSH6 Lynch mutations was identified in a patient whose tumor had intact MSH6 expression. Age at diagnosis was younger for mutation carriers than noncarriers (54.3 v 62.3 years; P < .01), with five carriers diagnosed at age > 60 years.
Combined MSI, methylation, and IHC analysis may prove useful in Lynch screening in EC. Twenty-four percent of mutation carriers presented with ECs at age > 60 years, and one carrier had an MSI-positive tumor with no IHC defect. Restricting Lynch testing to women diagnosed at age < 60 years or to women with IHC defects could result in missing a substantial fraction of genetic disease.
PMCID: PMC4678181  PMID: 26552419
10.  Biallelic MUTYH mutations can mimic Lynch syndrome 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2014;22(11):1334-1337.
The hallmarks of Lynch syndrome (LS) include a positive family history of colorectal cancer (CRC), germline mutations in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes, tumours with high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) and loss of MMR protein expression. However, in ∼10–15% of clinically suspected LS cases, MMR mutation analyses cannot explain MSI-H and abnormal immunohistochemistry (IHC) results. The highly variable phenotype of MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) can overlap with the LS phenotype, but is inherited recessively. We analysed the MUTYH gene in 85 ‘unresolved' patients with tumours showing IHC MMR-deficiency without detectable germline mutation. Biallelic p.(Tyr179Cys) MUTYH germline mutations were found in one patient (frequency 1.18%) with CRC, urothelial carcinoma and a sebaceous gland carcinoma. LS was suspected due to a positive family history of CRC and because of MSI-H and MSH2–MSH6 deficiency on IHC in the sebaceous gland carcinoma. Sequencing of this tumour revealed two somatic MSH2 mutations, thus explaining MSI-H and IHC results, and mimicking LS-like histopathology. This is the first report of two somatic MSH2 mutations leading to an MSI-H tumour lacking MSH2–MSH6 protein expression in a patient with MAP. In addition to typical transversion mutations in KRAS and APC, MAP can also induce tumourigenesis via the MSI-pathway.
PMCID: PMC4200426  PMID: 24518836
MUTYH; base excision repair; somatic mutations; Lynch syndrome; immunohistochemistry; DNA mismatch repair
11.  Comparing Universal Lynch Syndrome Tumor Screening Programs to Evaluate Associations Between Implementation Strategies and Patient Follow-through 
Universal tumor screening (UTS) for all colorectal cancer (CRC) patients can improve the identification of Lynch syndrome, the most common cause of hereditary CRC. This multiple-case study explored how variability in UTS procedures influence patient follow-through (PF) with germline testing after a screen-positive result.
Data were obtained through web-based surveys and telephone interviews with institutional informants. Institutions were categorized as Low-PF (≤10% underwent germline testing), Medium-PF (11–40%), or High-PF (>40%). To identify implementation procedures (i.e., conditions) unique High-PF institutions, qualitative comparative analysis was performed.
Twenty-one informants from fifteen institutions completed surveys and/or interviews. Conditions present among all five High-PF institutions included: 1) disclosure of screen-positive results to patients by genetic counselors (GCs); and 2) GCs either facilitate physician referrals to genetics or eliminated the need for referrals. Although both of these High-PF conditions were present among two Medium-PF institutions, automatic reflex testing was lacking and difficulty contacting screen-positive patients was a barrier. The three remaining Medium-PF and five Low-PF institutions lacked High-PF conditions.
Methods for streamlining UTS procedures, incorporating a high level of involvement of GCs in results tracking and communication, and reducing barriers to patient contact are reviewed within a broader discussion on maximizing the effectiveness and public health impact of UTS.
PMCID: PMC4169758  PMID: 24651603
Qualitative comparative analysis; RE-AIM; hereditary colorectal cancer; effectiveness; Public Health Genomics; Lynch syndrome
12.  Use of Whole Genome Sequencing for Diagnosis and Discovery in the Cancer Genetics Clinic 
EBioMedicine  2015;2(1):74-81.
Despite the potential of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to improve patient diagnosis and care, the empirical value of WGS in the cancer genetics clinic is unknown. We performed WGS on members of two cohorts of cancer genetics patients: those with BRCA1/2 mutations (n = 176) and those without (n = 82). Initial analysis of potentially pathogenic variants (PPVs, defined as nonsynonymous variants with allele frequency < 1% in ESP6500) in 163 clinically-relevant genes suggested that WGS will provide useful clinical results. This is despite the fact that a majority of PPVs were novel missense variants likely to be classified as variants of unknown significance (VUS). Furthermore, previously reported pathogenic missense variants did not always associate with their predicted diseases in our patients. This suggests that the clinical use of WGS will require large-scale efforts to consolidate WGS and patient data to improve accuracy of interpretation of rare variants. While loss-of-function (LoF) variants represented only a small fraction of PPVs, WGS identified additional cancer risk LoF PPVs in patients with known BRCA1/2 mutations and led to cancer risk diagnoses in 21% of non-BRCA cancer genetics patients after expanding our analysis to 3209 ClinVar genes. These data illustrate how WGS can be used to improve our ability to discover patients’ cancer genetic risks.
PMCID: PMC4444225  PMID: 26023681
Cancer genetics; BRCA1/2; Whole-genome sequence; ClinVar; Pathogenic variants; Single nucleotide variant
13.  How do we approach the goal of identifying everybody with Lynch Syndrome? 
Familial cancer  2013;12(2):313-317.
PMCID: PMC4337020  PMID: 23568035
14.  Mismatch Repair Analysis of Inherited MSH2 and/or MSH6 Variation Pairs Found in Cancer Patients 
Human mutation  2012;33(8):1294-1301.
Mismatch repair (MMR) malfunction causes the accumulation of mismatches in the genome leading to genomic instability and cancer. The inactivation of an MMR gene (MSH2, MSH6, MLH1, or PMS2) with an inherited mutation causes Lynch syndrome (LS), a dominant susceptibility to cancer. MMR gene variants of uncertain significance (VUS) may be pathogenic mutations, which cause LS, may result in moderately increased cancer risks, or may be harmless polymorphisms. Our study suggests that an inherited MMR VUS individually assessed as proficient may, however, in a pair with another MMR VUS found in the same colorectal cancer (CRC) patient have a concomitant contribution to the MMR deficiency. Here, eight pairs of MMR gene variants found in cancer patients were functionally analyzed in an in vitro MMR assay. Although the other pairs do not suggest a compound deficiency, the MSH2 VUS pair c.380A>G/c.982G>C (p.Asn127Ser/p.Ala328Pro), which nearly halves the repair capability of the wild-type MSH2 protein, is presumed to increase the cancer risk considerably. Moreover, two MSH6 variants, c.1304T>C (p.Leu435Pro) and c.1754T>C (p.Leu585Pro), were shown to be MMR deficient. The role of one of the most frequently reported MMR gene VUS, MSH2 c.380A>G (p.Asn127Ser), is especially interesting because its concomitant defect with another variant could finally explain its recurrent occurrence in CRC patients.
PMCID: PMC4273566  PMID: 22581703
functional analysis; Lynch syndrome; mismatch repair; MSH2; MSH6; VUS
15.  Use of Whole Genome Sequencing for Diagnosis and Discovery in the Cancer Genetics Clinic 
EBioMedicine  2014;2(1):74-81.
Despite the potential of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to improve patient diagnosis and care, the empirical value of WGS in the cancer genetics clinic is unknown. We performed WGS on members of two cohorts of cancer genetics patients: those with BRCA1/2 mutations (n = 176) and those without (n = 82). Initial analysis of potentially pathogenic variants (PPVs, defined as nonsynonymous variants with allele frequency < 1% in ESP6500) in 163 clinically-relevant genes suggested that WGS will provide useful clinical results. This is despite the fact that a majority of PPVs were novel missense variants likely to be classified as variants of unknown significance (VUS). Furthermore, previously reported pathogenic missense variants did not always associate with their predicted diseases in our patients. This suggests that the clinical use of WGS will require large-scale efforts to consolidate WGS and patient data to improve accuracy of interpretation of rare variants. While loss-of-function (LoF) variants represented only a small fraction of PPVs, WGS identified additional cancer risk LoF PPVs in patients with known BRCA1/2 mutations and led to cancer risk diagnoses in 21% of non-BRCA cancer genetics patients after expanding our analysis to 3209 ClinVar genes. These data illustrate how WGS can be used to improve our ability to discover patients' cancer genetic risks.
•We used WGS to analyze the germline variations of 258 cancer genetics patients.•To interpret variants, BRCA mutation carrier genomes were used as controls for patients that did not have BRCA mutations.•The numbers of genetic diagnoses were increased when we expanded our focus to all genes annotated in the ClinVar database.•This study investigates the pitfalls and the potential for diagnosis and discovery using whole-genome germline sequencing.
PMCID: PMC4444225  PMID: 26023681
Cancer genetics; BRCA1/2; Whole-genome sequence; ClinVar; Pathogenic variants; Single nucleotide variant
16.  Immunodepletion Plasma Proteomics by TripleTOF 5600 and Orbitrap Elite/LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Q Exactive Mass Spectrometers 
Journal of proteome research  2013;12(10):10.1021/pr400307u.
Plasma proteomic experiments performed rapidly and economically using several of the latest high-resolution mass spectrometers were compared. Four quantitative hyperfractionated plasma proteomics experiments were analyzed in replicates by two AB SCIEX TripleTOF 5600 and three Thermo Scientific Orbitrap (Elite/LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Q Exactive) instruments. Each experiment compared two iTRAQ isobaric-labeled immunodepleted plasma proteomes, provided as 30 labeled peptide fractions. 480 LC-MS/MS runs delivered >250 GB of data in two months. Several analysis algorithms were compared. At 1 % false discovery rate, the relative comparative findings concluded that the Thermo Scientific Q Exactive Mass Spectrometer resulted in the highest number of identified proteins and unique sequences with iTRAQ quantitation. The confidence of iTRAQ fold-change for each protein is dependent on the overall ion statistics (Mascot Protein Score) attainable by each instrument. The benchmarking also suggested how to further improve the mass spectrometry parameters and HPLC conditions. Our findings highlight the special challenges presented by the low abundance peptide ions of iTRAQ plasma proteome because the dynamic range of plasma protein abundance is uniquely high compared with cell lysates, necessitating high instrument sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3817719  PMID: 24004147
immunodepletion; Seppro; IgY14; iTRAQ; EMMOL normalization; TripleTOF; Orbitrap; Q Exactive
17.  Identification of Lynch Syndrome Among Patients With Colorectal Cancer 
JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association  2012;308(15):10.1001/jama.2012.13088.
Lynch syndrome is the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC) and is caused by germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. Identification of gene carriers currently relies on germline analysis in patients with MMR-deficient tumors, but criteria to select individuals in whom tumor MMR testing should be performed are unclear.
To establish a highly sensitive and efficient strategy for the identification of MMR gene mutation carriers among CRC probands.
Design, Setting, and Patients
Pooled-data analysis of 4 large cohorts of newly diagnosed CRC probands recruited between 1994 and 2010 (n = 10 206) from the Colon Cancer Family Registry, the EPICOLON project, the Ohio State University, and the University of Helsinki examining personal, tumor-related, and family characteristics, as well as microsatellite instability, tumor MMR immunostaining, and germline MMR mutational status data.
Main Outcome Measures
Performance characteristics of selected strategies (Bethesda guidelines, Jerusalem recommendations, and those derived from a bivariate/multivariate analysis of variables associated with Lynch syndrome) were compared with tumor MMR testing of all CRC patients (universal screening).
Of 10 206 informative, unrelated CRC probands, 312 (3.1%) were MMR gene mutation carriers. In the population-based cohorts (n=3671 probands), the universal screening approach (sensitivity, 100%;95% CI, 99.3%–100%; specificity, 93.0%; 95% CI, 92.0%–93.7%; diagnostic yield, 2.2%; 95% CI, 1.7%–2.7%) was superior to the use of Bethesda guidelines (sensitivity, 87.8%; 95% CI, 78.9%–93.2%; specificity, 97.5%; 95% CI, 96.9%–98.0%; diagnostic yield, 2.0%; 95% CI, 1.5%–2.4%; P <.001), Jerusalem recommendations (sensitivity, 85.4%; 95% CI, 77.1%–93.6%; specificity, 96.7%; 95% CI, 96.0%–97.2%; diagnostic yield, 1.9%; 95% CI, 1.4%–2.3%; P < .001), and a selective strategy based on tumor MMR testing of cases with CRC diagnosed at age 70 years or younger and in older patients fulfilling the Bethesda guidelines (sensitivity, 95.1%; 95% CI, 89.8%–99.0%; specificity, 95.5%; 95% CI, 94.7%–96.1%; diagnostic yield, 2.1%; 95% CI, 1.6%–2.6%; P <.001). This selective strategy missed 4.9% of Lynch syndrome cases but resulted in 34.8% fewer cases requiring tumor MMR testing and 28.6% fewer cases undergoing germline mutational analysis than the universal approach.
Universal tumor MMR testing among CRC probands had a greater sensitivity for the identification of Lynch syndrome compared with multiple alternative strategies, although the increase in the diagnostic yield was modest.
PMCID: PMC3873721  PMID: 23073952
18.  Analysis of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from a BRCA1 Mutant Family 
Stem Cell Reports  2013;1(4):336-349.
Understanding BRCA1 mutant cancers is hampered by difficulties in obtaining primary cells from patients. We therefore generated and characterized 24 induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from fibroblasts of eight individuals from a BRCA1 5382insC mutant family. All BRCA1 5382insC heterozygous fibroblasts, iPSCs, and teratomas maintained equivalent expression of both wild-type and mutant BRCA1 transcripts. Although no difference in differentiation capacity was observed between BRCA1 wild-type and mutant iPSCs, there was elevated protein kinase C-theta (PKC-theta) in BRCA1 mutant iPSCs. Cancer cell lines with BRCA1 mutations and hormone-receptor-negative breast cancers also displayed elevated PKC-theta. Genome sequencing of the 24 iPSC lines showed a similar frequency of reprogramming-associated de novo mutations in BRCA1 mutant and wild-type iPSCs. These data indicate that iPSC lines can be derived from BRCA1 mutant fibroblasts to study the effects of the mutation on gene expression and genome stability.
•Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from a BRCA1 mutant family were made•BRCA1 was elevated in iPSC lines compared with progenitor fibroblast lines•Protein kinase C-theta was elevated in mutant iPSCs and ER-negative breast cancer•Increased de novo mutations were found in only one BRCA1 mutant iPSC line
Twenty-four induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines were generated from a BRCA1 mutant family. Protein kinase C-theta (PKC-theta) was elevated in BRCA1 mutant compared to wild-type iPSC lines. PKC-theta was also increased in ER-negative breast cancers. A bioinformatic filter using the genome sequence of lymphoblasts, fibroblasts, and iPSCs from each patient identified reprogramming-associated de novo mutations. Increased mutation numbers were found in one of the BRCA1 mutant iPSC lines and none of the wild-type iPSC lines.
PMCID: PMC3849250  PMID: 24319668
19.  Characterization of the colorectal cancer–associated enhancer MYC-335 at 8q24: the role of rs67491583 
Cancer genetics  2012;205(0):25-33.
Recent genome-wide association studies have identified multiple regions at 8q24 that confer susceptibility to many cancers. In our previous work, we showed that the colorectal cancer (CRC) risk variant rs6983267 at 8q24 resides within a TCF4 binding site at the MYC-335 enhancer, with the risk allele G having a stronger binding capacity and Wnt responsiveness. Here, we searched for other potential functional variants within MYC-335. Genetic variation within MYC-335 was determined in samples from individuals of European, African, and Asian descent, with emphasis on variants in putative transcription factor binding sites. A 2-bp GA deletion rs67491583 was found to affect a growth factor independent (GFI) binding site and was present only in individuals with African ancestry. Chromatin immunoprecipitation performed in heterozygous cells showed that the GA deletion had an ability to reduce binding of the transcriptional repressors GFI1 and GFI1b. Screening of 1,027 African American colorectal cancer cases and 1,773 healthy controls did not reveal evidence for association (odds ratio: 1.17, 95% confidence interval: 0.97–1.41, P = 0.095). In this study, rs67491583 was identified as another functional variant in the CRC-associated enhancer MYC-335, but further studies are needed to establish the role of rs67491583 in the colorectal cancer predisposition of African Americans.
PMCID: PMC3770308  PMID: 22429595
Enhancer; transcription factor; susceptibility variant; colorectal cancer; association
20.  Implementing screening for Lynch syndrome among patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer: summary of a public health/clinical collaborative meeting 
Lynch syndrome is the most common cause of inherited colorectal cancer, accounting for approximately 3% of all colorectal cancer cases in the United States. In 2009, an evidence-based review process conducted by the independent Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention Working Group resulted in a recommendation to offer genetic testing for Lynch syndrome to all individuals with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer, with the intent of reducing morbidity and mortality in family members. To explore issues surrounding implementation of this recommendation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a multidisciplinary working group meeting in September 2010. This article reviews background information regarding screening for Lynch syndrome and summarizes existing clinical paradigms, potential implementation strategies, and conclusions which emerged from the meeting. It was recognized that widespread implementation will present substantial challenges, and additional data from pilot studies will be needed. However, evidence of feasibility and population health benefits and the advantages of considering a public health approach were acknowledged. Lynch syndrome can potentially serve as a model to facilitate the development and implementation of population-level programs for evidence-based genomic medicine applications involving follow-up testing of at-risk relatives. Such endeavors will require multilevel and multidisciplinary approaches building on collaborative public health and clinical partnerships.
PMCID: PMC3762677  PMID: 22237445
colorectal cancer; genetic screening; genetic testing; HNPCC; Lynch syndrome
21.  An American Founder Mutation in MLH1 
Mutations in the mismatch repair genes cause Lynch syndrome (LS), conferring high risk of colorectal, endometrial and some other cancers. After the same splice site mutation in the MLH1 gene (c.589-2A>G) had been observed in 4 ostensibly unrelated American families with typical LS cancers, its occurrence in comprehensive series of LS cases (Mayo Clinic, Germany and Italy) was determined. It occurred in 10 out of 995 LS mutation carriers (1.0%) diagnosed in the Mayo Clinic diagnostic laboratory. It did not occur among 1803 cases tested for MLH1 mutations by the German HNPCC consortium, while it occurred in 3 probands and an additional 5 family members diagnosed in Italy. In the U.S., the splice site mutation occurs on a large (~4.8 Mb) shared haplotype that also harbors the variant c.2146G>A which predicts a missense change in codon 716 referred to here as V716M. In Italy, it occurs on a different, shorter shared haplotype (~2.2 Mb) that does not carry V716M. The V716M variant was found to be present by itself in the U.S., German and Italian populations with individuals sharing a common haplotype of 280 kb, allowing us to calculate that the variant arose around 5600 years ago (225 generations; 95% confidence interval 183–272). The splice site mutation in America arose or was introduced some 450 years ago (18 generations; 95% confidence interval 14–23); it accounts for 1.0% all LS in the Unites States and can be readily screened for.
PMCID: PMC3266960  PMID: 21671475
22.  Reflex Immunohistochemistry and Microsatellite Instability Testing of Colorectal Tumors for Lynch Syndrome Among US Cancer Programs and Follow-Up of Abnormal Results 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(10):1058-1063.
Immunohistochemistry (IHC) for MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 protein expression and microsatellite instability (MSI) are well-established tools to screen for Lynch syndrome (LS). Although many cancer centers have adopted these tools as reflex LS screening after a colorectal cancer diagnosis, the standard of care has not been established, and no formal studies have described this practice in the United States. The purpose of this study was to describe prevalent practices regarding IHC/MSI reflex testing for LS in the United States and the subsequent follow-up of abnormal results.
Materials and Methods
A 12-item survey was developed after interdisciplinary expert input. A letter of invitation, survey, and online-survey option were sent to a contact at each cancer program. A modified Dillman strategy was used to maximize the response rate. The sample included 39 National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers (NCI-CCCs), 50 randomly selected American College of Surgeons–accredited Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Programs (COMPs), and 50 Community Hospital Cancer Programs (CHCPs).
The overall response rate was 50%. Seventy-one percent of NCI-CCCs, 36% of COMPs, and 15% of CHCPs were conducting reflex IHC/MSI for LS; 48% of the programs used IHC, 14% of the programs used MSI, and 38% of the programs used both IHC and MSI. One program used a presurgical information packet, four programs offered an opt-out option, and none of the programs required written consent.
Although most NCI-CCCs use reflex IHC/MSI to screen for LS, this practice is not well-adopted by community hospitals. These findings may indicate an emerging standard of care and diffusion from NCI-CCC to community cancer programs. Our findings also described an important trend away from requiring written patient consent for screening.
PMCID: PMC3341150  PMID: 22355048
23.  Variants in the Netrin-1 Receptor UNC5C Prevent Apoptosis and Increase Risk for Familial Colorectal Cancer 
Gastroenterology  2011;141(6):2039-2046.
Background & Aims
Expression of the netrin-1 dependence receptor UNC5C is reduced in many colorectal tumors; mice with the UNC5C mutations have increased progression of intestinal tumors. We investigated whether specific variants in UNC5C increase risk for colorectal cancer (CRC).
We analyzed the sequence of UNC5C in blood samples from 1801 patients with CRC and 4152 controls from 3 cohorts (France, USA, and Finland). Almost all cases from France and the USA had familial CRC; of the Finnish cases, 92/984 were familial. We analyzed whether CRC segregates with the UNC5C variant A628K in 3 families with histories of CRC. We also performed haplotype analysis, to determine the origin of this variant.
Of 817 patients with familial CRC, 14 had 1 of 4 different, unreported missense variants in UNC5C. The variants p.Asp353Asn (encodes D353N), p.Arg603Cys (encodes R603C), and p.Gln630Glu (encodes Q630E) did not occur significantly more often in cases than controls. The variant p.Ala628Lys (A628K) was detected in 3 families in the French cohort (odds ratio [OR], 8.8; Wald’s 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47–52.93; P=.03) and in 2 families the US cohort (OR, 1.9; P=.6), but was not detected in the Finnish cohort; UNC5C A628K segregated with CRC in families. Three families with A628K had a 109 kb identical haplotype that spanned most of UNC5C, indicating recent origin of this variant in Caucasians (14 generations; 95% CI, 6–36 generations). Transfection of HEK293T cells with UNC5C-A628K significantly reduced apoptosis compared to wild-type UNC5C, measured in an assay of active caspase-3.
Inherited mutations in UNC5C prevent apoptosis and increase risk for CRC.
PMCID: PMC3221775  PMID: 21893118
Colon cancer; tumor suppression; tumorigenesis; neoplasm; UNC5H3
24.  Performance of PREMM1,2,6, MMRpredict, and MMRpro in detecting Lynch syndrome among endometrial cancer cases 
Genetics in Medicine  2012;14(7):670-680.
Lynch syndrome accounts for 2–5% of endometrial cancer cases. Lynch syndrome prediction models have not been evaluated among endometrial cancer cases.
Area under the receiver operating curve (AUC), sensitivity and specificity of PREMM1,2,6, MMRpredict, and MMRpro scores were assessed among 563 population-based and 129 clinic-based endometrial cancer cases.
A total of 14 (3%) population-based and 80 (62%) clinic-based subjects had pathogenic mutations. PREMM1,2,6, MMRpredict, and MMRpro were able to distinguish mutation carriers from noncarriers (AUC of 0.77, 0.76, and 0.77, respectively), among population-based cases. All three models had lower discrimination for the clinic-based cohort, with AUCs of 0.67, 0.64, and 0.54, respectively. Using a 5% cutoff, sensitivity and specificity were as follows: PREMM1,2,6, 93% and 5% among population-based cases and 99% and 2% among clinic-based cases; MMRpredict, 71% and 64% for the population-based cohort and 91% and 0% for the clinic-based cohort; and MMRpro, 57% and 85% among population-based cases and 95% and 10% among clinic-based cases.
Currently available prediction models have limited clinical utility in determining which patients with endometrial cancer should undergo genetic testing for Lynch syndrome. Immunohistochemical analysis and microsatellite instability testing may be the best currently available tools to screen for Lynch syndrome in endometrial cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3396560  PMID: 22402756
endometrial cancer; genetic screening; genetic testing; Lynch syndrome; prediction models
25.  Evaluation of Allele-Specific Somatic Changes of Genome-Wide Association Study Susceptibility Alleles in Human Colorectal Cancers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37672.
Tumors frequently exhibit loss of tumor suppressor genes or allelic gains of activated oncogenes. A significant proportion of cancer susceptibility loci in the mouse show somatic losses or gains consistent with the presence of a tumor susceptibility or resistance allele. Thus, allele-specific somatic gains or losses at loci may demarcate the presence of resistance or susceptibility alleles. The goal of this study was to determine if previously mapped susceptibility loci for colorectal cancer show evidence of allele-specific somatic events in colon tumors.
We performed quantitative genotyping of 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showing statistically significant association with colorectal cancer in published genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We genotyped 194 paired normal and colorectal tumor DNA samples and 296 paired validation samples to investigate these SNPs for allele-specific somatic gains and losses. We combined analysis of our data with published data for seven of these SNPs.
No statistically significant evidence for allele-specific somatic selection was observed for the tested polymorphisms in the discovery set. The rs6983267 variant, which has shown preferential loss of the non-risk T allele and relative gain of the risk G allele in previous studies, favored relative gain of the G allele in the combined discovery and validation samples (corrected p-value = 0.03). When we combined our data with published allele-specific imbalance data for this SNP, the G allele of rs6983267 showed statistically significant evidence of relative retention (p-value = 2.06×10−4).
Our results suggest that the majority of variants identified as colon cancer susceptibility alleles through GWAS do not exhibit somatic allele-specific imbalance in colon tumors. Our data confirm previously published results showing allele-specific imbalance for rs6983267. These results indicate that allele-specific imbalance of cancer susceptibility alleles may not be a common phenomenon in colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3357346  PMID: 22629442

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