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  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. Lu Y, Beeghly-Fadiel A, Wu L, Guo X, Li B, Schildkraut JM, et al.
    Cancer Res., 2018 Sep 15;78(18):5419-5430.
    PMID: 30054336 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0951
    Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified approximately 35 loci associated with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) risk. The majority of GWAS-identified disease susceptibility variants are located in noncoding regions, and causal genes underlying these associations remain largely unknown. Here, we performed a transcriptome-wide association study to search for novel genetic loci and plausible causal genes at known GWAS loci. We used RNA sequencing data (68 normal ovarian tissue samples from 68 individuals and 6,124 cross-tissue samples from 369 individuals) and high-density genotyping data from European descendants of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx V6) project to build ovarian and cross-tissue models of genetically regulated expression using elastic net methods. We evaluated 17,121 genes for their cis-predicted gene expression in relation to EOC risk using summary statistics data from GWAS of 97,898 women, including 29,396 EOC cases. With a Bonferroni-corrected significance level of P < 2.2 × 10-6, we identified 35 genes, including FZD4 at 11q14.2 (Z = 5.08, P = 3.83 × 10-7, the cross-tissue model; 1 Mb away from any GWAS-identified EOC risk variant), a potential novel locus for EOC risk. All other 34 significantly associated genes were located within 1 Mb of known GWAS-identified loci, including 23 genes at 6 loci not previously linked to EOC risk. Upon conditioning on nearby known EOC GWAS-identified variants, the associations for 31 genes disappeared and three genes remained (P < 1.47 × 10-3). These data identify one novel locus (FZD4) and 34 genes at 13 known EOC risk loci associated with EOC risk, providing new insights into EOC carcinogenesis.Significance: Transcriptomic analysis of a large cohort confirms earlier GWAS loci and reveals FZD4 as a novel locus associated with EOC risk. Cancer Res; 78(18); 5419-30. ©2018 AACR.
  4. Klionsky DJ, Abdelmohsen K, Abe A, Abedin MJ, Abeliovich H, Acevedo Arozena A, et al.
    Autophagy, 2016;12(1):1-222.
    PMID: 26799652 DOI: 10.1080/15548627.2015.1100356
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