Recent genomic studies have identified risk SNPs in or near eight genes associated with testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT). Mouse models suggest a role for Dnd1 epigenetics in TGCT susceptibility, and we have recently reported that transgenerational inheritance of epigenetic events may be associated with familial TGCT risk. We now investigate whether aberrant promoter methylation of selected candidate genes is associated with familial TGCT risk. Pyrosequencing assays were designed to evaluate CpG methylation in the promoters of selected genes in peripheral blood DNA from 153 TGCT affecteds and 116 healthy male relatives from 101 multiple-case families. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests and logistic regression models were used to investigate associations between promoter methylation and TGCT. We also quantified gene product expression of these genes, using quantitative PCR. We observed increased PDE11A, SPRY4 and BAK1 promoter methylation, and decreased KITLG promoter methylation, in familial TGCT cases versus healthy male family controls. A significant upward risk trend was observed for PDE11A when comparing the middle and highest tertiles of methylation to the lowest [odds ratio (OR) =1.55, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.82-2.93, and 1.94, 95% CI 1.03-3.66], respectively; P
trend=0.042). A significant inverse association was observed for KITLG when comparing the middle and lowest tertiles to the highest (OR=2.15, 95% CI 1.12-4.11, and 2.15, 95% CI 1.12-4.14, respectively; P
trend=0.031). There was a weak inverse correlation between promoter methylation and KITLG expression. Our results suggest that familial TGCT susceptibility may be associated with promoter methylation of previously-identified TGCT risk-modifying genes. Larger studies are warranted.
Promoter methylation; testicular germ cell tumors; familial testicular cancer; epidemiology; candidate gene
In this issue of the journal, Cramer et al. (page XXX) and Zhu et al. (page XXX) report carefully designed phase-3 assessments of candidate ovarian cancer screening biomarkers. The main conclusion is that CA-125 remains the “best of a bad lot”; the new candidates have fallen short of expectations. We review factors impeding the development of an effective ovarian cancer screening strategy, highlight the requirements related to validating proposed screening biomarkers, and emphasize the risks from premature clinical applications of unvalidated tests, all underscoring the need for new research strategies.
BRCA1, a well-known tumor suppressor with multiple interacting partners, is predicted to have diverse biological functions. However, so far its only well-established role is in the repair of damaged DNA and cell cycle regulation. In this regard, the etiopathological study of low-penetrant variants of BRCA1 provides an opportunity to uncover its other physiologically important functions. Using this rationale, we studied the R1699Q variant of BRCA1, a potentially moderate-risk variant, and found that it does not impair DNA damage repair but abrogates the repression of microRNA-155 (miR-155), a bona fide oncomir. Mechanistically, we found that BRCA1 epigenetically represses miR-155 expression via its association with HDAC2, which deacetylates histones H2A and H3 on the miR-155 promoter. We show that overexpression of miR-155 accelerates whereas the knockdown of miR-155 attenuates the growth of tumor cell lines in vivo. Our findings demonstrate a new mode of tumor suppression by BRCA1 and suggest that miR-155 is a potential therapeutic target for BRCA1-deficient tumors.
Familial testicular germ cell tumours (TGCTs) and bilateral TGCTs comprise 1–2% and 5% of all TGCTs, respectively, but their genetic basis remains largely unknown.
To investigate the contribution of known testicular cancer risk variants in familial and bilateral TGCTs.
Methods and results
The study genotyped 106 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four regions (BAK1, DMRT1, KITLG, TERT-CLPTM1L) previously identified from genome-wide association studies of TGCT, including risk single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs210138 (BAK1), rs755383 (DMRT1), rs4635969 (TERT-CLPTM1L) in 97 cases with familial TGCT and 22 affected individuals with sporadic bilateral TGCT as well as 871 controls. Using a generalised estimating equations method that takes into account blood relationships among cases, the associations with familial and bilateral TGCT were analysed. Three previously identified risk SNPs were found to be associated with familial and bilateral TGCT (rs210138: OR 1.80, CI 1.35 to 2.41, p = 7.03×10−5; rs755383: OR 1.67, CI 1.23 to 2.22, p=6.70×10−4; rs4635969: OR 1.59, CI 1.16 to 2.19, p=4.07×10−3). Evidence for a second independent association was found for an SNP in TERT (rs4975605: OR 1.68, CI 1.23 to 2.29, p=1.24×10−3). Another association with an SNP was identified in KITLG (rs2046971: OR 2.33, p=1.28×10−3); this SNP is in high linkage disequilibrium (LD) with reported risk variant rs995030.
This study provides evidence for replication of recent genome-wide association studies results and shows that variants in or near BAK1, DMRT1, TERT-CLPTM1L, and KITLG predispose to familial and bilateral TGCT. These findings imply that familial TGCT and sporadic TGCT share a common genetic basis.
Knowledge of family cancer history is essential for estimating an individual’s cancer risk and making clinical recommendations regarding screening and referral to a specialty cancer genetics clinic. However, it is not clear if reported family cancer history is sufficiently accurate for this purpose.
In the population-based 2001 Connecticut Family Health Study, 1019 participants reported on 20 578 first-degree relatives (FDR) and second-degree relatives (SDR). Of those, 2605 relatives were sampled for confirmation of cancer reports on breast, colorectal, prostate, and lung cancer. Confirmation sources included state cancer registries, Medicare databases, the National Death Index, death certificates, and health-care facility records. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were calculated for reports on lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer and after stratification by sex, age, education, and degree of relatedness and used to estimate report accuracy. Pairwise t tests were used to evaluate differences between the two strata in each stratified analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Overall, sensitivity and positive predictive value were low to moderate and varied by cancer type: 60.2% and 40.0%, respectively, for lung cancer reports, 27.3% and 53.5% for colorectal cancer reports, 61.1% and 61.3% for breast cancer reports, and 32.0% and 53.4% for prostate cancer reports. Specificity and negative predictive value were more than 95% for all four cancer types. Cancer history reports on FDR were more accurate than reports on SDR, with reports on FDR having statistically significantly higher sensitivity for prostate cancer than reports on SDR (58.9% vs 21.5%, P = .002) and higher positive predictive value for lung (78.1% vs 31.7%, P < .001), colorectal (85.8% vs 43.5%, P = .004), and breast cancer (79.9% vs 53.6%, P = .02).
General population reports on family history for the four major adult cancers were not highly accurate. Efforts to improve accuracy are needed in primary care and other health-care settings in which family history is collected to ensure appropriate risk assessment and clinical care recommendations.
Environmental exposures, including tobacco smoke and occupational exposure to aromatic amines, have been implicated in bladder cancer etiology. However, the pathogenesis of urinary bladder transitional cell carcinoma remains incompletely defined. In epidemiologic studies, family history confers a two-fold increase in bladder cancer risk, but it is uncertain whether this represents evidence of a genetic and/or a shared environmental basis for familial aggregation. Polymorphisms in genes involved in the metabolism of environmental toxins (e.g., NAT2) clearly modify individual susceptibility to bladder cancer. A genetic predisposition has also been suggested by case reports describing multiple-case families, and the development of bladder cancer in association with several well-described Mendelian disorders (e.g., HNPCC, retinoblastoma). Here we update a previously-reported family, report a new multiple-case kindred, critically review previously-reported bladder cancer families and the epidemiologic literature related to family history of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary tract (TCCUT) as a risk factor, as well as provide a brief summary of genetic factors that have been implicated in TCCUT risk. We conclude that familial TCCUT is either very uncommon or significantly under-reported, perhaps on the assumption that this is an environmental rather than a genetic disorder. The interaction between multiple genetic and environmental factors has made it challenging to identify genetic components responsible for many common diseases; therefore, a proposed genome-wide association study (GWAS) for urinary bladder cancer may help to clarify the etiologic role of the candidate genetic pathways reviewed here, as well as characterize gene/environment interactions that contribute to TCCUT carcinogenesis.
Urinary bladder neoplasms; transitional cell carcinoma; hereditary neoplastic syndromes; genetic polymorphism
Testicular cancer, while rare compared with other adult solid tumors, is the most common cancer in young men in northern Europe and North America. Risk factors include white race, positive family history, contralateral testicular cancer, cryptorchidism, infertility and testicular microlithiasis. As the genetic causes of familial clusters (Familial Testicular Cancer or FTC) are being sought, it is also important to understand the psycho-social experiences of members of FTC families.
This is a cross-sectional examination via the Colored Eco-Genetic Relationship Map (CEGRM) of social connections reported by 49 men in FTC families participating in NCI research study 02-C-178.
The CEGRM was acceptable and feasible for use with men in FTC families, and valuable in understanding their social connections. These men have largely adjusted to the TC history in themselves and/or their relatives. They have considerable social and emotional support from family and friends, although there is wide variability in sources and types.
The CEGRM focuses on men's social connections and close emotional bonds in FTC families. This action-oriented process of placing colored symbols on significant relationships uncovered previously under-appreciated emotions accompanying men's social exchanges. Most men in FTC families succeed in re-establishing a sense of normalcy in their lives and social connections, in the aftermath of a testicular cancer diagnosis.
Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) is the most definitive surgical intervention for ovarian cancer risk reduction among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. For women who have completed child-bearing but who are not ready for RRSO, bilateral salpingectomy with ovarian retention (BSOR) might serve as a temporary measure while definitive risk-reducing surgery is being contemplated. Here we summarize recent insights into the pathogenesis of hereditary ovarian cancer which might provide a basis for considering the proposed BSOR management strategy and outline the evidence for and against this potential risk-reducing intervention. Based on the evidence presented, we suggest that there may be sufficient merit in this proposed intervention to consider evaluating it formally, perhaps through an intergroup-based clinical trial. In the meanwhile, we believe that BSOR should be considered an investigational risk management option of unproven clinical utility, particularly since delay in bilateral oophorectomy could theoretically reduce the protective effect against breast cancer that has been documented in women undergoing RRSO.
bilateral oophorectomy; bilateral salpingectomy; BRCA1/2 mutation carriers; ovarian cancer risk; risk-reducing surgery
Women who are genetically predisposed to ovarian cancer are at very high risk of developing this disease. Although risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) and various screening regimens are currently recommended to reduce ovarian cancer risk, the optimal management strategy has not been established nor have multiple additional issues been adequately addressed. We developed a collaboration among the Clinical Genetics Branch (National Cancer Institute’s Intramural Research Program), the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), and the Cancer Genetics Network to address these issues.
This is a prospective, international, two-cohort, nonrandomized study of women at genetic risk of ovarian cancer, who chose either to undergo RRSO or screening, at study enrollment. Primary study objectives include quantifying and comparing ovarian and breast cancer incidence in the two study groups, assessing feasibility and selected performance characteristics of a novel ovarian cancer screening strategy (the Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm), evaluating various aspects of quality of life and nononcologic morbidity related to various interventions in at-risk women, and creating a biospecimen repository for subsequent translational research.
Study accrual is complete as of November 2006; 2,605 participants enrolled: 1,030 (40%) into the surgical cohort and 1,575 (60%) into the screening cohort. Five years of prospective follow-up ends in November 2011. Verification of BRCA mutation carrier status is under way, either through patient-provided reports from clinical genetic testing done before enrollment or through research-based genetic testing being conducted as part of the protocol. Patient eligibility is currently under evaluation and baseline, surgical, pathology, and outcome data are still being collected. The study design and selected baseline characteristics of cohort members are summarized.
This National Cancer Institute intramural/extramural collaboration will provide invaluable prospectively collected observational data on women at high familial ovarian cancer risk, including substantial numbers of women carrying BRCA1/2 mutations. These data will aid in elucidating the effect of RRSO on breast/ovarian cancer risk and the effects of two management strategies, on quality of life and other issues that may influence patient care, as well as providing preliminary estimates of test specificity and positive predictive value of a novel ovarian cancer screening strategy.
We investigated the association between psychological distress and indices of social integration and communal coping among sisters from hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) families.
Sample and methods
Sixty-five sisters from 31 HBOC families completed the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 and the Colored Eco-Genetic Relationship Map, which identified members of participants’ social support networks. Hierarchical linear models were used for all analyses to account for the clustering of sisters within families.
Intra-family correlation coefficients suggested that sisters shared perceptions of breast cancer risk and worry, but not ovarian cancer risk and worry. Further, sisters demonstrated shared levels of anxiety and somatization, but not depressive symptoms. Communal coping indices quantifying shared support resources were negatively related to anxiety and somatization. The number of persons with whom cancer risk information was shared exhibited a positive trend with somatization. Social integration, as measured by the size of participants’ emotional support network, was negatively associated with anxiety. Lower depression scores were observed among participants with more persons playing multiple support roles and fewer persons providing tangible assistance.
Understanding how support relationships impact well-being among persons adjusting to HBOC risk, and the particular role of family in that process, will facilitate developing appropriate management approaches to help cancer-prone families adjust to their cancer risk. Published in 2008 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
social support; communal coping; hereditary breast and ovarian cancer; sisters; psychological distress
Fanconi anaemia (FA), dyskeratosis congenita (DC), Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA), and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) comprise major inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFS). Adverse events include severe bone marrow failure (BMF), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), and solid tumours (ST). The natural history of FA is well characterised; hazard rates in the other syndromes have not yet been quantified. An open cohort was established at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2002. Patients enrolled prior to December, 2007 were followed up to December, 2008. Diagnoses were confirmed with standard tests. Age-associated risks of adverse events were calculated. Most patients in each syndrome survived to young adulthood. Patients with FA had earlier onset of cancers, need for stem cell transplant, and death; followed by DC; DBA and SDS were mildest. While FA and DC patients had markedly increased risks of cancer, AML and MDS, there were no cases of leukaemia in DBA or SDS patients. The NCI cohort provides the first direct quantitative comparison of timing and magnitude of cancer risk in the IBMFS. The findings demonstrate that both FA and DC are major cancer susceptibility syndromes. The IBMFS, historically considered paediatric disorders, have important management implications for physicians treating adult patients.
bone marrow failure; Fanconi anaemia; dyskeratosis congenita; leukaemia; solid tumours
We develop methods for competing risks analysis when individual event times are correlated within clusters. Clustering arises naturally in clinical genetic studies and other settings. We develop a nonparametric estimator of cumulative incidence, and obtain robust pointwise standard errors that account for within-cluster correlation. We modify the two-sample Gray and Pepe–Mori tests for correlated competing risks data, and propose a simple two-sample test of the difference in cumulative incidence at a landmark time. In simulation studies, our estimators are asymptotically unbiased, and the modified test statistics control the type I error. The power of the respective two-sample tests is differentially sensitive to the degree of correlation; the optimal test depends on the alternative hypothesis of interest and the within-cluster correlation. For purposes of illustration, we apply our methods to a family-based prospective cohort study of hereditary breast/ovarian cancer families. For women with BRCA1 mutations, we estimate the cumulative incidence of breast cancer in the presence of competing mortality from ovarian cancer, accounting for significant within-family correlation.
BRCA1 gene; Breast neoplasm; Competing risks; Correlated survival data; Counting processes; Robust variance
In this review, we define familial testicular germ cell tumors (FTGCT) as testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) diagnosed in at least two blood relatives, a situation which occurs in 1-2% of all cases of TGCT. Brothers and fathers of TGCT patients have an 8-10 and 4-6 fold increased risk of TGCT, respectively, and an even higher elevated risk of TGCT in twin brothers of men with TGCT has been observed, suggesting that genetic elements play an important role in these tumors. Nevertheless, previous linkage studies with multiple FTGCT families did not uncover any high-penetrance genes and it has been concluded that the combined effects of multiple common alleles, each conferring modest risk, might underlie FTGCT. In agreement with this assumption, recent candidate gene association analyses have identified the chromosome Y gr/gr deletion and mutations in the PDE11A gene as genetic modifiers of FTGCT risk. Moreover, two genomewide association studies of predominantly sporadic but also familial cases of TGCT have identified three additional susceptibility loci, KITLG, SPRY4 and BAK1. Notably, all five loci are involved in the biology of primordial germ cells, representing the cell of origin of TGCT, suggesting that the tumors arise as a result of disturbed testicular development.
Familial testicular cancer germ cell tumors; genetic susceptibility; KITLG-KIT signaling
Although family history of cancer is widely ascertained in research and clinical care, little is known about assessment methods, accuracy, or other quality measures. Given its widespread use in cancer screening and surveillance, better information is needed regarding the clarity and accuracy of family history information reported in the general population.
This telephone survey in Connecticut examined coherence and completeness of reports from 1,019 respondents about 20,504 biological relatives.
Of 2,657 cancer reports, 97.7% were judged consistent with malignancy (vs. benign or indeterminate conditions); 79% were site-specific, 10.8% had unspecified cancer sites and 8.6% had “ill-defined” sites. Only 6.1% of relatives had unknown histories. Unknown histories and ambiguous sites were significantly higher for second-degree relatives. The adjusted percentage of first-degree relative reports with ambiguous sites increased with decreasing education and African-American race of survey respondents, and with deceased vital status of relatives. Ambiguous second-degree relative reports were also associated with deceased vital status, and with male gender of respondents.
These findings suggest that family history of cancer reports from the general population are generally complete and coherent.
Strategies are needed to improve site specificity and thus maximize the utility of such information in primary care settings.
family history of cancer; quality; methods; assessment; population-based; survey research
Familial aggregations of testicular germ cell tumor (FTGCT) have been well described, suggesting the existence of a hereditary TGCT subset. Approximately 1.4% of newly diagnosed TGCT patients report a positive family history of TGCT. Sons and siblings of TGCT patients have four- to sixfold and eight- to tenfold increases in TGCT risk respectively. Segregation analyses suggest an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Linkage analyses have identified several genomic regions of modest interest, although no high-penetrance cancer susceptibility gene has been mapped yet. These data suggest that the combined effects of multiple common alleles, each conferring modest risk, might underlie familial testicular cancer. Families display a mild phenotype: the most common number of affected families is 2. Age at diagnosis is 2–3 years younger for familial versus sporadic cases. The ratio of familial seminoma to nonseminoma is 1.0. FTGCT is more likely to be bilateral than sporadic TGCT. This syndrome is cancer site specific. Testicular microlithiasis is a newly recognized FTGCT component. Candidate gene-association studies have implicated the Y chromosome gr/gr deletion and PDE11A gene mutations as genetic modifiers of FTGCT risk. Two genomewide association studies of predominantly sporadic but also familial cases of TGCT have implicated the KIT-ligand, SPRY4, and BAK1 genes as TGCT risk modifiers. All five loci are involved in normal testicular development and/or male infertility. These genetic data provide a novel insight into the genetic basis of FTGCT, and an invaluable guide to future TGCT research.
Tamoxifen was approved for breast cancer risk reduction in high-risk women based on the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project's Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (P-1:BCPT), which showed 50% fewer breast cancers with tamoxifen versus placebo, supporting tamoxifen's efficacy in preventing breast cancer. Poor metabolizing CYP2D6 variants are currently the subject of intensive scrutiny regarding their impact on clinical outcomes in the adjuvant setting. Our study extends to variants in a wider spectrum of tamoxifen-metabolizing genes and applies to the prevention setting.
Our case-only study, nested within P-1:BCPT, explored associations of polymorphisms in estrogen/tamoxifen-metabolizing genes with responsiveness to preventive tamoxifen. Thirty-nine candidate polymorphisms in 17 candidate genes were genotyped in 249 P-1:BCPT cases.
CYP2D6_C1111T, individually and within a CYP2D6 haplotype, showed borderline significant association with treatment arm. Path analysis of the entire tamoxifen pathway gene network showed that the tamoxifen pathway model was consistent with the pattern of observed genotype variability within the placebo-arm dataset. However, correlation of variations in genes in the tamoxifen arm differed significantly from the predictions of the tamoxifen pathway model. Strong correlations between allelic variation in the tamoxifen pathway at CYP1A1-CYP3A4, CYP3A4-CYP2C9, and CYP2C9-SULT1A2, in addition to CYP2D6 and its adjacent genes, were seen in the placebo-arm but not the tamoxifen-arm. In conclusion, beyond reinforcing a role for CYP2D6 in tamoxifen response, our pathway analysis strongly suggests that specific combinations of allelic variants in other genes make major contributions to the tamoxifen-resistance phenotype.
Breast cancer; tamoxifen resistance; chemoprevention; pathway analysis; breast cancer risk; genomic polymorphisms
Purpose: Tamoxifen was approved for breast cancer risk reduction in high-risk women based on the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project's Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (P-1:BCPT), which showed 50% fewer breast cancers with tamoxifen versus placebo, supporting tamoxifen's efficacy in preventing breast cancer. Poor metabolizing CYP2D6 variants are currently the subject of intensive scrutiny regarding their impact on clinical outcomes in the adjuvant setting. Our study extends to variants in a wider spectrum of tamoxifen-metabolizing genes and applies to the prevention setting. Methods: Our case-only study, nested within P-1:BCPT, explored associations of polymorphisms in estrogen/tamoxifen-metabolizing genes with responsiveness to preventive tamoxifen. Thirty-nine candidate polymorphisms in 17 candidate genes were genotyped in 249 P-1:BCPT cases. Results: CVP2D6_C1111T, individually and within a CYP2D6 haplotype, showed borderline significant association with treatment arm. Path analysis of the entire tamoxifen pathway gene network showed that the tamoxifen pathway model was consistent with the pattern of observed genotype variability within the placebo-arm dataset. However, correlation of variations in genes in the tamoxifen arm differed significantly from the predictions of the tamoxifen pathway model. Strong correlations between allelic variation in the tamoxifen pathway at CYP1A1-CYP3A4, CYP3A4-CYP2C9, and CYP2C9-SULT1A2, in addition to CYP2D6 and its adjacent genes, were seen in the placebo-arm but not the tamoxifen-arm. In conclusion, beyond reinforcing a role for CYP2D6 in tamoxifen response, our pathway analysis strongly suggests that specific combinations of allelic variants in other genes make major contributions to the tamoxifen-resistance phenotype.
Breast cancer; tamoxifen resistance; chemoprevention; pathway analysis; breast cancer risk; genomic
Dyskeratosis congenita (DC) is a heterogeneous inherited bone marrow failure syndrome, characterized by abnormally short telomeres and mutations in telomere biology genes. The spectrum of telomere biology disorders is growing and the clinical management of these patients is complex. A DC-specific workshop was held at the NIH on September 19, 2008; participants included physicians, patients with DC, their family members, and representatives from other support groups. Data from the UK’s DC Registry and the NCI’s DC cohort were described. Updates on the function of the known DC genes were presented. Clinical aspects discussed included androgen therapy, stem cell transplant, cancer risk, and cancer screening. Families with DC met for the first time and formed a family support group (http://www.dcoutreach.com/). Ongoing, open collaboration between the clinical, scientific, and family communities is required for continued improvement in our understanding of DC and the clinical consequences of telomeric defects.
dyskeratosis congenita; bone marrow failure; telomere
Inactivating germline mutations in phosphodiesterase 11A (PDE11A) have been implicated in adrenal tumor susceptibility. PDE11A is highly-expressed in endocrine steroidogenic tissues, especially the testis, and mice with inactivated Pde11a exhibit male infertility, a known testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) risk factor. We sequenced the PDE11A gene-coding region in 95 patients with TGCT from 64 unrelated kindreds. We identified 8 non-synonymous substitutions in 20 patients from 15 families: four (R52T; F258Y; G291R; V820M) were newly-recognized, three (R804H; R867G; M878V) were functional variants previously implicated in adrenal tumor predisposition, and one (Y727C) was a known polymorphism. We compared the frequency of these variants in our patients to unrelated controls that had been screened and found negative for any endocrine diseases: only the two previously-reported variants, R804H and R867G, known to be frequent in general population, were detected in these controls. The frequency of all PDE11A-gene variants (combined) was significantly higher among patients with TGCT (P=0.0002), present in 19% of the families of our cohort. Most variants were detected in the general population, but functional studies showed that all these mutations reduced PDE activity, and that PDE11A protein expression was decreased (or absent) in TGCT samples from carriers. This is the first demonstration of a PDE gene’s involvement in TGCT, although the cAMP signaling pathway has been investigated extensively in other reproductive organs and their diseases. In conclusion, we report that PDE11A-inactivating sequence variants may modify the risk of familial and bilateral TGCT.
Phosphodiesterase (PDE); testicular cancer; TGCT; mutations; cAMP
While testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) are the most common malignancy in young men, germ cell tumors in women are uncommon. Familial clustering, epidemiologic evidence of increased risk with family or personal history of TGCT, and associations with genitourinary tract anomalies suggest an underlying genetic predisposition to TGCT, but traditional linkage studies have yet to identify a highlypenetrant TGCT cancer susceptibility gene. In this paper, we investigate the familial occurrence of testicular and ovarian germ cell tumors.
We report a family in which a TGCT and an ovarian germ cell tumor (OGCT) occurred in two siblings, summarize the existing literature on familial occurrences of OGCT, either alone or in combination with extragonadal or TGCTs, and compare the incidence of familial and sporadic testicular and ovarian GCTs. Sporadic GCT data were obtained from the US Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry.
We identified 16 reports of OGCT occurring in conjunction with either ovarian, testicular or extragonadal GCT. In these familial cases, the mean age at onset of female dysgerminoma was younger than that noted in the general population (age 17 vs age 24, p=0.01). In SEER, the incidence of TGCT was 15 times higher than that of OGCT. Histologic distributions in males and females showed distinctly different patterns.
Although the incidence of OGCTs in the general population is quite low, its occurrence in multiple members of the same family and in families with TGCT suggests that a gene conferring susceptibility to GCTs may exist in some families.
ovarian germ cell tumor; familial; epidemiology; testicular germ cell tumor; genetic predisposition; SEER
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are comprised of two histologic groups, seminomas and nonseminomas. We postulated that the possible divergent pathogeneses of these histologies may be partially explained by variable levels of net endogenous DNA damage. To test our hypothesis, we conducted a case-case analysis of 51 seminoma and 61 nonseminoma patients using data and specimens from the Familial Testicular Cancer study and the U.S. Radiologic Technologists cohort. A lymphoblastoid cell line was cultured for each patient and the alkaline comet assay was used to determine four parameters: tail DNA, tail length, comet distributed moment (CDM) and Olive tail moment (OTM). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated using logistic regression. Values for tail length, tail DNA, CDM and OTM were modeled as categorical variables using the 50th and 75th percentiles of the seminoma group. Tail DNA was significantly associated with nonseminoma compared to seminoma (OR50th percentile=3.31, 95%CI: 1.00, 10.98; OR75th percentile=3.71, 95%CI: 1.04, 13.20; p for trend=0.039). OTM exhibited similar, albeit statistically non-significant, risk estimates (OR50th percentile=2.27, 95%CI: 0.75, 6.87; OR75th percentile=2.40, 95%CI: 0.75, 7.71; p for trend=0.12) whereas tail length and CDM showed no association. In conclusion, the results for tail DNA and OTM indicate that net endogenous levels are higher in patients who develop nonseminoma compared with seminoma. This may partly explain the more aggressive biology and younger age-of-onset of this histologic subgroup compared with the relatively less aggressive, later-onset seminoma.
comet assay; nonseminoma; DNA damage; seminoma; testicular neoplasms
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are the most frequent cancers among young men. There is a clear familial component to TGCT etiology, but no high-penetrance susceptibility gene has been identified. Epigenetic aberrations of the genome represent an alternative mechanism for cancer susceptibility; and, studies suggest that epigenetic changes that influence cancer risk can be inherited through the germline. Global DNA hypomethylation has been associated with the risk of cancers of the bladder and head/neck.
We performed a pilot study of global methylation at long interspersed nuclear elements-1 (LINE-1) in peripheral blood DNA isolated from 466 family members of 101 multiple-case testicular cancer families.
Investigating the correlation of LINE-1 methylation levels among parent-child pairs independent of affection status (n = 355) revealed a strong positive association only between mother-daughter (r = 0.48, P = <0.001) and father-daughter pairs (r = 0.31, P = 0.02), suggesting gender-specific inheritance of methylation. Incorporating cancer status, we observed a strong correlation in LINE-1 methylation levels only among affected father-affected son pairs (r = 0.49, P = 0.03). There was a marginally significant inverse association between lower LINE-1 methylation levels and increased TGCT risk, compared with healthy male relatives (P = 0.049).
Our data suggest that heritability of LINE-1 methylation may be gender-specific. Further, the strong correlation between LINE-1 methylation levels among affected father-affected son pairs suggests that transgenerational inheritance of an epigenetic event may be associated with disease risk. Larger studies are needed to clarify these preliminary observations.
Ductal lavage has been used for risk stratification and biomarker development and to identify intermediate endpoints for risk-reducing intervention trials. Little is known about patient characteristics associated with obtaining nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) and adequate cell counts (≥10 cells) in ductal lavage specimens from BRCA mutation carriers.
We evaluated patient characteristics associated with obtaining NAF and adequate cell counts in ductal lavage specimens from the largest cohort of women from BRCA families yet studied (BRCA1/2 = 146, mutation-negative = 23, untested = 2). Fisher’s exact test was used to evaluate categorical variables; Wilcoxon nonparametric test was used to evaluate continuous variables associated with NAF or ductal lavage cell count adequacy. Logistic regression was used to identify independent correlates of NAF and ductal lavage cell count adequacy.
From 171 women, 45 (26%) women had NAF and 70 (41%) women had ductal lavage samples with ≥10 cells. Postmenopausal women with intact ovaries compared with premenopausal women [odds ratio (OR), 4.8; P = 0.03] and women without a prior breast cancer history (OR, 5.2; P = 0.04) had an increased likelihood of yielding NAF. Having breast-fed (OR, 3.4; P = 0.001), the presence of NAF before ductal lavage (OR, 3.2; P = 0.003), and being premenopausal (OR, 3.0; P = 0.003) increased the likelihood of ductal lavage cell count adequacy. In known BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, only breast-feeding (OR, 2.5; P = 0.01) and the presence of NAF (OR, 3.0; P = 0.01) were independent correlates of ductal lavage cell count adequacy.
Ductal lavage is unlikely to be useful in breast cancer screening among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers because the procedure fails to yield adequate specimens sufficient for reliable cytologic diagnosis or to support translational research activities.