Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 36 in total

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  1. Brouckaert O, Rudolph A, Laenen A, Keeman R, Bolla MK, Wang Q, et al.
    Breast Cancer Res., 2017 Nov 07;19(1):119.
    PMID: 29116004 DOI: 10.1186/s13058-017-0909-3
    BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that reproductive factors are differentially associated with breast cancer (BC) risk by subtypes. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between reproductive factors and BC subtypes, and whether these vary by age at diagnosis.

    METHODS: We used pooled data on tumor markers (estrogen and progesterone receptor, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2)) and reproductive risk factors (parity, age at first full-time pregnancy (FFTP) and age at menarche) from 28,095 patients with invasive BC from 34 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). In a case-only analysis, we used logistic regression to assess associations between reproductive factors and BC subtype compared to luminal A tumors as a reference. The interaction between age and parity in BC subtype risk was also tested, across all ages and, because age was modeled non-linearly, specifically at ages 35, 55 and 75 years.

    RESULTS: Parous women were more likely to be diagnosed with triple negative BC (TNBC) than with luminal A BC, irrespective of age (OR for parity = 1.38, 95% CI 1.16-1.65, p = 0.0004; p for interaction with age = 0.076). Parous women were also more likely to be diagnosed with luminal and non-luminal HER2-like BCs and this effect was slightly more pronounced at an early age (p for interaction with age = 0.037 and 0.030, respectively). For instance, women diagnosed at age 35 were 1.48 (CI 1.01-2.16) more likely to have luminal HER2-like BC than luminal A BC, while this association was not significant at age 75 (OR = 0.72, CI 0.45-1.14). While age at menarche was not significantly associated with BC subtype, increasing age at FFTP was non-linearly associated with TNBC relative to luminal A BC. An age at FFTP of 25 versus 20 years lowered the risk for TNBC (OR = 0.78, CI 0.70-0.88, p 

  2. Shi J, Zhang Y, Zheng W, Michailidou K, Ghoussaini M, Bolla MK, et al.
    Int. J. Cancer, 2016 Sep 15;139(6):1303-1317.
    PMID: 27087578 DOI: 10.1002/ijc.30150
    Previous genome-wide association studies among women of European ancestry identified two independent breast cancer susceptibility loci represented by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs13281615 and rs11780156 at 8q24. A fine-mapping study across 2.06 Mb (chr8:127,561,724-129,624,067, hg19) in 55,540 breast cancer cases and 51,168 controls within the Breast Cancer Association Consortium was conducted. Three additional independent association signals in women of European ancestry, represented by rs35961416 (OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.93-0.97, conditional p = 5.8 × 10(-6) ), rs7815245 (OR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.91-0.96, conditional p = 1.1 × 10(-6) ) and rs2033101 (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02-1.07, conditional p = 1.1 × 10(-4) ) were found. Integrative analysis using functional genomic data from the Roadmap Epigenomics, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements project, the Cancer Genome Atlas and other public resources implied that SNPs rs7815245 in Signal 3, and rs1121948 in Signal 5 (in linkage disequilibrium with rs11780156, r(2)  = 0.77), were putatively functional variants for two of the five independent association signals. The results highlighted multiple 8q24 variants associated with breast cancer susceptibility in women of European ancestry.
  3. 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.

  4. Guo X, Long J, Zeng C, Michailidou K, Ghoussaini M, Bolla MK, et al.
    Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., 2015 Nov;24(11):1680-91.
    PMID: 26354892 DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0363
    BACKGROUND: A recent association study identified a common variant (rs9790517) at 4q24 to be associated with breast cancer risk. Independent association signals and potential functional variants in this locus have not been explored.

    METHODS: We conducted a fine-mapping analysis in 55,540 breast cancer cases and 51,168 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

    RESULTS: Conditional analyses identified two independent association signals among women of European ancestry, represented by rs9790517 [conditional P = 2.51 × 10(-4); OR, 1.04; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02-1.07] and rs77928427 (P = 1.86 × 10(-4); OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.07). Functional annotation using data from the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project revealed two putative functional variants, rs62331150 and rs73838678 in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with rs9790517 (r(2) ≥ 0.90) residing in the active promoter or enhancer, respectively, of the nearest gene, TET2. Both variants are located in DNase I hypersensitivity and transcription factor-binding sites. Using data from both The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC), we showed that rs62331150 was associated with level of expression of TET2 in breast normal and tumor tissue.

    CONCLUSION: Our study identified two independent association signals at 4q24 in relation to breast cancer risk and suggested that observed association in this locus may be mediated through the regulation of TET2.

    IMPACT: Fine-mapping study with large sample size warranted for identification of independent loci for breast cancer risk.

  5. Darabi H, McCue K, Beesley J, Michailidou K, Nord S, Kar S, et al.
    Am. J. Hum. Genet., 2015 Jul 02;97(1):22-34.
    PMID: 26073781 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.05.002
    Genome-wide association studies have identified SNPs near ZNF365 at 10q21.2 that are associated with both breast cancer risk and mammographic density. To identify the most likely causal SNPs, we fine mapped the association signal by genotyping 428 SNPs across the region in 89,050 European and 12,893 Asian case and control subjects from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We identified four independent sets of correlated, highly trait-associated variants (iCHAVs), three of which were located within ZNF365. The most strongly risk-associated SNP, rs10995201 in iCHAV1, showed clear evidence of association with both estrogen receptor (ER)-positive (OR = 0.85 [0.82-0.88]) and ER-negative (OR = 0.87 [0.82-0.91]) disease, and was also the SNP most strongly associated with percent mammographic density. iCHAV2 (lead SNP, chr10: 64,258,684:D) and iCHAV3 (lead SNP, rs7922449) were also associated with ER-positive (OR = 0.93 [0.91-0.95] and OR = 1.06 [1.03-1.09]) and ER-negative (OR = 0.95 [0.91-0.98] and OR = 1.08 [1.04-1.13]) disease. There was weaker evidence for iCHAV4, located 5' of ADO, associated only with ER-positive breast cancer (OR = 0.93 [0.90-0.96]). We found 12, 17, 18, and 2 candidate causal SNPs for breast cancer in iCHAVs 1-4, respectively. Chromosome conformation capture analysis showed that iCHAV2 interacts with the ZNF365 and NRBF2 (more than 600 kb away) promoters in normal and cancerous breast epithelial cells. Luciferase assays did not identify SNPs that affect transactivation of ZNF365, but identified a protective haplotype in iCHAV2, associated with silencing of the NRBF2 promoter, implicating this gene in the etiology of breast cancer.
  6. Li J, Lindström LS, Foo JN, Rafiq S, Schmidt MK, Pharoah PD, et al.
    Nat Commun, 2014 Jun 17;5:4051.
    PMID: 24937182 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5051
    Large population-based registry studies have shown that breast cancer prognosis is inherited. Here we analyse single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes implicated in human immunology and inflammation as candidates for prognostic markers of breast cancer survival involving 1,804 oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative patients treated with chemotherapy (279 events) from 14 European studies in a prior large-scale genotyping experiment, which is part of the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS) initiative. We carry out replication using Asian COGS samples (n=522, 53 events) and the Prospective Study of Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary breast cancer (POSH) study (n=315, 108 events). Rs4458204_A near CCL20 (2q36.3) is found to be associated with breast cancer-specific death at a genome-wide significant level (n=2,641, 440 events, combined allelic hazard ratio (HR)=1.81 (1.49-2.19); P for trend=1.90 × 10(-9)). Such survival-associated variants can represent ideal targets for tailored therapeutics, and may also enhance our current prognostic prediction capabilities.
  7. Ghoussaini M, French JD, Michailidou K, Nord S, Beesley J, Canisus S, et al.
    Am. J. Hum. Genet., 2016 Oct 06;99(4):903-911.
    PMID: 27640304 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.07.017
    Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have revealed increased breast cancer risk associated with multiple genetic variants at 5p12. Here, we report the fine mapping of this locus using data from 104,660 subjects from 50 case-control studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). With data for 3,365 genotyped and imputed SNPs across a 1 Mb region (positions 44,394,495-45,364,167; NCBI build 37), we found evidence for at least three independent signals: the strongest signal, consisting of a single SNP rs10941679, was associated with risk of estrogen-receptor-positive (ER(+)) breast cancer (per-g allele OR ER(+) = 1.15; 95% CI 1.13-1.18; p = 8.35 × 10(-30)). After adjustment for rs10941679, we detected signal 2, consisting of 38 SNPs more strongly associated with ER-negative (ER(-)) breast cancer (lead SNP rs6864776: per-a allele OR ER(-) = 1.10; 95% CI 1.05-1.14; p conditional = 1.44 × 10(-12)), and a single signal 3 SNP (rs200229088: per-t allele OR ER(+) = 1.12; 95% CI 1.09-1.15; p conditional = 1.12 × 10(-05)). Expression quantitative trait locus analysis in normal breast tissues and breast tumors showed that the g (risk) allele of rs10941679 was associated with increased expression of FGF10 and MRPS30. Functional assays demonstrated that SNP rs10941679 maps to an enhancer element that physically interacts with the FGF10 and MRPS30 promoter regions in breast cancer cell lines. FGF10 is an oncogene that binds to FGFR2 and is overexpressed in ∼10% of human breast cancers, whereas MRPS30 plays a key role in apoptosis. These data suggest that the strongest signal of association at 5p12 is mediated through coordinated activation of FGF10 and MRPS30, two candidate genes for breast cancer pathogenesis.
  8. Darabi H, Beesley J, Droit A, Kar S, Nord S, Moradi Marjaneh M, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2016 09 07;6:32512.
    PMID: 27600471 DOI: 10.1038/srep32512
    Genome-wide association studies have found SNPs at 17q22 to be associated with breast cancer risk. To identify potential causal variants related to breast cancer risk, we performed a high resolution fine-mapping analysis that involved genotyping 517 SNPs using a custom Illumina iSelect array (iCOGS) followed by imputation of genotypes for 3,134 SNPs in more than 89,000 participants of European ancestry from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). We identified 28 highly correlated common variants, in a 53 Kb region spanning two introns of the STXBP4 gene, that are strong candidates for driving breast cancer risk (lead SNP rs2787486 (OR = 0.92; CI 0.90-0.94; P = 8.96 × 10(-15))) and are correlated with two previously reported risk-associated variants at this locus, SNPs rs6504950 (OR = 0.94, P = 2.04 × 10(-09), r(2) = 0.73 with lead SNP) and rs1156287 (OR = 0.93, P = 3.41 × 10(-11), r(2) = 0.83 with lead SNP). Analyses indicate only one causal SNP in the region and several enhancer elements targeting STXBP4 are located within the 53 kb association signal. Expression studies in breast tumor tissues found SNP rs2787486 to be associated with increased STXBP4 expression, suggesting this may be a target gene of this locus.
  9. 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.
  10. Shimelis H, Mesman RLS, Von Nicolai C, Ehlen A, Guidugli L, Martin C, et al.
    Cancer Res., 2017 06 01;77(11):2789-2799.
    PMID: 28283652 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-2568
    Breast cancer risks conferred by many germline missense variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, often referred to as variants of uncertain significance (VUS), have not been established. In this study, associations between 19 BRCA1 and 33 BRCA2 missense substitution variants and breast cancer risk were investigated through a breast cancer case-control study using genotyping data from 38 studies of predominantly European ancestry (41,890 cases and 41,607 controls) and nine studies of Asian ancestry (6,269 cases and 6,624 controls). The BRCA2 c.9104A>C, p.Tyr3035Ser (OR = 2.52; P = 0.04), and BRCA1 c.5096G>A, p.Arg1699Gln (OR = 4.29; P = 0.009) variant were associated with moderately increased risks of breast cancer among Europeans, whereas BRCA2 c.7522G>A, p.Gly2508Ser (OR = 2.68; P = 0.004), and c.8187G>T, p.Lys2729Asn (OR = 1.4; P = 0.004) were associated with moderate and low risks of breast cancer among Asians. Functional characterization of the BRCA2 variants using four quantitative assays showed reduced BRCA2 activity for p.Tyr3035Ser compared with wild-type. Overall, our results show how BRCA2 missense variants that influence protein function can confer clinically relevant, moderately increased risks of breast cancer, with potential implications for risk management guidelines in women with these specific variants. Cancer Res; 77(11); 2789-99. ©2017 AACR.
  11. Colombo M, Lòpez-Perolio I, Meeks HD, Caleca L, Parsons MT, Li H, et al.
    Hum. Mutat., 2018 05;39(5):729-741.
    PMID: 29460995 DOI: 10.1002/humu.23411
    Although the spliceogenic nature of the BRCA2 c.68-7T > A variant has been demonstrated, its association with cancer risk remains controversial. In this study, we accurately quantified by real-time PCR and digital PCR (dPCR), the BRCA2 isoforms retaining or missing exon 3. In addition, the combined odds ratio for causality of the variant was estimated using genetic and clinical data, and its associated cancer risk was estimated by case-control analysis in 83,636 individuals. Co-occurrence in trans with pathogenic BRCA2 variants was assessed in 5,382 families. Exon 3 exclusion rate was 4.5-fold higher in variant carriers (13%) than controls (3%), indicating an exclusion rate for the c.68-7T > A allele of approximately 20%. The posterior probability of pathogenicity was 7.44 × 10-115 . There was neither evidence for increased risk of breast cancer (OR 1.03; 95% CI 0.86-1.24) nor for a deleterious effect of the variant when co-occurring with pathogenic variants. Our data provide for the first time robust evidence of the nonpathogenicity of the BRCA2 c.68-7T > A. Genetic and quantitative transcript analyses together inform the threshold for the ratio between functional and altered BRCA2 isoforms compatible with normal cell function. These findings might be exploited to assess the relevance for cancer risk of other BRCA2 spliceogenic variants.
  12. Yang Y, Wu L, Shu X, Lu Y, Shu XO, Cai Q, et al.
    Cancer Res., 2019 Feb 01;79(3):505-517.
    PMID: 30559148 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2726
    : DNA methylation is instrumental for gene regulation. Global changes in the epigenetic landscape have been recognized as a hallmark of cancer. However, the role of DNA methylation in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains unclear. In this study, high-density genetic and DNA methylation data in white blood cells from the Framingham Heart Study (N = 1,595) were used to build genetic models to predict DNA methylation levels. These prediction models were then applied to the summary statistics of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of ovarian cancer including 22,406 EOC cases and 40,941 controls to investigate genetically predicted DNA methylation levels in association with EOC risk. Among 62,938 CpG sites investigated, genetically predicted methylation levels at 89 CpG were significantly associated with EOC risk at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P < 7.94 × 10-7. Of them, 87 were located at GWAS-identified EOC susceptibility regions and two resided in a genomic region not previously reported to be associated with EOC risk. Integrative analyses of genetic, methylation, and gene expression data identified consistent directions of associations across 12 CpG, five genes, and EOC risk, suggesting that methylation at these 12 CpG may influence EOC risk by regulating expression of these five genes, namely MAPT, HOXB3, ABHD8, ARHGAP27, and SKAP1. We identified novel DNA methylation markers associated with EOC risk and propose that methylation at multiple CpG may affect EOC risk via regulation of gene expression. SIGNIFICANCE: Identification of novel DNA methylation markers associated with EOC risk suggests that methylation at multiple CpG may affect EOC risk through regulation of gene expression.
  13. Jim HS, Lin HY, Tyrer JP, Lawrenson K, Dennis J, Chornokur G, et al.
    J Genet Genome Res, 2015;2(2).
    PMID: 26807442
    Disruption in circadian gene expression, whether due to genetic variation or environmental factors (e.g., light at night, shiftwork), is associated with increased incidence of breast, prostate, gastrointestinal and hematologic cancers and gliomas. Circadian genes are highly expressed in the ovaries where they regulate ovulation; circadian disruption is associated with several ovarian cancer risk factors (e.g., endometriosis). However, no studies have examined variation in germline circadian genes as predictors of ovarian cancer risk and invasiveness. The goal of the current study was to examine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in circadian genes BMAL1, CRY2, CSNK1E, NPAS2, PER3, REV1 and TIMELESS and downstream transcription factors KLF10 and SENP3 as predictors of risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and histopathologic subtypes. The study included a test set of 3,761 EOC cases and 2,722 controls and a validation set of 44,308 samples including 18,174 (10,316 serous) cases and 26,134 controls from 43 studies participating in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). Analysis of genotype data from 36 genotyped SNPs and 4600 imputed SNPs indicated that the most significant association was rs117104877 in BMAL1 (OR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.68-0.90, p = 5.59 × 10(-4)]. Functional analysis revealed a significant down regulation of BMAL1 expression following cMYC overexpression and increasing transformation in ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells as well as alternative splicing of BMAL1 exons in ovarian and granulosa cells. These results suggest that variation in circadian genes, and specifically BMAL1, may be associated with risk of ovarian cancer, likely through disruption of hormonal pathways.
  14. 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.

  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Amankwah EK, Lin HY, Tyrer JP, Lawrenson K, Dennis J, Chornokur G, et al.
    Genet. Epidemiol., 2015 Dec;39(8):689-97.
    PMID: 26399219 DOI: 10.1002/gepi.21921
    Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process whereby epithelial cells assume mesenchymal characteristics to facilitate cancer metastasis. However, EMT also contributes to the initiation and development of primary tumors. Prior studies that explored the hypothesis that EMT gene variants contribute to epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) risk have been based on small sample sizes and none have sought replication in an independent population. We screened 15,816 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 296 genes in a discovery phase using data from a genome-wide association study of EOC among women of European ancestry (1,947 cases and 2,009 controls) and identified 793 variants in 278 EMT-related genes that were nominally (P < 0.05) associated with invasive EOC. These SNPs were then genotyped in a larger study of 14,525 invasive-cancer patients and 23,447 controls. A P-value <0.05 and a false discovery rate (FDR) <0.2 were considered statistically significant. In the larger dataset, GPC6/GPC5 rs17702471 was associated with the endometrioid subtype among Caucasians (odds ratio (OR) = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.07-1.25, P = 0.0003, FDR = 0.19), whereas F8 rs7053448 (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.27-2.24, P = 0.0003, FDR = 0.12), F8 rs7058826 (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.27-2.24, P = 0.0003, FDR = 0.12), and CAPN13 rs1983383 (OR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.69-0.90, P = 0.0005, FDR = 0.12) were associated with combined invasive EOC among Asians. In silico functional analyses revealed that GPC6/GPC5 rs17702471 coincided with DNA regulatory elements. These results suggest that EMT gene variants do not appear to play a significant role in the susceptibility to EOC.
  18. Chornokur G, Lin HY, Tyrer JP, Lawrenson K, Dennis J, Amankwah EK, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(6):e0128106.
    PMID: 26091520 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128106
    BACKGROUND: Defective cellular transport processes can lead to aberrant accumulation of trace elements, iron, small molecules and hormones in the cell, which in turn may promote the formation of reactive oxygen species, promoting DNA damage and aberrant expression of key regulatory cancer genes. As DNA damage and uncontrolled proliferation are hallmarks of cancer, including epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), we hypothesized that inherited variation in the cellular transport genes contributes to EOC risk.

    METHODS: In total, DNA samples were obtained from 14,525 case subjects with invasive EOC and from 23,447 controls from 43 sites in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). Two hundred seventy nine SNPs, representing 131 genes, were genotyped using an Illumina Infinium iSelect BeadChip as part of the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS). SNP analyses were conducted using unconditional logistic regression under a log-additive model, and the FDR q<0.2 was applied to adjust for multiple comparisons.

    RESULTS: The most significant evidence of an association for all invasive cancers combined and for the serous subtype was observed for SNP rs17216603 in the iron transporter gene HEPH (invasive: OR = 0.85, P = 0.00026; serous: OR = 0.81, P = 0.00020); this SNP was also associated with the borderline/low malignant potential (LMP) tumors (P = 0.021). Other genes significantly associated with EOC histological subtypes (p<0.05) included the UGT1A (endometrioid), SLC25A45 (mucinous), SLC39A11 (low malignant potential), and SERPINA7 (clear cell carcinoma). In addition, 1785 SNPs in six genes (HEPH, MGST1, SERPINA, SLC25A45, SLC39A11 and UGT1A) were imputed from the 1000 Genomes Project and examined for association with INV EOC in white-European subjects. The most significant imputed SNP was rs117729793 in SLC39A11 (per allele, OR = 2.55, 95% CI = 1.5-4.35, p = 5.66x10-4).

    CONCLUSION: These results, generated on a large cohort of women, revealed associations between inherited cellular transport gene variants and risk of EOC histologic subtypes.

  19. 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.
  20. Hampras SS, Sucheston-Campbell LE, Cannioto R, Chang-Claude J, Modugno F, Dörk T, et al.
    Oncotarget, 2016 10 25;7(43):69097-69110.
    PMID: 27533245 DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.10215
    BACKGROUND: Regulatory T (Treg) cells, a subset of CD4+ T lymphocytes, are mediators of immunosuppression in cancer, and, thus, variants in genes encoding Treg cell immune molecules could be associated with ovarian cancer.

    METHODS: In a population of 15,596 epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cases and 23,236 controls, we measured genetic associations of 1,351 SNPs in Treg cell pathway genes with odds of ovarian cancer and tested pathway and gene-level associations, overall and by histotype, for the 25 genes, using the admixture likelihood (AML) method. The most significant single SNP associations were tested for correlation with expression levels in 44 ovarian cancer patients.

    RESULTS: The most significant global associations for all genes in the pathway were seen in endometrioid ( p = 0.082) and clear cell ( p = 0.083), with the most significant gene level association seen with TGFBR2 ( p = 0.001) and clear cell EOC. Gene associations with histotypes at p < 0.05 included: IL12 ( p = 0.005 and p = 0.008, serous and high-grade serous, respectively), IL8RA ( p = 0.035, endometrioid and mucinous), LGALS1 ( p = 0.03, mucinous), STAT5B ( p = 0.022, clear cell), TGFBR1 ( p = 0.021 endometrioid) and TGFBR2 ( p = 0.017 and p = 0.025, endometrioid and mucinous, respectively).

    CONCLUSIONS: Common inherited gene variation in Treg cell pathways shows some evidence of germline genetic contribution to odds of EOC that varies by histologic subtype and may be associated with mRNA expression of immune-complex receptor in EOC patients.

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