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1.  A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism in Inflammatory Gene RNASEL Predicts Outcome After Radiation Therapy for Localized Prostate Cancer 
To study associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in RNASEL, a gene implicated in inflammation and prostate cancer risk, and outcomes following radiation therapy (RT).
Experimental Design
We followed participants in the prospective US Health Professionals Follow-Up Study treated with RT for early-stage prostate cancer. Three SNPs were genotyped based on previously determined functional and biological significance. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards models to assess per-allele associations with the primary outcome defined as time to a composite endpoint including development of lethal prostate cancer or biochemical recurrence.
We followed 434 patients treated with RT for a median of 9 years. On multivariate analysis, the rs12757998 variant allele was associated with significantly decreased risk of the composite endpoint (HR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.45–0.94; p = 0.02) driven by decreased biochemical recurrence (HR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.40 – 0.89; p = 0.01) and men treated with external beam (HR: 0.58; 95% CI: 0.36 – 0.93; p = 0.02). In contrast, in 516 men from the same cohort treated with radical prostatectomy, we found no significant impact of this variant on outcome. Furthermore, the rs12757998 variant allele significantly modified the association between androgen deprivation therapy and outcomes following RT (p-interaction = 0.02).
We demonstrate an association between RNASEL SNP rs12757998 and outcome after RT for prostate cancer. This SNP is associated with increased circulating C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, suggesting a potential role for inflammation in the response to radiation. If validated, genetic predictors of outcome may help inform prostate cancer management.
PMCID: PMC3602407  PMID: 23382116
prostate cancer; radiotherapy; inflammation; outcome; single nucleotide polymorphism
2.  Variations in Common Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness (cIMT) during the Cardiac Cycle: Implications for Cardiovascular Risk Assessment 
Common carotid artery (CCA) intima-media thickness (cIMT), a measure of atherosclerosis, varies between peak-systole (PS) and end-diastole (ED). This difference might affect cardiovascular risk assessment.
Materials and methods
IMT measurements of the right and left CCA were synchronized with an electrocardiogram: R-wave for ED and T-wave for PS. IMT was measured in 2930 members of the Framingham Offspring Study. Multivariable regression models were generated with ED-IMT, PS-IMT and change in IMT as dependent variables and Framingham risk factors as independent variables. ED-IMT estimates were compared to the upper quartile of IMT based on normative data obtained at PS.
The average age of our population was 57.9 years. Average difference in IMT during the cardiac cycle was 0.037 mm (95% CI: 0.035–0.038 mm). ED-IMT and PS-IMT had similar associations with Framingham risk factors (total R2= 0.292 versus 0.275) and were significantly associated with all risk factors. In a fully adjusted multivariable model, a thinner IMT at peak-systole was associated with pulse pressure (p < 0.0001), LDL-cholesterol (p = 0.0064), age (p = 0.046), and no other risk factors. Performing ED-IMT measurements while using upper quartile PS-IMT normative data lead to inappropriately increasing by 42.1% the number of individuals in the fourth IMT quartile (high cardiovascular risk category).
The difference in IMT between peak-systole and end-diastole is associated with pulse pressure, LDL-cholesterol, and age. In our study, mean IMT difference during the cardiac cycle lead to an overestimation by 42.1% of individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3544292  PMID: 22721828
Ultrasonics; Risk Factors; Carotid Arteries; Blood Pressure; systole; diastole
3.  Adjustment of the GRACE score by growth differentiation factor 15 enables a more accurate appreciation of risk in non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome 
European Heart Journal  2011;33(9):1095-1104.
The aim of the study was to evaluate whether knowledge of the circulating concentration of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) adds predictive information to the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE) score, a validated scoring system for risk assessment in non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS). We also evaluated whether GDF-15 adds predictive information to a model containing the GRACE score and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), a prognostic biomarker already in clinical use.
Methods and results
The GRACE score, GDF-15, and NT-proBNP levels were determined on admission in 1122 contemporary patients with NSTE-ACS. Six-month all-cause mortality or non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI) was the primary endpoint of the study. To obtain GDF-15- and NT-proBNP-adjusted 6-month estimated probabilities of death or non-fatal MI, statistical algorithms were developed in a derivation cohort (n = 754; n = 66 reached the primary endpoint) and applied to a validation cohort (n = 368; n = 33). Adjustment of the GRACE risk estimate by GDF-15 increased the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) from 0.79 to 0.85 (P < 0.001) in the validation cohort. Discrimination improvement was confirmed by an integrated discrimination improvement (IDI) of 0.055 (P = 0.005). A net 31% of the patients without events were reclassified into lower risk, and a net 27% of the patients with events were reclassified into higher risk, resulting in a total continuous net reclassification improvement [NRI(>0)] of 0.58 (P = 0.002). Addition of NT-proBNP to the GRACE score led to a similar improvement in discrimination and reclassification. Addition of GDF-15 to a model containing GRACE and NT-proBNP led to a further improvement in model performance [increase in AUC from 0.84 for GRACE plus NT-proBNP to 0.86 for GRACE plus NT-proBNP plus GDF-15, P = 0.010; IDI = 0.024, P = 0.063; NRI(>0) = 0.42, P = 0.022].
We show that a single measurement of GDF-15 on admission markedly enhances the predictive value of the GRACE score and provides moderate incremental information to a model including the GRACE score and NT-proBNP. Our study is the first to provide simple algorithms that can be used by the practicing clinician to more precisely estimate risk in individual patients based on the GRACE score and a single biomarker measurement on admission. The rigorous statistical approach taken in the present study may serve as a blueprint for future studies exploring the added value of biomarkers beyond clinical risk scores.
PMCID: PMC3888120  PMID: 22199121
GDF-15; NT-proBNP; GRACE score; Acute coronary syndrome; Risk stratification
4.  Associations of Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness (IMT) With Risk Factors and Prevalent Cardiovascular Disease 
The goal of this study was to compare internal carotid artery (ICA) intima-media thickness (IMT) with common carotid artery (CCA) IMT as global markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Cross-sectional measurements of the mean CCA IMT and maximum ICA IMT were made on ultrasound images acquired from the Framingham Offspring cohort (n = 3316; mean age, 58 years; 52.7% women). Linear regression models were used to study the associations of the Framingham risk factors with CCA and ICA IMT. Multivariate logistic regression models and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis were used to compare the associations of prevalent CVD with CCA and ICA IMT and determine sensitivity and specificity.
The association between age and the mean CCA IMT corresponded to an increase of 0.007 mm/y; the increase was 0.037 mm/y for the ICA IMT. Framingham risk factors accounted for 28.6% and 27.5% of the variability in the CCA and ICA IMT, respectively. Age and gender contributed 23.5% to the variability of the CCA IMT and 22.5% to that of the ICA IMT, with the next most important factor being systolic blood pressure (1.9%) for the CCA IMT and smoking (1.6%) for the ICA IMT. The CCA IMT and ICA IMT were statistically significant predictors of prevalent CVD, with the ICA IMT having a larger area under the ROC curve (0.756 versus 0.695).
Associations of risk factors with CCA and ICA IMT are slightly different, and both are independently associated with prevalent CVD. Their value for predicting incident cardiovascular events needs to be compared in outcome studies.
PMCID: PMC3186063  PMID: 21098848
atherosclerosis; carotid artery; disease prevalence; intima-media thickness; risk factors
5.  Apolipoprotein E/C1 Locus Variants Modify Renal Cell Carcinoma Risk 
Cancer research  2009;69(20):8001-8008.
Lipid peroxidation is considered a unifying mechanistic pathway through which known risk factors induce renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We hypothesized that genes selected apriori for their role in lipid peroxidation would modify cancer risk. We genotyped 635 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in thirty-eight candidate genes in 777 Caucasian RCC cases and 1035 controls enrolled in a large European case-control study. Top candidate SNPs were confirmed among 718 Caucasian cases and 615 controls in a second study in the United States. Two of the three SNPs (rs8106822 and rs405509) that replicated in the US study were within a regulatory region of the APOE promoter. The odds ratio (OR) for rs8106822 A>G variant was 1.22AG and 1.41GG (p-trend=0.01) in the European study, 1.05AG and 1.51GG (p-trend=0.03) in the US study, and 1.15AG and 1.44GG (p-trend=0.001) among 1485 cases and 1639 controls combined. The rs405509 G>T variant was associated with risk in the European (OR=0.87TG; OR=0.71TT; p-trend=0.02), the US (OR=0.68TG; OR=0.71TT; p-trend=0.02), and both studies combined (ORTG=0.79; ORTT= 0.71; p-trend=0.001), as was the G-G haplotype (r2=0.64; p=4.7 × 10-4). This association is biologically plausible as SNP rs405509 was shown to modify protein binding and transcriptional activity of the APOE gene in vitro and is in LD with key known variants defining the e2, e3, e4 alleles that modify risk of atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease risk, and progression to AIDS. In two large case-control studies, our findings further define a functional region of interest at the APOE locus that increases RCC susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC2793179  PMID: 19808960

Results 1-5 (5)