Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have mapped risk alleles for at least 10 distinct cancers to a small region of 63 000 bp on chromosome 5p15.33. This region harbors the TERT and CLPTM1L genes; the former encodes the catalytic subunit of telomerase reverse transcriptase and the latter may play a role in apoptosis. To investigate further the genetic architecture of common susceptibility alleles in this region, we conducted an agnostic subset-based meta-analysis (association analysis based on subsets) across six distinct cancers in 34 248 cases and 45 036 controls. Based on sequential conditional analysis, we identified as many as six independent risk loci marked by common single-nucleotide polymorphisms: five in the TERT gene (Region 1: rs7726159, P = 2.10 × 10(-39); Region 3: rs2853677, P = 3.30 × 10(-36) and PConditional = 2.36 × 10(-8); Region 4: rs2736098, P = 3.87 × 10(-12) and PConditional = 5.19 × 10(-6), Region 5: rs13172201, P = 0.041 and PConditional = 2.04 × 10(-6); and Region 6: rs10069690, P = 7.49 × 10(-15) and PConditional = 5.35 × 10(-7)) and one in the neighboring CLPTM1L gene (Region 2: rs451360; P = 1.90 × 10(-18) and PConditional = 7.06 × 10(-16)). Between three and five cancers mapped to each independent locus with both risk-enhancing and protective effects. Allele-specific effects on DNA methylation were seen for a subset of risk loci, indicating that methylation and subsequent effects on gene expression may contribute to the biology of risk variants on 5p15.33. Our results provide strong support for extensive pleiotropy across this region of 5p15.33, to an extent not previously observed in other cancer susceptibility loci.
Obesity is a known risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer; it has been postulated that adipocytokines may mediate this association. We explored the relationship between three markers altered by obesity: leptin, adiponectin, and soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (sTNF-R2), an inflammatory marker, with breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. A nested case-control study of postmenopausal women was conducted within CLUE II, a prospective population-based cohort. Baseline plasma levels of leptin, adiponectin, and sTNF-R2 were assayed in 272 female breast cancer cases and 272 controls matched on age, date, and hour of blood draw. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate matched odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). sTNF-R2 and leptin were independently positively associated with breast cancer risk in adjusted models. The OR for breast cancer comparing the highest to lowest tertile was 2.44 (95% CI: 1.30-4.58) for sTNF-R2 and 1.98 (95% CI: 1.20-3.29) for leptin. While higher levels of adiponectin were protective (OR for the lowest tertile = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.02-2.60), there was no dose response. A 20% reduction in the breast cancer risk associated with overweight/obesity was observed when sTNF-R2 alone was included in multivariable models. Including both sTNF-R2 and adiponectin in the models resulted in a 29% reduction in the OR. Adipocytokines and sTNF-R2 are important factors in the etiology of postmenopausal breast cancer due to adiposity. This study informs our understanding of the relationship between obesity, inflammation, and postmenopausal breast cancer and identifies potential biomarkers.
The evidence of a relation between folate intake and one-carbon metabolism (OCM) with pancreatic cancer (PanCa) is inconsistent. In this study, the association between genes and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) related to OCM and PanCa was assessed.
The public has long been encouraged to engage in sun-safe practices to minimize exposure to sunlight, the major cause of nonmelanoma skin cancer. More recently, some have advocated unprotected sun exposure to increase cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D as a way to promote health. We assessed the net result of these conflicting messages.
Blood pressure is a heritable trait influenced by several biological pathways and responsive to environmental stimuli. Over one billion people worldwide have hypertension (?140?mm?Hg systolic blood pressure or? ?90?mm?Hg diastolic blood pressure). Even small increments in blood pressure are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. This genome-wide association study of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which used a multi-stage design in 200,000 individuals of European descent, identified sixteen novel loci: six of these loci contain genes previously known or suspected to regulate blood pressure (GUCY1A3-GUCY1B3, NPR3-C5orf23, ADM, FURIN-FES, GOSR2, GNAS-EDN3); the other ten provide new clues to blood pressure physiology. A genetic risk score based on 29 genome-wide significant variants was associated with hypertension, left ventricular wall thickness, stroke and coronary artery disease, but not kidney disease or kidney function. We also observed associations with blood pressure in East Asian, South Asian and African ancestry individuals. Our findings provide new insights into the genetics and biology of blood pressure, and suggest potential novel therapeutic pathways for cardiovascular disease prevention.
A high body-mass index (BMI, the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, but the precise relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality remains uncertain.
Case-control studies generally suggesting an inverse association between sun exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have led to speculation that vitamin D may protect against lymphomagenesis. To examine this hypothesis, the authors conducted a pooled investigation of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and subsequent NHL risk within 10 cohorts participating in the Cohort Consortium Vitamin D Pooling Project of Rarer Cancers. The authors analyzed measurements from 1,353 cases and 1,778 controls using conditional logistic regression and other methods to estimate the association of 25(OH)D with NHL. No clear evidence of association between categories of 25(OH)D concentration and NHL was observed overall (P(trend) = 0.68) or by sex (men, P(trend) = 0.50; women, P(trend) = 0.16). Findings for other measures (continuous log(25(OH)D), categories of 25(OH)D using sex-/cohort-/season-specific quartiles as cutpoints, categories of season-adjusted residuals of predicted 25(OH)D using quartiles as cutpoints) were generally null, although some measures of increasing 25(OH)D were suggestive of an increased risk for women. Results from stratified analyses and investigations of histologic subtypes of NHL were also null. These findings do not support the hypothesis that elevated circulating 25(OH)D concentration is associated with a reduced risk of NHL. Future research investigating the biologic basis for the sunlight-NHL association should consider alternative mechanisms, such as immunologic effects.
Several previous studies have reported inverse associations between cigarette smoking and melanoma. Often these studies have not adjusted for ultraviolet (UV) exposure history, skin type, or number of blistering sunburns, which could confound the observed associations between cigarette smoking and melanoma.
Behaviors such as sunscreen use and wearing sun-protective clothing are thought to prevent certain types of skin cancer and precancerous lesions, but few studies have examined differences in these prevention behaviors by skin type.
The association of 17 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in IL10 and other immune response genes (CRP, TLR4, IL6, IL1B, IL8, TNF, RNASEL) and genes related to obesity (PPARG, TCF7L2, ADIPOQ, LEP) with colorectal cancer was investigated. Haplotype tagging SNPs were chosen for IL10, CRP, and TLR4. Incident colorectal cancer cases (n = 208) and matched controls (n = 381) were identified between baseline in 1989 and 2003 among participants in the CLUE II cohort. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated using conditional logistic regression.
Metabolic syndrome components have been associated with colorectal cancer in several studies; however, evidence for colorectal adenomas is limited. Thus, we evaluated the association between markers of the metabolic syndrome with colorectal adenoma development in a nested case-control study.
The hypothesis that germ-line polymorphisms in DNA repair genes influence cancer risk has previously been tested primarily on a cancer site-specific basis. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that DNA repair gene allelic variants contribute to globally elevated cancer risk by measuring associations with risk of all cancers that occurred within a population-based cohort. In the CLUE II cohort study established in 1989 in Washington County, MD, this study was comprised of all 3619 cancer cases ascertained through 2007 compared with a sample of 2296 with no cancer. Associations were measured between 759 DNA repair gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and risk of all cancers. A SNP in O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase, MGMT, (rs2296675) was significantly associated with overall cancer risk [per minor allele odds ratio (OR) 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19-1.43 and P-value: 4.1 × 10(-8)]. The association between rs2296675 and cancer risk was stronger among those aged ?54 years old than those who were ?55 years at baseline (P-for-(interaction) = 0.021). OR were in the direction of increased risk for all 15 categories of malignancies studied (P < 0.0001), ranging from 1.22 (P = 0.42) for ovarian cancer to 2.01 (P = 0.008) for urinary tract cancers; the smallest P-value was for breast cancer (OR 1.45, P = 0.0002). The results indicate that the minor allele of MGMT SNP rs2296675, a common genetic marker with 37% carriers, was significantly associated with increased risk of cancer across multiple tissues. Replication is needed to more definitively determine the scientific and public health significance of this observed association.
Gliomas account for approximately 80 % of all primary malignant brain tumors and, despite improvements in clinical care over the last 20 years, remain among the most lethal tumors, underscoring the need for gaining new insights that could translate into clinical advances. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified seven new susceptibility regions. We conducted a new independent GWAS of glioma using 1,856 cases and 4,955 controls (from 14 cohort studies, 3 case-control studies, and 1 population-based case-only study) and found evidence of strong replication for three of the seven previously reported associations at 20q13.33 (RTEL), 5p15.33 (TERT), and 9p21.3 (CDKN2BAS), and consistent association signals for the remaining four at 7p11.2 (EGFR both loci), 8q24.21 (CCDC26) and 11q23.3 (PHLDB1). The direction and magnitude of the signal were consistent for samples from cohort and case-control studies, but the strength of the association was more pronounced for loci rs6010620 (20q,13.33; RTEL) and rs2736100 (5p15.33, TERT) in cohort studies despite the smaller number of cases in this group, likely due to relatively more higher grade tumors being captured in the cohort studies. We further examined the 85 most promising single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers identified in our study in three replication sets (5,015 cases and 11,601 controls), but no new markers reached genome-wide significance. Our findings suggest that larger studies focusing on novel approaches as well as specific tumor subtypes or subgroups will be required to identify additional common susceptibility loci for glioma risk.
A personal history of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is associated with increased risk of other malignancies, but the reason is unknown. The hedgehog pathway is critical to the etiology of BCC, and is also believed to contribute to susceptibility to other cancers. This study tested the hypothesis that hedgehog pathway and pathway-related gene variants contribute to the increased risk of subsequent cancers among those with a history of BCC.
For unknown reasons, non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is associated with increased risk of other malignancies. Focusing solely on DNA repair or DNA repair-related genes, this study tested the hypothesis that DNA repair gene variants contribute to the increased cancer risk associated with a personal history of NMSC. From the parent CLUE II cohort study, established in 1989 in Washington County, MD, the study consisted of a cancer-free control group (n 5 2296) compared with three mutually exclusive groups of cancer cases ascertained through 2007: (i) Other (non-NMSC) cancer only (n 5 2349); (ii) NMSC only (n 5 694) and (iii) NMSC plus other cancer (n 5 577). The frequency of minor alleles in 759 DNA repair gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was compared in these four groups. Comparing those with both NMSC and other cancer versus those with no cancer, 10 SNPs had allelic trend P-values <0.01. The two top-ranked SNPs were both within the thymine DNA glycosylase gene (TDG). One was a non-synonymous coding SNP (rs2888805) [per allele odds ratio (OR) 1.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16-1.70; P-value 5 0.0006] and the other was an intronic SNP in high linkage disequilibrium with rs2888805 (rs4135150). None of the associations had a P-value <6.6310(-5), the threshold for statistical significance after correcting for multiple comparisons. The results pinpoint DNA repair genes most likely to contribute to the NMSC cancer-prone phenotype. A promising lead is genetic variants in TDG, important not only in base excision repair but also in regulating the epigenome and gene expression, which may contribute to the NMSC-associated increase in overall cancer risk.
In an analysis of 31,717 cancer cases and 26,136 cancer-free controls from 13 genome-wide association studies, we observed large chromosomal abnormalities in a subset of clones in DNA obtained from blood or buccal samples. We observed mosaic abnormalities, either aneuploidy or copy-neutral loss of heterozygosity, of >2 Mb in size in autosomes of 517 individuals (0.89%), with abnormal cell proportions of between 7% and 95%. In cancer-free individuals, frequency increased with age, from 0.23% under 50 years to 1.91% between 75 and 79 years (P = 4.8 × 10(-8)). Mosaic abnormalities were more frequent in individuals with solid tumors (0.97% versus 0.74% in cancer-free individuals; odds ratio (OR) = 1.25; P = 0.016), with stronger association with cases who had DNA collected before diagnosis or treatment (OR = 1.45; P = 0.0005). Detectable mosaicism was also more common in individuals for whom DNA was collected at least 1 year before diagnosis with leukemia compared to cancer-free individuals (OR = 35.4; P = 3.8 × 10(-11)). These findings underscore the time-dependent nature of somatic events in the etiology of cancer and potentially other late-onset diseases.
Four loci have been associated with pancreatic cancer through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Pathway-based analysis of GWAS data is a complementary approach to identify groups of genes or biological pathways enriched with disease-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) whose individual effect sizes may be too small to be detected by standard single-locus methods. We used the adaptive rank truncated product method in a pathway-based analysis of GWAS data from 3851 pancreatic cancer cases and 3934 control participants pooled from 12 cohort studies and 8 case-control studies (PanScan). We compiled 23 biological pathways hypothesized to be relevant to pancreatic cancer and observed a nominal association between pancreatic cancer and five pathways (P < 0.05), i.e. pancreatic development, Helicobacter pylori lacto/neolacto, hedgehog, Th1/Th2 immune response and apoptosis (P = 2.0 × 10(-6), 1.6 × 10(-5), 0.0019, 0.019 and 0.023, respectively). After excluding previously identified genes from the original GWAS in three pathways (NR5A2, ABO and SHH), the pancreatic development pathway remained significant (P = 8.3 × 10(-5)), whereas the others did not. The most significant genes (P < 0.01) in the five pathways were NR5A2, HNF1A, HNF4G and PDX1 for pancreatic development; ABO for H.pylori lacto/neolacto; SHH for hedgehog; TGFBR2 and CCL18 for Th1/Th2 immune response and MAPK8 and BCL2L11 for apoptosis. Our results provide a link between inherited variation in genes important for pancreatic development and cancer and show that pathway-based approaches to analysis of GWAS data can yield important insights into the collective role of genetic risk variants in cancer.
Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is responsible for protecting DNA in skin cells against UVR-induced damage. Using a candidate pathway approach, a matched case-control study nested within a prospective, community-based cohort was carried out to test the hypothesis that single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in NER genes are associated with susceptibility to non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Histologically confirmed cases of NMSC (n=900) were matched to controls (n=900) on the basis of age, gender, and skin type. Associations were measured between NMSC and 221 SNPs in 26 NER genes. Using the additive model, two tightly linked functional SNPs in ERCC6 were significantly associated with increased risk of NMSC: rs2228527 (odds ratio (OR) 1.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20-2.05) and rs2228529 (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.20-2.05). These associations were confined to basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin (rs2228529, OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.30-2.44; rs2228527, OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.31-2.43). These hypothesis-generating findings suggest that functional variants in ERCC6 may be associated with an increased risk of NMSC that may be specific to BCC.
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