Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of urinary bladder cancer (UBC) have yielded common variants at 12 loci that associate with risk of the disease. We report here the results of a GWAS of UBC including 1670 UBC cases and 90 180 controls, followed by replication analysis in additional 5266 UBC cases and 10 456 controls. We tested a dataset containing 34.2 million variants, generated by imputation based on whole-genome sequencing of 2230 Icelanders. Several correlated variants at 20p12, represented by rs62185668, show genome-wide significant association with UBC after combining discovery and replication results (OR = 1.19, P = 1.5 × 10(-11) for rs62185668-A, minor allele frequency = 23.6%). The variants are located in a non-coding region approximately 300 kb upstream from the JAG1 gene, an important component of the Notch signaling pathways that may be oncogenic or tumor suppressive in several forms of cancer. Our results add to the growing number of UBC risk variants discovered through GWAS.
The anti-tumour mechanisms following Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) treatment of bladder-cancer remain largely unknown. Previous studies have shown involvement of nitric-oxide (NO) formation in the BCG-mediated effect. We analyzed the effects of macrophage secreted factors (MSFs) from BCG-stimulated RAW264.7 cells on the bladder-cancer cell line MBT2. Direct treatment with BCG did not induce NO in MBT2-cells whereas supernatant from BCG-stimulated macrophages increased NOS2 mRNA and protein expression, NO concentrations and cell-death. Blocking NO-synthesis with the NOS-inhibitor L-NAME did not affect levels of cell-death suggesting cytotoxic pathways involving other signalling molecules than NO. Several such candidate genes were identified in a microarray.
We analyzed the associations of the NOS2 (CCTTT)n promoter polymorphism to lung cancer risk and tumor histology in smokers and non-smokers. We also investigated lung cancer long-term survival in relation to the polymorphism, smoking data, histology, age at diagnosis, and gender. One hundred eighty-five lung-cancer patients and 164 matched controls, where non-smokers were enriched among the lung cancer cases, were genotyped by fragment analysis and sequencing. Genotypes were combined with information on histology, patient smoking status, and cancer-specific death, using a 20-year follow-up. We divided the (CCTTT)n alleles into short (n???10), intermediate (n?=?11-12), and long (n???13). Patients homozygous for short repeats had significantly increased risk of lung cancer (p?=?0.030) compared to carriers of two long alleles (LL). Lack of long allele was associated with a significantly increased lung cancer risk overall (p?=?0.011), especially among non-smokers (p?=?0.001). A significantly higher lung cancer survival was seen in non-smokers compared to smokers (p?=?0.046) and in low-dose smokers compared to high-dose smokers at the time of diagnosis (p?=?0.028). Moreover, non-smoking patients with squamous cell carcinoma (p?=?0.015) or adenocarcinoma (p?=?0.024) showed a significantly lower survival compared to other lung carcinomas. Nitric oxide can induce proliferation as well as apoptosis depending on cellular context. Our results suggest that the (CCTTT)n NOS2 microsatellite may influence the risk of developing lung cancer, especially in non-smokers, possibly by affecting intracellular nitric oxide levels. Our results also give additional information about the yet poorly understood etiological and prognostic differences between lung cancer in non-smokers and smokers.
HIF-1 is a transcription factor that mediates the cellular responses to low oxygen environments, mainly as a result of having an oxygen-labile subunit, HIF-1?. HIF-1? has been carefully studied in the context of severe hypoxic stresses (<1% O2), but it is also known to be present at oxygen tensions commonly found in normal tissues in vivo (?1-13% O2), albeit at much lower levels. Its role under these physiological conditions is not fully understood. Here, we show that a transcriptionally active HIF-1? was up-regulated at 5% O2, both in normal and cancer cells, but only some of its target genes were elevated as a result. HIF-1? induction was in part dependent on the activation of the ERK1/2 MAPK signalling pathway, which we have previously shown is active at 5% O2. We also found that HIF-1? does not contribute to the protection against DNA damage that can be observed in low oxygen environments, and that there are certain DNA damaging agents, such as doxorubicin and actinomycin D, that prevent HIF-1? induction independently of p53. Moreover, absence of HIF-1? significantly reduced the growth advantage of cells cultured at 5% O2. In view of these data, we conclude that HIF-1? can be induced and activated at physiological oxygen tensions in a MAPK-dependent manner and that, although this does not lead to pro-survival responses to stress, it determines the increased cell proliferation rates that are common under these conditions.
The telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter, an important element of telomerase expression, has emerged as a target of cancer-specific mutations. Originally described in melanoma, the mutations in TERT promoter have been shown to be common in certain other tumor types that include glioblastoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and bladder cancer. To fully define the occurrence and effect of the TERT promoter mutations, we investigated tumors from a well-characterized series of 327 patients with urothelial cell carcinoma of bladder. The somatic mutations, mainly at positions -124 and -146 bp from ATG start site that create binding motifs for E-twenty six/ternary complex factors (Ets/TCF), affected 65.4% of the tumors, with even distribution across different stages and grades. Our data showed that a common polymorphism rs2853669, within a preexisting Ets2 binding site in the TERT promoter, acts as a modifier of the effect of the mutations on survival and tumor recurrence. The patients with the mutations showed poor survival in the absence [hazard ratio (HR) 2.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-4.70] but not in the presence (HR 0.42, 95% CI 0.18-1.01) of the variant allele of the polymorphism. The mutations in the absence of the variant allele were highly associated with the disease recurrence in patients with Tis, Ta, and T1 tumors (HR 1.85, 95% CI 1.11-3.08). The TERT promoter mutations are the most common somatic lesions in bladder cancer with clinical implications. The association of the mutations with patient survival and disease recurrence, subject to modification by a common polymorphism, can be a unique putative marker with individualized prognostic potential.
Three genome-wide association studies in Europe and the USA have reported eight urinary bladder cancer (UBC) susceptibility loci. Using extended case and control series and 1000 Genomes imputations of 5 340 737 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we searched for additional loci in the European GWAS. The discovery sample set consisted of 1631 cases and 3822 controls from the Netherlands and 603 cases and 37 781 controls from Iceland. For follow-up, we used 3790 cases and 7507 controls from 13 sample sets of European and Iranian ancestry. Based on the discovery analysis, we followed up signals in the urea transporter (UT) gene SLC14A. The strongest signal at this locus was represented by a SNP in intron 3, rs17674580, that reached genome-wide significance in the overall analysis of the discovery and follow-up groups: odds ratio = 1.17, P = 7.6 × 10(-11). SLC14A1 codes for UTs that define the Kidd blood group and are crucial for the maintenance of a constant urea concentration gradient in the renal medulla and, through this, the kidneys ability to concentrate urine. It is speculated that rs17674580, or other sequence variants in LD with it, indirectly modifies UBC risk by affecting urine production. If confirmed, this would support the urogenous contact hypothesis that urine production and voiding frequency modify the risk of UBC.
Nitric oxide (NO) is an important biological messenger known to influence several types of human cancers. NO formation is catalyzed by three different nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzymes. In this study we analyzed if the NOS3 promoter polymorphism -786T>C (rs2070744) and the NOS3 Glu298Asp polymorphism in exon 7 (rs1799983) influence risk and pathogenesis of urinary-bladder cancer. Allelic discrimination and DNA sequencing were used to determine the -786T>C and the Glu298Asp NOS3 genotypes in 359 urinary-bladder cancer patients, from a population-based patient material, and 164 population controls. Patient genotypes were combined with information on tumor stage, grade, stage and grade progression and cancer-specific death, using a 5-year clinical follow-up. A threefold increased odds ratio for bladder cancer was found in homozygous carriers of the C allele of the -786T>C promoter polymorphism (p=0.017). No increased bladder cancer risk was found for the Glu298Asp polymorphism, but there was an association between the Glu298Asp and tumor grade (p=0.040). Our results suggest that the NOS3 promoter polymorphism -786T>C may influence bladder cancer risk.
The XPC gene is involved in DNA damage recognition in the nucleotide excision repair pathway (NER). We investigated the additive effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in bladder-cancer patients and population controls for three XPC polymorphisms: A499V (C>T), K939Q (A>C), and poly AT (PAT, -/+).
Oxygen availability has important effects on cell physiology. Although hyperoxic and hypoxic stresses have been well characterized, little is known about cellular functions in the oxygen levels commonly found in vivo. Here, we show that p53-dependent apoptosis in response to different DNA-damaging agents was reduced when normal and cancer cells were cultured at physiological oxygen tensions instead of the usual atmospheric levels. Different from what has been described in hypoxia, this was neither determined by decreases in p53 induction or its transactivation activity, nor by differences in the intracellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species. At these physiological oxygen levels, we found a constitutive activation of the ERK1/2 MAPK in all the models studied. Inhibition of this signaling pathway reversed the protective effect in some but not all cell lines. We conclude that a stress-independent constitutive activation of prosurvival pathways, including but probably not limited to MAPK, can protect cells in physiological oxygen tensions against genotoxic stress. Our results underscore the need of considering the impact of oxygen levels present in the tissue microenvironment when studying cell sensitivity to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Previously, we reported germline DNA variants associated with risk of urinary bladder cancer (UBC) in Dutch and Icelandic subjects. Here we expanded the Icelandic sample set and tested the top 20 markers from the combined analysis in several European case-control sample sets, with a total of 4,739 cases and 45,549 controls. The T allele of rs798766 on 4p16.3 was found to associate with UBC (odds ratio = 1.24, P = 9.9 x 10(-12)). rs798766 is located in an intron of TACC3, 70 kb from FGFR3, which often harbors activating somatic mutations in low-grade, noninvasive UBC. Notably, rs798766[T] shows stronger association with low-grade and low-stage UBC than with more aggressive forms of the disease and is associated with higher risk of recurrence in low-grade stage Ta tumors. The frequency of rs798766[T] is higher in Ta tumors that carry an activating mutation in FGFR3 than in Ta tumors with wild-type FGFR3. Our results show a link between germline variants, somatic mutations of FGFR3 and risk of UBC.
We conducted a genome-wide association study on 969 bladder cancer cases and 957 controls from Texas. For fast-track validation, we evaluated 60 SNPs in three additional US populations and validated the top SNP in nine European populations. A missense variant (rs2294008) in the PSCA gene showed consistent association with bladder cancer in US and European populations. Combining all subjects (6,667 cases, 39,590 controls), the overall P-value was 2.14 x 10(-10) and the allelic odds ratio was 1.15 (95% confidence interval 1.10-1.20). rs2294008 alters the start codon and is predicted to cause truncation of nine amino acids from the N-terminal signal sequence of the primary PSCA translation product. In vitro reporter gene assay showed that the variant allele significantly reduced promoter activity. Resequencing of the PSCA genomic region showed that rs2294008 is the only common missense SNP in PSCA. Our data identify rs2294008 as a new bladder cancer susceptibility locus.
The common sequence variants that have recently been associated with cancer risk are particular to a single cancer type or at most two. Following up on our genome-wide scan of basal cell carcinoma, we found that rs401681[C] on chromosome 5p15.33 satisfied our threshold for genome-wide significance (OR = 1.25, P = 3.7 x 10(-12)). We tested rs401681 for association with 16 additional cancer types in over 30,000 cancer cases and 45,000 controls and found association with lung cancer (OR = 1.15, P = 7.2 x 10(-8)) and urinary bladder, prostate and cervix cancer (ORs = 1.07-1.31, all P < 4 x 10(-4)). However, rs401681[C] seems to confer protection against cutaneous melanoma (OR = 0.88, P = 8.0 x 10(-4)). Notably, most of these cancer types have a strong environmental component to their risk. Investigation of the region led us to rs2736098[A], which showed stronger association with some cancer types. However, neither variant could fully account for the association of the other. rs2736098 corresponds to A305A in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) protein and rs401681 is in an intron of the CLPTM1L gene.
Treatment with Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) bladder instillations is an established treatment modality for superficial urinary bladder cancer and carcinoma in situ (CIS), but the anti-tumor mechanisms following BCG instillations remain largely unknown. Previous data show increased nitric oxide (NO) concentrations in the urinary bladder from patients treated with BCG suggesting that NO-formation may be involved in the BCG mediated effect. In the present study we evaluated 11 patients with urinary bladder cancer who had received BCG treatment and 11 tumor free control subjects. We performed immunohistochemistry, Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on bladder biopsies to establish inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein levels and localization as well as iNOS mRNA expression. Endogenous NO formation in the bladder was also measured. In patients with bladder cancer who had received BCG treatment iNOS-like immunoreactivity was found in the urothelial cells but also in macrophages in the submucosa. Furthermore, endogenously formed NO was significantly increased (p<0.001) in the BCG treated patients and they had a ten-fold increase in mRNA expression for iNOS compared to healthy controls (p=0.003). In conclusion iNOS was found to be localized to the urothelium and macrophages underlying it. Our study also confirms elevated levels of endogenously formed NO and increased mRNA expression and protein levels for iNOS in patients with BCG treated bladder cancer. These data further support the notion that NO may be involved in the anti-tumor mechanism that BCG exerts on bladder cancer cells.
p21(Waf1/Cip1/Sdi1) is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that mediates cell cycle arrest. Prolonged p21 up-regulation induces a senescent phenotype in normal and cancer cells, accompanied by an increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, it has been shown recently that p21 expression can also lead to cell death in certain models. The mechanisms involved in this process are not fully understood. Here, we describe an induction of apoptosis by p21 in sarcoma cell lines that is p53-independent and can be ameliorated with antioxidants. Similar levels of p21 and ROS caused senescence in the absence of significant death in other cancer cell lines, suggesting a cell-specific response. We also found that cells undergoing p21-dependent cell death had higher sensitivity to oxidants and a specific pattern of mitochondrial polarization changes. Consistent with this, apoptosis could be blocked with targeted expression of catalase in the mitochondria of these cells. We propose that the balance between cancer cell death and arrest after p21 up-regulation depends on the specific effects of p21-induced ROS on the mitochondria. This suggests that selective up-regulation of p21 in cancer cells could be a successful therapeutic intervention for sarcomas and tumors with lower resistance to mitochondrial oxidative damage, regardless of p53 status.
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