Lack of understanding of endocrine resistance remains one of the major challenges for breast cancer researchers, clinicians, and patients. Current reductionist approaches to understanding the molecular signaling driving resistance have offered mostly incremental progress over the past 10 years. As the field of systems biology has begun to mature, the approaches and network modeling tools being developed and applied therein offer a different way to think about how molecular signaling and the regulation of critical cellular functions are integrated. To gain novel insights, we first describe some of the key challenges facing network modeling of endocrine resistance, many of which arise from the properties of the data spaces being studied. We then use activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) following induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress in breast cancer cells by antiestrogens, to illustrate our approaches to computational modeling. Activation of UPR is a key determinant of cell fate decision making and regulation of autophagy and apoptosis. These initial studies provide insight into a small subnetwork topology obtained using differential dependency network analysis and focused on the UPR gene XBP1. The XBP1 subnetwork topology incorporates BCAR3, BCL2, BIK, NFκB, and other genes as nodes; the connecting edges represent the dependency structures amongst these nodes. As data from ongoing cellular and molecular studies become available, we will build detailed mathematical models of this XBP1-UPR network.
Antiestrogen; autophagy; apoptosis; breast cancer; cell signaling; endoplasmic reticulum; estrogens; gene networks; unfolded protein response; computational modeling; mathematical modeling; systems biology
To evaluate the short-term outcomes of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) for thoracic tumors.
The data of 1,790 consecutive patients were retrospectively reviewed. These patients underwent VATS pulmonary resections, VATS esophagectomies, and VATS resections of mediastinal tumors or biopsies at the Cancer Institute & Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences between January 2009 and January 2012.
There were 33 patients converted to open thoracotomy (OT, 1.84%). The overall morbidity and mortality rate was 2.79% (50/1790) and 0.28% (5/1790), respectively. The overall hospitalization and chest tube duration were shorter in the VATS lobectomy group (n=949) than in the open thoracotomy (OT) lobectomy group (n=753). There were no significant differences in morbidity rate, mortality rate and operation time between the two groups. In the esophageal cancer patients, no significant difference was found in the number of nodal dissection, chest tube duration, morbidity rate, mortality rate, and hospital length of stay between the VATS esophagectomy group (n=81) and open esophagectomy group (n=81). However, the operation time was longer in the VATS esophagectomy group. In the thymoma patients, there was no significant difference in the chest tube duration, morbidity rate, mortality rate, and hospital length of stay between the VATS thymectomy group (n=41) and open thymectomy group (n=41). However, the operation time was longer in the VATS group. The median tumor size in the VATS thymectomy group was comparable with that in the OT group.
In early-stage (I/II) non-small cell lung cancer patients who underwent lobectomies, VATS is comparable with the OT approach with similar short-term outcomes. In patients with resectable esophageal cancer, VATS esophagectomy is comparable with OT esophagectomy with similar morbidity and mortality. VATS thymectomy for Masaoka stage I and II thymoma is feasible and safe, and tumor size is not contraindicated. Longer follow-ups are needed to determine the oncologic equivalency of VATS lobectomy, esophagectomy, and thymectomy for thymoma vs. OT.
Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS); non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); esophageal cancer; thymoma
To discuss the impact of Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharide (LBP) and Danshensu purified from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) of rabbits with retinal neovascularization.
Forty rabbits were divided into normal control group, model control group, LBP group and Danshensu group. Animals in the normal control group were fed in the normal oxygen environment. Animals in the other three groups were put into the environment with 70% oxygen for 5 days in order to build the model of oxygen-induced vascular proliferation retinopathy. And then different TCM extract was injected into the abdominal cavities of these annimals. After 7 days, the VEGF content of in the serum of rabbit was measured by double antibody sandwich method.
Data analysis indicated that VEGF content was as follows: Danshensu group was lower than model control group (12.92±3.84ng/L vs 19.32±4.15ng/L, P<0.05); LBP group and normal control group were lower than model control group (12.92±3.84ng/L, 9.26±1.61ng/L vs 19.32±4.15ng/L, P<0.01); total blood viscosity, plasma viscosity, cholesterol content, fibrinogen content and triacylglycerol content after peritoneal injection of LBP and Danshensu were obviously lower than before injection.
TCM extract-LBP and Danshensu can prominently reduce the content of VEGF in the process of vascular proliferative retinopathy of rabbit; can prevent the occurrence of retinal microvascular disease by improving partial oxygen-deficient environment or affecting all kinds of new growth factor.
Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharide; Danshensu; vascular endothelial growth factor; retinal neovascularization; rabbit
Maternal exposures to environmental factors during pregnancy influence the risk of many chronic adult-onset diseases in the offspring. Here we investigate whether feeding pregnant rats a high-fat (HF)- or ethinyl-oestradiol (EE2)-supplemented diet affects carcinogen-induced mammary cancer risk in daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. We show that mammary tumourigenesis is higher in daughters and granddaughters of HF rat dams and in daughters and great-granddaughters of EE2 rat dams. Outcross experiments suggest that the increase in mammary cancer risk is transmitted to HF granddaughters equally through the female or male germ lines, but it is only transmitted to EE2 granddaughters through the female germ line. The effects of maternal EE2 exposure on offspring’s mammary cancer risk are associated with changes in the DNA methylation machinery and methylation patterns in mammary tissue of all three EE2 generations. We conclude that dietary and oestrogenic exposures in pregnancy increase breast cancer risk in multiple generations of offspring, possibly through epigenetic means.
The clinical success of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) as therapeutic agents has prompted great interest in their further development and clinical testing for a wide variety of malignancies. However, most studies have focused on the efficacy of TKI, and few studies have been done on the criteria for their discontinuation. The current standard for drug discontinuation is “until progression”, based on change in tumor size. However, tumor size is not related to the gene expression which determines the efficacy of TKI in the final analysis, and it is also difficult to make a thorough and correct prediction based on tumor size when the TKI is discontinued. Nevertheless, clinical evaluation of the criteria for TKI discontinuation is still in its early days. Some promising findings have started to emerge. With the improving knowledge of EGFR and its inhibitors, it is expected that the criteria for discontinuation of EGFR inhibitor therapy will become clearer.
epidermal growth factor receptor; drug discontinuation; acquired drug-resistance
Genetic variants in inflammation-related genes have been associated with biliary stones and biliary tract cancers in previous studies.
To follow-up on these findings, we examined 35 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in 5 genes related to inflammation (IL8, NFKBIL, RNASEL, TNF, and VEGFA) in 456 participants with incident biliary tract cancer cases (262 gallbladder, 141 extrahepatic bile duct, 53 ampulla of Vater), 982 participants with biliary stones, and 860 healthy controls in a population–based case–control study in Shanghai, China.
Suggestive associations were observed for SNPs in VEGFA with biliary stones, IL8 with gallbladder and ampulla of Vater cancers, and RNASEL with ampulla of Vater cancer (false discovery rate≤0.2).
These findings provide additional support for the role of inflammation in biliary stones and biliary tract cancer risk and need further validation.
Biliary tract cancer; Biliary stones; Inflammation; Genetic susceptibility
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease leading to joint destruction and disability. Focal bone erosion is due to excess bone resorption of osteoclasts. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) is one of the critical mediators both in inflammatory signal pathway and differentiation and resorption activity of osteoclasts. Here we aimed to investigate TRAF6 expression in RA synovium and its correlation with histological synovitis severity and radiological joint destruction in RA.
Synovitis score was determined in needle biopsied synovium from 44 patients with active RA. Synovium from nine patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and seven with orthopedic arthropathies (Orth.A) were enrolled as "less inflamed" disease controls. Serial sections were stained immunohistochemically for TRAF6 as well as CD68 (macrophage), CD3 (T cell), CD20 (B cell), CD38 (plasmocyte), CD79a (B lineage cells from pre-B cell to plasmocyte stage), and CD34 (endothelial cell). Double immunofluorescence staining of TRAF6 and CD68 were tested. Densities of positive staining cells were determined and correlated with histological disease activity (synovitis score) and radiographic joint destruction (Sharp score).
TRAF6 expression was found in the intimal and subintimal area of RA synovium, with intense staining found in the endochylema and nucleus of intimal synoviocytes and subintimal inflammatory cells. Double immunofluorescence staining showed TRAF6 was expressed in most of the intimal cells and obviously expressed in CD68+ cells and some other CD68- cells in subintimal area. Synovial TRAF6 was significantly over-expressed in the RA group compared with the OA and Orth.A group (2.53 ± 0.94 vs. 0.72 ± 0.44 and 0.71 ± 0.49, P < 0.0001). Synovial TRAF6 expression in RA correlated significantly with synovitis score (r = 0.412, P = 0.006), as well as the inflammatory cell infiltration (r = 0.367, P = 0.014). Significant correlation was detected between synovial TRAF6 expression and intimal CD68+ cells, as well as the cell density of subintimal CD68+ cells, CD3+ cells, CD20+ cells, CD38+ cells, and CD79a+ cells (all P < 0.05).
Elevated synovial TRAF6 expression correlated with synovitis severity and CD68+ cell density in RA. It is, therefore, hypothesized that synovial TRAF6 is involved in the pathogenesis of synovial inflammation and osteoclast differentiation in RA.
Motivation: Identification of somatic DNA copy number alterations (CNAs) and significant consensus events (SCEs) in cancer genomes is a main task in discovering potential cancer-driving genes such as oncogenes and tumor suppressors. The recent development of SNP array technology has facilitated studies on copy number changes at a genome-wide scale with high resolution. However, existing copy number analysis methods are oblivious to normal cell contamination and cannot distinguish between contributions of cancerous and normal cells to the measured copy number signals. This contamination could significantly confound downstream analysis of CNAs and affect the power to detect SCEs in clinical samples.
Results: We report here a statistically principled in silico approach, Bayesian Analysis of COpy number Mixtures (BACOM), to accurately estimate genomic deletion type and normal tissue contamination, and accordingly recover the true copy number profile in cancer cells. We tested the proposed method on two simulated datasets, two prostate cancer datasets and The Cancer Genome Atlas high-grade ovarian dataset, and obtained very promising results supported by the ground truth and biological plausibility. Moreover, based on a large number of comparative simulation studies, the proposed method gives significantly improved power to detect SCEs after in silico correction of normal tissue contamination. We develop a cross-platform open-source Java application that implements the whole pipeline of copy number analysis of heterogeneous cancer tissues including relevant processing steps. We also provide an R interface, bacomR, for running BACOM within the R environment, making it straightforward to include in existing data pipelines.
Availability: The cross-platform, stand-alone Java application, BACOM, the R interface, bacomR, all source code and the simulation data used in this article are freely available at authors' web site: http://www.cbil.ece.vt.edu/software.htm.
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Summary: Differential dependency network (DDN) is a caBIG® (cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid) analytical tool for detecting and visualizing statistically significant topological changes in transcriptional networks representing two biological conditions. Developed under caBIG® 's In Silico Research Centers of Excellence (ISRCE) Program, DDN enables differential network analysis and provides an alternative way for defining network biomarkers predictive of phenotypes. DDN also serves as a useful systems biology tool for users across biomedical research communities to infer how genetic, epigenetic or environment variables may affect biological networks and clinical phenotypes. Besides the standalone Java application, we have also developed a Cytoscape plug-in, CytoDDN, to integrate network analysis and visualization seamlessly.
Availability: The Java and MATLAB source code can be downloaded at the authors' web site http://www.cbil.ece.vt.edu/software.htm
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Biliary tract cancer encompasses tumors of the gallbladder, bile duct and ampulla of Vater. Gallbladder cancer is more common in women, whereas bile duct cancer is more common in men, suggesting that sex hormones may play a role in the etiology of these cancers. The intracellular action of estrogens is regulated by the estrogen receptor (ESR); thus, we examined the role of common genetic variants in ESR genes on the risk of biliary tract cancers and stones in a population-based case–control study in Shanghai, China (411 cancer cases, 895 stone cases and 786 controls). We genotyped six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), four in ESR1 (rs2234693, rs3841686, rs2228480 and rs1801132) and two in ESR2 (rs1256049 and rs4986938). In all participants, the ESR1 rs1801132 (P325P) G allele was associated with excess risks of bile duct [odds ratio (OR) = 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1–2.8] and ampulla of Vater cancers (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 0.9–4.9) compared with the CC genotype. The association with bile duct cancer was apparent among men (OR = 2.8, 95% CI 1.4–5.7) but not among women (P-heterogeneity = 0.01). Also, the ESR2 rs4986938 (38 bp 3′ of STP) GG genotype was associated with a higher risk of bile duct cancer (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 1.3–8.7) compared with the AA genotype, although this estimate was based on a small number of subjects. None of the other SNPs examined was associated with biliary tract cancers or stones. False discovery rate-adjusted P-values were not significant (P > 0.1). No association was found for ESR1 haplotype based on four SNPs. These preliminary results suggest that variants in ESR genes could play a role in the etiology of biliary tract cancers, especially bile duct cancer in men.
Biliary tract cancers, encompassing cancers of the gallbladder, extrahepatic bile ducts, and ampulla of Vater, are rare but highly fatal. Gallstones represent the major risk factor for biliary tract cancer, and share with gallbladder cancer a female predominance and an association with reproductive factors and obesity. While estrogens have been implicated in earlier studies of gallbladder cancer, there are no data on the role of androgens. Since intracellular androgen activity is mediated through the androgen receptor (AR), we examined associations between AR CAG repeat length [(CAG)n] and the risk of biliary tract cancers and stones in a population-based study of 331 incident cancer cases, 837 gallstone cases, and 750 controls from Shanghai, China, where the incidence rates for biliary tract cancer are rising sharply. Men with (CAG)n>24 had a significant 2-fold risk of gallbladder cancer (odds ratio [OR]=2.00; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–3.73), relative to those with (CAG)n≤22. In contrast, women with (CAG)n>24 had reduced gallbladder cancer risk (OR=0.69, 95% CI 0.43–1.09) relative to those with (CAG)n≤22; P-interaction sex=0.01), which was most pronounced for women aged 68–74 (OR=0.48, 95% CI 0.25–0.93; P-interaction age=0.02). No associations were found for bile duct cancer or gallstones. Reasons for the heterogeneity of genetic effects by gender and age are unclear but may reflect an interplay between AR and the levels of androgen as well as estrogen in men and older women. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and clarify the mechanisms involved.
Biliary Tract Cancer; Gallstones; Androgen Receptor; Gallbladder Neoplasms
The mechanisms of hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication remain poorly understood, and the cellular factors required for HCV replication are yet to be completely defined. CD81 is known to mediate HCV entry. Our study uncovered an unexpected novel function of CD81 in the HCV life cycle that is important for HCV RNA replication. HCV replication occurred efficiently in infected cells with high levels of CD81 expression. In HCV-infected or RNA-transfected cells with low levels of CD81 expression, initial viral protein synthesis occurred normally, but efficient replication failed to proceed. The aborted replication could be restored by the transient transfection of a CD81 expression plasmid. CD81-dependent replication was demonstrated with both an HCV infectious cell culture and HCV replicon cells of genotypes 1b and 2a. We also showed that CD81 expression is positively correlated with the kinetics of HCV RNA synthesis but inversely related to the kinetics of viral protein production, suggesting that CD81 may control viral replication by directing viral RNA template function to RNA replication. Thus, CD81 may be necessary for the efficient replication of the HCV genome in addition to its role in viral entry.
Biliary tract cancers, encompassing the gallbladder, extrahepatic bile duct, and ampulla of Vater, are uncommon, yet highly fatal malignancies. Gallstones, the primary risk factor for biliary cancers, are linked with hyperlipidemia. We examined the associations of 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of five genes in the lipid metabolism pathway with the risks of biliary cancers and stones in a population-based case-control study in Shanghai, China. We included 235 gallbladder, 125 extrahepatic bile duct, and 46 ampulla of Vater cancer cases, 880 biliary stone cases, and 779 population controls. Subjects completed an in-person interview and gave blood. Genotyping was conducted by Taqman assay using DNA from buffy coats. The effects of APOE IVS1+69 (rs440446) and APOB IVS6+360C>T (rs520354) markers were limited to men. Men carrying the G allele of APOE IVS1+69 had a 1.7-fold risk of stones (95% confidence interval (CI) =1.2–2.4), a 1.8–fold risk of gallbladder cancer (95% CI=1.0–3.3), a 3.7–fold risk of bile duct cancer (95% CI=2.0–7.0), and a 4-fold risk of ampullary cancer (95% CI=1.4–12.4). Male carriers of the T allele of APOB IVS6+360C>T had a 2-fold risk of bile duct cancer (95% CI=1.2–3.4). The APOB T-T haplotype (APOB IVS6+360C>T, EX4+56C>T) was associated with a 1.6-fold risk of bile duct cancer (95% CI=1.1–2.3). Male and female carriers of the T allele of LDLR IVS9-30C>T (rs1003723) had 1.5-fold risks of bile duct cancer. Our findings suggest that gene variants in the lipid metabolism pathway contribute to the risk of biliary tract stones and cancers, particularly of the bile duct.
single nucleotide polymorphisms; lipid metabolism; gallstones; biliary tract cancer
biliary tract cancers; gallstones; tea consumption; polyphenol; epidemiology
Biliary tract cancers, encompassing the gallbladder, extrahepatic bile ducts, and ampulla of Vater, are rare, but highly fatal malignancies. Gallstones, the predominant risk factor for biliary cancers, are linked with hyperlipidemia. As part of a population-based case-control study conducted in Shanghai, China, we examined the associations of serum lipid levels with biliary stones and cancers. We included 460 biliary cancer cases (264 gallbladder, 141 extrahepatic bile duct, and 55 ampulla of Vater), 981 biliary stone cases, and 858 healthy individuals randomly selected from the population. Participants completed an in-person interview and gave overnight fasting blood samples. Participants in the highest quintile of triglycerides (≥ 160 mg/dl) had a 1.4-fold risk of biliary stones (95% CI=1.1-1.9), a 1.9-fold risk of gallbladder cancer (95% CI=1.3-2.8), and a 4.8-fold risk of bile duct cancer (95% CI=2.8-8.1), compared to the reference group (third quintile: 90-124 mg/dl). Participants in the lowest quintile of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (< 30 mg/dl) had a 4.2-fold risk of biliary stones (95% CI=3.0-6.0), an 11.6-fold risk of gallbladder cancer (95% CI=7.3-18.5), and a 16.8-fold risk of bile duct cancer (95% CI=9.1-30.9), relative to the reference group (third quintile: 40-49 mg/dl). In addition, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and apolipoprotein A (apo A) were inversely associated with biliary stones; whereas low levels as well as high levels of total cholesterol, LDL, apo A, and apolipoprotein B (apo B) were associated with excess risks of biliary tract cancers. Our findings support a role for serum lipids in gallstone development and biliary carcinogenesis.
serum lipid levels; gallstones; biliary tract cancer
Biliary tract cancers, encompassing gallbladder, extrahepatic bile duct and ampulla of Vater cancers, are uncommon but often fatal malignancies. Hormone-related factors, including parity, oral contraceptive use, obesity, and gallstones, have been implicated in the etiology of these cancers. To further clarify the role of hormones in biliary tract cancers and biliary stones, we genotyped 18 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in nine genes involved in steroid hormone biosynthesis, metabolism and transport in a population-based case-control study in Shanghai, China. This study included subjects who completed an interview and provided blood, which totaled 411 biliary tract cancer and 893 biliary stone patients and 786 healthy Shanghai residents. The CYP1A1 IVS1 + 606 (rs2606345) T allele was associated with gallbladder [odds ratio (OR) = 2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3–3.0] and bile duct cancers (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.1–3.1), whereas the CYP1A1 Ex7 + 131 (rs1048943) G allele was associated with ampulla of Vater cancer (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.5–5.4). After taking into account multiple comparisons for SNPs within each gene, CYP1A1 was significantly associated with gallbladder (P = 0.004) and ampulla of Vater cancers (P = 0.01), but borderline with bile duct cancer (P = 0.06). The effect of CYP1A1 IVS1 + 606 on gallbladder cancer was more pronounced among non-obese (body mass index < 23) (OR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.8–6.1; P interaction = 0.001). Among women taking oral contraceptives, the effect of SHBG Ex8 + 6 (rs6259) on gallbladder cancer (OR = 6.7, 95% CI = 2.2–20.5; P interaction = 0.001) and stones (OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.1–4.9; P-interaction = 0.05) was statistically significant. Our findings suggest that common variants in hormone-related genes contribute to the risk of biliary tract cancers and stones, possibly by modulating hormone metabolism.
Motivation: Significant efforts have been made to acquire data under different conditions and to construct static networks that can explain various gene regulation mechanisms. However, gene regulatory networks are dynamic and condition-specific; under different conditions, networks exhibit different regulation patterns accompanied by different transcriptional network topologies. Thus, an investigation on the topological changes in transcriptional networks can facilitate the understanding of cell development or provide novel insights into the pathophysiology of certain diseases, and help identify the key genetic players that could serve as biomarkers or drug targets.
Results: Here, we report a differential dependency network (DDN) analysis to detect statistically significant topological changes in the transcriptional networks between two biological conditions. We propose a local dependency model to represent the local structures of a network by a set of conditional probabilities. We develop an efficient learning algorithm to learn the local dependency model using the Lasso technique. A permutation test is subsequently performed to estimate the statistical significance of each learned local structure. In testing on a simulation dataset, the proposed algorithm accurately detected all the genes with network topological changes. The method was then applied to the estrogen-dependent T-47D estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer cell line datasets and human and mouse embryonic stem cell datasets. In both experiments using real microarray datasets, the proposed method produced biologically meaningful results. We expect DDN to emerge as an important bioinformatics tool in transcriptional network analyses. While we focus specifically on transcriptional networks, the DDN method we introduce here is generally applicable to other biological networks with similar characteristics.
Availability: The DDN MATLAB toolbox and experiment data are available at http://www.cbil.ece.vt.edu/software.htm.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
We report a case of a 56-year-old woman with intrahepatic biliary cystadenoma (IBC) accompanying a tumor embolus in the extrahepatic bile duct, who was admitted to our department on October 13, 2008. Imaging showed an asymmetry dilation of the biliary tree, different bile signals in the biliary tree, a multiloculated lesion and an extrahepatic bile duct lesion with internal septation. A regular left hemihepatectomy en bloc was performed with resection of the entire tumor, during which a tumor embolus protruding into the extrahepatic bile duct and originating from biliary duct of segment 4 was revealed. Microscopically, the multiloculated tumor was confirmed to be a biliary cystadenoma with an epithelial lining composed of biliary-type cuboidal cells and surrounded by an ovarian-like stroma. An aggressive en bloc resection was recommended for the multiloculated lesion. Imaging workup, clinicians and surgeons need to be aware of this different presentation.
Intrahepatic biliary cystadenoma; Growth manner; Tumor embolus
Biliary tract cancer, encompassing tumors of the gallbladder, extrahepatic bile ducts and ampulla of Vater, is a rare but highly fatal malignancy. Obesity and gallstones, both related to insulin resistance, are linked to an elevated risk of biliary cancer. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and the retinoid X receptors (RXRs), expressed in adipose tissue, play a key role in the regulation of obesity-related insulin sensitivity, thus genetic variants of these two receptor genes may be related to biliary cancer and stones. We examined the associations of seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the PPAR-γ, PPAR-δ, RXR-α, RXR-β and INS genes with biliary cancer and stones in a population-based case–control study in Shanghai, China. We included 237 gallbladder, 127 extrahepatic bile duct and 47 ampulla of Vater cancer cases, 895 stone cases and 786 population controls. Relative to individuals with the RXR-β C51T (rs2076310) CC genotype, those having the TT genotype had a 1.6-fold risk for bile duct cancer [odds ratio (OR) = 1.67; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.99–2.84], with a more pronounced association among men (OR = 2.30; 95% CI = 1.14–4.65; P interaction = 0.07). This marker was also associated with a higher risk of gallstones among subjects with a higher body mass index (BMI) (≥23 kg/m2) (OR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.09–2.94), although the interaction with BMI was not statistically significant (P interaction = 0.28). No association was found between other variants and biliary cancers and stones. Results from this population-based study suggest that certain genetic variants involved in the regulation of obesity-related insulin sensitivity may increase susceptibility to bile duct cancer and gallstones.
Maternal exposures to environmental factors during pregnancy influence the risk of many chronic adult-onset diseases in the offspring. Here we investigate whether feeding pregnant rats a high-fat (HF)- or ethinyl-oestradiol (EE2)-supplemented diet affects carcinogen-induced mammary cancer risk in daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. We show that mammary tumourigenesis is higher in daughters and granddaughters of HF rat dams and in daughters and great-granddaughters of EE2 rat dams. Outcross experiments suggest that the increase in mammary cancer risk is transmitted to HF granddaughters equally through the female or male germ lines, but it is only transmitted to EE2 granddaughters through the female germ line. The effects of maternal EE2 exposure on offspring's mammary cancer risk are associated with changes in the DNA methylation machinery and methylation patterns in mammary tissue of all three EE2 generations. We conclude that dietary and oestrogenic exposures in pregnancy increase breast cancer risk in multiple generations of offspring, possibly through epigenetic means.
Environmental factors can influence one's susceptibility to cancer, but it is not clear whether such an influence extends beyond the directly exposed generations. Here, feeding pregnant rats with a high-fat diet or a hormone derivative, the authors observe increased breast cancer risk in up to three subsequent generations.