Publications by authors named "Andrew F Olshan"

345 Publications

Germline determinants of humoral immune response to HPV-16 protect against oropharyngeal cancer.

Nat Commun 2021 Oct 12;12(1):5945. Epub 2021 Oct 12.

Section of Hygiene, University Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy.

Although several oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) susceptibility loci have been identified, most previous studies lacked detailed information on human papillomavirus (HPV) status. We conduct a genome-wide analysis by HPV16 serology status in 4,002 oral cancer cases (OPC and oral cavity cancer (OCC)) and 5,256 controls. We detect four susceptibility loci pointing to a distinct genetic predisposition by HPV status. Our most notable finding in the HLA region, that is now confirmed to be specific of HPV(+)OPC risk, reveal two independent loci with strong protective effects, one refining the previously reported HLA class II haplotype association. Antibody levels against HPV16 viral proteins strongly implicate the protective HLA variants as major determinants of humoral response against L1 capsid protein or E6 oncoprotein suggesting a natural immune response against HPV(+)OPC promoted by HLA variants. This indicates that therapeutic vaccines that target E6 and attenuate viral response after established HPV infections might protect against HPV(+)OPC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-26151-9DOI Listing
October 2021

Germline variants and breast cancer survival in patients with distant metastases at primary breast cancer diagnosis.

Sci Rep 2021 Oct 5;11(1):19787. Epub 2021 Oct 5.

Department of Breast Surgery, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Breast cancer metastasis accounts for most of the deaths from breast cancer. Identification of germline variants associated with survival in aggressive types of breast cancer may inform understanding of breast cancer progression and assist treatment. In this analysis, we studied the associations between germline variants and breast cancer survival for patients with distant metastases at primary breast cancer diagnosis. We used data from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) including 1062 women of European ancestry with metastatic breast cancer, 606 of whom died of breast cancer. We identified two germline variants on chromosome 1, rs138569520 and rs146023652, significantly associated with breast cancer-specific survival (P = 3.19 × 10 and 4.42 × 10). In silico analysis suggested a potential regulatory effect of the variants on the nearby target genes SDE2 and H3F3A. However, the variants showed no evidence of association in a smaller replication dataset. The validation dataset was obtained from the SNPs to Risk of Metastasis (StoRM) study and included 293 patients with metastatic primary breast cancer at diagnosis. Ultimately, larger replication studies are needed to confirm the identified associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99409-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8492709PMC
October 2021

Dietary Vitamin A and Breast Cancer Risk in Black Women: The African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium.

J Nutr 2021 Sep 7. Epub 2021 Sep 7.

Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Background: Studies in women of European descent showed an inverse association of dietary vitamin A (retinol and carotenoids) intake with breast cancer risks, mainly in premenopausal women.

Objectives: We examined whether higher compared with lower levels of dietary vitamin A are associated with reduced breast cancer risks among Black women by estrogen receptor (ER) and menopausal statuses.

Methods: In this pooled analysis, data were from 3564 breast cancer cases and 11,843 controls (mean ages = 56.4 and 56.3 years, respectively) in the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium. Dietary intake was assessed by FFQs. Multivariable logistic regressions were performed to estimate ORs and 95% CIs for study-specific quintiles of total vitamin A equivalents and individual carotenoids, and a pooled OR was estimated by a random-effect model.

Results: We observed an inverse association of total vitamin A equivalents with ER-positive breast cancer (quintiles 5 compared with 1: pooled OR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.67-1.00; P-trend = 0.045). The association was seen among premenopausal women (pooled OR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.43-0.83; P-trend = 0.004), but not among postmenopausal women (pooled OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.77-1.28; P-trend = 0.78). Additionally, there were inverse associations of dietary β-carotene (quintiles 5 compared with 1: pooled OR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.51-0.95; P-trend = 0.08) and lutein (pooled OR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.45-0.87; P-trend = 0.020) with ER-positive breast cancer among premenopausal women. There was no evidence for an association of total vitamin A equivalents or individual carotenoids with ER-negative breast cancer, regardless of menopausal status.

Conclusions: Our findings on dietary vitamin A and breast cancer risks in Black women are consistent with observations in women of European descent and advance the literature showing an inverse association for ER-positive disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab278DOI Listing
September 2021

Association of germline genetic variants with breast cancer-specific survival in patient subgroups defined by clinic-pathological variables related to tumor biology and type of systemic treatment.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 08 18;23(1):86. Epub 2021 Aug 18.

Department of Medicine, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Background: Given the high heterogeneity among breast tumors, associations between common germline genetic variants and survival that may exist within specific subgroups could go undetected in an unstratified set of breast cancer patients.

Methods: We performed genome-wide association analyses within 15 subgroups of breast cancer patients based on prognostic factors, including hormone receptors, tumor grade, age, and type of systemic treatment. Analyses were based on 91,686 female patients of European ancestry from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, including 7531 breast cancer-specific deaths over a median follow-up of 8.1 years. Cox regression was used to assess associations of common germline variants with 15-year and 5-year breast cancer-specific survival. We assessed the probability of these associations being true positives via the Bayesian false discovery probability (BFDP < 0.15).

Results: Evidence of associations with breast cancer-specific survival was observed in three patient subgroups, with variant rs5934618 in patients with grade 3 tumors (15-year-hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence interval (CI)] 1.32 [1.20, 1.45], P = 1.4E-08, BFDP = 0.01, per G allele); variant rs4679741 in patients with ER-positive tumors treated with endocrine therapy (15-year-HR [95% CI] 1.18 [1.11, 1.26], P = 1.6E-07, BFDP = 0.09, per G allele); variants rs1106333 (15-year-HR [95% CI] 1.68 [1.39,2.03], P = 5.6E-08, BFDP = 0.12, per A allele) and rs78754389 (5-year-HR [95% CI] 1.79 [1.46,2.20], P = 1.7E-08, BFDP = 0.07, per A allele), in patients with ER-negative tumors treated with chemotherapy.

Conclusions: We found evidence of four loci associated with breast cancer-specific survival within three patient subgroups. There was limited evidence for the existence of associations in other patient subgroups. However, the power for many subgroups is limited due to the low number of events. Even so, our results suggest that the impact of common germline genetic variants on breast cancer-specific survival might be limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01450-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8371820PMC
August 2021

The relationship of cumulative psychosocial adversity with antepartum depression and anxiety.

Depress Anxiety 2021 10 9;38(10):1034-1045. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Background: Exposure to multiple psychosocial risk factors may increase vulnerability for mental health conditions during pregnancy. This analysis examined the relationship of a novel psychosocial adversity index with the co-occurrence and persistence of depression and anxiety throughout pregnancy.

Methods: This cross-sectional analysis included 1797 pregnant women screened in the second/third trimesters for depression and anxiety symptoms and for eight contextual and individual psychosocial factors. The factors were summed to create a psychosocial adversity index; reporting four or more factors indicated high adversity. Elevated symptoms in both trimesters indicated persistent depression/anxiety and elevated symptoms at the same trimester indicated comorbid symptoms. The associations between the psychosocial adversity index and mental health were estimated.

Results: Compared with a low psychosocial adversity index, women reporting a high level of psychosocial adversities had 2.06 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.51-2.82) times higher adjusted odds of only depressive or anxiety symptoms, and 5.57 (95% CI: 3.95-7.85) times higher adjusted odds of comorbid symptoms. The associations for persistent symptoms were of similar direction and magnitude.

Conclusion: High psychosocial adversity was associated with persistent and comorbid depressive symptoms and anxiety during pregnancy. Assessing psychosocial adversity can help identify women at increased risk who would benefit from tailored mental health interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/da.23206DOI Listing
October 2021

Exome sequencing of child-parent trios with bladder exstrophy: Findings in 26 children.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 10 5;185(10):3028-3041. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Bladder exstrophy (BE) is a rare, lower ventral midline defect with the bladder and part of the urethra exposed. The etiology of BE is unknown but thought to be influenced by genetic variation with more recent studies suggesting a role for rare variants. As such, we conducted paired-end exome sequencing in 26 child/mother/father trios. Three children had rare (allele frequency ≤ 0.0001 in several public databases) inherited variants in TSPAN4, one with a loss-of-function variant and two with missense variants. Two children had loss-of-function variants in TUBE1. Four children had rare missense or nonsense variants (one per child) in WNT3, CRKL, MYH9, or LZTR1, genes previously associated with BE. We detected 17 de novo missense variants in 13 children and three de novo loss-of-function variants (AKR1C2, PRRX1, PPM1D) in three children (one per child). We also detected rare compound heterozygous loss-of-function variants in PLCH2 and CLEC4M and rare inherited missense or loss-of-function variants in additional genes applying autosomal recessive (three genes) and X-linked recessive inheritance models (13 genes). Variants in two genes identified may implicate disruption in cell migration (TUBE1) and adhesion (TSPAN4) processes, mechanisms proposed for BE, and provide additional evidence for rare variants in the development of this defect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62439DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8446314PMC
October 2021

Large-scale cross-cancer fine-mapping of the 5p15.33 region reveals multiple independent signals.

HGG Adv 2021 Jul 12;2(3). Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified thousands of cancer risk loci revealing many risk regions shared across multiple cancers. Characterizing the cross-cancer shared genetic basis can increase our understanding of global mechanisms of cancer development. In this study, we collected GWAS summary statistics based on up to 375,468 cancer cases and 530,521 controls for fourteen types of cancer, including breast (overall, estrogen receptor [ER]-positive, and ER-negative), colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, glioma, head/neck, lung, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, and renal cancer, to characterize the shared genetic basis of cancer risk. We identified thirteen pairs of cancers with statistically significant local genetic correlations across eight distinct genomic regions. Specifically, the 5p15.33 region, harboring the and genes, showed statistically significant local genetic correlations for multiple cancer pairs. We conducted a cross-cancer fine-mapping of the 5p15.33 region based on eight cancers that showed genome-wide significant associations in this region (ER-negative breast, colorectal, glioma, lung, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancer). We used an iterative analysis pipeline implementing a subset-based meta-analysis approach based on cancer-specific conditional analyses and identified ten independent cross-cancer associations within this region. For each signal, we conducted cross-cancer fine-mapping to prioritize the most plausible causal variants. Our findings provide a more in-depth understanding of the shared inherited basis across human cancers and expand our knowledge of the 5p15.33 region in carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xhgg.2021.100041DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336922PMC
July 2021

Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing.

Nature 2021 08 4;596(7872):393-397. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Genome Integrity and Instability Group, Institut de Biotecnologia i Biomedicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Reproductive longevity is essential for fertility and influences healthy ageing in women, but insights into its underlying biological mechanisms and treatments to preserve it are limited. Here we identify 290 genetic determinants of ovarian ageing, assessed using normal variation in age at natural menopause (ANM) in about 200,000 women of European ancestry. These common alleles were associated with clinical extremes of ANM; women in the top 1% of genetic susceptibility have an equivalent risk of premature ovarian insufficiency to those carrying monogenic FMR1 premutations. The identified loci implicate a broad range of DNA damage response (DDR) processes and include loss-of-function variants in key DDR-associated genes. Integration with experimental models demonstrates that these DDR processes act across the life-course to shape the ovarian reserve and its rate of depletion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that experimental manipulation of DDR pathways highlighted by human genetics increases fertility and extends reproductive life in mice. Causal inference analyses using the identified genetic variants indicate that extending reproductive life in women improves bone health and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, but increases the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms that govern ovarian ageing, when they act, and how they might be targeted by therapeutic approaches to extend fertility and prevent disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03779-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611832PMC
August 2021

Hepatocyte growth factor pathway expression in breast cancer by race and subtype.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 08 3;23(1):80. Epub 2021 Aug 3.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 253 Rosenau Hall, CB #7435, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: African American women have the highest risk of breast cancer mortality compared to other racial groups. Differences in tumor characteristics have been implicated as a possible cause; however, the tumor microenvironment may also contribute to this disparity in mortality. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a stroma-derived marker of the tumor microenvironment that may affect tumor progression differentially by race.

Objective: To examine whether an HGF gene expression signature is differentially expressed by race and tumor characteristics.

Methods: Invasive breast tumors from 1957 patients were assessed for a 38-gene RNA-based HGF gene expression signature. Participants were black (n = 1033) and non-black (n = 924) women from the population-based Carolina Breast Cancer Study (1993-2013). Generalized linear models were used to estimate the relative frequency differences (RFD) in HGF status by race, clinical, and demographic factors.

Results: Thirty-two percent of tumors were positive for the HGF signature. Black women were more likely [42% vs. 21%; RFD = + 19.93% (95% CI 16.00, 23.87)] to have HGF-positive tumors compared to non-black women. Triple-negative patients had a higher frequency of HGF positivity [82% vs. 13% in non-triple-negative; RFD = + 65.85% (95% CI 61.71, 69.98)], and HGF positivity was a defining feature of basal-like subtype [92% vs. 8% in non-basal; RFD = + 81.84% (95% CI 78.84, 84.83)]. HGF positivity was associated with younger age, stage, higher grade, and high genomic risk of recurrence (ROR-PT) score.

Conclusion: HGF expression is a defining feature of basal-like tumors, and its association with black race and young women suggests it may be a candidate pathway for understanding breast cancer disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01460-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336233PMC
August 2021

Mendelian randomisation study of smoking exposure in relation to breast cancer risk.

Br J Cancer 2021 Oct 2;125(8):1135-1145. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: Despite a modest association between tobacco smoking and breast cancer risk reported by recent epidemiological studies, it is still equivocal whether smoking is causally related to breast cancer risk.

Methods: We applied Mendelian randomisation (MR) to evaluate a potential causal effect of cigarette smoking on breast cancer risk. Both individual-level data as well as summary statistics for 164 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) reported in genome-wide association studies of lifetime smoking index (LSI) or cigarette per day (CPD) were used to obtain MR effect estimates. Data from 108,420 invasive breast cancer cases and 87,681 controls were used for the LSI analysis and for the CPD analysis conducted among ever-smokers from 26,147 cancer cases and 26,072 controls. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to address pleiotropy.

Results: Genetically predicted LSI was associated with increased breast cancer risk (OR 1.18 per SD, 95% CI: 1.07-1.30, P = 0.11 × 10), but there was no evidence of association for genetically predicted CPD (OR 1.02, 95% CI: 0.78-1.19, P = 0.85). The sensitivity analyses yielded similar results and showed no strong evidence of pleiotropic effect.

Conclusion: Our MR study provides supportive evidence for a potential causal association with breast cancer risk for lifetime smoking exposure but not cigarettes per day among smokers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01432-8DOI Listing
October 2021

Cross-ancestry GWAS meta-analysis identifies six breast cancer loci in African and European ancestry women.

Nat Commun 2021 07 7;12(1):4198. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Our study describes breast cancer risk loci using a cross-ancestry GWAS approach. We first identify variants that are associated with breast cancer at P < 0.05 from African ancestry GWAS meta-analysis (9241 cases and 10193 controls), then meta-analyze with European ancestry GWAS data (122977 cases and 105974 controls) from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. The approach identifies four loci for overall breast cancer risk [1p13.3, 5q31.1, 15q24 (two independent signals), and 15q26.3] and two loci for estrogen receptor-negative disease (1q41 and 7q11.23) at genome-wide significance. Four of the index single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) lie within introns of genes (KCNK2, C5orf56, SCAMP2, and SIN3A) and the other index SNPs are located close to GSTM4, AMPD2, CASTOR2, and RP11-168G16.2. Here we present risk loci with consistent direction of associations in African and European descendants. The study suggests that replication across multiple ancestry populations can help improve the understanding of breast cancer genetics and identify causal variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24327-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263739PMC
July 2021

Improving the quality of toxicology and environmental health systematic reviews: What journal editors can do.

ALTEX 2021 22;38(3):513-522. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Systematic reviews are fast increasing in prevalence in the toxicology and environmental health literature. However, how well these complex research projects are being conducted and reported is unclear. Since editors have an essential role in ensuring the scientific quality of manuscripts being published in their journals, a workshop was convened where editors, systematic review practitioners, and research quality control experts could discuss what editors can do to ensure the systematic reviews they publish are of sufficient scientific quality. Interventions were explored along four themes: setting standards; reviewing protocols; optimizing editorial workflows; and measuring the effectiveness of editorial interventions. In total, 58 editorial interventions were proposed. Of these, 26 were shortlisted for being potentially effective, and 5 were prioritized as short-term actions that editors could relatively easily take to improve the quality of published systematic reviews. Recent progress in improving systematic reviews is summarized, and outstanding challenges to further progress are highlighted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14573/altex.2106111DOI Listing
June 2021

Prognostic impact of socioeconomic status compared to overall stage for HPV-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Oral Oncol 2021 Aug 20;119:105377. Epub 2021 Jun 20.

Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, United States.

Objective: To estimate the relative prognostic ability of socioeconomic status (SES) compared to overall stage for HPV-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were obtained from the Carolina Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Study (CHANCE). An empirical 4-category SES classification system was created. Cox proportional hazards models, survival gradients, Bayesian information criterion (BIC), and Harrell's C index were used to estimate the prognostic ability of SES compared to stage on overall survival (OS).

Results: The sample consisted of 1229 patients with HPV-negative HNSCC. Patients with low SES had significantly increased risk of mortality at 5 years compared to patients with high SES (HR 3.11, 95% CI 2.07-4.67; p < 0.001), and the magnitude of effect was similar to overall stage (HR 3.01, 95% CI 2.35-3.86; p < 0.001 for stage IV versus I). Compared to overall stage, the SES classification system had a larger total survival gradient (35.8% vs. 29.1%), similar model fit (BIC statistic of 7412 and 7388, respectively), and similar model discriminatory ability (Harrell's C index of 0.61 and 0.64, respectively). The association between low SES and OS persisted after adjusting for age, sex, race, alcohol, smoking, overall stage, tumor site, and treatment in a multivariable model (HR 2.96, 95% CI 1.92-4.56; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: SES may have a similar prognostic ability to overall stage for patients with HPV-negative HNSCC. Future research is warranted to validate these findings and identify evidence-based interventions for addressing barriers to care for patients with HNSCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2021.105377DOI Listing
August 2021

Identification of a Novel Inflamed Tumor Microenvironment Signature as a Predictive Biomarker of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Immunotherapy in Non-Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Aug 11;27(16):4599-4609. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Surgery (Urology Service), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Purpose: Improved risk stratification and predictive biomarkers of treatment response are needed for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Here we assessed the clinical utility of targeted RNA and DNA molecular profiling in NMIBC.

Experimental Design: Gene expression in NMIBC samples was profiled by NanoString nCounter, an RNA quantification platform, from two independent cohorts ( = 28, = 50); targeted panel sequencing was performed in a subgroup ( = 50). Gene signatures were externally validated using two RNA sequencing datasets of NMIBC tumors ( = 438, = 73). Established molecular subtype classifiers and novel gene expression signatures were assessed for associations with clinicopathologic characteristics, somatic tumor mutations, and treatment outcomes.

Results: Molecular subtypes distinguished between low-grade Ta tumors with FGFR3 mutations and overexpression (UROMOL-class 1) and tumors with more aggressive clinicopathologic characteristics (UROMOL-classes 2 and 3), which were significantly enriched with TERT promoter mutations. However, UROMOL subclasses were not associated with recurrence after bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunotherapy in two independent cohorts. In contrast, a novel expression signature of an inflamed tumor microenvironment (TME) was associated with improved recurrence-free survival after BCG. Expression of immune checkpoint genes (PD-L1/PD-1/CTLA-4) was associated with an inflamed TME, but not with higher recurrence rates after BCG. FGFR3 mutations and overexpression were both associated with low immune signatures.

Conclusions: Assessment of the immune TME, rather than molecular subtypes, is a promising predictive biomarker of BCG response. Modulating the TME in an immunologically "cold" tumor warrants further investigation. Integrated transcriptomic and exome sequencing should improve treatment selection in NMIBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-0205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8416390PMC
August 2021

The addition of chemotherapy to adjuvant radiation is associated with inferior survival outcomes in intermediate-risk HPV-negative HNSCC.

Cancer Med 2021 05 2;10(10):3231-3239. Epub 2021 May 2.

Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: Only high-risk tumors with extranodal extension (ENE) and/or positive surgical margins (PSM) benefit from adjuvant therapy (AT) with concurrent chemoradiation (CRT) compared to radiation therapy (RT) in locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Optimal treatment for intermediate-risk tumors remains controversial. We categorized patients based on their surgical pathologic risk factors and described AT treatment patterns and associated survival outcomes.

Methods: Patients were identified from CHANCE, a population-based study, and risk was classified based on surgical pathology review. High-risk patients (n = 204) required ENE and/or PSM. Intermediate-risk (n = 186) patients had pathological T3/T4 disease, perineural invasion (PNI), lymphovascular invasion (LVI), or positive lymph nodes without ENE. Low-risk patients (n = 226) had none of these features.

Results: We identified 616 HPV-negative HNSCC patients who received primary surgical resection with neck dissection. High-risk patients receiving AT had favorable OS (HR 0.50, p = 0.013) which was significantly improved with the addition of chemotherapy compared to RT alone (HR 0.47, p = 0.021). When stratified by node status, the survival benefit of AT in high-risk patients persisted only among those who were node-positive (HR: 0.17, p < 0.0005). On the contrary, intermediate-risk patients did not benefit from AT (HR: 1.26, p = 0.380) and the addition of chemotherapy was associated with significantly worse OS compared to RT (HR: 1.76, p = 0.046).

Conclusion: In high-risk patients, adjuvant chemoradiotherapy improved OS compared to RT alone. The greatest benefit was in node-positive cases. In intermediate-risk patients, the addition of chemotherapy to RT increased mortality risk and therefore should only be used cautiously in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3883DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8124130PMC
May 2021

Using genetic variants to evaluate the causal effect of cholesterol lowering on head and neck cancer risk: A Mendelian randomization study.

PLoS Genet 2021 04 22;17(4):e1009525. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), which includes cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx, is a cause of substantial global morbidity and mortality. Strategies to reduce disease burden include discovery of novel therapies and repurposing of existing drugs. Statins are commonly prescribed for lowering circulating cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR). Results from some observational studies suggest that statin use may reduce HNSCC risk. We appraised the relationship of genetically-proxied cholesterol-lowering drug targets and other circulating lipid traits with oral (OC) and oropharyngeal (OPC) cancer risk using two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR). For the primary analysis, germline genetic variants in HMGCR, NPC1L1, CETP, PCSK9 and LDLR were used to proxy the effect of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering therapies. In secondary analyses, variants were used to proxy circulating levels of other lipid traits in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 188,578 individuals. Both primary and secondary analyses aimed to estimate the downstream causal effect of cholesterol lowering therapies on OC and OPC risk. The second sample for MR was taken from a GWAS of 6,034 OC and OPC cases and 6,585 controls (GAME-ON). Analyses were replicated in UK Biobank, using 839 OC and OPC cases and 372,016 controls and the results of the GAME-ON and UK Biobank analyses combined in a fixed-effects meta-analysis. We found limited evidence of a causal effect of genetically-proxied LDL-C lowering using HMGCR, NPC1L1, CETP or other circulating lipid traits on either OC or OPC risk. Genetically-proxied PCSK9 inhibition equivalent to a 1 mmol/L (38.7 mg/dL) reduction in LDL-C was associated with an increased risk of OC and OPC combined (OR 1.8 95%CI 1.2, 2.8, p = 9.31 x10-05), with good concordance between GAME-ON and UK Biobank (I2 = 22%). Effects for PCSK9 appeared stronger in relation to OPC (OR 2.6 95%CI 1.4, 4.9) than OC (OR 1.4 95%CI 0.8, 2.4). LDLR variants, resulting in genetically-proxied reduction in LDL-C equivalent to a 1 mmol/L (38.7 mg/dL), reduced the risk of OC and OPC combined (OR 0.7, 95%CI 0.5, 1.0, p = 0.006). A series of pleiotropy-robust and outlier detection methods showed that pleiotropy did not bias our findings. We found limited evidence for a role of cholesterol-lowering in OC and OPC risk, suggesting previous observational results may have been confounded. There was some evidence that genetically-proxied inhibition of PCSK9 increased risk, while lipid-lowering variants in LDLR, reduced risk of combined OC and OPC. This result suggests that the mechanisms of action of PCSK9 on OC and OPC risk may be independent of its cholesterol lowering effects; however, this was not supported uniformly across all sensitivity analyses and further replication of this finding is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8096036PMC
April 2021

Integrating biology and access to care in addressing breast cancer disparities: 25 years' research experience in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study.

Curr Breast Cancer Rep 2020 Sep 14;12(3):149-160. Epub 2020 May 14.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Purpose Of Review: To review research on breast cancer mortality disparities, emphasizing research conducted in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, with a focus on challenges and opportunities for integration of tumor biology and access characteristics across the cancer care continuum.

Recent Findings: Black women experience higher mortality following breast cancer diagnosis, despite lower incidence compared to white women. Biological factors, such as stage at diagnosis and breast cancer subtypes, play a role in these disparities. Simultaneously, social, behavioral, environmental, and access to care factors are important. However, integrated studies of biology and access are challenging and it is uncommon to have both data types available in the same study population. The central emphasis of Phase 3 of the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, initiated in 2008, was to collect rich data on biology (including germline and tumor genomics and pathology) and health care access in a diverse study population, with the long term goal of defining intervention opportunities to reduce disparities across the cancer care continuum.

Summary: Early and ongoing research from CBCS has identified important interactions between biology and access, leading to opportunities to build greater equity. However, sample size, population-specific relationships among variables, and complexities of treatment paths along the care continuum pose important research challenges. Interdisciplinary teams, including experts in novel data integration and causal inference, are needed to address gaps in our understanding of breast cancer disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12609-020-00365-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8011652PMC
September 2020

A Congener-specific and Mixture Analysis of Plasma Polychlorinated Biphenyl Levels and Incident Breast Cancer.

Epidemiology 2021 07;32(4):499-507

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a diverse class of chemicals, are hypothesized mammary carcinogens. We examined plasma levels of 17 PCBs as individual congeners and as a mixture in association with breast cancer using a novel approach based on quantile g-computation.

Methods: This study included 845 White and 562 Black women who participated in the population-based, case-control Carolina Breast Cancer Study Phase I. Cases (n = 748) were women with a first diagnosis of histologically confirmed, invasive breast cancer residing in 24 counties in central and eastern North Carolina; controls (n = 659) were women without breast cancer from the same counties. PCBs were measured in plasma samples obtained during the study interview. We estimated associations [covariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs)] between individual PCB congeners and breast cancer using multivariable logistic regression. We assessed PCB mixtures using quantile g-computation and examined effect measure modification by race.

Results: Comparing highest and lowest tertiles of PCBs resulted in ORs of 1.3 (95% CI = 0.95, 1.8) for congener 74, 1.4 (95% CI = 1.0, 1.9) for 99, 1.3 (95% CI = 0.91, 1.8) for 194, and 1.2 (95% CI = 0.90, 1.7) for 201. Among all women, we estimated a joint effect of the PCB mixture with an OR of 1.3 (95% CI = 0.98, 1.6) per tertile change. In race-stratified analyses, associations for tertiles of PCB mixtures were stronger among Black women (OR = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.0, 2.3) than among White women (OR = 1.1; 95% CI = 0.81, 1.6).

Conclusion: Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to PCB mixtures increase the risk of breast cancer, but studies of populations with different exposure profiles are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EDE.0000000000001356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8159846PMC
July 2021

Evaluating Polygenic Risk Scores for Breast Cancer in Women of African Ancestry.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Sep;113(9):1168-1176

Department of Oncology, Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) have been demonstrated to identify women of European, Asian, and Latino ancestry at elevated risk of developing breast cancer (BC). We evaluated the performance of existing PRSs trained in European ancestry populations among women of African ancestry.

Methods: We assembled genotype data for women of African ancestry, including 9241 case subjects and 10 193 control subjects. We evaluated associations of 179- and 313-variant PRSs with overall and subtype-specific BC risk. PRS discriminatory accuracy was assessed using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. We also evaluated a recalibrated PRS, replacing the index variant with variants in each region that better captured risk in women of African ancestry and estimated lifetime absolute risk of BC in African Americans by PRS category.

Results: For overall BC, the odds ratio per SD of the 313-variant PRS (PRS313) was 1.27 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.23 to 1.31), with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.571 (95% CI = 0.562 to 0.579). Compared with women with average risk (40th-60th PRS percentile), women in the top decile of PRS313 had a 1.54-fold increased risk (95% CI = 1.38-fold to 1.72-fold). By age 85 years, the absolute risk of overall BC was 19.6% for African American women in the top 1% of PRS313 and 6.7% for those in the lowest 1%. The recalibrated PRS did not improve BC risk prediction.

Conclusion: The PRSs stratify BC risk in women of African ancestry, with attenuated performance compared with that reported in European, Asian, and Latina populations. Future work is needed to improve BC risk stratification for women of African ancestry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8418423PMC
September 2021

Long-term Patterns of Excess Mortality among Endometrial Cancer Survivors.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 06 18;30(6):1079-1088. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Background: We investigated excess mortality after endometrial cancer using conditional relative survival estimates and standardized mortality ratios (SMR).

Methods: Women diagnosed with endometrial cancer during 2000-2017 ( = 183,153) were identified in the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database. SMRs were calculated as observed deaths among endometrial cancer survivors over expected deaths among demographically similar women in the general U.S.

Population: Five-year relative survival was estimated at diagnosis and each additional year survived up to 12 years post-diagnosis, conditional on survival up to that year.

Results: For the full cohort, 5-year relative survival was 87.7%, 96.2%, and 97.1% at 1, 5, and 10 years post-diagnosis, respectively. Conditional 5-year relative survival first exceeded 95%, reflecting minimal excess mortality compared with the general population, at 4 years post-diagnosis overall. However, in subgroup analyses, conditional relative survival remained lower for Black women (vs. White) and for those with regional/distant stage disease (vs. localized) throughout the study period. The overall SMR for all-cause mortality decreased from 5.90 [95% confidence interval (CI), 5.81-5.99] in the first year after diagnosis to 1.16 (95% CI, 1.13-1.19) at 10+ years; SMRs were consistently higher for non-White women and for those with higher stage or grade disease.

Conclusions: Overall, endometrial cancer survivors had only a small survival deficit beyond 4 years post-diagnosis. However, excess mortality was greater in magnitude and persisted longer into survivorship for Black women and for those with more advanced disease.

Impact: Strategies to mitigate disparities in mortality after endometrial cancer will be needed as the number of survivors continues to increase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1631DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172460PMC
June 2021

Genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies pleiotropic risk loci for aerodigestive squamous cell cancers.

PLoS Genet 2021 03 5;17(3):e1009254. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

University of Salzburg, Department of Biosciences and Cancer Cluster Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Squamous cell carcinomas (SqCC) of the aerodigestive tract have similar etiological risk factors. Although genetic risk variants for individual cancers have been identified, an agnostic, genome-wide search for shared genetic susceptibility has not been performed. To identify novel and pleotropic SqCC risk variants, we performed a meta-analysis of GWAS data on lung SqCC (LuSqCC), oro/pharyngeal SqCC (OSqCC), laryngeal SqCC (LaSqCC) and esophageal SqCC (ESqCC) cancers, totaling 13,887 cases and 61,961 controls of European ancestry. We identified one novel genome-wide significant (Pmeta<5x10-8) aerodigestive SqCC susceptibility loci in the 2q33.1 region (rs56321285, TMEM273). Additionally, three previously unknown loci reached suggestive significance (Pmeta<5x10-7): 1q32.1 (rs12133735, near MDM4), 5q31.2 (rs13181561, TMEM173) and 19p13.11 (rs61494113, ABHD8). Multiple previously identified loci for aerodigestive SqCC also showed evidence of pleiotropy in at least another SqCC site, these include: 4q23 (ADH1B), 6p21.33 (STK19), 6p21.32 (HLA-DQB1), 9p21.33 (CDKN2B-AS1) and 13q13.1(BRCA2). Gene-based association and gene set enrichment identified a set of 48 SqCC-related genes rel to DNA damage and epigenetic regulation pathways. Our study highlights the importance of cross-cancer analyses to identify pleiotropic risk loci of histology-related cancers arising at distinct anatomical sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009254DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7968735PMC
March 2021

Breast Cancer Risk Factors and Survival by Tumor Subtype: Pooled Analyses from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 04 26;30(4):623-642. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Gynaecology Research Unit, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Background: It is not known whether modifiable lifestyle factors that predict survival after invasive breast cancer differ by subtype.

Methods: We analyzed data for 121,435 women diagnosed with breast cancer from 67 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium with 16,890 deaths (8,554 breast cancer specific) over 10 years. Cox regression was used to estimate associations between risk factors and 10-year all-cause mortality and breast cancer-specific mortality overall, by estrogen receptor (ER) status, and by intrinsic-like subtype.

Results: There was no evidence of heterogeneous associations between risk factors and mortality by subtype ( > 0.30). The strongest associations were between all-cause mortality and BMI ≥30 versus 18.5-25 kg/m [HR (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.19 (1.06-1.34)]; current versus never smoking [1.37 (1.27-1.47)], high versus low physical activity [0.43 (0.21-0.86)], age ≥30 years versus <20 years at first pregnancy [0.79 (0.72-0.86)]; >0-<5 years versus ≥10 years since last full-term birth [1.31 (1.11-1.55)]; ever versus never use of oral contraceptives [0.91 (0.87-0.96)]; ever versus never use of menopausal hormone therapy, including current estrogen-progestin therapy [0.61 (0.54-0.69)]. Similar associations with breast cancer mortality were weaker; for example, 1.11 (1.02-1.21) for current versus never smoking.

Conclusions: We confirm associations between modifiable lifestyle factors and 10-year all-cause mortality. There was no strong evidence that associations differed by ER status or intrinsic-like subtype.

Impact: Given the large dataset and lack of evidence that associations between modifiable risk factors and 10-year mortality differed by subtype, these associations could be cautiously used in prognostication models to inform patient-centered care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0924DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026532PMC
April 2021

CYP3A7*1C allele: linking premenopausal oestrone and progesterone levels with risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers.

Br J Cancer 2021 02 26;124(4):842-854. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Molecular Epidemiology Group, C080, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Epidemiological studies provide strong evidence for a role of endogenous sex hormones in the aetiology of breast cancer. The aim of this analysis was to identify genetic variants that are associated with urinary sex-hormone levels and breast cancer risk.

Methods: We carried out a genome-wide association study of urinary oestrone-3-glucuronide and pregnanediol-3-glucuronide levels in 560 premenopausal women, with additional analysis of progesterone levels in 298 premenopausal women. To test for the association with breast cancer risk, we carried out follow-up genotyping in 90,916 cases and 89,893 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. All women were of European ancestry.

Results: For pregnanediol-3-glucuronide, there were no genome-wide significant associations; for oestrone-3-glucuronide, we identified a single peak mapping to the CYP3A locus, annotated by rs45446698. The minor rs45446698-C allele was associated with lower oestrone-3-glucuronide (-49.2%, 95% CI -56.1% to -41.1%, P = 3.1 × 10); in follow-up analyses, rs45446698-C was also associated with lower progesterone (-26.7%, 95% CI -39.4% to -11.6%, P = 0.001) and reduced risk of oestrogen and progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer (OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.82-0.91, P = 6.9 × 10).

Conclusions: The CYP3A7*1C allele is associated with reduced risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer possibly mediated via an effect on the metabolism of endogenous sex hormones in premenopausal women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01185-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884683PMC
February 2021

Inherited predisposition to breast cancer in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 Jan 21;7(1). Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Department of Medicine and Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA.

The Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS) phases I-II was a case-control study of biological and social risk factors for invasive breast cancer that enrolled cases and controls between 1993 and 1999. Case selection was population-based and stratified by ancestry and age at diagnosis. Controls were matched to cases by age, self-identified race, and neighborhood of residence. Sequencing genomic DNA from 1370 cases and 1635 controls yielded odds ratios (with 95% confidence limits) for breast cancer of all subtypes of 26.7 (3.59, 189.1) for BRCA1, 8.8 (3.44, 22.48) for BRCA2, and 9.0 (2.06, 39.60) for PALB2; and for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) of 55.0 (7.01, 431.4) for BRCA1, 12.1 (4.18, 35.12) for BRCA2, and 10.8 (1.97, 59.11) for PALB2. Overall, 5.6% of patients carried a pathogenic variant in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, or TP53, the four most highly penetrant breast cancer genes. Analysis of cases by tumor subtype revealed the expected association of TNBC versus other tumor subtypes with BRCA1, and suggested a significant association between TNBC versus other tumor subtypes with BRCA2 or PALB2 among African-American (AA) patients [2.95 (1.18, 7.37)], but not among European-American (EA) patients [0.62 (0.18, 2.09)]. AA patients with pathogenic variants in BRCA2 or PALB2 were 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with TNBC versus another tumor subtype than were EA patients with pathogenic variants in either of these genes (P = 0.001). If this pattern is confirmed in other comparisons of similarly ascertained AA and EA breast cancer patients, it could in part explain the higher prevalence of TNBC among AA breast cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00214-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820260PMC
January 2021

Outcomes of Hormone-Receptor Positive, HER2-Negative Breast Cancers by Race and Tumor Biological Features.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Feb 23;5(1):pkaa072. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: Black women have higher hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer mortality than White women. Early recurrence rates differ by race, but little is known about genomic predictors of early recurrence among HR+ women.

Methods: Using data from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (phase III, 2008-2013), we estimated associations between race and recurrence among nonmetastatic HR+/HER2-negative tumors, overall and by PAM50 Risk of Recurrence score, PAM50 intrinsic subtype, and tumor grade using survival curves and Cox models standardized for age and stage. Relative frequency differences (RFD) were estimated using multivariable linear regression. To assess intervention opportunities, we evaluated treatment patterns by race among patients with high-risk disease.

Results: Black women had higher recurrence risk relative to White women (crude hazard ratio = 1.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.34 to 2.46), which remained elevated after standardizing for clinical covariates (hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.05 to 1.93). Racial disparities were most pronounced among those with high PAM50 Risk of Recurrence score (5-year standardized recurrence risk = 18.9%, 95% CI = 8.6% to 29.1% in Black women vs 12.5%, 95% CI = 2.0% to 23.0% in White women) and high grade (5-year standardized recurrence risk = 16.6%, 95% CI = 11.7% to 21.5% in Black women vs 12.0%, 95% CI = 7.3% to 16.7% in White women). However, Black women with high-grade tumors were statistically significantly less likely to initiate endocrine therapy (RFD = -8.3%, 95% CI = -15.9% to -0.6%) and experienced treatment delay more often than White women (RFD = +9.0%, 95% CI = 0.3% to 17.8%).

Conclusions: Differences in recurrence by race appear greatest among women with aggressive tumors and may be influenced by treatment differences. Efforts to identify causes of variation in cancer treatment are critical to reducing outcome disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7791616PMC
February 2021

Maternal Exposure to Disinfection By-Products and Risk of Hypospadias in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (2000-2005).

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 12 21;17(24). Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

The purpose of this study was to estimate the association between 2nd and 3rd degree hypospadias and maternal exposure to disinfection by-products (DBPs) using data from a large case-control study in the United States. Concentration estimates for total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), the sum of the five most prevalent haloacetic acids (HAA5), and individual species of each were integrated with data on maternal behaviors related to water use from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) to create three different exposure metrics: (1) household DBP concentrations; (2) estimates of DBP ingestion; (3) predicted uptake (i.e., internal dose) of trihalomethanes (THMs) via ingestion, showering, and bathing. The distribution of DBP exposure was categorized as follows: (Q1/referent) < 50%; (Q2) ≥ 50% to < 75%; and (Q3) ≥ 75%. Logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Generally, null associations were observed with increasing TTHM or HAA5 exposure. An increased risk was observed among women with household bromodichloromethane levels in the second quantile (aOR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.2, 2.7); however, this association did not persist after the inclusion of individual-level water-use data. Findings from the present study do not support the hypothesis that maternal DBP exposures are related to the occurrence of hypospadias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7766973PMC
December 2020

A multivariable Mendelian randomization analysis investigating smoking and alcohol consumption in oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

Nat Commun 2020 11 27;11(1):6071. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TL, UK.

The independent effects of smoking and alcohol in head and neck cancer are not clear, given the strong association between these risk factors. Their apparent synergistic effect reported in previous observational studies may also underestimate independent effects. Here we report multivariable Mendelian randomization performed in a two-sample approach using summary data on 6,034 oral/oropharyngeal cases and 6,585 controls from a recent genome-wide association study. Our results demonstrate strong evidence for an independent causal effect of smoking on oral/oropharyngeal cancer (IVW OR 2.6, 95% CI = 1.7, 3.9 per standard deviation increase in lifetime smoking behaviour) and an independent causal effect of alcohol consumption when controlling for smoking (IVW OR 2.1, 95% CI = 1.1, 3.8 per standard deviation increase in drinks consumed per week). This suggests the possibility that the causal effect of alcohol may have been underestimated. However, the extent to which alcohol is modified by smoking requires further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19822-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7695733PMC
November 2020

Socioeconomic Status Drives Racial Disparities in HPV-negative Head and Neck Cancer Outcomes.

Laryngoscope 2021 06 10;131(6):1301-1309. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Objectives/hypothesis: To determine drivers of the racial disparity in stage at diagnosis and overall survival (OS) between black and white patients with HPV-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Methods: Data were examined from of a population-based HNSCC study in North Carolina. Multivariable logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess racial disparities in stage at diagnosis and OS with sequential adjustment sets.

Results: A total of 340 black patients and 864 white patients diagnosed with HPV-negative HNSCC were included. In the unadjusted model, black patients had increased odds of advanced T stage at diagnosis (OR 2.0; 95% CI [1.5-2.5]) and worse OS (HR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1-1.6) compared to white patients. After adjusting for age, sex, tumor site, tobacco use, and alcohol use, the racial disparity persisted for advanced T-stage at diagnosis (OR 1.7; 95% CI [1.3-2.3]) and showed a non-significant trend for worse OS (HR 1.1, 95% CI 0.9-1.3). After adding SES to the adjustment set, the association between race and stage at diagnosis was lost (OR: 1.0; 95% CI [0.8-1.5]). Further, black patients had slightly favorable OS compared to white patients (HR 0.8, 95% CI [0.6-1.0]; P = .024).

Conclusions: SES has an important contribution to the racial disparity in stage at diagnosis and OS for HPV-negative HNSCC. Low SES can serve as a target for interventions aimed at mitigating the racial disparities in head and neck cancer.

Level Of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 131:1301-1309, 2021.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lary.29252DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8106650PMC
June 2021

Epidemiology of Basal-like and Luminal Breast Cancers among Black Women in the AMBER Consortium.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 01 23;30(1):71-79. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Background: Evidence suggests etiologic heterogeneity among breast cancer subtypes. Previous studies with six-marker IHC classification of intrinsic subtypes included small numbers of black women.

Methods: Using centralized laboratory results for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor, HER2, proliferation marker, Ki-67, EGFR, and cytokeratin (CK)5/6, we estimated case-only and case-control ORs for established breast cancer risk factors among cases ( = 2,354) and controls ( = 2,932) in the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) consortium. ORs were estimated by ER status and intrinsic subtype using adjusted logistic regression.

Results: Case-only analyses by ER status showed etiologic heterogeneity by age at menarche, parity (vs. nulliparity), and age at first birth. In case-control analyses for intrinsic subtype, increased body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were associated with increased risk of luminal A subtype, whereas older age at menarche and parity, regardless of breastfeeding, were associated with reduced risk. For basal-like cancers, parity without breastfeeding and increasing WHR were associated with increased risk, whereas breastfeeding and age ≥25 years at first birth were associated with reduced risk among parous women. Basal-like and ER/HER2 subtypes had earlier age-at-incidence distribution relative to luminal subtypes.

Conclusions: Breast cancer subtypes showed distinct etiologic profiles in the AMBER consortium, a study of more than 5,000 black women with centrally assessed tumor biospecimens.

Impact: Among black women, high WHR and parity without breastfeeding are emerging as important intervention points to reduce the incidence of basal-like breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0556DOI Listing
January 2021

Breast Cancer Polygenic Risk Score and Contralateral Breast Cancer Risk.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 11 5;107(5):837-848. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry, Hong Kong; Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, Department of Pathology, Happy Valley, Hong Kong.

Previous research has shown that polygenic risk scores (PRSs) can be used to stratify women according to their risk of developing primary invasive breast cancer. This study aimed to evaluate the association between a recently validated PRS of 313 germline variants (PRS) and contralateral breast cancer (CBC) risk. We included 56,068 women of European ancestry diagnosed with first invasive breast cancer from 1990 onward with follow-up from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Metachronous CBC risk (N = 1,027) according to the distribution of PRS was quantified using Cox regression analyses. We assessed PRS interaction with age at first diagnosis, family history, morphology, ER status, PR status, and HER2 status, and (neo)adjuvant therapy. In studies of Asian women, with limited follow-up, CBC risk associated with PRS was assessed using logistic regression for 340 women with CBC compared with 12,133 women with unilateral breast cancer. Higher PRS was associated with increased CBC risk: hazard ratio per standard deviation (SD) = 1.25 (95%CI = 1.18-1.33) for Europeans, and an OR per SD = 1.15 (95%CI = 1.02-1.29) for Asians. The absolute lifetime risks of CBC, accounting for death as competing risk, were 12.4% for European women at the 10 percentile and 20.5% at the 90 percentile of PRS. We found no evidence of confounding by or interaction with individual characteristics, characteristics of the primary tumor, or treatment. The C-index for the PRS alone was 0.563 (95%CI = 0.547-0.586). In conclusion, PRS is an independent factor associated with CBC risk and can be incorporated into CBC risk prediction models to help improve stratification and optimize surveillance and treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.09.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675034PMC
November 2020
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