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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. Kar SP, Beesley J, Amin Al Olama A, Michailidou K, Tyrer J, Kote-Jarai Z, et al.
    Cancer Discov, 2016 09;6(9):1052-67.
    PMID: 27432226 DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-15-1227
    Breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers are hormone-related and may have a shared genetic basis, but this has not been investigated systematically by genome-wide association (GWA) studies. Meta-analyses combining the largest GWA meta-analysis data sets for these cancers totaling 112,349 cases and 116,421 controls of European ancestry, all together and in pairs, identified at P < 10(-8) seven new cross-cancer loci: three associated with susceptibility to all three cancers (rs17041869/2q13/BCL2L11; rs7937840/11q12/INCENP; rs1469713/19p13/GATAD2A), two breast and ovarian cancer risk loci (rs200182588/9q31/SMC2; rs8037137/15q26/RCCD1), and two breast and prostate cancer risk loci (rs5013329/1p34/NSUN4; rs9375701/6q23/L3MBTL3). Index variants in five additional regions previously associated with only one cancer also showed clear association with a second cancer type. Cell-type-specific expression quantitative trait locus and enhancer-gene interaction annotations suggested target genes with potential cross-cancer roles at the new loci. Pathway analysis revealed significant enrichment of death receptor signaling genes near loci with P < 10(-5) in the three-cancer meta-analysis.

    SIGNIFICANCE: We demonstrate that combining large-scale GWA meta-analysis findings across cancer types can identify completely new risk loci common to breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. We show that the identification of such cross-cancer risk loci has the potential to shed new light on the shared biology underlying these hormone-related cancers. Cancer Discov; 6(9); 1052-67. ©2016 AACR.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 932.

  5. Schumacher FR, Al Olama AA, Berndt SI, Benlloch S, Ahmed M, Saunders EJ, et al.
    Nat. Genet., 2018 Jul;50(7):928-936.
    PMID: 29892016 DOI: 10.1038/s41588-018-0142-8
    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and fine-mapping efforts to date have identified more than 100 prostate cancer (PrCa)-susceptibility loci. We meta-analyzed genotype data from a custom high-density array of 46,939 PrCa cases and 27,910 controls of European ancestry with previously genotyped data of 32,255 PrCa cases and 33,202 controls of European ancestry. Our analysis identified 62 novel loci associated (P C, p.Pro1054Arg) in ATM and rs2066827 (OR = 1.06; P = 2.3 × 10-9; T>G, p.Val109Gly) in CDKN1B. The combination of all loci captured 28.4% of the PrCa familial relative risk, and a polygenic risk score conferred an elevated PrCa risk for men in the ninetieth to ninety-ninth percentiles (relative risk = 2.69; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.55-2.82) and first percentile (relative risk = 5.71; 95% CI: 5.04-6.48) risk stratum compared with the population average. These findings improve risk prediction, enhance fine-mapping, and provide insight into the underlying biology of PrCa1.
  6. Schumacher FR, Olama AAA, Berndt SI, Benlloch S, Ahmed M, Saunders EJ, et al.
    Nat. Genet., 2019 Jan 08.
    PMID: 30622367 DOI: 10.1038/s41588-018-0330-6
    In the version of this article initially published, the name of author Manuela Gago-Dominguez was misspelled as Manuela Gago Dominguez. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF version of the article.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Milne RL, Kuchenbaecker KB, Michailidou K, Beesley J, Kar S, Lindström S, et al.
    Nat. Genet., 2017 Dec;49(12):1767-1778.
    PMID: 29058716 DOI: 10.1038/ng.3785
    Most common breast cancer susceptibility variants have been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of predominantly estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease. We conducted a GWAS using 21,468 ER-negative cases and 100,594 controls combined with 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer), all of European origin. We identified independent associations at P < 5 × 10-8 with ten variants at nine new loci. At P < 0.05, we replicated associations with 10 of 11 variants previously reported in ER-negative disease or BRCA1 mutation carrier GWAS and observed consistent associations with ER-negative disease for 105 susceptibility variants identified by other studies. These 125 variants explain approximately 16% of the familial risk of this breast cancer subtype. There was high genetic correlation (0.72) between risk of ER-negative breast cancer and breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers. These findings may lead to improved risk prediction and inform further fine-mapping and functional work to better understand the biological basis of ER-negative breast cancer.
  10. Michailidou K, Lindström S, Dennis J, Beesley J, Hui S, Kar S, et al.
    Nature, 2017 11 02;551(7678):92-94.
    PMID: 29059683 DOI: 10.1038/nature24284
    Breast cancer risk is influenced by rare coding variants in susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1, and many common, mostly non-coding variants. However, much of the genetic contribution to breast cancer risk remains unknown. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer in 122,977 cases and 105,974 controls of European ancestry and 14,068 cases and 13,104 controls of East Asian ancestry. We identified 65 new loci that are associated with overall breast cancer risk at P 
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