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  1. Lawrenson K, Song F, Hazelett DJ, Kar SP, Tyrer J, Phelan CM, et al.
    Gynecol. Oncol., 2019 Mar 19.
    PMID: 30898391 DOI: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2019.02.023
    OBJECTIVE: Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) have focused largely on populations of European ancestry. We aimed to identify common germline variants associated with EOC risk in Asian women.

    METHODS: Genotyping was performed as part of the OncoArray project. Samples with >60% Asian ancestry were included in the analysis. Genotyping was performed on 533,631 SNPs in 3238 Asian subjects diagnosed with invasive or borderline EOC and 4083 unaffected controls. After imputation, genotypes were available for 11,595,112 SNPs to identify associations.

    RESULTS: At chromosome 6p25.2, SNP rs7748275 was associated with risk of serous EOC (odds ratio [OR] = 1.34, P = 8.7 × 10-9) and high-grade serous EOC (HGSOC) (OR = 1.34, P = 4.3 × 10-9). SNP rs6902488 at 6p25.2 (r2 = 0.97 with rs7748275) lies in an active enhancer and is predicted to impact binding of STAT3, P300 and ELF1. We identified additional risk loci with low Bayesian false discovery probability (BFDP) scores, indicating they are likely to be true risk associations (BFDP <10%). At chromosome 20q11.22, rs74272064 was associated with HGSOC risk (OR = 1.27, P = 9.0 × 10-8). Overall EOC risk was associated with rs10260419 at chromosome 7p21.3 (OR = 1.33, P = 1.2 × 10-7) and rs74917072 at chromosome 2q37.3 (OR = 1.25, P = 4.7 × 10-7). At 2q37.3, expression quantitative trait locus analysis in 404 HGSOC tissues identified ESPNL as a putative candidate susceptibility gene (P = 1.2 × 10-7).

    CONCLUSION: While some risk loci were shared between East Asian and European populations, others were population-specific, indicating that the landscape of EOC risk in Asian women has both shared and unique features compared to women of European ancestry.

  2. Easton DF, Lesueur F, Decker B, Michailidou K, Li J, Allen J, et al.
    J. Med. Genet., 2016 05;53(5):298-309.
    PMID: 26921362 DOI: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2015-103529
    BACKGROUND: BRCA1 interacting protein C-terminal helicase 1 (BRIP1) is one of the Fanconi Anaemia Complementation (FANC) group family of DNA repair proteins. Biallelic mutations in BRIP1 are responsible for FANC group J, and previous studies have also suggested that rare protein truncating variants in BRIP1 are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. These studies have led to inclusion of BRIP1 on targeted sequencing panels for breast cancer risk prediction.

    METHODS: We evaluated a truncating variant, p.Arg798Ter (rs137852986), and 10 missense variants of BRIP1, in 48 144 cases and 43 607 controls of European origin, drawn from 41 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Additionally, we sequenced the coding regions of BRIP1 in 13 213 cases and 5242 controls from the UK, 1313 cases and 1123 controls from three population-based studies as part of the Breast Cancer Family Registry, and 1853 familial cases and 2001 controls from Australia.

    RESULTS: The rare truncating allele of rs137852986 was observed in 23 cases and 18 controls in Europeans in BCAC (OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.58 to 2.03, p=0.79). Truncating variants were found in the sequencing studies in 34 cases (0.21%) and 19 controls (0.23%) (combined OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.48 to 1.70, p=0.75).

    CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that truncating variants in BRIP1, and in particular p.Arg798Ter, are not associated with a substantial increase in breast cancer risk. Such observations have important implications for the reporting of results from breast cancer screening panels.

  3. Wyszynski A, Hong CC, Lam K, Michailidou K, Lytle C, Yao S, et al.
    Hum. Mol. Genet., 2016 Sep 01;25(17):3863-3876.
    PMID: 27402876 DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddw223
    Breast cancer is the most diagnosed malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer mortality in females. Previous association studies have identified variants on 2q35 associated with the risk of breast cancer. To identify functional susceptibility loci for breast cancer, we interrogated the 2q35 gene desert for chromatin architecture and functional variation correlated with gene expression. We report a novel intergenic breast cancer risk locus containing an enhancer copy number variation (enCNV; deletion) located approximately 400Kb upstream to IGFBP5, which overlaps an intergenic ERα-bound enhancer that loops to the IGFBP5 promoter. The enCNV is correlated with modified ERα binding and monoallelic-repression of IGFBP5 following oestrogen treatment. We investigated the association of enCNV genotype with breast cancer in 1,182 cases and 1,362 controls, and replicate our findings in an independent set of 62,533 cases and 60,966 controls from 41 case control studies and 11 GWAS. We report a dose-dependent inverse association of 2q35 enCNV genotype (percopy OR = 0.68 95%CI 0.55-0.83, P = 0.0002; replication OR = 0.77 95% CI 0.73-0.82, P = 2.1 × 10(-19)) and identify 13 additional linked variants (r(2 )>( )0.8) in the 20Kb linkage block containing the enCNV (P = 3.2 × 10(-15) - 5.6 × 10(-17)). These associations were independent of previously reported 2q35 variants, rs13387042/rs4442975 and rs16857609, and were stronger for ER-positive than ER-negative disease. Together, these results suggest that 2q35 breast cancer risk loci may be mediating their effect through IGFBP5.
  4. Kar SP, Tyrer JP, Li Q, Lawrenson K, Aben KK, Anton-Culver H, et al.
    Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., 2015 Oct;24(10):1574-84.
    PMID: 26209509 DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-1270
    BACKGROUND: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have so far reported 12 loci associated with serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) risk. We hypothesized that some of these loci function through nearby transcription factor (TF) genes and that putative target genes of these TFs as identified by coexpression may also be enriched for additional EOC risk associations.

    METHODS: We selected TF genes within 1 Mb of the top signal at the 12 genome-wide significant risk loci. Mutual information, a form of correlation, was used to build networks of genes strongly coexpressed with each selected TF gene in the unified microarray dataset of 489 serous EOC tumors from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Genes represented in this dataset were subsequently ranked using a gene-level test based on results for germline SNPs from a serous EOC GWAS meta-analysis (2,196 cases/4,396 controls).

    RESULTS: Gene set enrichment analysis identified six networks centered on TF genes (HOXB2, HOXB5, HOXB6, HOXB7 at 17q21.32 and HOXD1, HOXD3 at 2q31) that were significantly enriched for genes from the risk-associated end of the ranked list (P < 0.05 and FDR < 0.05). These results were replicated (P < 0.05) using an independent association study (7,035 cases/21,693 controls). Genes underlying enrichment in the six networks were pooled into a combined network.

    CONCLUSION: We identified a HOX-centric network associated with serous EOC risk containing several genes with known or emerging roles in serous EOC development.

    IMPACT: Network analysis integrating large, context-specific datasets has the potential to offer mechanistic insights into cancer susceptibility and prioritize genes for experimental characterization.

  5. Milne RL, Burwinkel B, Michailidou K, Arias-Perez JI, Zamora MP, Menéndez-Rodríguez P, et al.
    Hum. Mol. Genet., 2014 Nov 15;23(22):6096-111.
    PMID: 24943594 DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddu311
    Candidate variant association studies have been largely unsuccessful in identifying common breast cancer susceptibility variants, although most studies have been underpowered to detect associations of a realistic magnitude. We assessed 41 common non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) for which evidence of association with breast cancer risk had been previously reported. Case-control data were combined from 38 studies of white European women (46 450 cases and 42 600 controls) and analyzed using unconditional logistic regression. Strong evidence of association was observed for three nsSNPs: ATXN7-K264R at 3p21 [rs1053338, per allele OR = 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04-1.10, P = 2.9 × 10(-6)], AKAP9-M463I at 7q21 (rs6964587, OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.03-1.07, P = 1.7 × 10(-6)) and NEK10-L513S at 3p24 (rs10510592, OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.07-1.12, P = 5.1 × 10(-17)). The first two associations reached genome-wide statistical significance in a combined analysis of available data, including independent data from nine genome-wide association studies (GWASs): for ATXN7-K264R, OR = 1.07 (95% CI = 1.05-1.10, P = 1.0 × 10(-8)); for AKAP9-M463I, OR = 1.05 (95% CI = 1.04-1.07, P = 2.0 × 10(-10)). Further analysis of other common variants in these two regions suggested that intronic SNPs nearby are more strongly associated with disease risk. We have thus identified a novel susceptibility locus at 3p21, and confirmed previous suggestive evidence that rs6964587 at 7q21 is associated with risk. The third locus, rs10510592, is located in an established breast cancer susceptibility region; the association was substantially attenuated after adjustment for the known GWAS hit. Thus, each of the associated nsSNPs is likely to be a marker for another, non-coding, variant causally related to breast cancer risk. Further fine-mapping and functional studies are required to identify the underlying risk-modifying variants and the genes through which they act.
  6. Lawrenson K, Iversen ES, Tyrer J, Weber RP, Concannon P, Hazelett DJ, et al.
    Carcinogenesis, 2015 Nov;36(11):1341-53.
    PMID: 26424751 DOI: 10.1093/carcin/bgv138
    Genome-wide association studies have identified 20 genomic regions associated with risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), but many additional risk variants may exist. Here, we evaluated associations between common genetic variants [single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and indels] in DNA repair genes and EOC risk. We genotyped 2896 common variants at 143 gene loci in DNA samples from 15 397 patients with invasive EOC and controls. We found evidence of associations with EOC risk for variants at FANCA, EXO1, E2F4, E2F2, CREB5 and CHEK2 genes (P ≤ 0.001). The strongest risk association was for CHEK2 SNP rs17507066 with serous EOC (P = 4.74 x 10(-7)). Additional genotyping and imputation of genotypes from the 1000 genomes project identified a slightly more significant association for CHEK2 SNP rs6005807 (r (2) with rs17507066 = 0.84, odds ratio (OR) 1.17, 95% CI 1.11-1.24, P = 1.1×10(-7)). We identified 293 variants in the region with likelihood ratios of less than 1:100 for representing the causal variant. Functional annotation identified 25 candidate SNPs that alter transcription factor binding sites within regulatory elements active in EOC precursor tissues. In The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset, CHEK2 gene expression was significantly higher in primary EOCs compared to normal fallopian tube tissues (P = 3.72×10(-8)). We also identified an association between genotypes of the candidate causal SNP rs12166475 (r (2) = 0.99 with rs6005807) and CHEK2 expression (P = 2.70×10(-8)). These data suggest that common variants at 22q12.1 are associated with risk of serous EOC and CHEK2 as a plausible target susceptibility gene.
  7. Lawrenson K, Li Q, Kar S, Seo JH, Tyrer J, Spindler TJ, et al.
    Nat Commun, 2015 Sep 22;6:8234.
    PMID: 26391404 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9234
    Genome-wide association studies have reported 11 regions conferring risk of high-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analyses can identify candidate susceptibility genes at risk loci. Here we evaluate cis-eQTL associations at 47 regions associated with HGSOC risk (P≤10(-5)). For three cis-eQTL associations (P<1.4 × 10(-3), FDR<0.05) at 1p36 (CDC42), 1p34 (CDCA8) and 2q31 (HOXD9), we evaluate the functional role of each candidate by perturbing expression of each gene in HGSOC precursor cells. Overexpression of HOXD9 increases anchorage-independent growth, shortens population-doubling time and reduces contact inhibition. Chromosome conformation capture identifies an interaction between rs2857532 and the HOXD9 promoter, suggesting this SNP is a leading causal variant. Transcriptomic profiling after HOXD9 overexpression reveals enrichment of HGSOC risk variants within HOXD9 target genes (P=6 × 10(-10) for risk variants (P<10(-4)) within 10 kb of a HOXD9 target gene in ovarian cells), suggesting a broader role for this network in genetic susceptibility to HGSOC.
  8. Orr N, Dudbridge F, Dryden N, Maguire S, Novo D, Perrakis E, et al.
    Hum. Mol. Genet., 2015 May 15;24(10):2966-84.
    PMID: 25652398 DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddv035
    We recently identified a novel susceptibility variant, rs865686, for estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer at 9q31.2. Here, we report a fine-mapping analysis of the 9q31.2 susceptibility locus using 43 160 cases and 42 600 controls of European ancestry ascertained from 52 studies and a further 5795 cases and 6624 controls of Asian ancestry from nine studies. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs676256 was most strongly associated with risk in Europeans (odds ratios [OR] = 0.90 [0.88-0.92]; P-value = 1.58 × 10(-25)). This SNP is one of a cluster of highly correlated variants, including rs865686, that spans ∼14.5 kb. We identified two additional independent association signals demarcated by SNPs rs10816625 (OR = 1.12 [1.08-1.17]; P-value = 7.89 × 10(-09)) and rs13294895 (OR = 1.09 [1.06-1.12]; P-value = 2.97 × 10(-11)). SNP rs10816625, but not rs13294895, was also associated with risk of breast cancer in Asian individuals (OR = 1.12 [1.06-1.18]; P-value = 2.77 × 10(-05)). Functional genomic annotation using data derived from breast cancer cell-line models indicates that these SNPs localise to putative enhancer elements that bind known drivers of hormone-dependent breast cancer, including ER-α, FOXA1 and GATA-3. In vitro analyses indicate that rs10816625 and rs13294895 have allele-specific effects on enhancer activity and suggest chromatin interactions with the KLF4 gene locus. These results demonstrate the power of dense genotyping in large studies to identify independent susceptibility variants. Analysis of associations using subjects with different ancestry, combined with bioinformatic and genomic characterisation, can provide strong evidence for the likely causative alleles and their functional basis.
  9. Lin WY, Camp NJ, Ghoussaini M, Beesley J, Michailidou K, Hopper JL, et al.
    Hum. Mol. Genet., 2015 Jan 01;24(1):285-98.
    PMID: 25168388 DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddu431
    Previous studies have suggested that polymorphisms in CASP8 on chromosome 2 are associated with breast cancer risk. To clarify the role of CASP8 in breast cancer susceptibility, we carried out dense genotyping of this region in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning a 1 Mb region around CASP8 were genotyped in 46 450 breast cancer cases and 42 600 controls of European origin from 41 studies participating in the BCAC as part of a custom genotyping array experiment (iCOGS). Missing genotypes and SNPs were imputed and, after quality exclusions, 501 typed and 1232 imputed SNPs were included in logistic regression models adjusting for study and ancestry principal components. The SNPs retained in the final model were investigated further in data from nine genome-wide association studies (GWAS) comprising in total 10 052 case and 12 575 control subjects. The most significant association signal observed in European subjects was for the imputed intronic SNP rs1830298 in ALS2CR12 (telomeric to CASP8), with per allele odds ratio and 95% confidence interval [OR (95% confidence interval, CI)] for the minor allele of 1.05 (1.03-1.07), P = 1 × 10(-5). Three additional independent signals from intronic SNPs were identified, in CASP8 (rs36043647), ALS2CR11 (rs59278883) and CFLAR (rs7558475). The association with rs1830298 was replicated in the imputed results from the combined GWAS (P = 3 × 10(-6)), yielding a combined OR (95% CI) of 1.06 (1.04-1.08), P = 1 × 10(-9). Analyses of gene expression associations in peripheral blood and normal breast tissue indicate that CASP8 might be the target gene, suggesting a mechanism involving apoptosis.
  10. Johnson N, Dudbridge F, Orr N, Gibson L, Jones ME, Schoemaker MJ, et al.
    Breast Cancer Res., 2014 May 26;16(3):R51.
    PMID: 24887515 DOI: 10.1186/bcr3662
    INTRODUCTION: We have previously shown that a tag single nucleotide polymorphism (rs10235235), which maps to the CYP3A locus (7q22.1), was associated with a reduction in premenopausal urinary estrone glucuronide levels and a modest reduction in risk of breast cancer in women age ≤50 years.

    METHODS: We further investigated the association of rs10235235 with breast cancer risk in a large case control study of 47,346 cases and 47,570 controls from 52 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Genotyping of rs10235235 was conducted using a custom Illumina Infinium array. Stratified analyses were conducted to determine whether this association was modified by age at diagnosis, ethnicity, age at menarche or tumor characteristics.

    RESULTS: We confirmed the association of rs10235235 with breast cancer risk for women of European ancestry but found no evidence that this association differed with age at diagnosis. Heterozygote and homozygote odds ratios (ORs) were OR = 0.98 (95% CI 0.94, 1.01; P = 0.2) and OR = 0.80 (95% CI 0.69, 0.93; P = 0.004), respectively (P(trend) = 0.02). There was no evidence of effect modification by tumor characteristics. rs10235235 was, however, associated with age at menarche in controls (P(trend) = 0.005) but not cases (P(trend) = 0.97). Consequently the association between rs10235235 and breast cancer risk differed according to age at menarche (P(het) = 0.02); the rare allele of rs10235235 was associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk for women who had their menarche age ≥15 years (OR(het) = 0.84, 95% CI 0.75, 0.94; OR(hom) = 0.81, 95% CI 0.51, 1.30; P(trend) = 0.002) but not for those who had their menarche age ≤11 years (OR(het) = 1.06, 95% CI 0.95, 1.19, OR(hom) = 1.07, 95% CI 0.67, 1.72; P(trend) = 0.29).

    CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge rs10235235 is the first single nucleotide polymorphism to be associated with both breast cancer risk and age at menarche consistent with the well-documented association between later age at menarche and a reduction in breast cancer risk. These associations are likely mediated via an effect on circulating hormone levels.

  11. Kuchenbaecker KB, Ramus SJ, Tyrer J, Lee A, Shen HC, Beesley J, et al.
    Nat. Genet., 2015 Feb;47(2):164-71.
    PMID: 25581431 DOI: 10.1038/ng.3185
    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 12 epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) susceptibility alleles. The pattern of association at these loci is consistent in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers who are at high risk of EOC. After imputation to 1000 Genomes Project data, we assessed associations of 11 million genetic variants with EOC risk from 15,437 cases unselected for family history and 30,845 controls and from 15,252 BRCA1 mutation carriers and 8,211 BRCA2 mutation carriers (3,096 with ovarian cancer), and we combined the results in a meta-analysis. This new study design yielded increased statistical power, leading to the discovery of six new EOC susceptibility loci. Variants at 1p36 (nearest gene, WNT4), 4q26 (SYNPO2), 9q34.2 (ABO) and 17q11.2 (ATAD5) were associated with EOC risk, and at 1p34.3 (RSPO1) and 6p22.1 (GPX6) variants were specifically associated with the serous EOC subtype, all with P < 5 × 10(-8). Incorporating these variants into risk assessment tools will improve clinical risk predictions for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
  12. Lawrenson K, Kar S, McCue K, Kuchenbaeker K, Michailidou K, Tyrer J, et al.
    Nat Commun, 2016 09 07;7:12675.
    PMID: 27601076 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12675
    A locus at 19p13 is associated with breast cancer (BC) and ovarian cancer (OC) risk. Here we analyse 438 SNPs in this region in 46,451 BC and 15,438 OC cases, 15,252 BRCA1 mutation carriers and 73,444 controls and identify 13 candidate causal SNPs associated with serous OC (P=9.2 × 10(-20)), ER-negative BC (P=1.1 × 10(-13)), BRCA1-associated BC (P=7.7 × 10(-16)) and triple negative BC (P-diff=2 × 10(-5)). Genotype-gene expression associations are identified for candidate target genes ANKLE1 (P=2 × 10(-3)) and ABHD8 (P<2 × 10(-3)). Chromosome conformation capture identifies interactions between four candidate SNPs and ABHD8, and luciferase assays indicate six risk alleles increased transactivation of the ADHD8 promoter. Targeted deletion of a region containing risk SNP rs56069439 in a putative enhancer induces ANKLE1 downregulation; and mRNA stability assays indicate functional effects for an ANKLE1 3'-UTR SNP. Altogether, these data suggest that multiple SNPs at 19p13 regulate ABHD8 and perhaps ANKLE1 expression, and indicate common mechanisms underlying breast and ovarian cancer risk.
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