Exposure to ionizing radiation has been consistently associated with increased risk of female breast cancer. Although the majority of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation is corrected by the base-excision repair pathway, certain types of multiple-base damage can only be repaired through the nucleotide excision repair pathway. In a nested case–control study of breast cancer in US radiologic technologists exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation (858 cases, 1,083 controls), we examined whether risk of breast cancer conferred by radiation was modified by nucleotide excision gene polymorphisms ERCC2 (XPD) rs13181, ERCC4 (XPF) rs1800067 and rs1800124, ERCC5 (XPG) rs1047769 and rs17655; and ERCC6 rs2228526. Of the 6 ERCC variants examined, only ERCC5 rs17655 showed a borderline main effect association with breast cancer risk (ORGC = 1.1, ORCC = 1.3; p-trend = 0.08), with some indication that individuals carrying the C allele variant were more susceptible to the effects of occupational radiation (EOR/GyGG = 1.0, 95% CI = <0, 6.0; EOR/GyGC/CC = 5.9, 95% CI = 0.9, 14.4; phet = 0.10). ERCC2 rs13181, although not associated with breast cancer risk overall, statistically significantly modified the effect of occupational radiation dose on risk of breast cancer (EOR/GyAA = 9.1, 95% CI = 2.1–21.3; EOR/GyAC/CC = 0.6, 95% CI = <0, 4.6; phet = 0.01). These results suggest that common variants in nucleotide excision repair genes may modify the association between occupational radiation exposure and breast cancer risk.
The overwhelming majority of studies that have found increased cancer risk associated with functional deficits in DNA repair used a case-control design, in which measurements were made after cancer diagnosis. However, there are concerns about whether the cancer itself or cancer treatment affected the conclusions (reverse causation bias). We assessed the effect of cancer diagnosis among 26 breast cancer controls who had blood collected during 2001 to 2003 and again in 2005 to 2006 after being diagnosed with cancer. Using the alkaline comet assay, we quantified DNA damage in untreated lymphoblastoid cell lines. Comet distributed moment, olive tail moment, percentage of DNA in tail, and comet tail length were summarized as the geometric mean of 100 cells. For comet distributed moment, olive tail moment, tail DNA, and tail length, the proportions of women with before diagnosis values higher than after diagnosis were 65%, 50%, 50%, and 46%, respectively. We found no significant differences in the before or after diagnosis mean comet values. Median cut-points were determined from the before diagnosis distribution, and we used conditional logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and upper 95% bounds of the confidence intervals. ORs ranged from 0.6 to 0.9 with upper confidence interval bounds of 1.9 and 2.6, meaning biased ORs above 2.6 are unlikely. We found no evidence that reverse causation bias is an important concern in case-control studies using the comet assay applied to cell lines collected after cancer diagnosis. More work is needed to characterize the effect of cancer diagnosis on other phenotypic assays.
We developed three absolute risk models for second primary thyroid cancer to assist with long-term clinical monitoring of childhood cancer survivors.
Patients and Methods
We used data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) and two nested case-control studies (Nordic CCSS; Late Effects Study Group). Model M1 included self-reported risk factors, model M2 added basic radiation and chemotherapy treatment information abstracted from medical records, and model M3 refined M2 by incorporating reconstructed radiation absorbed dose to the thyroid. All models were validated in an independent cohort of French childhood cancer survivors.
M1 included birth year, initial cancer type, age at diagnosis, sex, and past thyroid nodule diagnosis. M2 added radiation (yes/no), radiation to the neck (yes/no), and alkylating agent (yes/no). Past thyroid nodule was consistently the strongest risk factor (M1 relative risk [RR], 10.8; M2 RR, 6.8; M3 RR, 8.2). In the validation cohort, 20-year absolute risk predictions for second primary thyroid cancer ranged from 0.04% to 7.4% for M2. Expected events agreed well with observed events for each model, indicating good calibration. All models had good discriminatory ability (M1 area under the receiver operating characteristics curve [AUC], 0.71; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.77; M2 AUC, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.86; M3 AUC, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.69 to 0.82).
We developed and validated three absolute risk models for second primary thyroid cancer. Model M2, with basic prior treatment information, could be useful for monitoring thyroid cancer risk in childhood cancer survivors.
Geographic gradients in breast cancer incidence and mortality suggest that vitamin D may reduce risk. The enzyme 25-hydroxyvitamin D 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1), which degrades the active form of vitamin D, and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) are both found in breast tissue. We investigated six polymorphisms in CYP24A1 and two in the VDR gene in association with breast cancer risk.
Materials and Methods
We conducted a case--control study within the nationwide U.S. Radiologic Technologists cohort, including 845 controls and 484 incident breast cancer cases. Associations of polymorphic variants and ecologic and personal measures of sun exposure with breast cancer risk were assessed using unconditional logistic regression.
Two polymorphisms in CYP24A1 were associated with increased breast cancer risk (rs34043203, Ptrend = 0.03; rs2762934, Ptrend = 0.005) and one with reduced breast cancer risk (rs1570669, Ptrend=0.048). Risk was inversely associated with minor alleles for the VDR Bsm1 polymorphism (rs1544410, Ptrend = 0.05) but not Fok1 (rs2228570). Sunlight measures were not associated with breast cancer risk, however significant interactions between time outdoors in the teen years and three unlinked genotypes were found for VDR (rs1544410, rs2228570) and CYP24A1 (rs1570669).
In this nation-wide breast cancer case--control study, we found the vitamin D pathway was involved in disease etiology and further suggest that reduced cancer risk in association with sunlight may depend on timing of exposure and genetic background. These findings merit further investigation.
Vitamin D; sunlight; polymorphisms; breast cancer; gene; case—control
Epidemiologic studies have shown consistent associations between obesity and increased thyroid cancer risk, but, to date, no studies have investigated the relationship between thyroid cancer risk and obesity-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
We evaluated 575 tag SNPs in 23 obesity-related gene regions in a case-control study of 341 incident papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) cases and 444 controls of European ancestry. Logistic regression models, adjusted for attained age, year of birth, and sex were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) with SNP genotypes, coded as 0, 1, and 2 and modeled continuously to calculate P-trends.
Nine out of 10 top-ranking SNPs (Ptrend<0.01) were located in the FTO (fat mass and obesity associated) gene region, while the other was located in INSR (insulin receptor). None of the associations were significant after correcting for multiple testing.
Our data do not support an important role of obesity-related genetic polymorphisms in determining the risk of PTC.
Factors other than selected genetic polymorphisms may be responsible for the observed associations between obesity and increased PTC risk.
single nucleotide polymorphisms; case-control study; obesity; body mass index; thyroid neoplasms
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common malignancy in the United States. Ionizing radiation is an established risk factor in certain populations, including cancer survivors. We quantified the association between ionizing radiation dose and the risk of BCC in childhood cancer survivors.
Participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study who reported a BCC (case subjects, n = 199) were matched on age and length of follow-up to three study participants who had not developed a BCC (control subjects, n = 597). The radiation-absorbed dose (in Gy) to the BCC location was calculated based on individual radiotherapy records using a custom-designed dosimetry program. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between demographic and treatment factors, therapeutic radiation dose, and surrogate markers of sun sensitivity (skin and hair color) and the risk of BCC. A linear dose–response model was fitted to evaluate the excess odds ratio per Gy of radiation dose.
Among case subjects, 83% developed BCC between the ages of 20 and 39 years. Radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy, was associated with an increased risk of BCC compared with no chemotherapy or radiation. The odds ratio for subjects who received 35 Gy or more to the skin site vs no radiation therapy was 39.8 (95% CI = 8.6 to 185). Results were consistent with a linear dose–response relationship, with an excess odds ratio per Gy of 1.09 (95% CI = 0.49 to 2.64). No other treatment variables were statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of BCC.
Radiation doses to the skin of more than 1 Gy are associated with an increased risk of BCC.
Relationships are unclear between polymorphisms in genes involved in metabolism and detoxification of various chemicals and papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) risk as well as their potential modification by alcohol or tobacco intake. We evaluated associations between 1647 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 132 candidate genes/regions involved in metabolism of exogenous and endogenous compounds (Phase I/II, oxidative stress, and metal binding pathways) and PTC risk in 344 PTC cases and 452 controls. For 15 selected regions and their respective SNPs, we also assessed interaction with alcohol and tobacco use. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate the main effect of SNPs (Ptrend) and interaction with alcohol/tobacco intake. Gene- and pathway-level associations and interactions (Pgene interaction) were evaluated by combining Ptrend values using the adaptive rank-truncated product method. While we found associations between PTC risk and nine SNPs (Ptrend≤0.01) and seven genes/regions (Pregion<0.05), none remained significant after correction for the false discovery rate. We found a significant interaction between UGT2B7 and NAT1 genes and alcohol intake (Pgene interaction=0.01 and 0.02 respectively) and between the CYP26B1 gene and tobacco intake (Pgene interaction=0.02). Our results are suggestive of interaction between the genetic polymorphisms in several detoxification genes and alcohol or tobacco intake on risk of PTC. Larger studies with improved exposure assessment should address potential modification of PTC risk by alcohol and tobacco intake to confirm or refute our findings.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 8q24 chromosomal region identified from genome-wide scans have been associated with risk of several cancers including breast (rs1562430), prostate and colon (rs1447295 and rs6983267). A genome-wide scan in 26 families with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) also found susceptibility loci in 8q24, supporting a closer evaluation of this chromosomal region in relation to risk of sporadic PTC.
We evaluated 157 tag SNPs in the 8q24 chromosomal region between 120.91 Mb and 128.78 Mb (including rs1562430, rs1447295, and rs6983267) in a case-control study of 344 PTC cases and 452 age and gender frequency-matched controls.
We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios and compute P-values of linear trend for PTC with genotypes of interest. To account for multiple comparisons, we applied the false discovery rate (FDR) method.
We did not find a significant association between rs1562430, rs1447295, or rs6983267, and PTC risk. We found that one SNP (rs4733616) was associated with PTC risk at P = 0.003, and twelve other SNPs were associated with PTC risk at P < 0.05. However, no SNPs remained significant after FDR correction.
Our findings do not support a strong association between SNPs in the 8q24 chromosomal region and risk of sporadic PTC but several SNPs with small effects might exist.
8q24; thyroid cancer
Androgen levels during critical periods of testicular development may be involved in the etiology of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT). We evaluated the roles of adolescent and early adult life correlates of androgen exposure and TGCT in a hospital-based case control study. TGCT cases (n=187) and controls (n=148), matched on age, race and state of residence, participated in the study. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate associations between TGCT and male pattern baldness, severe acne, markers of puberty onset and body size. Cases were significantly less likely to report hair loss than controls (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4, 1.0). Amount of hair loss, increasing age at onset and increasing rate of loss were all inversely associated with TGCT (rate of hair loss: p-trend=0.03; age at onset: p-trend=0.03; amount of hair loss: p-trend=0.01). History of severe acne was inversely associated with TGCT (OR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3, 0.9) and height was positively associated with TGCT (p-trend=0.02). Increased endogenous androgen levels during puberty and early adulthood may be associated with decreased risk of TGCT. Additional studies of endogenous hormone levels during puberty and early adult life are warranted, especially studies evaluating the role of androgen synthesis, metabolism and uptake.
Testicular germ cell tumors; baldness; acne; hospital-based; case-control
While ionizing radiation is an established environmental risk factor for thyroid cancer, the effect of chemotherapy drugs on thyroid cancer risk remains unclear. We evaluated the chemotherapy-related risk of thyroid cancer in childhood cancer survivors, and the possible joint effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The study included 12,547 five-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed during 1970 through 1986. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy information was obtained from medical records, and radiation dose was estimated to the thyroid gland. Cumulative incidence and relative risks were calculated using life-table methods and Poisson regression. Chemotherapy-related risks were evaluated separately by categories of radiation dose.
Histologically confirmed thyroid cancer occurred in 119 patients. Thirty years after the first childhood cancer treatment, the cumulative incidence of thyroid cancer was 1.3% (95% CI, 1.0–1.6) for females and 0.6% (0.4–0.8) for males. Among patients with thyroid radiation doses ≤ 20 Gy, treatment with alkylating agents was associated with a significant 2.4-fold increased risk of thyroid cancer (95% CI, 1.3–4.5; P = 0.002). Chemotherapy risks decreased as radiation dose increased, with a significant decrease for patients treated with alkylating agents (P-trend = 0.03). No chemotherapy-related risk was evident for thyroid radiation doses >20 Gy.
Treatments with alkylating agents increased thyroid cancer risk, but only in the radiation dose range under 20 Gy, where cell sparing likely predominates over cell killing.
Our study adds to the evidence for chemotherapy agent-specific increased risks of thyroid cancer, which to date, were mainly thought to be related to prior radiotherapy.
Thyroid cancer; second cancer; chemotherapy; radiation risk; cohort study
DNA damage is an important mechanism in carcinogenesis, so genes related to maintaining genomic integrity may influence papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) risk. Candidate gene studies targeting some of these genes have identified only a few polymorphisms associated with risk of PTC. Here, we expanded the scope of previous candidate studies by increasing the number and coverage of genes related to maintenance of genomic integrity. We evaluated 5077 tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 340 candidate gene regions hypothesized to be involved in DNA repair, epigenetics, tumor suppression, apoptosis, telomere function and cell cycle control and signaling pathways in a case–control study of 344 PTC cases and 452 matched controls. We estimated odds ratios for associations of single SNPs with PTC risk and combined P values for SNPs in the same gene region or pathway to obtain gene region-specific or pathway-specific P values using adaptive rank-truncated product methods. Nine SNPs had P values <0.0005, three of which were in HDAC4 and were inversely related to PTC risk. After multiple comparisons adjustment, no SNPs remained associated with PTC risk. Seven gene regions were associated with PTC risk at P < 0.01, including HUS1, ALKBH3, HDAC4, BAK1, FAF1_CDKN2C, DACT3 and FZD6. Our results suggest a possible role of genes involved in maintenance of genomic integrity in relation to risk of PTC.
The major DNA repair pathway for coping with spontaneous forms of DNA damage, such as natural hydrolytic products or oxidative lesions, is base excision repair (BER). In particular, BER processes mutagenic and cytotoxic DNA lesions such as non-bulky base modifications, abasic sites, and a range of chemically distinct single-strand breaks. Defects in BER have been linked to cancer predisposition, neurodegenerative disorders, and immunodeficiency. Recent data indicate a large degree of sequence variability in DNA repair genes and several studies have associated BER gene polymorphisms with disease risk, including cancer of several sites. The intent of this review is to describe the range of BER capacity among individuals and the functional consequences of BER genetic variants. We also discuss studies that associate BER deficiency with disease risk and the current state of BER capacity measurement assays.
DNA repair capacity; base excision; pathway assay; polymorphism; disease susceptibility
Case-control studies have shown that regular use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) decreases bladder cancer risk, but few cohort studies have evaluated this association. The authors investigated NSAID use and bladder cancer in 3 large prospective studies (NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study; Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial; and U.S. Radiologic Technologists Study). Frequency of aspirin and nonaspirin NSAID use 1 year prior to baseline was ascertained using self-administered questionnaires. Study-specific hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using Cox regression models and were combined using a fixed-effects meta-analytic model. Data from all studies were aggregated, and aggregated hazard ratios were estimated. The analysis included 508,842 individuals, with 2,489 incident cases of bladder cancer. A reduction in risk was observed for individuals who reported regular use (>2 times/week) of nonaspirin NSAIDs compared with those who reported no use (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.92, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.81, 1.04). The risk reduction was limited to nonsmokers (HR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.41, 0.83) (Ptrend = 0.008) (Pinteraction = 0.02). No association was observed between regular aspirin use and bladder cancer risk (HR = 1.04, 95% CI: 0.94, 1.15). Results suggest that nonaspirin NSAIDs, but not aspirin, are associated with a reduction in risk of bladder cancer, particularly for nonsmokers.
anti-inflammatory agents, non-steroidal; aspirin; meta-analysis; urinary bladder neoplasms
Nulliparity is an established breast cancer risk factor, particularly when compared with parity at young ages. The authors aggregated data from 4 US prospective studies (1979–2006) including 32,641 nulliparous (1,612 breast cancers) and 204,270 parous (8,180 breast cancers) women to examine the hypothesis that nulliparity may increase susceptibility to established postmenopausal breast cancer risk factors. The aggregated hazard ratio for nulliparous versus all parous women = 1.27 (95% confidence interval: 1.21, 1.34), and that for nulliparous versus women <25 years of age at first birth = 1.38 (95% confidence interval: 1.30, 1.46). Among nulliparous women, the hazard ratios for current menopausal hormone therapy use (vs. never use), body mass index ≥30 kg/m2 (vs. <25 kg/m2), and weekly consumption of ≥7 alcoholic drinks (vs. none) ranged from 1.3 to 1.6. The hazard ratios did not differ by parity. In a model including all women, the joint association for each of these factors and nulliparity combined compared with first birth before age 25 years was an approximately 2-fold increased breast cancer risk. Although the baseline risk is higher for nulliparous women compared with parous women, these results suggest that the associations between hormone-related factors and breast cancer do not differ by parity.
alcohol drinking; body mass index; breast neoplasms; hormone replacement therapy; parity; prospective studies; risk factors
Since the early 1970's the incidence of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) in the U.S. has been increasing, however, potential environmental exposures accounting for this rise have not been identified. A prior study reported a significant association among frequent and long-term current users of marijuana and TGCT risk. We aimed to evaluate the relationship of marijuana use and TGCT in a hospital-based case-control study conducted at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
TGCT cases diagnosed between January 1990 and October 1996 (n=187) and male friend controls (n=148) were enrolled in the study. All participants were between the ages of 18 and 50 at the time of cases' diagnosis and resided in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, or Oklahoma. Associations of marijuana use and TGCT were estimated using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for age, race, prior cryptorchidism, cigarette smoking and alcohol intake.
Overall, TGCT cases were more likely to be frequent marijuana users (daily or greater) than were controls [OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.0, 5.1]. In the histologic-specific analyses nonseminoma cases were significantly more likely than controls to be frequent users [OR: 3.1, 95% CI: 1.2, 8.2] and long-term users (10+ years) [OR: 2.4, 95% CI: 1.0, 6.1].
Our finding of an association between frequent marijuana use and TGCT, particularly among men with nonseminoma, is consistent with the findings of a previous report. Additional studies of marijuana use and TGCT are warranted, especially studies evaluating the role of endocannabinoid signaling and cannabinoid receptors in TGCT.
marijuana use; seminomas; nonseminomas; testicular germ cell tumors; hospital-based case-control
Mutagen challenge and DNA repair assays have been used in case–control studies for nearly three decades to assess human cancer risk. The findings still engender controversy because blood was drawn after cancer diagnosis so the results may be biased, a type called ‘reverse causation’. We therefore used Epstein–Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines established from prospectively collected peripheral blood samples to evaluate lung cancer risk in relation to three DNA repair assays: alkaline Comet assay, host cell reactivation (HCR) assay with the mutagen benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide and the bleomycin mutagen sensitivity assay. Cases (n = 117) were diagnosed with lung cancer between 0.3 and 6 years after blood collection and controls (n = 117) were frequency matched on calendar year and age at blood collection, gender and smoking history; all races were included. Case and control status was unknown to laboratory investigators. In unconditional logistic regression analyses, statistically significantly increased lung cancer odds ratios (ORadjusted) were observed for bleomycin mutagen sensitivity as quartiles of chromatid breaks/cell [relative to the lowest quartile, OR = 1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.5–2.5; OR = 1.4, 95% CI: 0.7–3.1; OR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.0–4.4, respectively, Ptrend = 0.04]. The magnitude of the association between the bleomycin assay and lung cancer risk was modest compared with those reported in previous lung cancer studies but was strengthened when we included only incident cases diagnosed more than a year after blood collection (Ptrend = 0.02), supporting the notion the assay may be a measure of cancer susceptibility. The Comet and HCR assays were unrelated to lung cancer risk.
Previous studies have indicated that thyroid cancer risk after a first childhood malignancy is curvilinear with radiation dose, increasing at low to moderate doses and decreasing at high doses. Understanding factors that modify the radiation dose response over the entire therapeutic dose range is challenging and requires large numbers of subjects. We quantified the long-term risk of thyroid cancer associated with radiation treatment among 12,547 5-year survivors of a childhood cancer (leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, central nervous system cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, kidney cancer, bone cancer, neuroblastoma) diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study using the most current cohort follow-up to 2005. There were 119 subsequent pathologically confirmed thyroid cancer cases, and individual radiation doses to the thyroid gland were estimated for the entire cohort. This cohort study builds on the previous case-control study in this population (69 thyroid cancer cases with follow-up to 2000) by allowing the evaluation of both relative and absolute risks. Poisson regression analyses were used to calculate standardized incidence ratios (SIR), excess relative risks (ERR) and excess absolute risks (EAR) of thyroid cancer associated with radiation dose. Other factors such as sex, type of first cancer, attained age, age at exposure to radiation, time since exposure to radiation, and chemotherapy (yes/no) were assessed for their effect on the linear and exponential quadratic terms describing the dose–response relationship. Similar to the previous analysis, thyroid cancer risk increased linearly with radiation dose up to approximately 20 Gy, where the relative risk peaked at 14.6-fold (95% CI, 6.8–31.5). At thyroid radiation doses >20 Gy, a downturn in the dose–response relationship was observed. The ERR model that best fit the data was linear-exponential quadratic. We found that age at exposure modified the ERR linear dose term (higher radiation risk with younger age) (P < 0.001) and that sex (higher radiation risk among females) (P = 0.008) and time since exposure (higher radiation risk with longer time) (P < 0.001) modified the EAR linear dose term. None of these factors modified the exponential quadratic (high dose) term. Sex, age at exposure and time since exposure were found to be significant modifiers of the radiation-related risk of thyroid cancer and as such are important factors to account for in clinical follow-up and thyroid cancer risk estimation among childhood cancer survivors.
As genome-wide association studies of breast cancer are replicating findings and refinement studies are narrowing the signal location, additional efforts are necessary to elucidate the underlying functional relationships. One approach is to evaluate variation in risk by genotype based on known breast carcinogens, such as ionizing radiation. Given the public health concerns associated with recent increases in medical radiation exposure, this approach may also identify potentially susceptible sub-populations. We examined interaction between 27 newly identified breast cancer risk alleles (identified within the NCI Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility and the Breast Cancer Association Consortium genome-wide association studies) and occupational and medical diagnostic radiation exposure among 859 cases and 1083 controls nested within the United States Radiologic Technologists cohort. We did not find significant variation in the radiation-related breast cancer risk for the variant in RAD51L1 (rs10483813) on 14q24.1 as we had hypothesized. In exploratory analyses, we found that the radiation-associated breast cancer risk varied significantly by linked markers in 5p12 (rs930395, rs10941679, rs2067980, and rs4415084) in the mitochondrial ribosomal protein S30 (MRPS30) gene (pinteraction=0.04). Chance, however, may explain these findings, and as such, these results need to be confirmed in other populations with low to moderate levels of radiation exposure. Even though a complete understanding by which these variants may increase breast cancer risk remains elusive, this approach may yield clues for further investigation.
Ionizing radiation-associated breast cancer risk appears to be modified by timing of reproductive events such as age at radiation exposure, parity, age at first live birth, and age at menopause. However, potential breast cancer risk modification of low- to moderate radiation dose by polymorphic estrogen metabolism-related gene variants has not been routinely investigated. We assessed breast cancer risk of 12 candidate variants in 12 genes involved in steroid metabolism, catabolism, binding, or receptor functions in a study of 859 cases and 1083 controls within the US Radiologic Technologists (USRT) cohort. Using cumulative breast dose estimates from a detailed assessment of occupational and personal diagnostic ionizing radiation exposure, we investigated the joint effects of genotype on the risk of breast cancer. In multivariate analyses, we observed a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer associated with the CYP3A4 M445T minor allele (rs4986910, OR=0.3; 95% CI 0.1–0.9). We found a borderline increased breast cancer risk with having both minor alleles of CYP1B1 V432L (rs1056836, CC vs. GG, OR=1.2; 95% CI 0.9–1.6). Assuming a recessive model, the minor allele of CYP1B1 V432L significantly increased the dose-response relationship between personal diagnostic x-ray exposure and breast cancer risk, adjusted for cumulative occupational radiation dose (pinteraction=0.03) and had a similar joint effect for cumulative occupational radiation dose adjusted for personal diagnostic x-ray exposure (pinteraction=0.06). We found suggestive evidence that common variants in selected estrogen metabolizing genes may modify the association between ionizing radiation exposure and breast cancer risk.
Risk factors for thyroid cancer remain largely unknown except for ionizing radiation exposure during childhood and a history of benign thyroid nodules. Because thyroid nodules are more common than thyroid cancers and are associated with thyroid cancer risk, we evaluated several polymorphisms potentially relevant to thyroid tumors and assessed interaction with ionizing radiation exposure to the thyroid gland. Thyroid nodules were detected in 1998 by ultrasound screening of 2997 persons who lived near the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan when they were children (1949-62). Cases with thyroid nodules (n=907) were frequency matched (1:1) to those without nodules by ethnicity (Kazakh or Russian), gender, and age at screening. Thyroid gland radiation doses were estimated from fallout deposition patterns, residence history, and diet. We analyzed 23 polymorphisms in 13 genes and assessed interaction with ionizing radiation exposure using likelihood ratio tests (LRT). Elevated thyroid nodule risks were associated with the minor alleles of RET S836S (rs1800862, p = 0.03) and GFRA1 -193C>G (rs not assigned, p = 0.05) and decreased risk with XRCC1 R194W (rs1799782, p-trend = 0.03) and TGFB1 T263I (rs1800472, p = 0.009). Similar patterns of association were observed for a small number of papillary thyroid cancers (n=25). Ionizing radiation exposure to the thyroid gland was associated with significantly increased risk of thyroid nodules (age and gender adjusted excess odds ratio/Gy = 0.30, 95% confidence interval 0.05-0.56), with evidence for interaction by genotype found for XRCC1 R194W (LRT p value = 0.02). Polymorphisms in RET signaling, DNA repair, and proliferation genes may be related to risk of thyroid nodules, consistent with some previous reports on thyroid cancer. Borderline support for gene-radiation interaction was found for a variant in XRCC1, a key base excision repair protein. Other pathways, such as genes in double strand break repair, apoptosis, and genes related to proliferation should also be pursued.
Thyroid nodules; single nucleotide polymorphisms; epidemiology; thyroid cancer; ionizing radiation; interaction
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are comprised of two histologic groups, seminomas and nonseminomas. We postulated that the possible divergent pathogeneses of these histologies may be partially explained by variable levels of net endogenous DNA damage. To test our hypothesis, we conducted a case-case analysis of 51 seminoma and 61 nonseminoma patients using data and specimens from the Familial Testicular Cancer study and the U.S. Radiologic Technologists cohort. A lymphoblastoid cell line was cultured for each patient and the alkaline comet assay was used to determine four parameters: tail DNA, tail length, comet distributed moment (CDM) and Olive tail moment (OTM). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated using logistic regression. Values for tail length, tail DNA, CDM and OTM were modeled as categorical variables using the 50th and 75th percentiles of the seminoma group. Tail DNA was significantly associated with nonseminoma compared to seminoma (OR50th percentile=3.31, 95%CI: 1.00, 10.98; OR75th percentile=3.71, 95%CI: 1.04, 13.20; p for trend=0.039). OTM exhibited similar, albeit statistically non-significant, risk estimates (OR50th percentile=2.27, 95%CI: 0.75, 6.87; OR75th percentile=2.40, 95%CI: 0.75, 7.71; p for trend=0.12) whereas tail length and CDM showed no association. In conclusion, the results for tail DNA and OTM indicate that net endogenous levels are higher in patients who develop nonseminoma compared with seminoma. This may partly explain the more aggressive biology and younger age-of-onset of this histologic subgroup compared with the relatively less aggressive, later-onset seminoma.
comet assay; nonseminoma; DNA damage; seminoma; testicular neoplasms
Collection of buccal cells from saliva for DNA extraction offers a less invasive and convenient alternative to venipuncture blood collection that may increase participation in genetic epidemiologic studies. However, dried blood spot collection, which is also a convenient method, offers a means of collecting peripheral blood samples from which analytes in addition to DNA can be obtained.
To determine if offering blood spot collection would increase participation in genetic epidemiologic studies, we conducted a study of collecting dried blood spot cards by mail from a sample of female cancer cases (n = 134) and controls (n = 256) who were previously selected for a breast cancer genetics study and declined to provide a venipuncture blood sample. Participants were also randomized to receive either a $2.00 bill or no incentive with the blood spot collection kits.
The average time between the venipuncture sample refusal and recruitment for the blood spot collection was 4.4 years. Thirty-seven percent of cases and 28% of controls provided a dried blood spot card. While the incentive was not associated with participation among controls (29% for $2.00 incentive vs. 26% for no incentive, p = 0.6), it was significantly associated with participation among the breast cancer cases (48% vs. 27%, respectively, p = 0.01). There did not appear to be any bias in response since no differences between cases and controls and incentive groups were observed when examining several demographic, work history and radiation exposure variables.
This study demonstrates that collection of dried blood spot cards in addition to venipuncture blood samples may be a feasible method to increase participation in genetic case-control studies.
The U.S. population has nearly one radiographic examination per person per year and concern about cancer risks associated with medical radiation has increased. Radiologic technologists were surveyed to determine whether their personal cumulative exposure to diagnostic x-rays was associated with increased frequencies of chromosome translocations, an established radiation biomarker and possible intermediary suggesting increased cancer risk. Within a large cohort of U. S. radiologic technologists, 150 provided a blood sample for whole chromosome painting and were interviewed about past x-ray examinations. The number and types of examinations reported were converted to a red bone marrow (RBM) dose score with units that approximated 1 mGy. The relationship between dose score and chromosome translocation frequency was assessed using Poisson regression. The estimated mean cumulative RBM radiation dose score was 49 (range 0 – 303). After adjustment for age, translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing RBM dose score with an estimate of 0.004 translocations per 100 cell equivalents per score unit (95% confidence interval 0.002 to 0.007; P < 0.001). Removing extreme values or adjustment for gender, cigarette smoking, occupational radiation dose, allowing practice x-rays while training, work with radioisotopes, and radiotherapy for benign conditions did not affect the estimate. Cumulative radiation exposure from routine x-ray examinations was associated independently with increased chromosome damage, suggesting the possibility of elevated long-term health risks, including cancer. The slope estimate was consistent with expectation based on cytogenetic experience and atomic bomb survivor data.
Radiation exposure; diagnostic x-rays; chromosome translocations; FISH; risk factors
Informative studies of cancer risks associated with medical radiation are difficult to conduct owing to low radiation doses, poor recall of diagnostic X rays, and long intervals before cancers occur. Chromosome aberrations have been associated with increased cancer risk and translocations are a known radiation biomarker. Seventy-nine U.S. radiologic technologists were selected for blood collection, and translocations were enumerated by whole chromosome painting. We developed a dose score to the red bone marrow for medical radiation exposure from X-ray examinations reported by the technologists that they received as patients. Using Poisson regression, we analyzed translocations in relation to the dose scores. Each dose score unit approximated 1 mGy. The estimated mean cumulative red bone marrow radiation dose score was 42 (range 1–265). After adjustment for age, occupational radiation, and radiotherapy for benign conditions, translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing red bone marrow dose score with an estimate of 0.007 translocations per 100 CEs per score unit (95% CI, 0.002 to 0.013; P = 0.01). Chromosome damage has been linked with elevated cancer risk, and we found that cumulative radiation exposure from medical X-ray examinations was associated with increased numbers of chromosome translocations.
The study aim was to determine the risk of cataract among radiologic technologists with respect to occupational and nonoccupational exposures to ionizing radiation and to personal characteristics. A prospective cohort of 35,705 cataract-free US radiologic technologists aged 24–44 years was followed for nearly 20 years (1983–2004) by using two follow-up questionnaires. During the study period, 2,382 cataracts and 647 cataract extractions were reported. Cigarette smoking for ≥5 pack-years; body mass index of ≥25 kg/m2; and history of diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or arthritis at baseline were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) associated with increased risk of cataract. In multivariate models, self-report of ≥3 x-rays to the face/neck was associated with a hazard ratio of cataract of 1.25 (95% confidence interval: 1.06, 1.47). For workers in the highest category (mean, 60 mGy) versus lowest category (mean, 5 mGy) of occupational dose to the lens of the eye, the adjusted hazard ratio of cataract was 1.18 (95% confidence interval: 0.99, 1.40). Findings challenge the National Council on Radiation Protection and International Commission on Radiological Protection assumptions that the lowest cumulative ionizing radiation dose to the lens of the eye that can produce a progressive cataract is approximately 2 Gy, and they support the hypothesis that the lowest cataractogenic dose in humans is substantially less than previously thought.
cataract; radiation; technology, radiologic; x-rays