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1.  Genetic polymorphisms in microRNA-related genes as predictors of clinical outcomes in colorectal adenocarcinoma patients 
To evaluate the effects of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in microRNA-related genes on clinical outcomes in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients receiving first-line fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy.
Experimental Design
Forty-one SNPs in 26 microRNA-related genes were genotyped in 1,097 CRC patients recruited at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Patients were enrolled between 1990 and 2008 and last follow-up was in 2010. The associations between genotypes and recurrence-free survival (RFS), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) stratified by clinical stage were analyzed in 741 newly diagnosed patients (diagnosed within 1 year) and replicated the findings in additional 356 patients.
In patients with stage III disease, mir608:rs4919510 was associated with increased risk for both recurrence (HR=2.72; 95%CI, 1.38 to 5.33) and death (HR=3.53; 95%CI, 1.42 to 8.73). The associations were confirmed in the replication set and the combined HR for training and replication sets was 1.94 (95% CI, 1.31 to 2.86) for recurrence and 2.35 (95%CI, 1.40 to 3.93) for death, respectively. The mir219-1:rs213210 showed consistent association with death in the training set (HR=3.86; 95%CI, 1.33 to11.22), the replication set (HR = 3.33; 95% CI, 1.39 to 7.98) and combined dataset (HR = 3.53; 95% CI, 1.80 to 6.95). In combined analysis of these two SNPs, patients carrying the variant genotypes at both sites exhibited a 5.6 fold increased risk of death.
Genetic polymorphisms in the microRNA pathway may predict prognosis in stage III CRC patients treated with fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4141857  PMID: 22661538
colorectal cancer; polymorphism; microRNA; chemotherapy; recurrence; survival
2.  Pathway-based serum microRNA profiling and survival in patients with advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer 
Cancer research  2013;73(15):4801-4809.
This study was designed to identify TGF-β signaling pathway-related serum microRNAs (miRNAs) as predictors of survival in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Serum samples from 391 patients with advanced NSCLC were collected prior to treatment. Global miRNA microarray expression profiling based on sera from four patients with good survival (>24 months) and four patients with poor survival (<6 months) was used to identify 140 highly expressed serum miRNAs, among which 35 miRNAs had binding sites within the 3’-untranslated regions of a panel of 11 genes in the TGF-β signaling pathway and were assayed by quantitative RT-PCR for their associations with survival in a training (n=192) and testing set (n=191). Out of the 35 miRNAs, survival analysis using Cox regression model identified 17 miRNAs significantly associated with 2-year patient survival. MiR-16 exhibited the most statistically significant association: high expression of miR-16 was associated with a significantly better survival (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.4, 95% confidence interval: 0.3–0.5). A combined 17-miRNA risk score was created that was able to identify patients at the highest risk of death. Those with a high risk score had a 2.5-fold increased risk of death compared to those with a low risk score (95% CI=1.8–3.4, P=1.1×10−7). This increase in risk of death was corresponding to an 7.8 month decrease in median survival time (P=9.5×10−14). Our results suggest that serum miRNAs could serve as predictors of survival for advanced NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3760306  PMID: 23774211
serum miRNA; TGF-β; survival; NSCLC
3.  Testicular germ cell tumor susceptibility associated with the UCK2 locus on chromosome 1q23 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(13):2748-2753.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified multiple common genetic variants associated with an increased risk of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs). A previous GWAS reported a possible TGCT susceptibility locus on chromosome 1q23 in the UCK2 gene, but failed to reach genome-wide significance following replication. We interrogated this region by conducting a meta-analysis of two independent GWASs including a total of 940 TGCT cases and 1559 controls for 122 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 1q23 and followed up the most significant SNPs in an additional 2202 TGCT cases and 2386 controls from four case–control studies. We observed genome-wide significant associations for several UCK2 markers, the most significant of which was for rs3790665 (PCombined = 6.0 × 10−9). Additional support is provided from an independent familial study of TGCT where a significant over-transmission for rs3790665 with TGCT risk was observed (PFBAT = 2.3 × 10−3). Here, we provide substantial evidence for the association between UCK2 genetic variation and TGCT risk.
PMCID: PMC3674801  PMID: 23462292
4.  Genome-wide association study of genetic predictors of overall survival for non-small cell lung cancer in never smokers 
Cancer research  2013;73(13):4028-4038.
To identify the genetic factors that influence overall survival in never smokers who have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we performed a consistency meta-analysis study utilizing genome-wide association approaches for overall survival in 327 never smoker NSCLC patients from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and 293 cases from the Mayo Clinic. We then performed a two-pronged validation of the top 25 variants that included additional validation in 1,256 NSCLC patients from Taiwan and assessment of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and differential expression of genes surrounding the top loci in 70 tumors and matched normal tissues. A total of 94 loci were significant for overall survival in both MD Anderson and Mayo studies in the consistency meta-analysis phase, with the top 25 variants reaching a p-value of 10−6. Two variants of these 25 were also significant in the Taiwanese population: rs6901416 (HR:1.44, 95%CI:1.01-2.06) and rs10766739 (HR:1.23, 95%CI:1.00-1.51). These loci resulted in a reduction in median survival time of at least 8 and 5 months in three populations, respectively. An additional six variants (rs4237904, rs7976914, rs4970833, rs954785, rs485411, and rs10906104) were validated through eQTL analysis that identified significant correlations with expression levels of six genes (LEMD3, TMBIM, ATXN7L2, SHE, ITIH2, and NUDT5, respectively) in normal lung tissue. These genes were also significantly differentially expressed between the tumor and normal lung. These findings identify several novel, candidate prognostic markers for NSCLC in never smokers, with eQTL analysis suggesting a potential biological mechanism for a subset of these observed associations.
PMCID: PMC3719971  PMID: 23704207
5.  Genetic variations in micro-RNA biogenesis genes and clinical outcomes in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(5):1006-1011.
Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules, which can act as either oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Dysregulated expression of miRNA genes have been implicated in the development of many different cancers. We hypothesize that genetic variations in miRNA biogenesis genes may be associated with the prognosis of bladder cancer. We genotyped 76 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight miRNA biogenesis genes in 421 patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). We analyzed the associations of SNPs with recurrence and progression in all patients as well as stratified by treatment: transurethral resection (TUR) alone or TUR plus intravesical bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) instillation. Two SNPs were significantly associated with tumor recurrence in TUR only subgroup after adjustment for multiple comparisons (Q < 0.1). The most significant SNP was rs197412 in DDX20: the variant allele conferred a decreased risk of recurrence [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.58, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 0.40–0.82]. This SNP was validated in a separate group of 586 NMIBC patients and the pooled HR was 0.62 (95% CI = 0.48–0.81, P < 0.001). Two linked SNPs (rs2073778 and rs720012) in DGCR8 showed significant association with tumor progression (HR = 4.00, 95% CI = 1.53–10.46, P = 0.005). A strong gene-dosage effect was observed with higher risk for tumor recurrence and progression with increasing number of unfavorable genotypes. Haplotype and survival tree analyses further characterized the association of miRNA-related SNPs with tumor recurrence and progression. Taken together, our results indicate that genetic variants in miRNA biogenesis pathway may influence bladder cancer clinical outcome in NMIBC patients.
PMCID: PMC3643413  PMID: 23322153
6.  Global assessment of genetic variation influencing response to retinoid chemoprevention in head and neck cancer patients 
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients are at an increased risk of developing a second primary tumor (SPT) or recurrence following curative treatment. 13-cis-retinoic acid (13-cRA) has been tested in chemoprevention clinical trials but the results have been inconclusive. We genotyped 9,465 SNPs in 450 patients from the Retinoid Head and Neck Second Primary Trial. SNPs were analyzed for associations with SPT/recurrence in patients receiving placebo to identify prognosis markers and further analyzed for effects of 13-cRA in patients with these prognostic loci. Thirteen loci identified a majority subgroup of patients at a high risk of SPT/recurrence and in whom 13-cRA was protective. Patients carrying the common genotype of rs3118570 in the retinoid X receptor (RXRA) were at a 3.33-fold increased risk (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.67–6.67) and represented over 70% of the study population. This locus also identified individuals who received benefit from chemoprevention with a 38% reduced risk (95% CI, 0.43–0.90). Analyses of cumulative effect and potential gene-gene interactions also implicated CDC25C:rs6596428 and JAK2:rs1887427 as two other genetic loci with major roles in prognosis and 13-cRA response. Patients with all three common genotypes had a 76% reduction in SPT/recurrence (95% CI, 0.093–0.64) following 13-cRA chemoprevention. Carriers of these common genotypes constituted a substantial percentage of the study population, indicating that a pharmacogenetics approach could help select patients for 13-cRA chemoprevention. The lack of any alternatives for reducing risk in these patients highlights the need for future clinical trials to prospectively validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC3955084  PMID: 21292633
HNSCC; SPT; single nucleotide polymorphisms; retinoids
7.  MicroRNA-Related Genetic Variants Associated with Clinical Outcomes in Early Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients 
Cancer research  2013;73(6):1867-1875.
Given the density of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human genome and the sensitivity of single nucleotide changes in microRNA (miRNA) functionality and processing, we asked whether polymorphisms within miRNA processing pathways and binding sites may influence non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients’ prognosis. We genotyped 240 miRNA-related SNPs in 535 stage I and II NSCLC patients to determine associations with overall recurrence and survival, as well as effect in specific treatment subgroups. After correcting for multiple comparisons, the G allele of FZD4:rs713065 displayed a significant association with decreased risk of death in surgery-only patients (HR:0.46, 95%CI:0.32-0.65). DROSHA:rs6886834 variant A allele (HR:6.38, 95%CI:2.49-16.31) remained significant for increased risk of recurrence in the overall and surgery-only populations, respectively. FAS:rs2234978 G allele remained significantly associated with survival in all patients (HR:0.59, 95%CI:0.44-0.77), while borderline significant in subgroups (surgery only: HR:0.59, 95%CI:0.42-0.84; surgery plus chemo: HR:0.19, 95%CI:0.07-0.46). Luciferase assays demonstrated that the FAS SNP created a miR-651 functional binding site. Survival tree analysis was performed to classify patients into distinct risk subgroups based on their risk genotype combinations. These results indicate that miRNA-related polymorphisms may be associated with NSCLC patients’ clinical outcomes through altered miRNA regulation of target genes.
PMCID: PMC3602350  PMID: 23378343
NSCLC; recurrence; overall survival; early stage; miRNA; binding site; single nucleotide polymorphism
8.  MicroRNA expression signatures during malignant progression from Barrett’s esophagus to esophageal adenocarcinoma 
Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is the precursor lesion of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA), whose progression follows sequential stages. However, the low progression rate and the inadequacy and subjective interpretation of histological grading in predicting BE progression call for more objective biomarkers that can improve risk prediction. We performed a genome-wide profiling of 754 human microRNAs (miRNAs) in 35 normal epithelium (NE), 34 BE, and 36 EA tissues using Taqman real-time PCR-based profiling. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering using 294 modestly to highly expressed miRNAs showed clear clustering of two groups: NE versus BE/EA tissues. Moreover, there was an excellent clustering of Barrett’s metaplasia (BM, without dysplasia) tissues from NE tissues. However, BE tissues of different stages and EA tissues were interspersed. There were differentially expressed miRNAs at different stages. The majority of miRNA aberrations involved upregulation of expression in BE and EA tissues, with the most dramatic alterations occurring at the BM stage. Known oncomirs, such as miR-21, miR-25 and miR-223, and tumor suppressor miRNAs, including miR-205, miR-203, let-7c, and miR-133a, showed progressively altered expression from BE to EA. We also identified a number of novel miRNAs that showed progressively altered expression, including miR-301b, miR-618, and miR-23b. The significant miRNA alterations that were exclusive to EA but not BE included miR-375 downregulation and upregulation of five members of the miR-17-92 and its homologue clusters, which may become promising biomarkers for EA development.
PMCID: PMC3608471  PMID: 23466817
microRNA expression; Barrett’s esophagus; esophageal cancer
9.  Epigenetic analysis leads to identification of HNF1B as a subtype-specific susceptibility gene for ovarian cancer 
Shen, Hui | Fridley, Brooke L. | Song, Honglin | Lawrenson, Kate | Cunningham, Julie M. | Ramus, Susan J. | Cicek, Mine S. | Tyrer, Jonathan | Stram, Douglas | Larson, Melissa C. | Köbel, Martin | Ziogas, Argyrios | Zheng, Wei | Yang, Hannah P. | Wu, Anna H. | Wozniak, Eva L. | Woo, Yin Ling | Winterhoff, Boris | Wik, Elisabeth | Whittemore, Alice S. | Wentzensen, Nicolas | Weber, Rachel Palmieri | Vitonis, Allison F. | Vincent, Daniel | Vierkant, Robert A. | Vergote, Ignace | Van Den Berg, David | Van Altena, Anne M. | Tworoger, Shelley S. | Thompson, Pamela J. | Tessier, Daniel C. | Terry, Kathryn L. | Teo, Soo-Hwang | Templeman, Claire | Stram, Daniel O. | Southey, Melissa C. | Sieh, Weiva | Siddiqui, Nadeem | Shvetsov, Yurii B. | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Shridhar, Viji | Wang-Gohrke, Shan | Severi, Gianluca | Schwaab, Ira | Salvesen, Helga B. | Rzepecka, Iwona K. | Runnebaum, Ingo B. | Rossing, Mary Anne | Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Lorna | Risch, Harvey A. | Renner, Stefan P. | Poole, Elizabeth M. | Pike, Malcolm C. | Phelan, Catherine M. | Pelttari, Liisa M. | Pejovic, Tanja | Paul, James | Orlow, Irene | Omar, Siti Zawiah | Olson, Sara H. | Odunsi, Kunle | Nickels, Stefan | Nevanlinna, Heli | Ness, Roberta B. | Narod, Steven A. | Nakanishi, Toru | Moysich, Kirsten B. | Monteiro, Alvaro N.A. | Moes-Sosnowska, Joanna | Modugno, Francesmary | Menon, Usha | McLaughlin, John R. | McGuire, Valerie | Matsuo, Keitaro | Adenan, Noor Azmi Mat | Massuger, Leon F.A. G. | Lurie, Galina | Lundvall, Lene | Lubiński, Jan | Lissowska, Jolanta | Levine, Douglas A. | Leminen, Arto | Lee, Alice W. | Le, Nhu D. | Lambrechts, Sandrina | Lambrechts, Diether | Kupryjanczyk, Jolanta | Krakstad, Camilla | Konecny, Gottfried E. | Kjaer, Susanne Krüger | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Kelemen, Linda E. | Keeney, Gary L. | Karlan, Beth Y. | Karevan, Rod | Kalli, Kimberly R. | Kajiyama, Hiroaki | Ji, Bu-Tian | Jensen, Allan | Jakubowska, Anna | Iversen, Edwin | Hosono, Satoyo | Høgdall, Claus K. | Høgdall, Estrid | Hoatlin, Maureen | Hillemanns, Peter | Heitz, Florian | Hein, Rebecca | Harter, Philipp | Halle, Mari K. | Hall, Per | Gronwald, Jacek | Gore, Martin | Goodman, Marc T. | Giles, Graham G. | Gentry-Maharaj, Aleksandra | Garcia-Closas, Montserrat | Flanagan, James M. | Fasching, Peter A. | Ekici, Arif B. | Edwards, Robert | Eccles, Diana | Easton, Douglas F. | Dürst, Matthias | du Bois, Andreas | Dörk, Thilo | Doherty, Jennifer A. | Despierre, Evelyn | Dansonka-Mieszkowska, Agnieszka | Cybulski, Cezary | Cramer, Daniel W. | Cook, Linda S. | Chen, Xiaoqing | Charbonneau, Bridget | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Campbell, Ian | Butzow, Ralf | Bunker, Clareann H. | Brueggmann, Doerthe | Brown, Robert | Brooks-Wilson, Angela | Brinton, Louise A. | Bogdanova, Natalia | Block, Matthew S. | Benjamin, Elizabeth | Beesley, Jonathan | Beckmann, Matthias W. | Bandera, Elisa V. | Baglietto, Laura | Bacot, François | Armasu, Sebastian M. | Antonenkova, Natalia | Anton-Culver, Hoda | Aben, Katja K. | Liang, Dong | Wu, Xifeng | Lu, Karen | Hildebrandt, Michelle A.T. | Schildkraut, Joellen M. | Sellers, Thomas A. | Huntsman, David | Berchuck, Andrew | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Gayther, Simon A. | Pharoah, Paul D.P. | Laird, Peter W. | Goode, Ellen L. | Pearce, Celeste Leigh
Nature communications  2013;4:10.1038/ncomms2629.
HNF1B is overexpressed in clear cell epithelial ovarian cancer, and we observed epigenetic silencing in serous epithelial ovarian cancer, leading us to hypothesize that variation in this gene differentially associates with epithelial ovarian cancer risk according to histological subtype. Here we comprehensively map variation in HNF1B with respect to epithelial ovarian cancer risk and analyse DNA methylation and expression profiles across histological subtypes. Different single-nucleotide polymorphisms associate with invasive serous (rs7405776 odds ratio (OR) = 1.13, P = 3.1 × 10−10) and clear cell (rs11651755 OR = 0.77, P = 1.6 × 10−8) epithelial ovarian cancer. Risk alleles for the serous subtype associate with higher HNF1B-promoter methylation in these tumours. Unmethylated, expressed HNF1B, primarily present in clear cell tumours, coincides with a CpG island methylator phenotype affecting numerous other promoters throughout the genome. Different variants in HNF1B associate with risk of serous and clear cell epithelial ovarian cancer; DNA methylation and expression patterns are also notably distinct between these subtypes. These findings underscore distinct mechanisms driving different epithelial ovarian cancer histological subtypes.
PMCID: PMC3848248  PMID: 23535649
10.  Meta-analysis identifies four new loci associated with testicular germ cell tumor 
Nature genetics  2013;45(6):10.1038/ng.2634.
We conducted a meta-analysis to identify new loci for testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) susceptibility. In the discovery phase, 931 affected individuals and 1,975 controls from three genome wide association studies (GWAS) were analyzed. Replication was conducted in six independent sample sets totaling 3,211 affected individuals and 7,591 controls. In the combined analysis, TGCT risk was significantly associated with markers at four novel loci: 4q22.2 in HPGDS (per allele odds ratio (OR) 1.19, 95%CI 1.12–1.26, P = 1.11×10−8); 7p22.3 in MAD1L1 (OR 1.21, 95%CI 1.14–1.29, P = 5.59×10−9); 16q22.3 in RFWD3 (OR 1.26, 95%CI 1.18–1.34, P = 5.15×10−12); and 17q22 (rs9905704; OR 1.27, 95%CI 1.18–1.33; P = 4.32×10−13, and rs7221274; OR 1.20, 95%CI 1.12–1.28 P = 4.04×10−9), a locus which includes TEX14, RAD51C and PPM1E. The new TGCT susceptibility loci contain biologically plausible genes encoding proteins important for male germ cell development, chromosomal segregation and DNA damage response.
PMCID: PMC3723930  PMID: 23666239
11.  Genetic variants in the PI3K/PTEN/AKT/MTOR pathway predict head and neck cancer patient second primary tumor/recurrence risk and response to retinoid chemoprevention 
Clinical Cancer Research  2012;18(13):3705-3713.
The development of second primary tumors (SPT) or recurrence alters prognosis for curatively-treated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. 13-cis-retnoic acid (13-cRA) has been tested as a chemoprevention agent in clinical trials with mixed results. Therefore, we investigated if genetic variants in the PI3K/PTEN/AKT/MTOR pathway could serve as biomarkers to identify which patients are at high risk of an SPT/recurrence while also predicting response to 13-cRA chemoprevention.
Experimental Design
A total of 137 pathway SNPs were genotyped in 440 patients from the Retinoid Head and Neck Second Primary Trial and assessed for SPT/recurrence risk and response to 13-cRA. Risk models were created based on epidemiology, clinical, and genetic data.
Twenty-two genetic loci were associated with increased SPT/recurrence risk with six also being associated with a significant benefit following chemoprevention. Combined analysis of these high-risk/high-benefit loci identified a significant (P = 1.54×10−4) dose-response relationship for SPT/recurrence risk, with patients carrying 4–5 high-risk genotypes having a 3.76-fold (95%CI:1.87–7.57) increase in risk in the placebo group (n=215). Patients carrying 4–5 high-risk loci showed the most benefit from 13-cRA chemoprevention with a 73% reduction in SPT/recurrence (95%CI:0.13–0.58) compared to those with the same number of high-risk genotypes who were randomized to receive placebo. Incorporation of these loci into a risk model significantly improved the discriminatory ability over models with epidemiology, clinical, and previously identified genetic variables.
These results demonstrate that loci within this important pathway could identify individuals with a high-risk/high-benefit profile and are a step towards personalized chemoprevention for HNSCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3404728  PMID: 22577058
12.  Kinome expression profiling identifies IKBKE as a predictor of overall survival in clear cell renal cell carcinoma patients 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(4):799-803.
There are 516 known kinases in the human genome. Because of their important role maintaining proper cellular function, they are often misregulated during tumorigenesis and associated with clinical outcomes in cancer patients, including clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). However, less is known about the global expression status of these genes in renal cell carcinoma and their association with clinical outcomes. We performed a systematic analysis of gene expression for 503 kinases in 93 tumor samples and adjacent normal tissues. Expression patterns for 41 kinases were able to clearly differentiate tumor and normal samples. Expression of I-kappa-B kinase epsilon (IKBKE) was associated with a 5.3-fold increased risk of dying [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.93–14.59, P-value: 0.0012]. Individuals with high IKBKE expression were at a significantly increased risk of death (hazard ratio: 3.34, 95% CI: 1.07–10.40, P-value: 0.038) resulting in a significantly reduced overall survival time compared with those with low IKBKE tumor expression (P-value: 0.049). These results for IKBKE were validated in a replication population consisting of 237 ccRCC patients (P-value: 0.0021). Furthermore, IKBKE was observed to be higher expressed in tumors compared with adjacent normal tissues (P-value < 10−7). IKBKE is a member of the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) signaling pathway and interestingly, gene expression patterns for other members of the NF-κB pathway were not associated with survival, suggesting that IKBKE gene expression may be an independent marker of variation in overall survival. Overall, these results support a novel role for IKBKE expression in modulating overall survival in ccRCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3324439  PMID: 22266464
13.  A genome-wide association study identifies a novel susceptibility locus for renal cell carcinoma on 12p11.23 
Wu, Xifeng | Scelo, Ghislaine | Purdue, Mark P. | Rothman, Nathaniel | Johansson, Mattias | Ye, Yuanqing | Wang, Zhaoming | Zelenika, Diana | Moore, Lee E. | Wood, Christopher G. | Prokhortchouk, Egor | Gaborieau, Valerie | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Chow, Wong-Ho | Toro, Jorge R. | Zaridze, David | Lin, Jie | Lubinski, Jan | Trubicka, Joanna | Szeszenia-Dabrowska, Neonilia | Lissowska, Jolanta | Rudnai, Peter | Fabianova, Eleonora | Mates, Dana | Jinga, Viorel | Bencko, Vladimir | Slamova, Alena | Holcatova, Ivana | Navratilova, Marie | Janout, Vladimir | Boffetta, Paolo | Colt, Joanne S. | Davis, Faith G. | Schwartz, Kendra L. | Banks, Rosamonde E. | Selby, Peter J. | Harnden, Patricia | Berg, Christine D. | Hsing, Ann W. | Grubb, Robert L. | Boeing, Heiner | Vineis, Paolo | Clavel-Chapelon, Françoise | Palli, Domenico | Tumino, Rosario | Krogh, Vittorio | Panico, Salvatore | Duell, Eric J. | Quirós, José Ramón | Sanchez, Maria-José | Navarro, Carmen | Ardanaz, Eva | Dorronsoro, Miren | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Allen, Naomi E. | Bueno-de-Mesquita, H. Bas | Peeters, Petra H.M. | Trichopoulos, Dimitrios | Linseisen, Jakob | Ljungberg, Börje | Overvad, Kim | Tjønneland, Anne | Romieu, Isabelle | Riboli, Elio | Stevens, Victoria L | Thun, Michael J | Diver, W. Ryan | Gapstur, Susan M. | Pharoah, Paul D. | Easton, Douglas F. | Albanes, Demetrius | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vatten, Lars | Hveem, Kristian | Fletcher, Tony | Koppova, Kvetoslava | Cussenot, Olivier | Cancel-Tassin, Geraldine | Benhamou, Simone | Hildebrandt, Michelle A. | Pu, Xia | Foglio, Mario | Lechner, Doris | Hutchinson, Amy | Yeager, Meredith | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Lathrop, Mark | Skryabin, Konstantin G. | McKay, James D. | Gu, Jian | Brennan, Paul | Chanock, Stephen J.
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;21(2):456-462.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most lethal urologic cancer. Only two common susceptibility loci for RCC have been confirmed to date. To identify additional RCC common susceptibility loci, we conducted an independent genome-wide association study (GWAS). We analyzed 533 191 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for association with RCC in 894 cases and 1516 controls of European descent recruited from MD Anderson Cancer Center in the primary scan, and validated the top 500 SNPs in silico in 3772 cases and 8505 controls of European descent involved in the only published GWAS of RCC. We identified two common variants in linkage disequilibrium, rs718314 and rs1049380 (r2 = 0.64, D ′ = 0.84), in the inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor, type 2 (ITPR2) gene on 12p11.23 as novel susceptibility loci for RCC (P = 8.89 × 10−10 and P = 6.07 × 10−9, respectively, in meta-analysis) with an allelic odds ratio of 1.19 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13–1.26] for rs718314 and 1.18 (95% CI: 1.12–1.25) for rs1049380. It has been recently identified that rs718314 in ITPR2 is associated with waist–hip ratio (WHR) phenotype. To our knowledge, this is the first genetic locus associated with both cancer risk and WHR.
PMCID: PMC3276284  PMID: 22010048
14.  Comprehensive pathway-based interrogation of genetic variations in the nucleotide excision DNA repair pathway and risk of bladder cancer 
Cancer  2011;118(1):205-215.
Growing evidence suggests that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway genes play an important role in bladder cancer etiology. However, only a limited number of genes and variations in this pathway have been evaluated to date.
In this study, we applied a comprehensive pathway-based approach to assess the effects of 207 tagging and potentially functional SNPs in 26 NER genes on bladder cancer risk using a large case-control study consisting of 803 bladder cancer cases and 803 controls.
A total of 17 SNPs were significantly associated with altered bladder cancer risk at P<0.05, of which 7 SNPs retained noteworthiness after assessed by a Bayesian approach for the probability of false discovery. The most noteworthy SNP was rs11132186 in ING2 gene. Compared to the major allele-containing genotypes, the odds ratio (OR) was 0.52 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.32–0.83, P = 0.005) for the homozygous variant genotype. Three additional ING2 variants also exhibited significant associations with bladder cancer risk. Significant gene-smoking interactions were observed for three of the top 17 SNPs. Furthermore, through an exploratory classification and regression tree (CART) analysis, we identified potential gene-gene interactions.
We conducted a large association study of NER pathway with bladder cancer risk and identified several novel predisposition variants. We identified potential gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in modulating bladder cancer risk. Our results reinforce the importance of a comprehensive pathway-focused and tagging SNP-based candidate gene approach to identify low-penetrance cancer susceptibility loci.
PMCID: PMC3178723  PMID: 21692063
bladder cancer; genetic susceptibility; nucleotide excision repair; SNP; gene-smoking interaction
15.  Common genetic variants in cell cycle pathway are associated with survival in stage III–IV non-small-cell lung cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(12):1867-1871.
Cell cycle progression contributes to the cellular response to DNA-damaging factors, such as chemotherapy and radiation. We hypothesized that the genetic variations in cell cycle pathway genes may modulate treatment responses and affect survival in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We genotyped 374 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 49 cell cycle-related genes in 598 patients with stages III–IV NSCLC treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy with/without radiation. We analyzed the individual and combined associations of these SNPs with survival and evaluated their gene–gene interactions using survival tree analysis. In the analysis of survival in all the patients, 39 SNPs reached nominal significance (P < 0.05) and 4 SNPs were significant at P <0.01. However, none of these SNPs remained significant after correction for multiple comparisons at a false discovery rate of 10%. In stratified analysis by treatment modality, after adjusting for multiple comparisons, nine SNPs in chemotherapy alone and one SNP in chemoradiation remained significant. The most significant SNP in chemotherapy group was CCNB2:rs1486878 [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.69, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25–2.30, P = 0.001]. TP73: rs3765701 was the only significant SNP in chemoradiation group (HR = 1.87; 95% CI = 1.35–2.59, P = 1.8 × 10−4). In cumulative analysis, we found a significant gene-dosage effect in patients receiving chemotherapy alone. Survival tree analysis demonstrated potential higher order gene–gene and gene–treatment interactions, which could be used to predict survival status based on distinct genetic signatures. These results suggest that genetic variations in cell cycle pathway genes may affect the survival of patients with stages III–IV NSCLC individually and jointly.
PMCID: PMC3220611  PMID: 21965272
16.  Variations in the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Pathway Predict Pulmonary Complications 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2012;94(4):1079-1085.
Clinical factors predicting pulmonary complications after lung resection have been well described, whereas the role of genetics is unknown. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling pathway has been linked to acute lung injury. We hypothesized that genetic variations in this pathway may be associated with postoperative pulmonary complications after lung resection.
One hundred ninety-six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 17 genes in the VEGF pathway were genotyped in a discovery set of 264 patients and a replication set of 264 patients who underwent lobectomy for lung cancer. Multivariable analysis adjusting for baseline clinical factors was used to identify SNPs associated with pulmonary complications. Cumulative and classification and regression tree (CART) analyses were used to further stratify risk groups.
The overall number of pulmonary complications was 164/528 (31%). The effects of 6 SNPs were consistent in the discovery and replication sets (pooled p value < 0.05). The rs9319425 SNP in the VEGF receptor gene FLT1 resulted in a 1.50-fold increased risk (1.15–1.96; p = 0.003). A cumulative effect for the number of risk genotypes and complications was also evident (p < 0.01). Patients carrying 5 risk genotypes had a 5.76-fold increase in risk (2.73–12.16; p = 4.44 × 10−6). Regression tree analysis identified potential gene-gene interactions between FLT1:rs9319425 and RAF1:rs713178. The addition of the 6 SNPs to the clinical model increased the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve by 6.8%.
Genetic variations in the VEGF pathway are associated with risk of pulmonary complications after lobectomy. This may offer insight into the underlying biological mechanisms of pulmonary complications.
PMCID: PMC3466075  PMID: 22795057
17.  Pharmacogenomics of platinum-based chemotherapy in NSCLC 
NSCLC is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the US. Patients with NSCLC are mostly treated with platinum-based chemotherapy, often in combination with radiation therapy. However, the development of chemoresistance is a major hurdle limiting treatment success. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the genetic factors modulating chemoresistance to platinum chemotherapeutics and their association with clinical outcomes for NSCLC patients. We focus on candidate pathways responsible for drug influx and efflux, metabolism and detoxification, DNA damage repair, and other downstream cellular processes that modulate the effect of platinum-based therapy. We also discuss the application of pathway-based polygenic and genome-wide approaches in identifying genetic factors involved in NSCLC clinical outcomes. Overall, current studies have shown that the effects of each individual polymorphism on clinical outcomes are modest suggesting that a more comprehensive approach that incorporates polygenetic, phenotypic, epidemiologic and clinical variables will be necessary to predict prognosis for NSCLC patients receiving platinum-based chemotherapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3417337  PMID: 19442035
carboplatin; chemotherapy; cisplatin; clinical outcomes; NSCLC
18.  Genetic variations in the transforming growth factor-beta pathway as predictors of survival in advanced non-small cell lung cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(7):1050-1056.
The magnitude of benefit is variable for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving platinum-based chemotherapy. The purpose of this study is to determine whether genetic variations in the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) pathway are associated with clinical outcomes in NSCLC patients receiving first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Five hundred and ninety-eight advanced-stage NSCLC patients who received first-line platinum-based chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy were recruited at the MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1995 and 2007. DNA from blood was genotyped for 227 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 23 TGF-β pathway-related genes to evaluate their associations with overall survival. In individual SNP analysis, 22 variants were significantly associated with overall survival, of which the strongest associations were found for BMP2:rs235756 [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.45; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–1.90] and SMAD3:rs4776342 (HR = 1.25; 95% CI, 1.06–1.47). Fifteen and 18 genetic loci displayed treatment-specific associations for chemotherapy and chemoradiation, respectively, identifying a majority of the cases who would be predicted to respond favorably to a specific treatment regimen. BMP2:rs235753 and a haplotype in SMAD3 were associated with overall survival for both treatment modalities. Cumulative effect analysis showed that multiple risk genotypes had a significant dose-dependent effect on overall survival (Ptrend = 2.44 x 10−15). Survival tree analysis identified subgroups of patients with dramatically different median survival times of 45.39 versus 13.55 months and 18.02 versus 5.89 months for high- and low- risk populations when treated with chemoradiation and chemotherapy, respectively. These results suggest that genetic variations in the TGF-β pathway are potential predictors of overall survival in NSCLC patients treated with platinum-based chemotherapy with or without radiation.
PMCID: PMC3128559  PMID: 21515830
19.  The KRAS-Variant Is Associated with Risk of Developing Double Primary Breast and Ovarian Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37891.
A germline microRNA binding site-disrupting variant, the KRAS-variant (rs61764370), is associated with an increased risk of developing several cancers. Because this variant is most strongly associated with ovarian cancer risk in patients from hereditary breast and ovarian families (HBOC), and with the risk of premenopausal triple negative breast cancer, we evaluated the association of the KRAS-variant with women with personal histories of both breast and ovarian cancer, referred to as double primary patients.
Experimental Design
Germline DNA from double primary patients was tested for the KRAS-variant (n = 232). Confirmation of pathologic diagnoses, age of diagnoses, interval between ovarian cancer diagnosis and sample collection, additional cancer diagnoses, and family history were obtained when available. All patients were tested for deleterious BRCA mutations.
The KRAS-variant was significantly enriched in uninformative (BRCA negative) double primary patients, being found in 39% of patients accrued within two years of their ovarian cancer diagnosis. Furthermore, the KRAS-variant was found in 35% of uninformative double primary patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer post-menopausally, and was significantly associated with uninformative double primary patients with a positive family history. The KRAS-variant was also significantly enriched in uninformative patients who developed more then two primary cancers, being found in 48% of women with two breast primaries plus ovarian cancer or with triple primary cancers.
These findings further validate the importance of the KRAS-variant in breast and ovarian cancer risk, and support the association of this variant as a genetic marker for HBOC families previously considered uninformative.
PMCID: PMC3360659  PMID: 22662244
20.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Survival in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients Receiving Platinum-Based Chemotherapy 
Interindividual variation in genetic background may influence the response to chemotherapy and overall survival for patients with advanced-stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
To identify genetic variants associated with poor overall survival in these patients, we conducted a genome-wide scan of 307 260 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 327 advanced-stage NSCLC patients who received platinum-based chemotherapy with or without radiation at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (the discovery population). A fast-track replication was performed for 315 patients from the Mayo Clinic followed by a second validation at the University of Pittsburgh in 420 patients enrolled in the Spanish Lung Cancer Group PLATAX clinical trial. A pooled analysis combining the Mayo Clinic and PLATAX populations or all three populations was also used to validate the results. We assessed the association of each SNP with overall survival by multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.
SNP rs1878022 in the chemokine-like receptor 1 (CMKLR1) was statistically significantly associated with poor overall survival in the MD Anderson discovery population (hazard ratio [HR] of death = 1.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.32 to 1.92, P = 1.42 × 10−6), in the PLATAX clinical trial (HR of death = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.51, P = .05), in the pooled Mayo Clinic and PLATAX validation (HR of death = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.40, P = .005), and in pooled analysis of all three populations (HR of death = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.19 to 1.48, P = 5.13 × 10−7). Carrying a variant genotype of rs10937823 was associated with decreased overall survival (HR of death = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.42 to 2.33, P = 1.73 × 10−6) in the pooled MD Anderson and Mayo Clinic populations but not in the PLATAX trial patient population (HR of death = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.69 to 1.35).
These results have the potential to contribute to the future development of personalized chemotherapy treatments for individual NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC3096796  PMID: 21483023
21.  Role of Inflammatory Related Gene Expression in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma Development and Clinical Outcomes 
The Journal of Urology  2011;186(5):2071-2077.
Renal cell carcinoma is the eighth most common cancer in the United States and clear cell renal carcinoma is the most common type. Many signaling pathways are implicated in clear cell renal carcinoma development, including the inflammation pathway. However, less is known about how gene expression variation in this pathway influences clear cell renal carcinoma development and clinical outcomes.
Materials and Methods
Gene expression in tumor and adjacent normal tissues from 93 patients was detected using a genome-wide expression array. A panel of 661 inflammation related genes was then analyzed. Differential expression patterns between tumor and normal tissues were identified. Association with recurrence or survival was evaluated with genes showing significant association tested further in a validation set of 258 tumors using an independent platform (quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction).
We identified 151 genes with at least a two-fold change in gene expression between adjacent normal tissue and tumor, of which most were up-regulated in tumors. A total of 20 genes significantly associated with recurrence and/or overall survival were selected for further validation. In the replication data set high expression of GADD45G was significantly associated with a 2.09-fold (95% CI 1.08 – 6.14, p = 0.034) increased risk of recurrence while high CARD9, NCF2 and CIITA expression was significantly associated with a 2.52-fold (95% CI 1.24 –5.12, p = 0.010), 2.26-fold (95% CI 1.12– 4.58, p = 0.023) and 2.11-fold (95% CI 1.05– 4.27, p = 0.037) increased risk of death, respectively.
Results suggest that inflammation gene expression may be significant prognostic biomarkers for the risk of recurrence (GADD45G) and death (CARD9, CIITA and NCF2) in patients with clear cell renal carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3348612  PMID: 21944129
kidney; carcinoma; renal cell; inflammation; gene expression; neoplasm recurrence; local
22.  A genetic variant near the PMAIP1/Noxa gene is associated with increased bleomycin sensitivity 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;20(4):820-826.
Mutagen sensitivity, a measurement of chromatid breaks induced by various mutagens in short-term cultures of peripheral blood lymphocytes, is an established risk factor for a number of cancers and is highly heritable. The purpose of this study is to identify genetic predictors of mutagen sensitivity. Therefore, we conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study. The primary scan analyzed 539 437 autosomal SNPs in 673 healthy individuals, followed by validations in two independent sets of 575 and 259 healthy individuals, respectively. One SNP, rs8093763, on chromosome 18q21 showed significant association with bleomycin (BLM) sensitivity (combined P = 2.64 × 10−8). We observed significantly lower BLM-induced chromotid breaks for genotypes containing wild-type allele compared with the homozygous variant genotype in the discovery set (0.71 versus 0.90, P= 3.77 × 10−5) and in replication phase 1 (0.61 versus 0.84, P= 7.00 × 10−5). The result of replication phase 2 was not statistically significant (0.65 versus 0.68, P= 0.44). This SNP is approximately 64 kb from PMAIP1/Noxa, which is a radiation-inducible gene and exhibits higher expression in BLM-sensitive lymphoblastoid cell lines than insensitive cell lines upon BLM treatment. In conclusion, we identified a biologically plausible genetic variant on 18q21 near the PMAIP1/Noxa gene that is associated with BLM sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3024041  PMID: 21106707
23.  PI3K/PTEN/AKT/mTOR Pathway Genetic Variation Predicts Toxicity and Distant Progression in Lung Cancer Patients Receiving Platinum-based Chemotherapy 
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is still the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The effect of the PI3K/PTEN/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway on cancer treatment, including NSCLC, has been well documented. In this study, we analyzed associations between genetic variations within this pathway and clinical outcomes following platinum-based chemotherapy in 168 patients with stage IIIB (wet) or stage IV NSCLC. Sixteen tagging SNPs in five core genes (PIK3CA, PTEN, AKT1, AKT2, and FRAP1) of this pathway and identified SNPs associated with development of toxicity and disease progression. We observed significantly increased toxicity for patients with PIK3CA:rs2699887 (OR: 3.86, 95% CI: 1.08 – 13.82). In contrast, a SNP in PTEN was associated with significantly reduced risk for chemotherapeutic toxicity (OR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.20 - 0.95). We identified three SNPs in AKT1 resulting in significantly decreased risks of distant progression in patients carrying at least one variant allele with HRs of 0.66 (95% CI: 0.45 - 0.97), 0.52 (95% CI: 0.35 - 0.77), and 0.62 (95% CI: 0.42 - 0.91) for rs3803304, rs2498804, and rs1130214, respectively. Furthermore, these same variants conferred nearly two-fold increased progression-free survival times. The current study provides evidence that genetic variations within the PI3K/PTEN/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway are associated with variation in clinical outcomes of NSCLC patients. With further validation, our findings may provide additional biomarkers for customized treatment of platinum-based chemotherapy for NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC2952281  PMID: 20447721
lung cancer; chemotherapy; platinum-agents; AKT; clinical outcomes
24.  Genetic Variations in the Sonic Hedgehog Pathway Affect Clinical Outcomes in Non-muscle–invasive Bladder Cancer 
Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway genetic variations may affect bladder cancer risk and clinical outcomes; therefore, we genotyped 177 SNPs in 11 Shh pathway genes in a study including 803 bladder cancer cases and 803 controls. We assessed SNP associations with cancer risk and clinical outcomes in 419 cases of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and 318 cases of muscle invasive and metastatic bladder cancer (MiMBC). Only 3 SNPs (GLI3 rs3823720, rs3735361, rs10951671) reached nominal significance in association with risk (P≤0.05), which became non-significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. Nine SNPs reached a nominally significant individual association with recurrence of NMIBC in patients who received transurethral resection (TUR) only (P≤0.05), of which 2 (SHH rs1233560 and GLI2 rs11685068) were replicated independently in 356 TUR-only NMIBC patients with P-values of 1.0×10−3 (SHH rs1233560) and 1.3×10−3 (GLI2 rs11685068). Nine SNPs also reached a nominally significant individual association with clinical outcome of NMIBC patients who received Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG; P≤0.05), of which 2, the independent GLI3 variants rs6463089 and rs3801192, remained significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons (P=2×10−4 and 9×10−4, respectively). The wild-type genotype of either of these SNPs was associated with a lower recurrence rate and longer recurrence-free survival (versus the variants). Although 3 SNPs (GLI2 rs735557, GLI2 rs4848632, and SHH rs208684) showed nominal significance in association with overall survival in MiMBC patients (P≤0.05), none remained significant after multiple-comparison adjustments. Germline genetic variations in the Shh pathway predicted clinical outcomes of TUR and BCG for NMIBC patients.
PMCID: PMC2955764  PMID: 20858759
sonic hedgehog pathway; cancer risk; recurrence; BCG; non-muscle invasive bladder cancer
25.  Genetic Variants in TGF-β Pathway Are Associated with Ovarian Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25559.
The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling pathway is involved in a diverse array of cellular processes responsible for tumorigenesis. In this case-control study, we applied a pathway-based approach to evaluate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TGF-β signaling pathway as predictors of ovarian cancer risk. We systematically genotyped 218 SNPs from 21 genes in the TGF-β signaling pathway in 417 ovarian cancer cases and 417 matched control subjects. We analyzed the associations of these SNPs with ovarian cancer risk, performed haplotype analysis and identified potential cumulative effects of genetic variants. We also performed analysis to identify higher-order gene-gene interactions influencing ovarian cancer risk. Individual SNP analysis showed that the most significant SNP was SMAD6: rs4147407, with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 1.60 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14–2.24, P = 0.0066). Cumulative genotype analysis of 13 SNPs with significant main effects exhibited a clear dose-response trend of escalating risk with increasing number of unfavorable genotypes. In gene-based analysis, SMAD6 was identified as the most significant gene associated with ovarian cancer risk. Haplotype analysis further revealed that two haplotype blocks within SMAD6 were significantly associated with decreased ovarian cancer risk, as compared to the most common haplotype. Gene-gene interaction analysis further categorized the study population into subgroups with different ovarian cancer risk. Our findings suggest that genetic variants in the TGF-β signaling pathway are associated with ovarian cancer risk and may facilitate the identification of high-risk subgroups in the general population.
PMCID: PMC3184159  PMID: 21984931

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