We tested the hypotheses that CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity is associated with increased risk of early death, breast cancer–specific death, and risk of a second breast cancer in women with a first breast cancer.
Patients and Methods
From 22 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, 25,571 white women with invasive breast cancer were genotyped for CHEK2*1100delC and observed for up to 20 years (median, 6.6 years). We examined risk of early death and breast cancer–specific death by estrogen receptor status and risk of a second breast cancer after a first breast cancer in prospective studies.
CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity was found in 459 patients (1.8%). In women with estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, multifactorially adjusted hazard ratios for heterozygotes versus noncarriers were 1.43 (95% CI, 1.12 to 1.82; log-rank P = .004) for early death and 1.63 (95% CI, 1.24 to 2.15; log-rank P < .001) for breast cancer–specific death. In all women, hazard ratio for a second breast cancer was 2.77 (95% CI, 2.00 to 3.83; log-rank P < .001) increasing to 3.52 (95% CI, 2.35 to 5.27; log-rank P < .001) in women with estrogen receptor–positive first breast cancer only.
Among women with estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, CHEK2*1100delC heterozygosity was associated with a 1.4-fold risk of early death, a 1.6-fold risk of breast cancer–specific death, and a 3.5-fold risk of a second breast cancer. This is one of the few examples of a genetic factor that influences long-term prognosis being documented in an extensive series of women with breast cancer.
Versican, an extracellular matrix proteoglycan, has been noted to be expressed in several malignant tumours and has been suggested to play an important role in cancer development and tumour growth.
To investigate whether the versican expression level in the peritumoural stromal tissue of primary oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) predicts relapse‐free or disease‐specific survival. Also, to study the associations between versican expression and several other clinicopathological variables, as well as tumour cell proliferation.
Immunohistochemistry was used to study the expression of versican and tumour cell proliferative activity in 139 OSCCs. All pertinent clinical data were collected retrospectively from the hospital records.
In this cohort, versican expression did not correlate with the clinicopathological factors or tumour cell proliferation. In univariate analyses, higher risk for disease recurrence was associated with higher stromal versican expression score (p = 0.02), positive neck node status (p = 0.02), lower Karnofsky performance status (p = 0.03) and higher tumour cell proliferation index (p = 0.04). Increased disease‐specific risk of death was associated with high stromal versican expression score (p = 0.005) higher T class (p = 0.002), positive neck node status (p<0.001), higher stage (p<0.001), poorer histological differentiation (p = 0.005), worse general condition of the patient (p = 0.049) and increased tumour cell proliferative index (p = 0.02). In multivariate disease‐specific survival analysis, high stromal versican expression score (p = 0.048), poorer histological differentiation (p = 0.047) and higher stage (p = 0.002) independently predicted poorer disease outcome.
In this cohort, increased stromal versican expression correlated with both increased risk for disease recurrence and shortened survival. High stromal versican expression may thus be considered an independent and adverse prognostic marker in OSCC.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive form of breast cancer. It is often associated with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), and is considered to be a non-obligate precursor of IDC. It is not clear to what extent these two forms of cancer share low-risk susceptibility loci, or whether there are differences in the strength of association for shared loci.
To identify genetic polymorphisms that predispose to DCIS, we pooled data from 38 studies comprising 5,067 cases of DCIS, 24,584 cases of IDC and 37,467 controls, all genotyped using the iCOGS chip.
Most (67 %) of the 76 known breast cancer predisposition loci showed an association with DCIS in the same direction as previously reported for invasive breast cancer. Case-only analysis showed no evidence for differences between associations for IDC and DCIS after considering multiple testing.
Analysis by estrogen receptor (ER) status confirmed that loci associated with ER positive IDC were also associated with ER positive DCIS. Analysis of DCIS by grade suggested that two independent SNPs at 11q13.3 near CCND1 were specific to low/intermediate grade DCIS (rs75915166, rs554219). These associations with grade remained after adjusting for ER status and were also found in IDC.
We found no novel DCIS-specific loci at a genome wide significance level of P < 5.0x10-8.
In conclusion, this study provides the strongest evidence to date of a shared genetic susceptibility for IDC and DCIS. Studies with larger numbers of DCIS are needed to determine if IDC or DCIS specific loci exist.
Electronic supplementary material
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Ductal carcinoma in situ; Association study; Genetic predisposition; Common variants
Annexin A1 (ANXA1) is a protein related with the carcinogenesis process and metastasis formation in many tumors. However, little is known about the prognostic value of ANXA1 in breast cancer. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the association between ANXA1 expression, BRCA1/2 germline carriership, specific tumor subtypes and survival in breast cancer patients.
Clinical-pathological information and follow-up data were collected from nine breast cancer studies from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) (n = 5,752) and from one study of familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations (n = 107). ANXA1 expression was scored based on the percentage of immunohistochemical staining in tumor cells. Survival analyses were performed using a multivariable Cox model.
The frequency of ANXA1 positive tumors was higher in familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations than in BCAC patients, with 48.6 % versus 12.4 %, respectively; P <0.0001. ANXA1 was also highly expressed in BCAC tumors that were poorly differentiated, triple negative, EGFR-CK5/6 positive or had developed in patients at a young age. In the first 5 years of follow-up, patients with ANXA1 positive tumors had a worse breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) than ANXA1 negative (HRadj = 1.35; 95 % CI = 1.05–1.73), but the association weakened after 10 years (HRadj = 1.13; 95 % CI = 0.91–1.40). ANXA1 was a significant independent predictor of survival in HER2+ patients (10-years BCSS: HRadj = 1.70; 95 % CI = 1.17–2.45).
ANXA1 is overexpressed in familial breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations and correlated with poor prognosis features: triple negative and poorly differentiated tumors. ANXA1 might be a biomarker candidate for breast cancer survival prediction in high risk groups such as HER2+ cases.
Electronic supplementary material
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Breast cancer; Annexin A1; BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations
Hepsin, (also called TMPRSS1) and TMPRSS3 are type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs) that are involved in cancer progression. TTSPs can remodel extracellular matrix (ECM) and, when dysregulated, promote tumor progression and metastasis by inducing defects in basement membrane and ECM molecules. This study investigated whether the gene and protein expression levels of these TTSPs were associated with breast cancer characteristics or survival.
Immunohistochemical staining was used to evaluate hepsin levels in 372 breast cancer samples and TMPRSS3 levels in 373 samples. TMPRSS1 mRNA expression was determined in 125 invasive and 16 benign breast tumor samples, and TMPRSS3 mRNA expression was determined in 167 invasive and 23 benign breast tumor samples. The gene and protein expression levels were analyzed for associations with breast cancer-specific survival and clinicopathological parameters.
Low TMPRSS1 and TMPRSS3 mRNA expression levels were independent prognostic factors for poor breast cancer survival during the 20-year follow-up (TMPRSS1, P = 0.023; HR, 2.065; 95 % CI, 1.106–3.856; TMPRSS3, P = 0.013; HR, 2.106; 95 % CI, 1.167–3.800). Low expression of the two genes at the mRNA and protein levels associated with poorer survival compared to high levels (log rank P-values 0.015–0.042). Low TMPRSS1 mRNA expression was also an independent marker of poor breast cancer prognosis in patients treated with radiotherapy (P = 0.034; HR, 2.344; 95 % CI, 1.065–5.160). Grade III tumors, large tumor size, and metastasis were associated with low mRNA and protein expression levels.
The results suggest that the TTSPs hepsin and TMPRSS3 may have similar biological functions in the molecular pathology of breast cancer. Low mRNA and protein expression levels of the studied TTSPs were prognostic markers of poor survival in breast cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
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Biomarkers; Breast cancer; Extracellular matrix; Gene expression profiling; Hepsin; Membrane-associated proteins; Prognosis; TMPRSS1; Type II transmembrane serine proteases; TMPRSS3
Previous studies have identified common germline variants nominally associated with breast cancer survival. These associations have not been widely replicated in further studies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of previously reported SNPs with breast cancer-specific survival using data from a pooled analysis of eight breast cancer survival genome-wide association studies (GWAS) from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.
A literature review was conducted of all previously published associations between common germline variants and three survival outcomes: breast cancer-specific survival, overall survival and disease-free survival. All associations that reached the nominal significance level of P value <0.05 were included. Single nucleotide polymorphisms that had been previously reported as nominally associated with at least one survival outcome were evaluated in the pooled analysis of over 37,000 breast cancer cases for association with breast cancer-specific survival. Previous associations were evaluated using a one-sided test based on the reported direction of effect.
Fifty-six variants from 45 previous publications were evaluated in the meta-analysis. Fifty-four of these were evaluated in the full set of 37,954 breast cancer cases with 2,900 events and the two additional variants were evaluated in a reduced sample size of 30,000 samples in order to ensure independence from the previously published studies. Five variants reached nominal significance (P <0.05) in the pooled GWAS data compared to 2.8 expected under the null hypothesis. Seven additional variants were associated (P <0.05) with ER-positive disease.
Although no variants reached genome-wide significance (P <5 x 10−8), these results suggest that there is some evidence of association between candidate common germline variants and breast cancer prognosis. Larger studies from multinational collaborations are necessary to increase the power to detect associations, between common variants and prognosis, at more stringent significance levels.
Electronic supplementary material
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Tumor lymphocyte infiltration is associated with clinical response to chemotherapy in estrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancer. To identify variants in immunosuppressive pathway genes associated with prognosis after adjuvant chemotherapy for ER-negative patients, we studied stage I-III invasive breast cancer patients of European ancestry, including 9,334 ER-positive (3,151 treated with chemotherapy) and 2,334 ER-negative patients (1,499 treated with chemotherapy).
We pooled data from sixteen studies from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), and employed two independent studies for replications. Overall 3,610 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 133 genes were genotyped as part of the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, in which phenotype and clinical data were collected and harmonized. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression was used to assess genetic associations with overall survival (OS) and breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS). Heterogeneity according to chemotherapy or ER status was evaluated with the log-likelihood ratio test.
Three independent SNPs in TGFBR2 and IL12B were associated with OS (P <10−3) solely in ER-negative patients after chemotherapy (267 events). Poorer OS associated with TGFBR2 rs1367610 (G > C) (per allele hazard ratio (HR) 1.54 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22 to 1.95), P = 3.08 × 10−4) was not found in ER-negative patients without chemotherapy or ER-positive patients with chemotherapy (P for interaction <10−3). Two SNPs in IL12B (r2 = 0.20) showed different associations with ER-negative disease after chemotherapy: rs2546892 (G > A) with poorer OS (HR 1.50 (95% CI 1.21 to 1.86), P = 1.81 × 10−4), and rs2853694 (A > C) with improved OS (HR 0.73 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.87), P = 3.67 × 10−4). Similar associations were observed with BCSS. Association with TGFBR2 rs1367610 but not IL12B variants replicated using BCAC Asian samples and the independent Prospective Study of Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary Breast Cancer Study and yielded a combined HR of 1.57 ((95% CI 1.28 to 1.94), P = 2.05 × 10−5) without study heterogeneity.
TGFBR2 variants may have prognostic and predictive value in ER-negative breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. Our findings provide further insights into the development of immunotherapeutic targets for ER-negative breast cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
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The distribution of histopathological features of invasive breast tumors in BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline mutation carriers differs from that of individuals with no known mutation. Histopathological features thus have utility for mutation prediction, including statistical modeling to assess pathogenicity of BRCA1 or BRCA2 variants of uncertain clinical significance. We analyzed large pathology datasets accrued by the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA) and the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) to reassess histopathological predictors of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation status, and provide robust likelihood ratio (LR) estimates for statistical modeling.
Selection criteria for study/center inclusion were estrogen receptor (ER) status or grade data available for invasive breast cancer diagnosed younger than 70 years. The dataset included 4,477 BRCA1 mutation carriers, 2,565 BRCA2 mutation carriers, and 47,565 BCAC breast cancer cases. Country-stratified estimates of the likelihood of mutation status by histopathological markers were derived using a Mantel-Haenszel approach.
ER-positive phenotype negatively predicted BRCA1 mutation status, irrespective of grade (LRs from 0.08 to 0.90). ER-negative grade 3 histopathology was more predictive of positive BRCA1 mutation status in women 50 years or older (LR = 4.13 (3.70 to 4.62)) versus younger than 50 years (LR = 3.16 (2.96 to 3.37)). For BRCA2, ER-positive grade 3 phenotype modestly predicted positive mutation status irrespective of age (LR = 1.7-fold), whereas ER-negative grade 3 features modestly predicted positive mutation status at 50 years or older (LR = 1.54 (1.27 to 1.88)). Triple-negative tumor status was highly predictive of BRCA1 mutation status for women younger than 50 years (LR = 3.73 (3.43 to 4.05)) and 50 years or older (LR = 4.41 (3.86 to 5.04)), and modestly predictive of positive BRCA2 mutation status in women 50 years or older (LR = 1.79 (1.42 to 2.24)).
These results refine likelihood-ratio estimates for predicting BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation status by using commonly measured histopathological features. Age at diagnosis is an important variable for most analyses, and grade is more informative than ER status for BRCA2 mutation carrier prediction. The estimates will improve BRCA1 and BRCA2 variant classification and inform patient mutation testing and clinical management.
Electronic supplementary material
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The aim of the study was to explore the serum levels of eight angiogenesis biomarkers in patients with benign, borderline or malignant epithelial ovarian neoplasms and to compare them to those of healthy controls. In addition, we aimed to study how those biomarkers predict the clinical course and survival of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
We enrolled 132 patients with ovarian neoplasms and 32 unaffected women in this study. Serum samples were collected preoperatively at the time of diagnosis and the levels of angiogenesis biomarkers were measured with an ELISA.
Levels of Ang-1, Ang-2, VEGF, VEGF-D, VEGF/sVEGFR-2 and Ang-2/ sVEGFR-2 ratios were elevated whereas sVEGFR-2 was lower in patients with ovarian carcinoma than in women with normal ovaries, benign and/or borderline ovarian neoplasms. In ROC analysis, the area under the curve for serum Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratio (0.76) was greater than Ang-2 (0.75) and VEGF (0.65) but lower than for CA 125 (0.90) to differentiate ovarian cancer from benign or borderline ovarian tumors. In ovarian cancer high Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratio was associated with the presence of ascites, high stage and grade of ovarian cancer, with the size of primary residual tumor >1 cm and with recurrence of disease. Elevated Ang-2, VEGF, VEGF/sVEGFR-2, Ang-2/VEGF and Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratios and low level of sVEGFR-2 were significant predictors of poor overall survival (OS) and recurrence free survival (RFS) in univariate survival analyses.
Ovarian cancer patients had elevated levels of angiogenesis related growth factors in circulation reflecting increased angiogenesis and poor prognosis. The serum level of Ang-2 predicted most accurately poor OS and Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratio malignancy of ovarian neoplasms and short RFS.
Electronic supplementary material
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Angiopoietins; VEGFs; VEGFRs; Biomarker; Ovarian carcinoma; Prognosis
We have previously shown that a tag single nucleotide polymorphism (rs10235235), which maps to the CYP3A locus (7q22.1), was associated with a reduction in premenopausal urinary estrone glucuronide levels and a modest reduction in risk of breast cancer in women age ≤50 years.
We further investigated the association of rs10235235 with breast cancer risk in a large case control study of 47,346 cases and 47,570 controls from 52 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Genotyping of rs10235235 was conducted using a custom Illumina Infinium array. Stratified analyses were conducted to determine whether this association was modified by age at diagnosis, ethnicity, age at menarche or tumor characteristics.
We confirmed the association of rs10235235 with breast cancer risk for women of European ancestry but found no evidence that this association differed with age at diagnosis. Heterozygote and homozygote odds ratios (ORs) were OR = 0.98 (95% CI 0.94, 1.01; P = 0.2) and OR = 0.80 (95% CI 0.69, 0.93; P = 0.004), respectively (Ptrend = 0.02). There was no evidence of effect modification by tumor characteristics. rs10235235 was, however, associated with age at menarche in controls (Ptrend = 0.005) but not cases (Ptrend = 0.97). Consequently the association between rs10235235 and breast cancer risk differed according to age at menarche (Phet = 0.02); the rare allele of rs10235235 was associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk for women who had their menarche age ≥15 years (ORhet = 0.84, 95% CI 0.75, 0.94; ORhom = 0.81, 95% CI 0.51, 1.30; Ptrend = 0.002) but not for those who had their menarche age ≤11 years (ORhet = 1.06, 95% CI 0.95, 1.19, ORhom = 1.07, 95% CI 0.67, 1.72; Ptrend = 0.29).
To our knowledge rs10235235 is the first single nucleotide polymorphism to be associated with both breast cancer risk and age at menarche consistent with the well-documented association between later age at menarche and a reduction in breast cancer risk. These associations are likely mediated via an effect on circulating hormone levels.
The histone demethylase GASC1 (JMJD2C) is an epigenetic factor suspected of involvement in development of different cancers, including breast cancer. It is thought to be overexpressed in the more aggressive breast cancer types based on mRNA expression studies on cell lines and meta analysis of human breast cancer sets. This study aimed to evaluate the prognostic and predictive value of GASC1 for women with invasive breast cancer.
All the 355 cases were selected from a cohort enrolled in the Kuopio Breast Cancer Project between April 1990 and December 1995. The expression of GASC1 was studied by immunohistochemistry (IHC) on tissue microarrays. Additionally relative GASC1 mRNA expression was measured from available 57 cases.
In our material, 56% of the cases were GASC1 negative and 44% positive in IHC staining. Women with GASC1 negative tumors had two years shorter breast cancer specific survival and time to relapse than the women with GASC1 positive tumors (p=0.017 and p=0.034 respectively). The majority of GASC1 negative tumors were ductal cases (72%) of higher histological grade (84% of grade II and III altogether). When we evaluated estrogen receptor negative and progesterone receptor negative cases separately, there was 2 times more GASC1 negative than GASC1 positive tumors in each group (chi2, p= 0.033 and 0.001 respectively). In the HER2 positive cases, there was 3 times more GASC1 negative cases than GASC1 positives (chi2, p= 0.029). Patients treated with radiotherapy (n=206) and hormonal treatment (n=62) had better breast cancer specific survival, when they were GASC1 positive (Cox regression: HR=0.49, p=0.007 and HR=0.33, p=0.015, respectively). The expression of GASC1 mRNA was in agreement with the protein analysis.
This study indicates that the GASC1 is both a prognostic and a predictive factor for women with invasive breast cancer. GASC1 negativity is associated with tumors of more aggressive histopathological types (ductal type, grade II and III, ER negative, PR negative). Patients with GASC1 positive tumors have better breast cancer specific survival and respond better to radiotherapy and hormonal treatment.
Epigenetics; GASC1; Breast cancer; Survival; Tissue microarrays
Sulfotransferase 1A1 (SULT1A1) participates in the elimination of 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen (4-OH-TAM), which is one of the major active metabolites of tamoxifen (TAM). Homozygous SULT1A1 variant allele genotype has been associated with lower catalytic activity and thermostability of the enzyme. Previous clinical studies suggest that the SULT1A1 rs9282861 polymorphism may influence the survival of breast cancer patients treated with TAM in the adjuvant setting. We investigated the effect of rs9282861 genotypes on the survival of Finnish breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy or TAM.
The rs9282861 genotypes of 412 Finnish breast cancer patients with early breast cancer were identified by using PCR-RFLP method. Seventy six patients were treated with adjuvant cyclophosphamide based chemotherapy only, 65 patients received adjuvant TAM, and four patients were treated with both adjuvant chemotherapy and TAM. Overall long-term survival (OS), breast cancer specific survival (BCSS), and relapse-free survival (RFS) by rs9282861 genotypes were evaluated by the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression analysis.
The multivariate analysis of 145 patients receiving either adjuvant TAM or chemotherapy showed a statistically significantly improved OS in patients with the rs9282861 homozygous variant AA genotype (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.50, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.29-0.88, P = 0.015). In the separate analyses of patients receiving only chemotherapy or adjuvant TAM, there were no statistically significant differences in survival.
In this prospective study, we observed a previously unreported association between the SULT1A1 rs9282861 genotype and OS of breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy or TAM. This novel finding suggests that the rs9282861 polymorphism modifies the long-term clinical outcome of patients receiving adjuvant TAM or chemotherapy.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial process in tumorigenesis since tumor cells attain fibroblast-like features enabling them to invade to surrounding tissue. Two transcription factors, TWIST and SNAI1, are fundamental in regulating EMT.
Immunohistochemistry was used to study the expression of TWIST and SNAI1 in 109 pharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas.
Tumors with intense stromal staining of TWIST relapsed more frequently (p = 0.04). Tumors with both positive TWIST and SNAI1 immunoreactivity in the stroma were at least Stage II (p = 0.05) and located more often in hypopharynx (p = 0.035). Tumors with negative immunostaining of TWIST and SNAI1 in the stromal compartment were smaller (T1-2) (p = 0.008), less advanced (SI-II) (p = 0.031) and located more often in the oropharynx (p = 0.007). Patients with negative SNAI1 and TWIST immunostaining in tumor stroma had a better 5-year disease-specific and overall survival (p = 0.037 and p = 0.014 respectively).
TWIST and SNAI1 expression in stromal cells is associated with clinical and histopathological characteristics that indicate progressive disease. Negative expression of these EMT-promoting transcription factors predicts a better outcome.
Pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma; Stromal cells; TWIST; SNAI1; Prognosis; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
Epitheliomesenchymal transition (EMT) is the process where cancer cells attain fibroblastic features and are thus able to invade neighboring tissues. Transcriptional factors zeb1, snai1 and twist regulate EMT.
We used immunohistochemistry to investigate the expression of zeb1, twist and snai1 in tumor and stromal compartments by in a large set of breast carcinomas. The results were compared with estrogen and progesterone receptor status, HER2 amplification, grade, histology, TNM status and survival of the patients.
Nuclear expression for twist was seen in the epithelial tumor cell compartment in 3.6% and for snai1 in 3.1% of the cases while zeb1 was not detected at all in these areas. In contrast, the tumor stromal compartment showed nuclear zeb1 and twist expression in 75% and 52.4% of the cases, respectively. Although rare, nuclear expression of twist in the epithelial tumor cell compartment was associated with a poor outcome of the patients (p = 0.054 log rank, p = 0.013, Breslow, p = 0.025 Tarone-Ware). Expression of snai1, or expression of zeb1 or twist in the stromal compartment did not have any prognostic significance. Furthermore, none of these factors associated with the size of the tumors, nor with the presence of axillary or distant metastases. Expression of zeb1 and twist in the stromal compartment was positively associated with a positive estrogen or progesterone receptor status of the tumors. Stromal zeb1 expression was significantly lower in ductal in situ carcinomas than in invasive carcinomas (p = 0.020). Medullary carcinomas (p = 0.017) and mucinous carcinomas (p = 0.009) had a lower stromal expression of zeb1 than ductal carcinomas. Stromal twist expression was also lower in mucinous (p = 0.017) than in ductal carcinomas.
Expression of transcriptional factors zeb1 and twist mainly occur in the stromal compartment of breast carcinomas, possibly representing two populations of cells; EMT transformed neoplastic cells and stromal fibroblastic cells undergoing activation of zeb1 and twist due to growth factors produced by the tumor. However, epithelial expression of twist was associated with a poor prognosis, hinting at its importance in the spread of breast carcinoma.
Several common breast cancer genetic susceptibility variants have recently been identified. We aimed to determine how these variants combine with a subset of other known risk factors to influence breast cancer risk in white women of European ancestry using case-control studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.
We evaluated two-way interactions between each of age at menarche, ever having had a live birth, number of live births, age at first birth and body mass index (BMI) and each of 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (10q26-rs2981582 (FGFR2), 8q24-rs13281615, 11p15-rs3817198 (LSP1), 5q11-rs889312 (MAP3K1), 16q12-rs3803662 (TOX3), 2q35-rs13387042, 5p12-rs10941679 (MRPS30), 17q23-rs6504950 (COX11), 3p24-rs4973768 (SLC4A7), CASP8-rs17468277, TGFB1-rs1982073 and ESR1-rs3020314). Interactions were tested for by fitting logistic regression models including per-allele and linear trend main effects for SNPs and risk factors, respectively, and single-parameter interaction terms for linear departure from independent multiplicative effects.
These analyses were applied to data for up to 26,349 invasive breast cancer cases and up to 32,208 controls from 21 case-control studies. No statistical evidence of interaction was observed beyond that expected by chance. Analyses were repeated using data from 11 population-based studies, and results were very similar.
The relative risks for breast cancer associated with the common susceptibility variants identified to date do not appear to vary across women with different reproductive histories or body mass index (BMI). The assumption of multiplicative combined effects for these established genetic and other risk factors in risk prediction models appears justified.
Hyaluronan accumulation correlates with the degree of malignancy in many solid tumor types, including malignant endometrial carcinomas. To elucidate the mechanism of hyaluronan accumulation, we examined the expression levels of the hyaluronan synthases (HAS1, HAS2 and HAS3) and hyaluronidases (HYAL1 and HYAL2), and correlated them with hyaluronan content and HAS1-3 immunoreactivity.
A total of 35 endometrial tissue biopsies from 35 patients, including proliferative and secretory endometrium (n = 10), post-menopausal proliferative endometrium (n = 5), complex atypical hyperplasia (n = 4), grade 1 (n = 8) and grade 2 + 3 (n = 8) endometrioid adenocarcinomas were divided for gene expression by real-time RT-PCR, and paraffin embedded blocks for hyaluronan and HAS1-3 cytochemistry.
The mRNA levels of HAS1-3 were not consistently changed, while the immunoreactivity of all HAS proteins was increased in the cancer epithelium. Interestingly, HAS3 mRNA, but not HAS3 immunoreactivity, was increased in post-menopausal endometrium compared to normal endometrium (p = 0.003). The median of HYAL1 mRNA was 10-fold and 15-fold lower in both grade 1 and grade 2+3 endometrioid endometrial cancers, as compared to normal endometrium (p = 0.004-0.006), and post-menopausal endometrium (p = 0.002), respectively. HYAL2 mRNA was also reduced in cancer (p = 0.02) and correlated with HYAL1 (r = 0.8, p = 0.0001). There was an inverse correlation between HYAL1 mRNA and the epithelial hyaluronan staining intensity (r = -0.6; P = 0.001).
The results indicated that HYAL1 and HYAL2 were coexpressed and significantly downregulated in endometrioid endometrial cancer and correlated with the accumulation of hyaluronan. While immunoreactivity for HASs increased in the cancer cells, tumor mRNA levels for HASs were not changed, suggesting that reduced turnover of HAS protein may also have contributed to the accumulation of hyaluronan.
Hyaluronan, a tumor promoting extracellular matrix polysaccharide, is elevated in malignant epithelial ovarian tumors, and associates with an unfavorable prognosis. To explore possible contributors to the accumulation of hyaluronan, we examined the expression of hyaluronan synthases (HAS1, HAS2 and HAS3) and hyaluronidases (HYAL1 and HYAL2), correlated with hyaluronidase enzyme activity hyaluronan content and HAS1–3 immunoreactivity.
Normal ovaries (n = 5) and 34 serous epithelial ovarian tumors, divided into 4 groups: malignant grades 1+2 (n = 10); malignant grade 3 (n = 10); borderline (n = 4) and benign epithelial tumors (n = 10), were analyzed for mRNA by real-time RT-PCR and compared to hyaluronidase activity, hyaluronan staining, and HAS1–3 immunoreactivity in tissue sections of the same specimens.
The levels of HAS2 and HAS3 mRNA (HAS1 was low or absent), were not consistently increased in the carcinomas, and were not significantly correlated with HAS protein or hyaluronan accumulation in individual samples. Instead, the median of HYAL1 mRNA level was 69% lower in grade 3 serous ovarian cancers compared to normal ovaries (P = 0.01). The expression of HYAL1, but not HYAL2, significantly correlated with the enzymatic activity of tissue hyaluronidases (r = 0.5; P = 0.006). An inverse correlation was noted between HYAL1 mRNA and the intensity of hyaluronan staining of the corresponding tissue sections (r = -0.4; P = 0.025).
The results indicate that in serous epithelial ovarian malignancies HAS expression is not consistently elevated but HYAL1 expression is significantly reduced and correlates with the accumulation of hyaluronan. (233 words)
A large genotyping project within the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) recently identified 41 associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and overall breast cancer (BC) risk. We investigated whether the effects of these 41 SNPs, as well as six SNPs associated with estrogen receptor (ER) negative BC risk are modified by 13 environmental risk factors for BC.
Data from 22 studies participating in BCAC were pooled, comprising up to 26,633 cases and 30,119 controls. Interactions between SNPs and environmental factors were evaluated using an empirical Bayes-type shrinkage estimator.
Six SNPs showed interactions with associated p-values (pint) <1.1×10−3. None of the observed interactions was significant after accounting for multiple testing. The Bayesian False Discovery Probability was used to rank the findings, which indicated three interactions as being noteworthy at 1% prior probability of interaction. SNP rs6828523 was associated with increased ER-negative BC risk in women ≥170cm (OR=1.22, p=0.017), but inversely associated with ER-negative BC risk in women <160cm (OR=0.83, p=0.039, pint=1.9×10−4). The inverse association between rs4808801 and overall BC risk was stronger for women who had had four or more pregnancies (OR=0.85, p=2.0×10−4), and absent in women who had had just one (OR=0.96, p=0.19, pint = 6.1×10−4). SNP rs11242675 was inversely associated with overall BC risk in never/former smokers (OR=0.93, p=2.8×10−5), but no association was observed in current smokers (OR=1.07, p=0.14, pint = 3.4×10−4).
In conclusion, recently identified breast cancer susceptibility loci are not strongly modified by established risk factors and the observed potential interactions require confirmation in independent studies.
gene-environment interaction; breast cancer; risk factor; genetic susceptibility
This is the first study investigating the contribution of inherited variants in core genes of the chromosomal passenger complex to breast cancer susceptibility. It was found that several INCENP variants are associated with the risk of ER-negative breast cancer in the European population.
The chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) plays a pivotal role in the regulation of cell division. Therefore, inherited CPC variability could influence tumor development. The present candidate gene approach investigates the relationship between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes encoding key CPC components and breast cancer risk. Fifteen SNPs in four CPC genes (INCENP, AURKB, BIRC5 and CDCA8) were genotyped in 88 911 European women from 39 case-control studies of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Possible associations were investigated in fixed-effects meta-analyses. The synonymous SNP rs1675126 in exon 7 of INCENP was associated with overall breast cancer risk [per A allele odds ratio (OR) 0.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92–0.98, P = 0.007] and particularly with estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast tumors (per A allele OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.83–0.95, P = 0.0005). SNPs not directly genotyped were imputed based on 1000 Genomes. The SNPs rs1047739 in the 3ʹ untranslated region and rs144045115 downstream of INCENP showed the strongest association signals for overall (per T allele OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.00–1.06, P = 0.0009) and ER-negative breast cancer risk (per A allele OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.10, P = 0.0002). Two genotyped SNPs in BIRC5 were associated with familial breast cancer risk (top SNP rs2071214: per G allele OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.04–1.21, P = 0.002). The data suggest that INCENP in the CPC pathway contributes to ER-negative breast cancer susceptibility in the European population. In spite of a modest contribution of CPC-inherited variants to the total burden of sporadic and familial breast cancer, their potential as novel targets for breast cancer treatment should be further investigated.
Previous studies have suggested that polymorphisms in CASP8 on chromosome 2 are associated with breast cancer risk. To clarify the role of CASP8 in breast cancer susceptibility, we carried out dense genotyping of this region in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning a 1 Mb region around CASP8 were genotyped in 46 450 breast cancer cases and 42 600 controls of European origin from 41 studies participating in the BCAC as part of a custom genotyping array experiment (iCOGS). Missing genotypes and SNPs were imputed and, after quality exclusions, 501 typed and 1232 imputed SNPs were included in logistic regression models adjusting for study and ancestry principal components. The SNPs retained in the final model were investigated further in data from nine genome-wide association studies (GWAS) comprising in total 10 052 case and 12 575 control subjects. The most significant association signal observed in European subjects was for the imputed intronic SNP rs1830298 in ALS2CR12 (telomeric to CASP8), with per allele odds ratio and 95% confidence interval [OR (95% confidence interval, CI)] for the minor allele of 1.05 (1.03–1.07), P = 1 × 10−5. Three additional independent signals from intronic SNPs were identified, in CASP8 (rs36043647), ALS2CR11 (rs59278883) and CFLAR (rs7558475). The association with rs1830298 was replicated in the imputed results from the combined GWAS (P = 3 × 10−6), yielding a combined OR (95% CI) of 1.06 (1.04–1.08), P = 1 × 10−9. Analyses of gene expression associations in peripheral blood and normal breast tissue indicate that CASP8 might be the target gene, suggesting a mechanism involving apoptosis.
Mitotic index is an important component of histologic grade and has an etiologic role in breast tumorigenesis. Several small candidate gene studies have reported associations between variation in mitotic genes and breast cancer risk. We measured associations between 2156 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 194 mitotic genes and breast cancer risk, overall and by histologic grade, in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) iCOGS study (n = 39 067 cases; n = 42 106 controls). SNPs in TACC2 [rs17550038: odds ratio (OR) = 1.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16–1.33, P = 4.2 × 10−10) and EIF3H (rs799890: OR = 1.07, 95% CI 1.04–1.11, P = 8.7 × 10−6) were significantly associated with risk of low-grade breast cancer. The TACC2 signal was retained (rs17550038: OR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.07–1.23, P = 7.9 × 10−5) after adjustment for breast cancer risk SNPs in the nearby FGFR2 gene, suggesting that TACC2 is a novel, independent genome-wide significant genetic risk locus for low-grade breast cancer. While no SNPs were individually associated with high-grade disease, a pathway-level gene set analysis showed that variation across the 194 mitotic genes was associated with high-grade breast cancer risk (P = 2.1 × 10−3). These observations will provide insight into the contribution of mitotic defects to histological grade and the etiology of breast cancer.
In breast cancer, constitutive activation of NF-κB has been reported, however, the impact of genetic variation of the pathway on patient prognosis has been little studied. Furthermore, a combination of genetic variants, rather than single polymorphisms, may affect disease prognosis. Here, in an extensive dataset (n = 30,431) from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, we investigated the association of 917 SNPs in 75 genes in the NF-κB pathway with breast cancer prognosis. We explored SNP-SNP interactions on survival using the likelihood-ratio test comparing multivariate Cox’ regression models of SNP pairs without and with an interaction term. We found two interacting pairs associating with prognosis: patients simultaneously homozygous for the rare alleles of rs5996080 and rs7973914 had worse survival (HRinteraction 6.98, 95% CI=3.3-14.4, P = 1.42E-07), and patients carrying at least one rare allele for rs17243893 and rs57890595 had better survival (HRinteraction 0.51, 95% CI=0.3-0.6, P = 2.19E-05). Based on in silico functional analyses and literature, we speculate that the rs5996080 and rs7973914 loci may affect the BAFFR and TNFR1/TNFR3 receptors and breast cancer survival, possibly by disturbing both the canonical and non-canonical NF-κB pathways or their dynamics, whereas, rs17243893-rs57890595 interaction on survival may be mediated through TRAF2-TRAIL-R4 interplay. These results warrant further validation and functional analyses.
breast cancer; survival analysis; SNP-SNP interaction; NF-κB pathway
Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values are increasingly reported in breast MRI. As there is no standardized method for ADC measurements, we evaluated the effect of the size of region of interest (ROI) to diagnostic utility and correlation to prognostic markers of breast cancer.
This prospective study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Board; the need for written informed consent for the retrospective analyses of the breast MRIs was waived by the Chair of the Hospital District. We compared diagnostic accuracy of ADC measurements from whole-lesion ROIs (WL-ROIs) to small subregions (S-ROIs) showing the most restricted diffusion and evaluated correlations with prognostic factors in 112 consecutive patients (mean age 56.2±11.6 years, 137 lesions) who underwent 3.0-T breast MRI.
Intra- and interobserver reproducibility were substantial (κ = 0.616–0.784; Intra-Class Correlation 0.589–0.831). In receiver operating characteristics analysis, differentiation between malignant and benign lesions was excellent (area under curve 0.957–0.962, cut-off ADC values for WL-ROIs: 0.87×10−3 mm2s-1; S-ROIs: 0.69×10−3 mm2s-1, P<0.001). WL-ROIs/S-ROIs achieved sensitivities of 95.7%/91.3%, specificities of 89.5%/94.7%, and overall accuracies of 89.8%/94.2%. In S-ROIs, lower ADC values correlated with presence of axillary metastases (P = 0.03), high histological grade (P = 0.006), and worsened Nottingham Prognostic Index Score (P<0.05). In both ROIs, ADC values correlated with progesterone receptors and advanced stage (P<0.01), but not with HER2, estrogen receptors, or Ki-67.
ADC values assist in breast tumor characterization. Small ROIs were more accurate than whole-lesion ROIs and more frequently associated with prognostic factors. Cut-off values differed significantly depending on measurement procedure, which should be recognized when comparing results from the literature. Instead of using a whole lesion covering ROI, a small ROI could be advocated in diffusion-weighted imaging.
KDM4A, KDM4B and KDM4D are lysine demethylases which demethylate H3 at lysine K9 and K36 sites, additionally KDM4D also the H1.4 linker histone at K26 lysine. Lysine methylation changes can repress or induce gene expression at specific sites thus influencing cellular functions. We analysed the immunohistochemical expression of KDM4A, KDM4B and KDM4D in a clinical material of 188 patients with lung carcinomas. There were 132 (70%) squamous cell carcinomas, 53 (28%) adenocarcinomas and 3 (2%) large cell carcinomas in the study. Additionally, the trimethylated state of chromatin was detected with an antibody to trimethylated H3K9 residue. Nuclear KDM4A and KDM4D were associated with the presence of lymph node metastases in tumors. Cytoplasmic KDM4A was associated with poor survival of the patients (P = 0.015) and with a shorter recurrence free interval (P = 0.028). KDM4A and KDM4D appear to have a significant role in the metastatic spread of lung carcinomas. The findings are also in line with their proposed involvement in mechanisms associated with cell proliferation, apoptosis and DNA repair.
Lung; cancer; epigenetics; KDM; demethylase