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1.  Variants in inflammation genes are implicated in risk of lung cancer in never smokers exposed to second-hand smoke 
Cancer discovery  2011;1(5):420-429.
Lung cancer in lifetime never smokers is distinct from that in smokers, but the role of separate or overlapping carcinogenic pathways has not been explored. We therefore evaluated a comprehensive panel of 11,737 SNPs in inflammatory-pathway genes in a discovery phase (451 lung cancer cases, 508 controls from Texas). SNPs that were significant were evaluated in a second external population (303 cases, 311 controls from the Mayo Clinic). An intronic SNP in the ACVR1B gene, rs12809597, was replicated with significance and restricted to those reporting adult exposure to environmental tobacco smoke Another promising candidate was a SNP in NR4A1, although the replication OR did not achieve statistical significance. ACVR1B belongs to the TGFR-β superfamily, contributing to resolution of inflammation and initiation of airway remodeling. An inflammatory microenvironment, (second hand smoking, asthma, or hay fever) is necessary for risk from these gene variants to be expressed. These findings require further replication, followed by targeted resequencing, and functional validation.
PMCID: PMC3919666  PMID: 22586632
lung cancer; never smokers; inflammation genes; sidestream exposure
2.  Self-Reported Prior Lung Diseases as Risk Factors for Non-small Cell Lung Cancer in Mexican Americans 
This study was conducted to assess the association between prior history of respiratory disease and lung cancer among Mexican Americans using data from a multi-racial/ethnic lung cancer case–control study. Cases (n = 204) were patients with previously untreated lung cancer. Healthy control participants (n = 325) were recruited from a large physician group practice. Demographics, cigarette use, and history of respiratory disease were collected. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate relative risk. Prior history of COPD (OR = 2.0; 95 % CI 1.2–3.3) and pneumonia (OR = 2.2; 95 % CI 1.3–3.6) were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. These findings illustrate that prior COPD and pneumonia are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer among Mexican Americans. To our knowledge, this is one of largest case–control analyses assessing the role of respiratory disease and lung cancer risk specifically among Mexican-Americans.
PMCID: PMC3919532  PMID: 22847640
Lung diseases; Mexican Americans; Case–control studies; Epidemiology; Lung cancer
3.  Multistage analysis of variants in the Inflammation pathway and lung cancer risk in smokers 
Tobacco-induced lung cancer is characterized by a deregulated inflammatory microenvironment. Variants in multiple genes in inflammation pathways may contribute to risk of lung cancer.
We therefore conducted a three-stage comprehensive pathway analysis (discovery, replication and meta-analysis) of inflammation gene variants in ever smoking lung cancer cases and controls. A discovery set (1096 cases; 727 controls) and an independent and non-overlapping internal replication set (1154 cases; 1137 controls) were derived from an ongoing case-control study. For discovery, we used an iSelect BeadChip to interrogate a comprehensive panel of 11737 inflammation pathway SNPs and selected nominally significant (p<0.05) SNPs for internal replication.
There were 6 SNPs that achieved statistical significance (p<0.05) in the internal replication dataset with concordant risk estimates for former smokers and 5 concordant and replicated SNPs in current smokers. Replicated hits were further tested in a subsequent meta-analysis using external data derived from two published GWAS and a case-control study. Two of these variants (a BCL2L14 SNP in former smokers and a SNP in IL2RB in current smokers) were further validated. In risk score analyses, there was a 26% increase in risk with each additional adverse allele when we combined the genotyped SNP and the most significant imputed SNP in IL2RB in current smokers and a 36% similar increase in risk for former smokers associated with genotyped and imputed BCL2L14 SNPs.
Before they can be applied for risk prediction efforts, these SNPs should be subject to further external replication and more extensive fine mapping studies.
PMCID: PMC3487592  PMID: 22573796
Inflammation SNPS; lung cancer; smokers
4.  Self-Rated Health Among Adult Women of Mexican Origin 
Self-rated health (SRH), a consistent predictor of mortality among diverse populations, is sensitive to health indicators and social factors. American-born Hispanics report better SRH than their foreign-born counterparts but simultaneously report poorer health indicators and have shorter life expectancy. Using a matched prospective cross-sectional design, we analyzed data from 631 age-matched pairs of women, born in the United States or Mexico, enrolled in a cohort study based in Houston, Texas. Our first goal was to describe the relationships between SRH and health behaviors, physician-diagnosed chronic conditions, acculturation, and socioeconomic status (SES) by birthplace. Our second goal was to investigate the relative influence of SES, acculturation, health behaviors, and physician-diagnosed conditions in explaining expected differences in SRH between the two groups. Number of chronic conditions reported, particularly depression, more strongly influenced SRH than SES, acculturation, or reported health risk behaviors and the influence of birthplace is accounted for by these factors.
PMCID: PMC3940416  PMID: 24600161
Self-rated health; acculturation; SES; health indicators
5.  Use of the Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus Assay (CBMN) to Detect Gender Differences and Genetic Instability in a Lung Cancer Case-Control Study 
Although tobacco exposure is the predominant risk factor for lung cancer, other environmental agents are established lung carcinogens. Measuring the genotoxic effect of environmental exposures remains equivocal as increases in morbidity and mortality may be attributed to co-exposures such as smoking.
We evaluated genetic instability and risk of lung cancer associated with exposure to environmental agents (e.g., exhaust) and smoking among 500 lung cancer cases and 500 controls using the Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus (CBMN) assay. Linear regression was applied to estimate the adjusted means of the CBMN endpoints (micronuclei and nucleoplasmic bridges). Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate lung cancer risk and to control for potential confounding by age, gender, and smoking.
Cases showed significantly higher levels of micronuclei and nucleoplasmic bridges as compared to controls (mean ± SEM=3.54±0.04 vs.1.81 ±0.04 and mean ± SEM=4.26±0.03 vs. 0.99±0.03, respectively; p <0.001) with no differences among participants with or without reported environmental exposure. No differences were observed when stratified by smoking or environmental exposure among cases or controls. A difference in lung cancer risk was observed between non-exposed male and female heavy smokers, although it was not statistically significant (I2=64.9%; P-value for Q statistic=0.09).
Our study confirms that the CBMN assay is an accurate predictor of lung cancer and supports the premise that heavy smoking may have an effect on DNA repair capacity and in turn modulate the risk of lung cancer.
Identifying factors that increase lung cancer risk may lead to more effective prevention measures.
PMCID: PMC3538922  PMID: 23195992
Lung cancer; CBMN assay; DNA damage; gender differences
6.  Maternal current smoking: Concordance between adolescent proxy and mother’s self-report 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2009;11(8):1016-1019.
The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which adolescent reports on mother’s smoking status and mother’s self-reports on smoking are concordant with one another.
Mothers self-reported on their smoking at two timepoints (first query and second query), while the adolescents reported on their mother’s smoking status at one timepoint. Kappa values and percent exact agreement as well as sensitivity and specificity were calculated to examine the degree of agreement between child and mother’s reports at the two timepoints.
Overall, the results indicated good concordance between mothers’ self-reports and adolescent reports on smoking. Specifically, higher concordance was observed for mother’s first query compared with mother’s second query (Κ = 0.69 vs. Κ = 0.51). Younger adolescents and girls provided more concordant reports than older adolescents and boys.
The results indicate that adolescent reports on mothers’ smoking behavior can be used as a proxy to obtain data if mothers’ self-report data are not available. Our results further suggest that when reports are not collected concurrently, self-report data obtained from the mothers prior to the proxy report obtained from her adolescent may be more reliable than the other way around.
PMCID: PMC2711984  PMID: 19531668
7.  Genetic Variation in the PNPLA3 Gene and Hepatocellular Carcinoma in USA: Risk and Prognosis Prediction 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2013;52(0):10.1002/mc.22057.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an emerging epidemic with high prevalence in Western countries. Genome-wide association studies had reported that a variation in the patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 3 (PNPLA3) gene is associated with high susceptibility to NAFLD. However, the relationship between this variation and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been well established. We investigated the impact of PNPLA3 genetic variation (rs738409: C>G) on HCC risk and prognosis in the United States by conducting a case–control study that included 257 newly diagnosed and pathologically confirmed Caucasian patients with HCC (cases) and 494 healthy controls. Multivariate logistics and Cox regression models were used to control for the confounding effects of HCC risk and prognostic factors. We observed higher risk of HCC for subjects with a homozygous GG genotype than for those with CC or CG genotypes, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) was 3.21 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.68–6.41). We observed risk modification among individuals with diabetes mellitus (OR = 19.11; 95% CI, 5.13–71.20). The PNPLA3 GG genotype was significantly associated with underlying cirrhosis in HCC patients (OR = 2.48; 95% CI, 1.05–5.87). Moreover, GG allele represents an independent risk factor for death. The adjusted hazard ratio of the GG genotype was 2.11 (95% CI, 1.26–3.52) compared with CC and CG genotypes. PNPLA3 genetic variation (rs738409: C>G) may determine individual susceptibility to HCC development and poor prognosis. Further experimental investigations are necessary for thorough assessment of the hepatocarcinogenic role of PNPLA3.
PMCID: PMC3808509  PMID: 23776098
molecular epidemiology; genetic susceptibility; case–control; single nucleotide polymorphism
8.  An Expanded Risk Prediction Model for Lung Cancer 
Risk prediction models are useful in clinical decision making. We have published an internally validated prediction tool for lung cancer based on easily obtainable epidemiologic and clinical data. Because the precision of the model was modest, we now estimate the improvement obtained by adding two markers of DNA repair capacity.
Assay data (host-cell reactivation and mutagen sensitivity) were available for 725 White lung cancer cases and 615 controls, all former or current smokers, a subset of cases and controls from the previous analysis. Multivariable models were constructed from the original variables with addition of the biomarkers separately and together. Pairwise comparisons of the area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC) and 3-fold cross-validations were done.
For former smokers, the AUC and 95% confidence intervals were 0.67 (0.63–0.71) for the baseline model and 0.70 (0.66–0.74) for the expanded model. For current smokers, the comparable AUC values were 0.68 (0.64–0.72) and 0.73 (0.69–0.77). For both groups, the expanded models were statistically significantly better than the baseline models (P = 0.006 and P = 0.0048, respectively), although the increases in the concordance statistics were modest. We also recomputed 1-year absolute risks of lung cancer as described previously for two different risk profiles and showed that individuals who exhibited poor repair capacity or heightened mutagen sensitivity had increased absolute risks of lung cancer.
Addition of biomarker assays improved the sensitivity of the expanded models.
PMCID: PMC2854404  PMID: 19138968
9.  Increased risk of lung cancer in individuals with a family history of the disease: A pooled analysis from the International Lung Cancer Consortium 
Background and Methods
Familial aggregation of lung cancer exists after accounting for cigarette smoking. However, the extent to which family history affects risk by smoking status, histology, relative type and ethnicity is not well described. This pooled analysis included 24 case-control studies in the International Lung Cancer Consortium. Each study collected age of onset/interview, gender, race/ethnicity, cigarette smoking, histology and first-degree family history of lung cancer. Data from 24,380 lung cancer cases and 23,305 healthy controls were analyzed. Unconditional logistic regression models and generalized estimating equations were used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
Individuals with a first-degree relative with lung cancer had a 1.51-fold increase in risk of lung cancer, after adjustment for smoking and other potential confounders(95% CI: 1.39, 1.63). The association was strongest for those with a family history in a sibling, after adjustment (OR=1.82, 95% CI: 1.62, 2.05). No modifying effect by histologic type was found. Never smokers showed a lower association with positive familial history of lung cancer (OR=1.25, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.52), slightly stronger for those with an affected sibling (OR=1.44, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.93), after adjustment.
The increased risk among never smokers and similar magnitudes of the effect of family history on lung cancer risk across histological types suggests familial aggregation of lung cancer is independent of those associated with cigarette smoking. While the role of genetic variation in the etiology of lung cancer remains to be fully characterized, family history assessment is immediately available and those with a positive history represent a higher risk group.
PMCID: PMC3445438  PMID: 22436981
10.  Genetic variants in the PI3K/PTEN/AKT/MTOR pathway predict head and neck cancer patient second primary tumor/recurrence risk and response to retinoid chemoprevention 
Clinical Cancer Research  2012;18(13):3705-3713.
The development of second primary tumors (SPT) or recurrence alters prognosis for curatively-treated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. 13-cis-retnoic acid (13-cRA) has been tested as a chemoprevention agent in clinical trials with mixed results. Therefore, we investigated if genetic variants in the PI3K/PTEN/AKT/MTOR pathway could serve as biomarkers to identify which patients are at high risk of an SPT/recurrence while also predicting response to 13-cRA chemoprevention.
Experimental Design
A total of 137 pathway SNPs were genotyped in 440 patients from the Retinoid Head and Neck Second Primary Trial and assessed for SPT/recurrence risk and response to 13-cRA. Risk models were created based on epidemiology, clinical, and genetic data.
Twenty-two genetic loci were associated with increased SPT/recurrence risk with six also being associated with a significant benefit following chemoprevention. Combined analysis of these high-risk/high-benefit loci identified a significant (P = 1.54×10−4) dose-response relationship for SPT/recurrence risk, with patients carrying 4–5 high-risk genotypes having a 3.76-fold (95%CI:1.87–7.57) increase in risk in the placebo group (n=215). Patients carrying 4–5 high-risk loci showed the most benefit from 13-cRA chemoprevention with a 73% reduction in SPT/recurrence (95%CI:0.13–0.58) compared to those with the same number of high-risk genotypes who were randomized to receive placebo. Incorporation of these loci into a risk model significantly improved the discriminatory ability over models with epidemiology, clinical, and previously identified genetic variables.
These results demonstrate that loci within this important pathway could identify individuals with a high-risk/high-benefit profile and are a step towards personalized chemoprevention for HNSCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3404728  PMID: 22577058
11.  Cigarette Experimentation in Mexican Origin Youth: Psychosocial and Genetic Determinants 
Established psychosocial risk factors increase the risk for experimentation among Mexican-origin youth. Now we comprehensively investigate the added contribution of select polymorphisms in candidate genetic pathways associated with sensation seeking, risk taking, and smoking phenotypes to predict experimentation.
Participants, (N=1,118 Mexican origin youth) recruited from a large population-based cohort study in Houston, Texas, provided prospective data on cigarette experimentation over three years. Psychosocial data were elicited twice—baseline and final follow-up. Participants were genotyped for 672 functional and tagging variants in the dopamine, serotonin and opioid pathways.
After adjusting for gender and age, with a Bayesian False Discovery Probability set at 0.8 and prior probability of 0.05, six gene variants were significantly associated with risk of experimentation. After controlling for established risk factors, multivariable analyses revealed that participants with six or more risk alleles were 2.25 (95%CI: 1.62–3.13) times more likely to have experimented since baseline compared to participants with five or fewer. Among committed never smokers (N=872), three genes (OPRM1, SNAP25, HTR1B) were associated with experimentation as were all psychosocial factors. Among susceptible youth (N=246) older age at baseline, living with a smoker, and three different genes (HTR2A, DRD2, SLC6A3) predicted experimentation.
Our findings, which have implications for development of culturally-specific interventions, need to be validated in other ethnic groups.
These results suggest that variations in select genes interact with a cognitive predisposition toward smoking. In susceptible adolescents, the impact of the genetic variants appears to be larger compared to committed never smokers.
PMCID: PMC3382046  PMID: 22028400
12.  Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus Cytome Assay Biomarkers Identify Lung Cancer Cases Amongst Smokers 
The multi-endpoint cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus assay is used for assessing chromosome aberrations. We have recently reported that this assay is extremely sensitive to genetic damage caused by the tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyr-idyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and that the binucleated cells with micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges, and nuclear buds in lymphocytes (chromosome damage endpoints measured by the assay) are strong predictors of lung cancer risk. In the current study, we refined our analysis to include toxicity endpoints (micronuclei in mononucleated cells, apoptosis, necrosis, and nuclear division index) to investigate the benefit of including these variables on improving the predictive value of the assay. Baseline and NNK-induced micronuclei in mononucleated cells were significantly higher in patients (n = 139) than controls (n = 130; P < 0.001). Baseline apoptosis was higher among cases; however, the controls showed a significant higher fold increase in NNK-induced apoptosis compared with baseline (P < 0.001). Principal components analysis was used to derive a summary measure for all endpoints and calculate the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for disease status. First principal component for NNK-induced chromosome damage endpoints (binucleated cells with micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges, and nuclear buds) had an area under the curve = 97.9 (95% confidence interval, 95.9-99.0), PPV = 94.8, and NPV = 92.6. The discriminatory power improved when micronuclei in mononucleated cells were included: area under the curve = 99.1 (95% confidence interval, 97.9- 100.0), PPV = 98.7 and NPV = 95.6. The simplicity, rapidity, and sensitivity of the assay together with potential for automation make it a valuable tool for screening and prioritizing potential cases for intensive screening.
PMCID: PMC2854407  PMID: 18483333
13.  Development and Validation of a Lung Cancer Risk Prediction Model for African-Americans 
Because existing risk prediction models for lung cancer were developed in white populations, they may not be appropriate for predicting risk among African-Americans. Therefore, a need exists to construct and validate a risk prediction model for lung cancer that is specific to African-Americans. We analyzed data from 491 African-Americans with lung cancer and 497 matched African-American controls to identify specific risks and incorporate them into a multivariable risk model for lung cancer and estimate the 5-year absolute risk of lung cancer. We performed internal and external validations of the risk model using data on additional cases and controls from the same ongoing multiracial/ethnic lung cancer case-control study from which the model-building data were obtained as well as data from two different lung cancer studies in metropolitan Detroit, respectively. We also compared our African-American model with our previously developed risk prediction model for whites. The final risk model included smoking-related variables [smoking status, pack-years smoked, age at smoking cessation (former smokers), and number of years since smoking cessation (former smokers)], self- reported physician diagnoses of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or hay fever, and exposures to asbestos or wood dusts. Our risk prediction model for African-Americans exhibited good discrimination [75% (95% confidence interval, 0.67−0.82)] for our internal data and moderate discrimination [63% (95% confidence interval, 0.57−0.69)] for the external data group, which is an improvement over the Spitz model for white subjects. Existing lung cancer prediction models may not be appropriate for predicting risk for African-Americans because (a) they were developed using white populations, (b) level of risk is different for risk factors that African-American share with whites, and (c) unique group-specific risk factors exist for African-Americans. This study developed and validated a risk prediction model for lung cancer that is specific to African-Americans and thus more precise in predicting their risks. These findings highlight the importance of conducting further ethnic-specific analyses of disease risk.
PMCID: PMC2854402  PMID: 19138969
14.  Dietary magnesium and DNA repair capacity as risk factors for lung cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2008;29(5):949-956.
Magnesium (Mg) is required for maintenance of genomic stability; however, data on the relationship between dietary Mg intake and lung cancer are lacking. In an ongoing lung cancer case–control study, we identified 1139 cases and 1210 matched healthy controls with data on both diet and DNA repair capacity (DRC). Dietary intake was assessed using a modified Block-NCI food frequency questionnaire and DRC was measured using the host-cell reactivation assay to assess repair in lymphocyte cultures. After adjustment for potential confounding factors including DRC, the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for lung cancer with increasing quartiles of dietary Mg intake were 1.0, 0.83 (0.66–1.05), 0.64 (0.50–0.83) and 0.47 (0.36–0.61), respectively, for all subjects (P-trend < 0.0001). Similar results were observed by histology and clinical stage of lung cancer. Low dietary Mg intake was associated with poorer DRC and increased risk of lung cancer. In joint effects analyses, compared with those with high dietary Mg intake and proficient DRC, the OR (95% CI) for lung cancer in the presence of both low dietary Mg and suboptimal DRC was 2.36 (1.83–3.04). Similar results were observed for men and women. The effects were more pronounced among older subjects (>60 years), current or heavier smokers, drinkers, those with a family history of cancer in first-degree relatives, small cell lung cancer and late-stage disease. These intriguing results need to be confirmed in prospective studies.
PMCID: PMC2902380  PMID: 18448487

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