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1.  Global assessment of genetic variation influencing response to retinoid chemoprevention in head and neck cancer patients 
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients are at an increased risk of developing a second primary tumor (SPT) or recurrence following curative treatment. 13-cis-retinoic acid (13-cRA) has been tested in chemoprevention clinical trials but the results have been inconclusive. We genotyped 9,465 SNPs in 450 patients from the Retinoid Head and Neck Second Primary Trial. SNPs were analyzed for associations with SPT/recurrence in patients receiving placebo to identify prognosis markers and further analyzed for effects of 13-cRA in patients with these prognostic loci. Thirteen loci identified a majority subgroup of patients at a high risk of SPT/recurrence and in whom 13-cRA was protective. Patients carrying the common genotype of rs3118570 in the retinoid X receptor (RXRA) were at a 3.33-fold increased risk (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.67–6.67) and represented over 70% of the study population. This locus also identified individuals who received benefit from chemoprevention with a 38% reduced risk (95% CI, 0.43–0.90). Analyses of cumulative effect and potential gene-gene interactions also implicated CDC25C:rs6596428 and JAK2:rs1887427 as two other genetic loci with major roles in prognosis and 13-cRA response. Patients with all three common genotypes had a 76% reduction in SPT/recurrence (95% CI, 0.093–0.64) following 13-cRA chemoprevention. Carriers of these common genotypes constituted a substantial percentage of the study population, indicating that a pharmacogenetics approach could help select patients for 13-cRA chemoprevention. The lack of any alternatives for reducing risk in these patients highlights the need for future clinical trials to prospectively validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC3955084  PMID: 21292633
HNSCC; SPT; single nucleotide polymorphisms; retinoids
2.  ATM sequence variants associate with susceptibility to non-small cell lung cancer 
ATM gene mutations have been implicated in many human cancers. However, the role of ATM polymorphisms in lung carcinogenesis is largely unexplored. We conducted a case-control analysis of 556 Caucasian non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and 556 controls frequency-matched on age, gender and smoking status. We genotyped 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms of the ATM gene and found that compared with the wild-type allele-containing genotypes, the homozygous variant genotypes of ATM08 (rs227060) and ATM10 (rs170548) were associated with elevated NSCLC risk with ORs of 1.55 (95% CI: 1.02–2.35) and 1.51 (0.99–2.31), respectively. ATM haplotypes and diplotypes were inferred using the Expectation-Maximization algorithm. Haplotype H5 was significantly associated with reduced NSCLC risk in former smokers with an OR of 0.47 (0.25–0.96) compared with the common H1 haplotype. Compared with the H1–H2 diplotype, H2–H2 and H3–H4 diplotypes were associated with increased NSCLC risk with ORs of 1.58 (0.99–2.54) and 2.29 (1.05–5.00), respectively. We then evaluated genotype–phenotype correlation in the control group using the comet assay to determine DNA damage and DNA repair capacity. Compared with individuals with at least 1 wild-type allele, the homozygous variant carriers of either ATM08 or ATM10 exhibited significantly increased DNA damage as evidenced by a higher mean value of the radiation-induced olive tail moment (ATM08: 4.86 ± 2.43 vs. 3.79 ± 1.51, p = 0.04; ATM10: 5.14 ± 2.37 vs. 3.79 ± 1.54, p = 0.01). Our study presents the first epidemiologic evidence that ATM genetic variants may affect NSCLC predisposition, and that the risk-conferring variants might act through down-regulating the functions of ATM in DNA repair activity upon genetic insults such as ionizing radiation.
PMCID: PMC3477817  PMID: 17582598
ATM; polymorphism; haplotype; diplotype; NSCLC
3.  MicroRNA-related genetic variations as predictors for risk of second primary tumor and/or recurrence in patients with early-stage head and neck cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2010;31(12):2118-2123.
Second primary tumor (SPT) and/or recurrence negatively impact the prognosis of patients with curatively treated early-stage head and neck cancer. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in cancer development. We explored whether the variations of miRNA-related pathway were associated with the risk of SPT/recurrence in patients with early-stage head and neck cancer. This study includes 150 early-stage head and neck cancer patients with SPT/recurrence and 300 patients without SPT/recurrence. Two hundred and thirty-five tagging and potentially functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped from eight miRNA biogenesis pathway genes and 135 miRNA-targeted genes. Eighteen miRNA-related SNPs were significantly associated with the risk of SPT/recurrence. The most significant SNP was rs3747238, a miRNA-binding site SNP in SMC1B. The variant homozygous genotype of this SNP was associated with a 1.74-fold increased risk [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19–2.54; P = 0.004]. Cumulative effect analysis showed joint effects for the number of unfavorable genotype in patients. Survival tree analysis further identified the high-order gene–gene interactions and categorized the study subjects into low-, medium- and high-risk groups. Patients in the high-risk group had a 4.84-fold increased risk (95% CI: 3.11–7.51; P = 2.45 × 10−12) and a shorter event-free median survival time of 37.9 months (log rank P = 2.28 × 10−13). Our results suggested that miRNA-related genetic polymorphisms may be used individually and jointly to predict the risk of SPT/recurrence of early-stage head and neck cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3105587  PMID: 20819778
4.  Novel Susceptibility Loci for Second Primary Tumors/Recurrence in Head and Neck Cancer Patients: Large Scale Evaluation of Genetic Variants 
This study was aimed to identify novel susceptibility variants for second primary tumor (SPT) or recurrence in curatively treated early stage head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients.
We constructed a custom chip containing a comprehensive panel of 9645 chromosomal and mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) representing 998 cancer-related genes selected by a systematic prioritization schema. Using this chip, we genotyped 150 early-stage HNSCC patients with and 300 matched patients without SPT/recurrence from a prospectively conducted randomized trial and assessed the association of these SNPs with risk of SPT/recurrence.
Individually, six chromosomal SNPs and seven mitochondrial SNPs (mtSNPs) were significantly associated with risk of SPT/recurrence after adjustment for multiple comparisons. A strong gene-dosage effect was observed these SNPs were combined, as evidenced by a progressively increasing SPT/recurrence risk as the number of unfavorable genotypes increased (P for trend < 1.00×10−20). Several polygenic analyses suggest an important role of interconnected functional network and gene-gene interaction in modulating SPT/recurrence. Furthermore, incorporation of these genetic markers into a multivariate model improved significantly the discriminatory ability over the models containing only clinical and epidemiologic variables.
This is the first large scale systematic evaluation of germline genetic variants for their roles in HNSCC SPT/recurrence. The study identified several promising susceptibility loci and demonstrated the cumulative effect of multiple risk loci in HNSCC SPT/recurrence. Furthermore, this study underscores the importance of incorporating germline genetic variation data with clinical and risk factor data in constructing prediction models for clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2964280  PMID: 19584075
iSelect Infinium; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Head and neck cancer; Secondary primary tumor; recurrence
5.  Germline Genetic variations in drug action pathways predict clinical outcomes in advanced lung cancer treated with platinum-based chemotherapy 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2008;18(11):955-965.
Genetic polymorphisms contribute to interindividual variation in drug response. However, a single polymorphism is likely to exhibit a modest effect. Therefore, we applied a pathway-based approach to evaluate the cumulative effect of multiple polymorphisms on clinical outcome of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
We genotyped 25 functional polymorphisms in 16 key genes involved in cisplatin metabolism and action and evaluated their associations with overall survival in 229 NSCLC patients receiving first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
Several biologically plausible main effects were identified in individual analysis. More importantly, when 6 polymorphisms in nucleotide excision repair genes were analyzed jointly, a significant trend of reduced risk of death with decreasing number of putative unfavorable genotypes was observed (P for trend <0.001 and log-rank p<0.001). Survival tree analysis revealed potential higher-order gene-gene interactions and categorized subgroups with dramatically different survival experiences, based on distinct genotype profiles. The median survival time was 78.5 months for terminal node 1 in the low-risk group, 15.1 months for terminal node 10 in the medium-risk group, and 6.7 months for terminal node 9 in the high-risk group (log rank P<0.001). We also constructed a prediction hazard model. The area under the curve (AUC) increased from 0.71 (using clinical variables only) to 0.84 (using clinical, epidemiological, and genetic variations from survival tree analysis).
Our results highlight the clinical potential of taking a pathway-based approach and using survival tree analytic approach to identify subgroups of patients with distinctly differing outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2665725  PMID: 18854777
6.  Genetic Polymorphisms in Double-Strand Break DNA Repair Genes Associate with Risk of Oral Premalignant Lesions 
Oral premalignant lesions (OPLs) are early genetic events en route to oral cancer. To identify individuals susceptible to OPL is critical to the prevention of oral cancer. In a case-control study consisting of 147 patients with histologically confirmed OPL and 147 matched controls, we evaluated the associations of 10 genetic variants in nine genes of the double-strand break (DSB) DNA repair pathway with OPL risk. The most notable finding was an intronic polymorphism (A17893G) of the XRCC3 gene. Compared with the homozygous wild-type AA genotype, the odds ratios [OR] (95% confidence interval [CI]) for the heterozygous AG and homozygous variant GG genotype were 0.85 (0.49–1.48) and 0.18 (0.07–0.47), respectively (P for trend=0.002). In addition, compared with the most common A-C haplotype of XRCC3 (in the order of A17893G-T241M), the G-C haplotype was associated with a significantly decreased risk of OPL (OR=0.40, 95% CI 0.23–0.68). Moreover, compared with individuals without the G-C haplotype, the ORs were 1.04 (0.56–1.95) and 0.20 (0.08–0.51) for subjects with one copy and two copies of the G-C haplotype, respectively (P for trend=0.005). Classification and regression tree (CART) analysis further revealed potential high-order gene-gene and gene-environmental interactions and categorized subjects into different risk groups according to their specific polymorphic signatures. Overall, our study provides the first epidemiological evidence supporting a connection between DSB gene variants and OPL development. Our data also suggest that the effects of high-order interactions should be taken into consideration when evaluating OPL predisposition.
PMCID: PMC2603619  PMID: 18579371
Double-strand break; Polymorphism; Haplotype; Oral premalignant lesion

Results 1-6 (6)