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1.  Sequence variants in the PTCH1 gene associate with spine bone mineral density and osteoporotic fractures 
Nature Communications  2016;7:10129.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is a measure of osteoporosis and is useful in evaluating the risk of fracture. In a genome-wide association study of BMD among 20,100 Icelanders, with follow-up in 10,091 subjects of European and East-Asian descent, we found a new BMD locus that harbours the PTCH1 gene, represented by rs28377268 (freq. 11.4–22.6%) that associates with reduced spine BMD (P=1.0 × 10−11, β=−0.09). We also identified a new spine BMD signal in RSPO3, rs577721086 (freq. 6.8%), that associates with increased spine BMD (P=6.6 × 10−10, β=0.14). Importantly, both variants associate with osteoporotic fractures and affect expression of the PTCH1 and RSPO3 genes that is in line with their influence on BMD and known biological function of these genes. Additional new BMD signals were also found at the AXIN1 and SOST loci and a new lead SNP at the EN1 locus.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is the best predictor of osteoporotic fracture risk. Here, the authors perform a genome wide association study in Icelanders and people of European and East-Asian descent, and identify a new allele in intron 15 of the PTCH1 gene that associates with reduced BMD.
doi:10.1038/ncomms10129
PMCID: PMC4729819  PMID: 26733130
2.  Insertion of an SVA-E retrotransposon into the CASP8 gene is associated with protection against prostate cancer 
Human Molecular Genetics  2016;25(5):1008-1018.
Transcriptional and splicing anomalies have been observed in intron 8 of the CASP8 gene (encoding procaspase-8) in association with cutaneous basal-cell carcinoma (BCC) and linked to a germline SNP rs700635. Here, we show that the rs700635[C] allele, which is associated with increased risk of BCC and breast cancer, is protective against prostate cancer [odds ratio (OR) = 0.91, P = 1.0 × 10−6]. rs700635[C] is also associated with failures to correctly splice out CASP8 intron 8 in breast and prostate tumours and in corresponding normal tissues. Investigation of rs700635[C] carriers revealed that they have a human-specific short interspersed element-variable number of tandem repeat-Alu (SINE-VNTR-Alu), subfamily-E retrotransposon (SVA-E) inserted into CASP8 intron 8. The SVA-E shows evidence of prior activity, because it has transduced some CASP8 sequences during subsequent retrotransposition events. Whole-genome sequence (WGS) data were used to tag the SVA-E with a surrogate SNP rs1035142[T] (r2 = 0.999), which showed associations with both the splicing anomalies (P = 6.5 × 10−32) and with protection against prostate cancer (OR = 0.91, P = 3.8 × 10−7).
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddv622
PMCID: PMC4754045  PMID: 26740556
3.  A Variant Associated with Nicotine Dependence, Lung Cancer and Peripheral Arterial Disease 
Nature  2008;452(7187):638-642.
Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death, causing approximately five million premature deaths world-wide each year1, 2. Evidence for genetic influence on smoking behaviour and nicotine dependence (ND)3-8 has prompted a search for susceptibility genes. Furthermore, assessing the impact of sequence variants on smoking-related diseases is important for public health reasons9, 10. Smoking is the major risk factor for lung cancer (LC)11-14, and one of the main risk factors for peripheral arterial disease (PAD)15-17. We have identified a common variant in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene cluster on chromosome 15q24 with an effect on smoking quantity, ND and the risk of two smoking-related diseases in populations of European descent. The variant has an effect on the number of cigarettes smoked per day in 15,771 smokers (P=6×10−20). The same variant associated with ND in a previous genome-wide association study using low quantity smokers as controls (OR=1.3, P=1×10−3)18, 19, and with a similar approach we observe a highly significant association with ND (OR =1.40, P=7×10−15). Comparison of LC (N=1,024) and PAD (N= 2,738) cases with about 30,000 population controls each showed that the variant confers risk of LC (OR=1.31, P=1.5×10−8) and PAD (OR=1.19, P=1.4×10−7). The findings highlight the role of nicotine addiction in the pathogenesis of other serious diseases and provide a case study of the role of active gene-environment correlation20 in the pathogenesis of disease.
doi:10.1038/nature06846
PMCID: PMC4539558  PMID: 18385739
4.  Sequence variant on 8q24 confers susceptibility to urinary bladder cancer 
Nature genetics  2008;40(11):1307-1312.
We conducted a genome wide SNP association study on 1,803 Urinary Bladder Cancer (UBC) cases and 34,336 controls from Iceland and the Netherlands and follow up studies in seven additional case control groups (2,165 cases and 3,800 controls). The strongest association was observed with allele T of rs9642880 on chromosome 8q24, 30kb upstream of the c-Myc gene (allele specific OR=1.22; P=9.34×10−12). Approximately 20% of individuals of European ancestry are homozygous for rs9642880 (T) and their estimated risk of developing UBC is 1.49 times that of non-carriers with population attributable risk (PAR) of 17%. No association was observed between UBC and the four 8q24 variants previously associated with prostate, colorectal and breast cancers, nor did rs9642880 associate with any of these three cancers. A weaker signal, but nonetheless of genome wide significance, was captured by rs710521 (A) located near the TP63 gene on chromosome 3q28 (allele specific OR=1.19; P=1. 15× 10−7).
doi:10.1038/ng.229
PMCID: PMC4539560  PMID: 18794855
5.  Detection of sharing by descent, long-range phasing and haplotype imputation 
Nature genetics  2008;40(9):1068-1075.
Uncertainty about the phase of strings of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) creates complications in genetic analysis although methods have been developed for phasing population-based samples. However, these methods can only phase a small number of SNPs effectively, and become unreliable when applied to SNPs spanning many linkage disequilibrium (LD) blocks. Here we show how to phase more than one thousand SNPs simultaneously for a large fraction of the 35,528 Icelanders genotyped by Illumina chips. Moreover, haplotypes that are identical by descent (IBD) between close and distant relatives, e.g. those separated by 10 meioses or more, can often be reliably detected. This method is particularly powerful in studies of the inheritance of recurrent mutations and fine-scale recombinations in large sample sets. A further extension of the method allows us to impute long haplotypes for individuals who are not genotyped.
doi:10.1038/ng.216
PMCID: PMC4540081  PMID: 19165921
6.  Sequence variants at the TERT- CLPTM1L locus associate with many cancer types 
Rafnar, Thorunn | Sulem, Patrick | Stacey, Simon N. | Geller, Frank | Gudmundsson, Julius | Sigurdsson, Asgeir | Jakobsdottir, Margret | Helgadottir, Hafdis | Thorlacius, Steinunn | Aben, Katja K.H. | Blöndal, Thorarinn | Thorgeirsson, Thorgeir E. | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Kristjansson, Kristleifur | Thorisdottir, Kristin | Ragnarsson, Rafn | Sigurgeirsson, Bardur | Skuladottir, Halla | Gudbjartsson, Tomas | Isaksson, Helgi J. | Einarsson, Gudmundur V. | Benediktsdottir, Kristrun R. | Agnarsson, Bjarni A. | Olafsson, Karl | Salvarsdottir, Anna | Bjarnason, Hjordis | Asgeirsdottir, Margret | Kristinsson, Kari T. | Matthiasdottir, Sigurborg | Sveinsdottir, Steinunn G. | Polidoro, Silvia | Höiom, Veronica | Botella-Estrada, Rafael | Hemminki, Kari | Rudnai, Peter | Bishop, D. Timothy | Campagna, Marcello | Kellen, Eliane | Zeegers, Maurice P. | de Verdier, Petra | Ferrer, Ana | Isla, Dolores | Vidal, Maria Jesus | Andres, Raquel | Saez, Berta | Juberias, Pablo | Banzo, Javier | Navarrete, Sebastian | Tres, Alejandro | Kan, Donghui | Lindblom, Annika | Gurzau, Eugene | Koppova, Kvetoslava | de Vegt, Femmie | Schalken, Jack A. | van der Heijden, Henricus F.M. | Smit, Hans J. | Termeer, René A. | Oosterwijk, Egbert | van Hooij, Onno | Nagore, Eduardo | Porru, Stefano | Steineck, Gunnar | Hansson, Johan | Buntinx, Frank | Catalona, William J. | Matullo, Giuseppe | Vineis, Paolo | Kiltie, Anne E. | Mayordomo, José I. | Kumar, Rajiv | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Frigge, Michael L. | Jonsson, Thorvaldur | Saemundsson, Hafsteinn | Barkardottir, Rosa B. | Jonsson, Eirikur | Jonsson, Steinn | Olafsson, Jon H. | Gulcher, Jeffrey R. | Masson, Gisli | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F. | Kong, Augustine | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari
Nature genetics  2009;41(2):221-227.
The common sequence variants that have recently been associated with cancer risk are particular to a single, or at most two, cancer types. Following up on our genome-wide scan of basal cell carcinoma1, we identified rs401681(C) on chromosome 5p15.33 satisfying our threshold for genome-wide significance (OR=1.25, P=3.7×10−12). We tested rs401681 for association with sixteen additional cancer types in over 30,000 cancer cases and 45,000 controls and found association with lung cancer (OR=1.15, P=7.2×10−8) and urinary bladder, prostate and cervix cancer (ORs 1.07–1.31, all P<4×10−4). However, rs401681(C) appears to confer protection against cutaneous melanoma (OR=0.88, P=8.0×10−4). Interestingly, most of these cancer types have a strong environmental component to their risk. Investigation of the region led us to rs2736098(A), that showed stronger association with some cancer types. However, neither variant could fully account for the association of the other. Rs2736098 corresponds to A305A in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) protein while rs401681 is in an intron of the CLPTM1L gene.
doi:10.1038/ng.296
PMCID: PMC4525478  PMID: 19151717
7.  Variants in ELL2 influencing immunoglobulin levels associate with multiple myeloma 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7213.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by an uninhibited, clonal growth of plasma cells. While first-degree relatives of patients with MM show an increased risk of MM, the genetic basis of inherited MM susceptibility is incompletely understood. Here we report a genome-wide association study in the Nordic region identifying a novel MM risk locus at ELL2 (rs56219066T; odds ratio (OR)=1.25; P=9.6 × 10−10). This gene encodes a stoichiometrically limiting component of the super-elongation complex that drives secretory-specific immunoglobulin mRNA production and transcriptional regulation in plasma cells. We find that the MM risk allele harbours a Thr298Ala missense variant in an ELL2 domain required for transcription elongation. Consistent with a hypomorphic effect, we find that the MM risk allele also associates with reduced levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and G (IgG) in healthy subjects (P=8.6 × 10−9 and P=6.4 × 10−3, respectively) and, potentially, with an increased risk of bacterial meningitis (OR=1.30; P=0.0024).
Multiple myeloma is an incurable and fatal disease characterized by uninhibited growth of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Here, Swaminathan et al. conduct a genome-wide association study and identify a novel risk locus at ELL2, which encodes a key component of the super-elongation complex.
doi:10.1038/ncomms8213
PMCID: PMC4455110  PMID: 26007630
8.  New basal cell carcinoma susceptibility loci 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6825.
In an ongoing screen for DNA sequence variants that confer risk of cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC), we conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 24,988,228 SNPs and small indels detected through whole-genome sequencing of 2,636 Icelanders and imputed into 4,572 BCC patients and 266,358 controls. Here we show the discovery of four new BCC susceptibility loci: 2p24 MYCN (rs57244888[C], OR=0.76, P=4.7 × 10−12), 2q33 CASP8-ALS2CR12 (rs13014235[C], OR=1.15, P=1.5 × 10−9), 8q21 ZFHX4 (rs28727938[G], OR=0.70, P=3.5 × 10−12) and 10p14 GATA3 (rs73635312[A], OR=0.74, P=2.4 × 10−16). Fine mapping reveals that two variants correlated with rs73635312[A] occur in conserved binding sites for the GATA3 transcription factor. In addition, expression microarrays and RNA-seq show that rs13014235[C] and a related SNP rs700635[C] are associated with expression of CASP8 splice variants in which sequences from intron 8 are retained.
Basal cell carcinoma is a common cancer among people of European ancestry, with associated high economic costs to monitor and treat. Here Stacey et al. conduct a genome-wide association study on Icelandic and other European populations, identifying four novel loci associated with cancer susceptibility.
doi:10.1038/ncomms7825
PMCID: PMC4403348  PMID: 25855136
9.  Rare variants of large effect in BRCA2 and CHEK2 affect risk of lung cancer 
Wang, Yufei | McKay, James D. | Rafnar, Thorunn | Wang, Zhaoming | Timofeeva, Maria | Broderick, Peter | Zong, Xuchen | Laplana, Marina | Wei, Yongyue | Han, Younghun | Lloyd, Amy | Delahaye-Sourdeix, Manon | Chubb, Daniel | Gaborieau, Valerie | Wheeler, William | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Sulem, Patrick | Liu, Geoffrey | Kaaks, Rudolf | Henrion, Marc | Kinnersley, Ben | Vallée, Maxime | LeCalvez-Kelm, Florence | Stevens, Victoria L. | Gapstur, Susan M. | Chen, Wei V. | Zaridze, David | Szeszenia-Dabrowska, Neonilia | Lissowska, Jolanta | Rudnai, Peter | Fabianova, Eleonora | Mates, Dana | Bencko, Vladimir | Foretova, Lenka | Janout, Vladimir | Krokan, Hans E. | Gabrielsen, Maiken Elvestad | Skorpen, Frank | Vatten, Lars | Njølstad, Inger | Chen, Chu | Goodman, Gary | Benhamou, Simone | Vooder, Tonu | Valk, Kristjan | Nelis, Mari | Metspalu, Andres | Lener, Marcin | Lubiński, Jan | Johansson, Mattias | Vineis, Paolo | Agudo, Antonio | Clavel-Chapelon, Francoise | Bueno-de-Mesquita, H.Bas | Trichopoulos, Dimitrios | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Johansson, Mikael | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Tjønneland, Anne | Riboli, Elio | Lathrop, Mark | Scelo, Ghislaine | Albanes, Demetrius | Caporaso, Neil E. | Ye, Yuanqing | Gu, Jian | Wu, Xifeng | Spitz, Margaret R. | Dienemann, Hendrik | Rosenberger, Albert | Su, Li | Matakidou, Athena | Eisen, Timothy | Stefansson, Kari | Risch, Angela | Chanock, Stephen J. | Christiani, David C. | Hung, Rayjean J. | Brennan, Paul | Landi, Maria Teresa | Houlston, Richard S. | Amos, Christopher I.
Nature genetics  2014;46(7):736-741.
We conducted imputation to the 1000 Genomes Project of four genome-wide association studies of lung cancer in populations of European ancestry (11,348 cases and 15,861 controls) and genotyped an additional 10,246 cases and 38,295 controls for follow-up. We identified large-effect genome-wide associations for squamous lung cancer with the rare variants of BRCA2-K3326X (rs11571833; odds ratio [OR]=2.47, P=4.74×10−20) and of CHEK2-I157T (rs17879961; OR=0.38 P=1.27×10−13). We also showed an association between common variation at 3q28 (TP63; rs13314271; OR=1.13, P=7.22×10−10) and lung adenocarcinoma previously only reported in Asians. These findings provide further evidence for inherited genetic susceptibility to lung cancer and its biological basis. Additionally, our analysis demonstrates that imputation can identify rare disease-causing variants having substantive effects on cancer risk from pre-existing GWAS data.
doi:10.1038/ng.3002
PMCID: PMC4074058  PMID: 24880342
10.  Genome-wide association study identifies a sequence variant within the DAB2IP gene conferring susceptibility to abdominal aortic aneurysm 
Gretarsdottir, Solveig | Baas, Annette F | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Holm, Hilma | den Heijer, Martin | de Vries, Jean-Paul P M | Kranendonk, Steef E | Zeebregts, Clark J A M | van Sterkenburg, Steven M | Geelkerken, Robert H | van Rij, Andre M | Williams, Michael J A | Boll, Albert P M | Kostic, Jelena P | Jonasdottir, Adalbjorg | Jonasdottir, Aslaug | Walters, G Bragi | Masson, Gisli | Sulem, Patrick | Saemundsdottir, Jona | Mouy, Magali | Magnusson, Kristinn P | Tromp, Gerard | Elmore, James R | Sakalihasan, Natzi | Limet, Raymond | Defraigne, Jean-Olivier | Ferrell, Robert E | Ronkainen, Antti | Ruigrok, Ynte M | Wijmenga, Cisca | Grobbee, Diederick E | Shah, Svati H | Granger, Christopher B | Quyyumi, Arshed A | Vaccarino, Viola | Patel, Riyaz S | Zafari, A Maziar | Levey, Allan I | Austin, Harland | Girelli, Domenico | Pignatti, Pier Franco | Olivieri, Oliviero | Martinelli, Nicola | Malerba, Giovanni | Trabetti, Elisabetta | Becker, Lewis C | Becker, Diane M | Reilly, Muredach P | Rader, Daniel J | Mueller, Thomas | Dieplinger, Benjamin | Haltmayer, Meinhard | Urbonavicius, Sigitas | Lindblad, Bengt | Gottsäter, Anders | Gaetani, Eleonora | Pola, Roberto | Wells, Philip | Rodger, Marc | Forgie, Melissa | Langlois, Nicole | Corral, Javier | Vicente, Vicente | Fontcuberta, Jordi | España, Francisco | Grarup, Niels | Jørgensen, Torben | Witte, Daniel R | Hansen, Torben | Pedersen, Oluf | Aben, Katja K | de Graaf, Jacqueline | Holewijn, Suzanne | Folkersen, Lasse | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Eriksson, Per | Collier, David A | Stefansson, Hreinn | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Rafnar, Thorunn | Valdimarsson, Einar M | Magnadottir, Hulda B | Sveinbjornsdottir, Sigurlaug | Olafsson, Isleifur | Magnusson, Magnus Karl | Palmason, Robert | Haraldsdottir, Vilhelmina | Andersen, Karl | Onundarson, Pall T | Thorgeirsson, Gudmundur | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Powell, Janet T | Carey, David J | Kuivaniemi, Helena | Lindholt, Jes S | Jones, Gregory T | Kong, Augustine | Blankensteijn, Jan D | Matthiasson, Stefan E | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari
Nature genetics  2010;42(8):692-697.
We performed a genome-wide association study on 1,292 individuals with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) and 30,503 controls from Iceland and The Netherlands, with a follow-up of top markers in up to 3,267 individuals with AAAs and 7,451 controls. The A allele of rs7025486 on 9q33 was found to associate with AAA, with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.21 and P = 4.6 × 10−10. In tests for association with other vascular diseases, we found that rs7025486[A] is associated with early onset myocardial infarction (OR = 1.18, P = 3.1 × 10−5), peripheral arterial disease (OR = 1.14, P = 3.9 × 10−5) and pulmonary embolism (OR = 1.20, P = 0.00030), but not with intracranial aneurysm or ischemic stroke. No association was observed between rs7025486[A] and common risk factors for arterial and venous diseases—that is, smoking, lipid levels, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Rs7025486 is located within DAB2IP, which encodes an inhibitor of cell growth and survival.
doi:10.1038/ng.622
PMCID: PMC4157066  PMID: 20622881
11.  A Method for Detecting Long Non-Coding RNAs with Tiled RNA Expression Microarrays 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99899.
Long non-coding ribonucleic acids (lncRNAs) have been proposed as biomarkers in prostate cancer. This paper proposes a selection method which uses data from tiled microarrays to identify relatively long regions of moderate expression independent of the microarray platform and probe design. The method is used to search for candidate long non-coding ribonucleic acids (lncRNAs) at locus 8q24 and is run on three independent experiments which all use samples from prostate cancer patients. The robustness of the method is tested by utilizing repeated copies of tiled probes. The method shows high consistency between experiments that used the same samples, but different probe layout. There also is statistically significant consistency when comparing experiments with different samples. The method selected the long non-coding ribonucleic acid PCNCR1 in all three experiments.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099899
PMCID: PMC4061049  PMID: 24937006
12.  Germline sequence variants in TGM3 and RGS22 confer risk of basal cell carcinoma 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(11):3045-3053.
To search for new sequence variants that confer risk of cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC), we conducted a genome-wide association study of 38.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and small indels identified through whole-genome sequencing of 2230 Icelanders. We imputed genotypes for 4208 BCC patients and 109 408 controls using Illumina SNP chip typing data, carried out association tests and replicated the findings in independent population samples. We found new BCC susceptibility loci at TGM3 (rs214782[G], P = 5.5 × 10−17, OR = 1.29) and RGS22 (rs7006527[C], P = 8.7 × 10−13, OR = 0.77). TGM3 encodes transglutaminase type 3, which plays a key role in production of the cornified envelope during epidermal differentiation.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt671
PMCID: PMC4014188  PMID: 24403052
13.  A study based on whole-genome sequencing yields a rare variant at 8q24 associated with prostate cancer 
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1326-1329.
Western countries, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer of men, and one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in men. Several genome-wide association studies have yielded numerous common variants conferring risk of prostate cancer. In the present study we analyzed 32.5 million variants discovered by whole-genome sequencing 1,795 Icelanders. One variant was found to be associated with prostate cancer in European populations: rs188140481[A] (OR = 2.90, Pcomb = 6.2×10−34) located on 8q24, with an average risk allele control frequency of 0.54%. This variant is only very weakly correlated (r2 ≤ 0.06) with previously reported risk variants on 8q24, and remains significant after adjustment for all of them. Carriers of rs188140481[A] were diagnosed with prostate cancer 1.26 years younger than non-carriers (P = 0.0059). We also report results for the previously described HOXB13 mutation (rs138213197[T]), confirming it as prostate cancer risk variant in populations from all over Europe.
doi:10.1038/ng.2437
PMCID: PMC3562711  PMID: 23104005
14.  Common variants on 9q22.33 and 14q13.3 predispose to thyroid cancer in European populations 
Nature genetics  2009;41(4):460-464.
In order to search for sequence variants conferring risk of thyroid cancer we conducted a genome-wide association study in 192 and 37,196 Icelandic cases and controls, respectively, followed by a replication study in individuals of European descent. Here we show that two common variants, located on 9q22.33 and 14q13.3, are associated with the disease. Overall, the strongest association signals were observed for rs965513 on 9q22.33 (OR = 1.75; P = 1.7 × 10−27) and rs944289 on 14q13.3 (OR = 1.37; P = 2.0 × 10−9). The gene nearest to the 9q22.33 locus is FOXE1 (TTF2) and NKX2-1 (TTF1) is among the genes located at the 14q13.3 locus. Both variants contribute to an increased risk of both papillary and follicular thyroid cancer. Approximately 3.7% of individuals are homozygous for both variants, and their estimated risk of thyroid cancer is 5.7-fold greater than that of noncarriers. In a study on a large sample set from the general population, both risk alleles are associated with low concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and the 9q22.33 allele is associated with low concentration of thyroxin (T4) and high concentration of triiodothyronine (T3).
doi:10.1038/ng.339
PMCID: PMC3664837  PMID: 19198613
15.  Discovery of common variants associated with low TSH levels and thyroid cancer risk 
Nature genetics  2012;44(3):319-322.
To search for sequence variants conferring risk of nonmedullary thyroid cancer, we focused our analysis on 22 SNPs with a P < 5 × 10−8 in a genome-wide association study on levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in 27,758 Icelanders. Of those, rs965513 has previously been shown to associate with thyroid cancer. The remaining 21 SNPs were genotyped in 561 Icelandic individuals with thyroid cancer (cases) and up to 40,013 controls. Variants suggestively associated with thyroid cancer (P < 0.05) were genotyped in an additional 595 non-Icelandic cases and 2,604 controls. After combining the results, three variants were shown to associate with thyroid cancer: rs966423 on 2q35 (OR = 1.34; Pcombined = 1.3 × 10−9), rs2439302 on 8p12 (OR = 1.36; Pcombined = 2.0 × 10−9) and rs116909374 on 14q13.3 (OR = 2.09; Pcombined = 4.6 × 10−11), a region previously reported to contain an uncorrelated variant conferring risk of thyroid cancer. A strong association (P = 9.1 × 10−91) was observed between rs2439302 on 8p12 and expression of NRG1, which encodes the signaling protein neuregulin 1, in blood.
doi:10.1038/ng.1046
PMCID: PMC3655412  PMID: 22267200
16.  Common sequence variants on 2p15 and Xp11.22 confer susceptibility to prostate cancer 
Gudmundsson, Julius | Sulem, Patrick | Rafnar, Thorunn | Bergthorsson, Jon T | Manolescu, Andrei | Gudbjartsson, Daniel | Agnarsson, Bjarni A | Sigurdsson, Asgeir | Benediktsdottir, Kristrun R | Blondal, Thorarinn | Jakobsdottir, Margret | Stacey, Simon N | Kostic, Jelena | Kristinsson, Kari T | Birgisdottir, Birgitta | Ghosh, Shyamali | Magnusdottir, Droplaug N | Thorlacius, Steinunn | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Zheng, S Lilly | Sun, Jielin | Chang, Bao-Li | Elmore, J Bradford | Breyer, Joan P | McReynolds, Kate M | Bradley, Kevin M | Yaspan, Brian L | Wiklund, Fredrik | Stattin, Par | Lindström, Sara | Adami, Hans-Olov | McDonnell, Shannon K | Schaid, Daniel J | Cunningham, Julie M | Wang, Liang | Cerhan, James R | St Sauver, Jennifer L | Isaacs, Sara D | Wiley, Kathleen E | Partin, Alan W | Walsh, Patrick C | Polo, Sonia | Ruiz-Echarri, Manuel | Navarrete, Sebastian | Fuertes, Fernando | Saez, Berta | Godino, Javier | Weijerman, Philip C | Swinkels, Dorine W | Aben, Katja K | Witjes, J Alfred | Suarez, Brian K | Helfand, Brian T | Frigge, Michael L | Kristjansson, Kristleifur | Ober, Carole | Jonsson, Eirikur | Einarsson, Gudmundur V | Xu, Jianfeng | Gronberg, Henrik | Smith, Jeffrey R | Thibodeau, Stephen N | Isaacs, William B | Catalona, William J | Mayordomo, Jose I | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Barkardottir, Rosa B | Gulcher, Jeffrey R | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Kong, Augustine | Stefansson, Kari
Nature genetics  2008;40(3):281-283.
We conducted a genome-wide SNP association study on prostate cancer on over 23,000 Icelanders, followed by a replication study including over 15,500 individuals from Europe and the United States. Two newly identified variants were shown to be associated with prostate cancer: rs5945572 on Xp11.22 and rs721048 on 2p15 (odds ratios (OR) = 1.23 and 1.15; P = 3.9 × 10−13 and 7.7 × 10−9, respectively). The 2p15 variant shows a significantly stronger association with more aggressive, rather than less aggressive, forms of the disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.89
PMCID: PMC3598012  PMID: 18264098
17.  Genetic correction of PSA values using sequence variants associated with PSA levels 
Science translational medicine  2010;2(62):62ra92.
Measuring serum levels of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) is the most common screening method for prostate cancer. However, PSA levels are affected by a number of factors apart from neoplasia. Notably, around 40% of the variability of PSA levels in the general population is accounted for by inherited factors, suggesting that it may be possible to improve both sensitivity and specificity by adjusting test results for genetic effects. In order to search for sequence variants that associate with PSA levels, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up analysis using PSA information from 15,757 Icelandic and 454 British men not diagnosed with prostate cancer. Overall, we detected a genome-wide significant association between PSA levels and SNPs at six loci: 5p15.33 (rs2736098), 10q11 (rs10993994), 10q26 (rs10788160), 12q24 (rs11067228), 17q12 (rs4430796), and 19q13.33 (rs17632542 (KLK3: I179T), each with Pcombined < 3×10−10. Among 3,834 men who underwent a biopsy of the prostate, the 10q26, 12q24, and 19q13.33 alleles that associate with high PSA levels are associated with higher probability of a negative biopsy (OR between 1.15 and 1.27). Assessment of association between the 6 loci and prostate cancer risk in 5,325 cases and 41,417 controls from Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain, Romania, and the US showed that the SNPs at 10q26 and 12q24 were exclusively associated with PSA levels, whereas the other 4 loci also were associated with prostate cancer risk. We propose that a personalized PSA cutoff value, based on genotype, should be used when deciding to perform a prostate biopsy.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3001513
PMCID: PMC3564581  PMID: 21160077
18.  Genome-wide association and replication studies identify four variants associated with prostate cancer susceptibility 
Nature genetics  2009;41(10):1122-1126.
We report a genome-wide association follow up study on prostate cancer. We identify four variants associated with the disease in European populations: rs10934853-A (OR = 1.12, P = 2.9×10−10) on 3q21.3, two moderately correlated (r2 = 0.07) variants on 8q24.21; rs16902094-G (OR = 1.21, P = 6.2×10−15) and rs445114-T (OR = 1.14, P = 4.7×10−10) and rs8102476-C (OR = 1.12, P = 1.6×10−11) on 19q13.2. We also refine a previous association signal on 11q13 with the SNP rs11228565-A (OR =1.23, P = 6.7 × 10−12). In a multi-variant analysis, using 22 prostate cancer risk variants typed in the Icelandic population, we estimate that carriers belonging to the top 1.3% of the risk distribution have a risk of developing the disease that is more than 2.5 times greater than the population average risk estimates.
doi:10.1038/ng.448
PMCID: PMC3562712  PMID: 19767754
19.  European genome-wide association study identifies SLC14A1 as a new urinary bladder cancer susceptibility gene 
Rafnar, Thorunn | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Sulem, Patrick | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Aben, Katja K. | Witjes, J. Alfred | Grotenhuis, Anne J. | Verhaegh, Gerald W. | Hulsbergen-van de Kaa, Christina A. | Besenbacher, Soren | Gudbjartsson, Daniel | Stacey, Simon N. | Gudmundsson, Julius | Johannsdottir, Hrefna | Bjarnason, Hjordis | Zanon, Carlo | Helgadottir, Hafdis | Jonasson, Jon Gunnlaugur | Tryggvadottir, Laufey | Jonsson, Eirikur | Geirsson, Gudmundur | Nikulasson, Sigfus | Petursdottir, Vigdis | Bishop, D. Timothy | Chung-Sak, Sei | Choudhury, Ananya | Elliott, Faye | Barrett, Jennifer H. | Knowles, Margaret A. | de Verdier, Petra J. | Ryk, Charlotta | Lindblom, Annika | Rudnai, Peter | Gurzau, Eugene | Koppova, Kvetoslava | Vineis, Paolo | Polidoro, Silvia | Guarrera, Simonetta | Sacerdote, Carlotta | Panadero, Angeles | Sanz-Velez, José I. | Sanchez, Manuel | Valdivia, Gabriel | Garcia-Prats, Maria D. | Hengstler, Jan G. | Selinski, Silvia | Gerullis, Holger | Ovsiannikov, Daniel | Khezri, Abdolaziz | Aminsharifi, Alireza | Malekzadeh, Mahyar | van den Berg, Leonard H. | Ophoff, Roel A. | Veldink, Jan H. | Zeegers, Maurice P. | Kellen, Eliane | Fostinelli, Jacopo | Andreoli, Daniele | Arici, Cecilia | Porru, Stefano | Buntinx, Frank | Ghaderi, Abbas | Golka, Klaus | Mayordomo, José I. | Matullo, Giuseppe | Kumar, Rajiv | Steineck, Gunnar | Kiltie, Anne E. | Kong, Augustine | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari | Kiemeney, Lambertus A.
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(21):4268-4281.
Three genome-wide association studies in Europe and the USA have reported eight urinary bladder cancer (UBC) susceptibility loci. Using extended case and control series and 1000 Genomes imputations of 5 340 737 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we searched for additional loci in the European GWAS. The discovery sample set consisted of 1631 cases and 3822 controls from the Netherlands and 603 cases and 37 781 controls from Iceland. For follow-up, we used 3790 cases and 7507 controls from 13 sample sets of European and Iranian ancestry. Based on the discovery analysis, we followed up signals in the urea transporter (UT) gene SLC14A. The strongest signal at this locus was represented by a SNP in intron 3, rs17674580, that reached genome-wide significance in the overall analysis of the discovery and follow-up groups: odds ratio = 1.17, P = 7.6 × 10−11. SLC14A1 codes for UTs that define the Kidd blood group and are crucial for the maintenance of a constant urea concentration gradient in the renal medulla and, through this, the kidney's ability to concentrate urine. It is speculated that rs17674580, or other sequence variants in LD with it, indirectly modifies UBC risk by affecting urine production. If confirmed, this would support the ‘urogenous contact hypothesis’ that urine production and voiding frequency modify the risk of UBC.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr303
PMCID: PMC3188988  PMID: 21750109
20.  A germline variant in the TP53 polyadenylation signal confers cancer susceptibility 
Stacey, Simon N | Sulem, Patrick | Jonasdottir, Aslaug | Masson, Gisli | Gudmundsson, Julius | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F | Magnusson, Olafur T | Gudjonsson, Sigurjon A | Sigurgeirsson, Bardur | Thorisdottir, Kristin | Ragnarsson, Rafn | Benediktsdottir, Kristrun R | Nexø, Bjørn A | Tjønneland, Anne | Overvad, Kim | Rudnai, Peter | Gurzau, Eugene | Koppova, Kvetoslava | Hemminki, Kari | Corredera, Cristina | Fuentelsaz, Victoria | Grasa, Pilar | Navarrete, Sebastian | Fuertes, Fernando | García-Prats, Maria D | Sanambrosio, Enrique | Panadero, Angeles | De Juan, Ana | Garcia, Almudena | Rivera, Fernando | Planelles, Dolores | Soriano, Virtudes | Requena, Celia | Aben, Katja K | van Rossum, Michelle M | Cremers, Ruben G H M | van Oort, Inge M | van Spronsen, Dick-Johan | Schalken, Jack A | Peters, Wilbert H M | Helfand, Brian T | Donovan, Jenny L | Hamdy, Freddie C | Badescu, Daniel | Codreanu, Ovidiu | Jinga, Mariana | Csiki, Irma E | Constantinescu, Vali | Badea, Paula | Mates, Ioan N | Dinu, Daniela E | Constantin, Adrian | Mates, Dana | Kristjansdottir, Sjofn | Agnarsson, Bjarni A | Jonsson, Eirikur | Barkardottir, Rosa B | Einarsson, Gudmundur V | Sigurdsson, Fridbjorn | Moller, Pall H | Stefansson, Tryggvi | Valdimarsson, Trausti | Johannsson, Oskar T | Sigurdsson, Helgi | Jonsson, Thorvaldur | Jonasson, Jon G | Tryggvadottir, Laufey | Rice, Terri | Hansen, Helen M | Xiao, Yuanyuan | Lachance, Daniel H | O’Neill, Brian Patrick | Kosel, Matthew L | Decker, Paul A | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Johannsdottir, Hrefna | Helgadottir, Hafdis T | Sigurdsson, Asgeir | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Lindblom, Annika | Sandler, Robert S | Keku, Temitope O | Banasik, Karina | Jørgensen, Torben | Witte, Daniel R | Hansen, Torben | Pedersen, Oluf | Jinga, Viorel | Neal, David E | Catalona, William J | Wrensch, Margaret | Wiencke, John | Jenkins, Robert B | Nagore, Eduardo | Vogel, Ulla | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Kumar, Rajiv | Mayordomo, José I | Olafsson, Jon H | Kong, Augustine | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Rafnar, Thorunn | Stefansson, Kari
Nature Genetics  2011;43(11):1098-1103.
To identify new risk variants for cutaneous basal cell carcinoma, we performed a genome-wide association study of 16 million SNPs identified through whole-genome sequencing of 457 Icelanders. We imputed genotypes for 41,675 Illumina SNP chip-typed Icelanders and their relatives. In the discovery phase, the strongest signal came from rs78378222[C] (odds ratio (OR) = 2.36, P = 5.2 × 10−17), which has a frequency of 0.0192 in the Icelandic population. We then confirmed this association in non-Icelandic samples (OR = 1.75, P = 0.0060; overall OR = 2.16, P = 2.2 × 10−20). rs78378222 is in the 3′ untranslated region of TP53 and changes the AATAAA polyadenylation signal to AATACA, resulting in impaired 3′-end processing of TP53 mRNA. Investigation of other tumor types identified associations of this SNP with prostate cancer (OR = 1.44, P = 2.4 × 10−6), glioma (OR = 2.35, P = 1.0 × 10−5) and colorectal adenoma (OR = 1.39, P = 1.6 × 10−4). However, we observed no effect for breast cancer, a common Li-Fraumeni syndrome tumor (OR = 1.06, P = 0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.88–1.27).
doi:10.1038/ng.926
PMCID: PMC3263694  PMID: 21946351
21.  Influence of common genetic variation on lung cancer risk: meta-analysis of 14 900 cases and 29 485 controls 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(22):4980-4995.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified common genetic variants at 5p15.33, 6p21–6p22 and 15q25.1 associated with lung cancer risk. Several other genetic regions including variants of CHEK2 (22q12), TP53BP1 (15q15) and RAD52 (12p13) have been demonstrated to influence lung cancer risk in candidate- or pathway-based analyses. To identify novel risk variants for lung cancer, we performed a meta-analysis of 16 GWASs, totaling 14 900 cases and 29 485 controls of European descent. Our data provided increased support for previously identified risk loci at 5p15 (P = 7.2 × 10−16), 6p21 (P = 2.3 × 10−14) and 15q25 (P = 2.2 × 10−63). Furthermore, we demonstrated histology-specific effects for 5p15, 6p21 and 12p13 loci but not for the 15q25 region. Subgroup analysis also identified a novel disease locus for squamous cell carcinoma at 9p21 (CDKN2A/p16INK4A/p14ARF/CDKN2B/p15INK4B/ANRIL; rs1333040, P = 3.0 × 10−7) which was replicated in a series of 5415 Han Chinese (P = 0.03; combined analysis, P = 2.3 × 10−8). This large analysis provides additional evidence for the role of inherited genetic susceptibility to lung cancer and insight into biological differences in the development of the different histological types of lung cancer.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds334
PMCID: PMC3607485  PMID: 22899653
22.  Sequence variants at CYP1A1–CYP1A2 and AHR associate with coffee consumption 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(10):2071-2077.
Coffee is the most commonly used stimulant and caffeine is its main psychoactive ingredient. The heritability of coffee consumption has been estimated at around 50%. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association studies of coffee consumption among coffee drinkers from Iceland (n = 2680), the Netherlands (n = 2791), the Sorbs Slavonic population isolate in Germany (n = 771) and the USA (n = 369) using both directly genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (2.5 million SNPs). SNPs at the two most significant loci were also genotyped in a sample set from Iceland (n = 2430) and a Danish sample set consisting of pregnant women (n = 1620). Combining all data, two sequence variants significantly associated with increased coffee consumption: rs2472297-T located between CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 at 15q24 (P = 5.4 · 10−14) and rs6968865-T near aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) at 7p21 (P = 2.3 · 10−11). An effect of ∼0.2 cups a day per allele was observed for both SNPs. CYP1A2 is the main caffeine metabolizing enzyme and is also involved in drug metabolism. AHR detects xenobiotics, such as polycyclic aryl hydrocarbons found in roasted coffee, and induces transcription of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2. The association of these SNPs with coffee consumption was present in both smokers and non-smokers.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr086
PMCID: PMC3080612  PMID: 21357676
23.  An analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms of 125 DNA repair genes in the Texas genome-wide association study of lung cancer with a replication for the XRCC4 SNPs 
DNA repair  2011;10(4):398-407.
DNA repair genes are important for maintaining genomic stability and limiting carcinogenesis. We analyzed all single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of 125 DNA repair genes covered by the Illumina HumanHap300 (v1.1) BeadChips in a previously conducted genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1,154 lung cancer cases and 1,137 controls and replicated the top-hits of XRCC4 SNPs in an independent set of 597 cases and 611 controls in Texas populations. We found that six of 20 XRCC4 SNPs were associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer with a P value of 0.01 or lower in the discovery dataset, of which the most significant SNP was rs10040363 (P for allelic test = 4.89 ×10−4). Moreover, the data in this region allowed us to impute a potentially functional SNP rs2075685 (imputed P for allelic test = 1.3 ×10−3). A luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that the rs2075685G>T change in the XRCC4 promoter increased expression of the gene. In the replication study of rs10040363, rs1478486, rs9293329, and rs2075685, however, only rs10040363 achieved a borderline association with a decreased risk of lung cancer in a dominant model (adjusted OR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.62–1.03, P = 0.079). In the final combined analysis of both the Texas GWAS discovery and replication datasets, the strength of the association was increased for rs10040363 (adjusted OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.66–0.89, Pdominant = 5×10−4 and P for trend = 5×10−4) and rs1478486 (adjusted OR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.71 −0.94, Pdominant = 6×10−3 and P for trend = 3.5×10−3). Finally, we conducted a meta-analysis of these XRCC4 SNPs with available data from published GWA studies of lung cancer with a total of 12,312 cases and 47,921 controls, in which none of these XRCC4 SNPs was associated with lung cancer risk. It appeared that rs2075685, although associated with increased expression of a reporter gene and lung cancer risk in the Texas populations, did not have an effect on lung cancer risk in other populations. This study underscores the importance of replication using published data in larger populations.
doi:10.1016/j.dnarep.2011.01.005
PMCID: PMC3062723  PMID: 21296624
XRCC4; variant; Genetic susceptibility; genome-wide association study; replication study
24.  Association of a novel functional promoter variant (rs2075533 C>T) in the apoptosis gene TNFSF8 with risk of lung cancer—a finding from Texas lung cancer genome-wide association study 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(4):507-515.
Published genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified few variants in the known biological pathways involved in lung cancer etiology. To mine the possibly hidden causal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we explored all SNPs in the extrinsic apoptosis pathway from our published GWAS dataset for 1154 lung cancer cases and 1137 cancer-free controls. In an initial association analysis of 611 tagSNPs in 41 apoptosis-related genes, we identified only 10 tagSNPs associated with lung cancer risk with a P value <10−2, including four tagSNPs in DAPK1 and three tagSNPs in TNFSF8. Unlike DAPK1 SNPs, TNFSF8 rs2181033 tagged other four predicted functional but untyped SNPs (rs776576, rs776577, rs31813148 and rs2075533) in the promoter region. Therefore, we further tested binding affinity of these four SNPs by performing the electrophoretic mobility shift assay. We found that only rs2075533T allele modified levels of nuclear proteins bound to DNA, leading to significantly decreased expression of luciferase reporter constructs by 5- to –10-fold in H1299, HeLa and HCT116 cell lines compared with the C allele. We also performed a replication study of the untyped rs2075533 in an independent Texas population but did not confirm the protective effect. We further performed a mini meta-analysis for SNPs of TNFSF8 obtained from other four published lung cancer GWASs with 12  214 cases and 47  721 controls, and we found that only rs3181366 (r2 = 0.69 with the untyped rs2075533) was associated to lung cancer risk (P = 0.008). Our findings suggest a possible role of novel TNFSF8 variants in susceptibility to lung cancer.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgr014
PMCID: PMC3066422  PMID: 21292647
25.  Genetic variation in the prostate stem cell antigen gene PSCA confers susceptibility to urinary bladder cancer 
Nature Genetics  2009;41(9):991-995.
We conducted a genome-wide association study on 969 bladder cancer cases and 957 controls from Texas. For fast-track validation, we evaluated 60 SNPs in three additional US populations and validated the top SNP in nine European populations. A missense variant (rs2294008) in the PSCA gene showed consistent association with bladder cancer in US and European populations. Combining all subjects (6,667 cases, 39,590 controls), the overall P-value was 2.14 × 10−10 and the allelic odds ratio was 1.15 (95% confidence interval 1.10–1.20). rs2294008 alters the start codon and is predicted to cause truncation of nine amino acids from the N-terminal signal sequence of the primary PSCA translation product. In vitro reporter gene assay showed that the variant allele significantly reduced promoter activity. Resequencing of the PSCA genomic region showed that rs2294008 is the only common missense SNP in PSCA. Our data identify rs2294008 as a new bladder cancer susceptibility locus.
doi:10.1038/ng.421
PMCID: PMC3313685  PMID: 19648920

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