Publications by authors named "Anthony J Swerdlow"

185 Publications

Gestational diabetes and risk of breast cancer before age 55 years.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Aug 29. Epub 2021 Aug 29.

Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Durham, NC, USA.

Background: The history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) has been associated with breast cancer risk in some studies, particularly in young women, but results of cohort studies are conflicting.

Methods: We pooled data from 257 290 young (age <55 years) women from five cohorts. We used multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between GDM history and risk of breast cancer, overall and by oestrogen receptor (ER) status, before age 55 years, adjusted for established breast cancer risk factors.

Results: Five percent of women reported a history of GDM and 6842 women reported an incident breast-cancer diagnosis (median follow-up = 16 years; maximum = 24 years). Compared with parous women without GDM, women with a history of GDM were not at increased risk of young-onset breast cancer overall (HR = 0.90; 95% CI: 0.78, 1.03) or by ER status (HR = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.79, 1.16 for ER-positive; HR = 1.07; 95% CI: 0.78, 1.47 for ER-negative). Compared with nulliparous women, parous women with a history of GDM had a lower risk of breast cancer overall (HR = 0.79; 95% CI: 0.68, 0.91) and of ER-positive (HR = 0.82; 95% CI: 0.66, 1.02) but not ER-negative (HR = 1.09; 95% CI: 0.76, 1.54) invasive breast cancer. These results were consistent with the HRs comparing parous women without GDM to nulliparous women.

Conclusions: Results of this analysis do not support the hypothesis that GDM is a risk factor for breast cancer in young women. Our findings suggest that the well-established protective effect of parity on risk of ER-positive breast cancer persists even for pregnancies complicated by GDM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab165DOI Listing
August 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 Aug 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

Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing.

Nature 2021 Aug 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
August 2021

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

Br J Cancer 2021 Aug 2. 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
August 2021

Breast cancer risk factors and circulating anti-Müllerian hormone concentration in healthy premenopausal women.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2021 Jun 22. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY.

Context: In a previous study we reported that anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), a marker of ovarian reserve, is positively associated with breast cancer risk, consistent with other studies.

Objective: Assess whether risk factors for breast cancer are correlates of AMH concentration.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Participants: 3831 healthy premenopausal women (aged 21-57, 87% aged 35-49).

Setting: Ten cohort studies, general population.

Results: Adjusting for age and cohort, we observed positive associations of AMH with age at menarche (p<0.0001) and parity (p=0.0008), and an inverse association with hysterectomy/partial oophorectomy (p=0.0008). Compared to women of normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m 2, AMH was lower (relative geometric mean difference 27%, p<0.0001) among women who were obese (BMI>30). Current oral contraceptive use and current/former smoking were associated with lower AMH concentration than never use (40% and 12% lower, respectively, p<0.0001). We observed higher AMH concentrations among women who had had a benign breast biopsy (15% higher, p=0.03), a surrogate for benign breast disease, an association that has not been reported. In analyses stratified by age (<40/≥40), associations of AMH with BMI and oral contraceptives were similar in younger and older women, while associations with the other factors (menarche, parity, hysterectomy/partial oophorectomy, smoking, and benign breast biopsy) were limited to women ≥40 (p-interaction<0.05).

Conclusion: This is the largest study of AMH and breast cancer risk factors among women from the general population (not presenting with infertility), and suggests that most of the associations are limited to women over 40, who are approaching menopause and whose AMH concentration is declining.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgab461DOI Listing
June 2021

Functional annotation of the 2q35 breast cancer risk locus implicates a structural variant in influencing activity of a long-range enhancer element.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 07 18;108(7):1190-1203. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Genomic Epidemiology Group, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg 69120, Germany.

A combination of genetic and functional approaches has identified three independent breast cancer risk loci at 2q35. A recent fine-scale mapping analysis to refine these associations resulted in 1 (signal 1), 5 (signal 2), and 42 (signal 3) credible causal variants at these loci. We used publicly available in silico DNase I and ChIP-seq data with in vitro reporter gene and CRISPR assays to annotate signals 2 and 3. We identified putative regulatory elements that enhanced cell-type-specific transcription from the IGFBP5 promoter at both signals (30- to 40-fold increased expression by the putative regulatory element at signal 2, 2- to 3-fold by the putative regulatory element at signal 3). We further identified one of the five credible causal variants at signal 2, a 1.4 kb deletion (esv3594306), as the likely causal variant; the deletion allele of this variant was associated with an average additional increase in IGFBP5 expression of 1.3-fold (MCF-7) and 2.2-fold (T-47D). We propose a model in which the deletion allele of esv3594306 juxtaposes two transcription factor binding regions (annotated by estrogen receptor alpha ChIP-seq peaks) to generate a single extended regulatory element. This regulatory element increases cell-type-specific expression of the tumor suppressor gene IGFBP5 and, thereby, reduces risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (odds ratio = 0.77, 95% CI 0.74-0.81, p = 3.1 × 10).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.05.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8322933PMC
July 2021

Gene-Environment Interactions Relevant to Estrogen and Risk of Breast Cancer: Can Gene-Environment Interactions Be Detected Only among Candidate SNPs from Genome-Wide Association Studies?

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 14;13(10). Epub 2021 May 14.

Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, 2730 Herlev, Denmark.

In this study we aim to examine gene-environment interactions (GxEs) between genes involved with estrogen metabolism and environmental factors related to estrogen exposure. GxE analyses were conducted with 1970 Korean breast cancer cases and 2052 controls in the case-control study, the Seoul Breast Cancer Study (SEBCS). A total of 11,555 SNPs from the 137 candidate genes were included in the GxE analyses with eight established environmental factors. A replication test was conducted by using an independent population from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), with 62,485 Europeans and 9047 Asians. The GxE tests were performed by using two-step methods in GxEScan software. Two interactions were found in the SEBCS. The first interaction was shown between rs13035764 of NCOA1 and age at menarche in the GE|2df model (-2df = 1.2 × 10). The age at menarche before 14 years old was associated with the high risk of breast cancer, and the risk was higher when subjects had homozygous minor allele G. The second GxE was shown between rs851998 near ESR1 and height in the GE|2df model (-2df = 1.1 × 10). Height taller than 160 cm was associated with a high risk of breast cancer, and the risk increased when the minor allele was added. The findings were not replicated in the BCAC. These results would suggest specificity in Koreans for breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13102370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8156547PMC
May 2021

Comparative performance of lung cancer risk models to define lung screening eligibility in the United Kingdom.

Br J Cancer 2021 Jun 12;124(12):2026-2034. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

Background: The National Health Service England (NHS) classifies individuals as eligible for lung cancer screening using two risk prediction models, PLCOm2012 and Liverpool Lung Project-v2 (LLPv2). However, no study has compared the performance of lung cancer risk models in the UK.

Methods: We analysed current and former smokers aged 40-80 years in the UK Biobank (N = 217,199), EPIC-UK (N = 30,813), and Generations Study (N = 25,777). We quantified model calibration (ratio of expected to observed cases, E/O) and discrimination (AUC).

Results: Risk discrimination in UK Biobank was best for the Lung Cancer Death Risk Assessment Tool (LCDRAT, AUC = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.81-0.84), followed by the LCRAT (AUC = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.79-0.82) and the Bach model (AUC = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.79-0.81). Results were similar in EPIC-UK and the Generations Study. All models overestimated risk in all cohorts, with E/O in UK Biobank ranging from 1.20 for LLPv3 (95% CI = 1.14-1.27) to 2.16 for LLPv2 (95% CI = 2.05-2.28). Overestimation increased with area-level socioeconomic status. In the combined cohorts, USPSTF 2013 criteria classified 50.7% of future cases as screening eligible. The LCDRAT and LCRAT identified 60.9%, followed by PLCOm2012 (58.3%), Bach (58.0%), LLPv3 (56.6%), and LLPv2 (53.7%).

Conclusion: In UK cohorts, the ability of risk prediction models to classify future lung cancer cases as eligible for screening was best for LCDRAT/LCRAT, very good for PLCOm2012, and lowest for LLPv2. Our results highlight the importance of validating prediction tools in specific countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01278-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8184952PMC
June 2021

Comparative validation of the BOADICEA and Tyrer-Cuzick breast cancer risk models incorporating classical risk factors and polygenic risk in a population-based prospective cohort of women of European ancestry.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 02 15;23(1):22. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute of Health, 9609 Medical Center Drive 7E-342, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA.

Background: The Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm (BOADICEA) and the Tyrer-Cuzick breast cancer risk prediction models are commonly used in clinical practice and have recently been extended to include polygenic risk scores (PRS). In addition, BOADICEA has also been extended to include reproductive and lifestyle factors, which were already part of Tyrer-Cuzick model. We conducted a comparative prospective validation of these models after incorporating the recently developed 313-variant PRS.

Methods: Calibration and discrimination of 5-year absolute risk was assessed in a nested case-control sample of 1337 women of European ancestry (619 incident breast cancer cases) aged 23-75 years from the Generations Study.

Results: The extended BOADICEA model with reproductive/lifestyle factors and PRS was well calibrated across risk deciles; expected-to-observed ratio (E/O) at the highest risk decile :0.97 (95 % CI 0.51 - 1.86) for women younger than 50 years and 1.09 (0.66 - 1.80) for women 50 years or older. Adding reproductive/lifestyle factors and PRS to the BOADICEA model improved discrimination modestly in younger women (area under the curve (AUC) 69.7 % vs. 69.1%) and substantially in older women (AUC 64.6 % vs. 56.8%). The Tyrer-Cuzick model with PRS showed evidence of overestimation at the highest risk decile: E/O = 1.54(0.81 - 2.92) for younger and 1.73 (1.03 - 2.90) for older women.

Conclusion: The extended BOADICEA model identified women in a European-ancestry population at elevated breast cancer risk more accurately than the Tyrer-Cuzick model with PRS. With the increasing availability of PRS, these analyses can inform choice of risk models incorporating PRS for risk stratified breast cancer prevention among women of European ancestry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01399-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885342PMC
February 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

Genome-wide association study meta-analysis identifies three novel loci for circulating anti-Müllerian hormone levels in women.

medRxiv 2020 Nov 3. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is expressed by antral stage ovarian follicles in women. Consequently, circulating AMH levels are detectable until menopause. Variation in age-specific AMH levels has been associated with breast cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), amongst other diseases. Identification of genetic variants underlying variation in AMH levels could provide clues about the physiological mechanisms that explain these AMH-disease associations. To date, only one variant in has been identified to be associated with circulating AMH levels in women. We aimed to identify additional variants for AMH through a GWAS meta-analysis including data from 7049 premenopausal women of European ancestry, which more than doubles the sample size of the largest previous GWAS. We identified four loci associated with AMH levels at p < 5×10 : the previously reported locus and three novel signals in or near , and . The strongest signal was a missense variant in the gene (rs10417628). Most prioritized genes at the other three identified loci were involved in cell cycle regulation. Genetic correlation analyses indicated a strong positive correlation among SNPs for AMH levels and for age at menopause (r = 0.82, FDR=0.003). Exploratory Mendelian randomization analyses did not support a causal effect of AMH on breast cancer or PCOS risk, but should be interpreted with caution as they may be underpowered and the validity of genetic instruments could not be extensively explored. In conclusion, we identified a variant in the gene and three other loci that may affect circulating AMH levels in women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.29.20221390DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7654897PMC
November 2020

Cross-Cancer Genome-Wide Association Study of Endometrial Cancer and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Identifies Genetic Risk Regions Associated with Risk of Both Cancers.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 01 3;30(1):217-228. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Background: Accumulating evidence suggests a relationship between endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. Independent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer have identified 16 and 27 risk regions, respectively, four of which overlap between the two cancers. We aimed to identify joint endometrial and ovarian cancer risk loci by performing a meta-analysis of GWAS summary statistics from these two cancers.

Methods: Using LDScore regression, we explored the genetic correlation between endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. To identify loci associated with the risk of both cancers, we implemented a pipeline of statistical genetic analyses (i.e., inverse-variance meta-analysis, colocalization, and M-values) and performed analyses stratified by subtype. Candidate target genes were then prioritized using functional genomic data.

Results: Genetic correlation analysis revealed significant genetic correlation between the two cancers ( = 0.43, = 2.66 × 10). We found seven loci associated with risk for both cancers ( < 2.4 × 10). In addition, four novel subgenome-wide regions at 7p22.2, 7q22.1, 9p12, and 11q13.3 were identified ( < 5 × 10). Promoter-associated HiChIP chromatin loops from immortalized endometrium and ovarian cell lines and expression quantitative trait loci data highlighted candidate target genes for further investigation.

Conclusions: Using cross-cancer GWAS meta-analysis, we have identified several joint endometrial and ovarian cancer risk loci and candidate target genes for future functional analysis.

Impact: Our research highlights the shared genetic relationship between endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. Further studies in larger sample sets are required to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0739DOI Listing
January 2021

Long-term mortality after childhood growth hormone treatment: the SAGhE cohort study.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2020 08;8(8):683-692

Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.

Background: Recombinant human growth hormone has been used for more than 30 years and its indications have increased worldwide. There is concern that this treatment might increase mortality, but published data are scarce. We present data from the entire dataset of all eight countries of the Safety and Appropriateness of Growth hormone treatments in Europe (SAGhE) consortium, with the aim of studying long-term overall and cause-specific mortality in young adult patients treated with recombinant human growth hormone during childhood and relating this to the underlying diagnosis.

Methods: This cohort study was done in eight European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK). Patients were classified a priori based on pre-treatment perceived mortality risk from their underlying disease and followed up for cause-specific mortality. Person-years at risk of mortality and expected rates from general population data were used to calculate standardised mortality ratios (SMRs).

Findings: The cohort comprised 24 232 patients treated with recombinant human growth hormone during childhood, with more than 400 000 patient-years of follow-up. In low-risk patients with isolated growth hormone deficiency or idiopathic short stature, all-cause mortality was not significantly increased (SMR 1·1, 95% CI 0·9-1·3). In children born small for gestational age, all-cause mortality was significantly increased when analysed for all countries (SMR 1·5, CI 1·1-1·9), but this result was driven by the French subcohort. In patients at moderate or high risk, mortality was increased (SMR 3·8, 3·3-4·4; and 17·1, 15·6-18·7, respectively). Mortality was not associated with mean daily or cumulative doses of recombinant human growth hormone for any of the risk groups. Cause-specific mortality from diseases of the circulatory and haematological systems was increased in all risk groups.

Interpretation: In this cohort, the largest, to our knowledge, with long-term follow-up of patients treated with recombinant human growth hormone during childhood, all-cause mortality was associated with underlying diagnosis. In patients with isolated growth hormone deficiency or idiopathic short stature, recombinant human growth hormone treatment was not associated with increased all-cause mortality. However, mortality from certain causes was increased, emphasising the need for further long-term surveillance.

Funding: European Union.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30163-7DOI Listing
August 2020

DNA methylation of the long intergenic noncoding RNA 299 gene in triple-negative breast cancer: results from a prospective study.

Sci Rep 2020 07 16;10(1):11762. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Molecular Genetics of Breast Cancer, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive breast cancer subtype associated with a high rate of recurrence and poor prognosis. Recently we identified a hypermethylation in the long noncoding RNA 299 (LINC00299) gene in blood-derived DNA from TNBC patients compared with healthy controls implying that LINC00299 hypermethylation may serve as a circulating biomarker for TNBC. In the present study, we investigated whether LINC00299 methylation is associated with TNBC in a prospective nested breast cancer case-control study within the Generations Study. Methylation at cg06588802 in LINC00299 was measured in 154 TNBC cases and 159 breast cancer-free matched controls using MethyLight droplet digital PCR. To assess the association between methylation level and TNBC risk, logistic regression was used to calculate odd ratios and 95% confidence intervals, adjusted for smoking status. We found no evidence for association between methylation levels and TNBC overall (P = 0.062). Subgroup analysis according to age at diagnosis and age at blood draw revealed increased methylation levels in TNBC cases compared with controls in the young age groups [age 26-52 (P = 0.0025) and age 22-46 (P = 0.001), respectively]. Our results suggest a potential association of LINC00299 hypermethylation with TNBC in young women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-68506-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7367270PMC
July 2020

Germline HOXB13 mutations p.G84E and p.R217C do not confer an increased breast cancer risk.

Sci Rep 2020 06 16;10(1):9688. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

In breast cancer, high levels of homeobox protein Hox-B13 (HOXB13) have been associated with disease progression of ER-positive breast cancer patients and resistance to tamoxifen treatment. Since HOXB13 p.G84E is a prostate cancer risk allele, we evaluated the association between HOXB13 germline mutations and breast cancer risk in a previous study consisting of 3,270 familial non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer cases and 2,327 controls from the Netherlands. Although both recurrent HOXB13 mutations p.G84E and p.R217C were not associated with breast cancer risk, the risk estimation for p.R217C was not very precise. To provide more conclusive evidence regarding the role of HOXB13 in breast cancer susceptibility, we here evaluated the association between HOXB13 mutations and increased breast cancer risk within 81 studies of the international Breast Cancer Association Consortium containing 68,521 invasive breast cancer patients and 54,865 controls. Both HOXB13 p.G84E and p.R217C did not associate with the development of breast cancer in European women, neither in the overall analysis (OR = 1.035, 95% CI = 0.859-1.246, P = 0.718 and OR = 0.798, 95% CI = 0.482-1.322, P = 0.381 respectively), nor in specific high-risk subgroups or breast cancer subtypes. Thus, although involved in breast cancer progression, HOXB13 is not a material breast cancer susceptibility gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65665-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7297796PMC
June 2020

Genome-wide association study identifies 32 novel breast cancer susceptibility loci from overall and subtype-specific analyses.

Nat Genet 2020 06 18;52(6):572-581. Epub 2020 May 18.

Molecular Medicine Unit, Fundación Pública Galega de Medicina Xenómica, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Breast cancer susceptibility variants frequently show heterogeneity in associations by tumor subtype. To identify novel loci, we performed a genome-wide association study including 133,384 breast cancer cases and 113,789 controls, plus 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer) of European ancestry, using both standard and novel methodologies that account for underlying tumor heterogeneity by estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 status and tumor grade. We identified 32 novel susceptibility loci (P < 5.0 × 10), 15 of which showed evidence for associations with at least one tumor feature (false discovery rate < 0.05). Five loci showed associations (P < 0.05) in opposite directions between luminal and non-luminal subtypes. In silico analyses showed that these five loci contained cell-specific enhancers that differed between normal luminal and basal mammary cells. The genetic correlations between five intrinsic-like subtypes ranged from 0.35 to 0.80. The proportion of genome-wide chip heritability explained by all known susceptibility loci was 54.2% for luminal A-like disease and 37.6% for triple-negative disease. The odds ratios of polygenic risk scores, which included 330 variants, for the highest 1% of quantiles compared with middle quantiles were 5.63 and 3.02 for luminal A-like and triple-negative disease, respectively. These findings provide an improved understanding of genetic predisposition to breast cancer subtypes and will inform the development of subtype-specific polygenic risk scores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0609-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7808397PMC
June 2020

Combined Associations of a Polygenic Risk Score and Classical Risk Factors With Breast Cancer Risk.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 03;113(3):329-337

Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

We evaluated the joint associations between a new 313-variant PRS (PRS313) and questionnaire-based breast cancer risk factors for women of European ancestry, using 72 284 cases and 80 354 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Interactions were evaluated using standard logistic regression and a newly developed case-only method for breast cancer risk overall and by estrogen receptor status. After accounting for multiple testing, we did not find evidence that per-standard deviation PRS313 odds ratio differed across strata defined by individual risk factors. Goodness-of-fit tests did not reject the assumption of a multiplicative model between PRS313 and each risk factor. Variation in projected absolute lifetime risk of breast cancer associated with classical risk factors was greater for women with higher genetic risk (PRS313 and family history) and, on average, 17.5% higher in the highest vs lowest deciles of genetic risk. These findings have implications for risk prevention for women at increased risk of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7936056PMC
March 2021

Genome-wide association meta-analyses combining multiple risk phenotypes provide insights into the genetic architecture of cutaneous melanoma susceptibility.

Nat Genet 2020 05 27;52(5):494-504. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Department of Dermatology, Instituto Valenciano de Oncología, Valencia, Spain.

Most genetic susceptibility to cutaneous melanoma remains to be discovered. Meta-analysis genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 36,760 cases of melanoma (67% newly genotyped) and 375,188 controls identified 54 significant (P < 5 × 10) loci with 68 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms. Analysis of risk estimates across geographical regions and host factors suggests the acral melanoma subtype is uniquely unrelated to pigmentation. Combining this meta-analysis with GWAS of nevus count and hair color, and transcriptome association approaches, uncovered 31 potential secondary loci for a total of 85 cutaneous melanoma susceptibility loci. These findings provide insights into cutaneous melanoma genetic architecture, reinforcing the importance of nevogenesis, pigmentation and telomere maintenance, together with identifying potential new pathways for cutaneous melanoma pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0611-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255059PMC
May 2020

Transcriptome-wide association study of breast cancer risk by estrogen-receptor status.

Genet Epidemiol 2020 07 1;44(5):442-468. Epub 2020 Mar 1.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Previous transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS) have identified breast cancer risk genes by integrating data from expression quantitative loci and genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but analyses of breast cancer subtype-specific associations have been limited. In this study, we conducted a TWAS using gene expression data from GTEx and summary statistics from the hitherto largest GWAS meta-analysis conducted for breast cancer overall, and by estrogen receptor subtypes (ER+ and ER-). We further compared associations with ER+ and ER- subtypes, using a case-only TWAS approach. We also conducted multigene conditional analyses in regions with multiple TWAS associations. Two genes, STXBP4 and HIST2H2BA, were specifically associated with ER+ but not with ER- breast cancer. We further identified 30 TWAS-significant genes associated with overall breast cancer risk, including four that were not identified in previous studies. Conditional analyses identified single independent breast-cancer gene in three of six regions harboring multiple TWAS-significant genes. Our study provides new information on breast cancer genetics and biology, particularly about genomic differences between ER+ and ER- breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22288DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7987299PMC
July 2020

Correction to: Timing of pubertal stages and breast cancer risk: the Breakthrough Generations Study.

Breast Cancer Res 2020 02 11;22(1):19. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, UK.

As a consequence of responding to colleagues who asked about the publication of the original article [1], the authors have determined that the data published in Table 4 of the paper are incorrect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-020-1257-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7014730PMC
February 2020

Adult weight change and premenopausal breast cancer risk: A prospective pooled analysis of data from 628,463 women.

Int J Cancer 2020 09 15;147(5):1306-1314. Epub 2020 Feb 15.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Early-adulthood body size is strongly inversely associated with risk of premenopausal breast cancer. It is unclear whether subsequent changes in weight affect risk. We pooled individual-level data from 17 prospective studies to investigate the association of weight change with premenopausal breast cancer risk, considering strata of initial weight, timing of weight change, other breast cancer risk factors and breast cancer subtype. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were obtained using Cox regression. Among 628,463 women, 10,886 were diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause. Models adjusted for initial weight at ages 18-24 years and other breast cancer risk factors showed that weight gain from ages 18-24 to 35-44 or to 45-54 years was inversely associated with breast cancer overall (e.g., HR per 5 kg to ages 45-54: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.95-0.98) and with oestrogen-receptor(ER)-positive breast cancer (HR per 5 kg to ages 45-54: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.94-0.98). Weight gain from ages 25-34 was inversely associated with ER-positive breast cancer only and weight gain from ages 35-44 was not associated with risk. None of these weight gains were associated with ER-negative breast cancer. Weight loss was not consistently associated with overall or ER-specific risk after adjusting for initial weight. Weight increase from early-adulthood to ages 45-54 years is associated with a reduced premenopausal breast cancer risk independently of early-adulthood weight. Biological explanations are needed to account for these two separate factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32892DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365745PMC
September 2020

A network analysis to identify mediators of germline-driven differences in breast cancer prognosis.

Nat Commun 2020 01 16;11(1):312. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

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

Identifying the underlying genetic drivers of the heritability of breast cancer prognosis remains elusive. We adapt a network-based approach to handle underpowered complex datasets to provide new insights into the potential function of germline variants in breast cancer prognosis. This network-based analysis studies ~7.3 million variants in 84,457 breast cancer patients in relation to breast cancer survival and confirms the results on 12,381 independent patients. Aggregating the prognostic effects of genetic variants across multiple genes, we identify four gene modules associated with survival in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and one in ER-positive disease. The modules show biological enrichment for cancer-related processes such as G-alpha signaling, circadian clock, angiogenesis, and Rho-GTPases in apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14100-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6965101PMC
January 2020

The Risk of Ovarian Cancer Increases with an Increase in the Lifetime Number of Ovulatory Cycles: An Analysis from the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium (OC3).

Cancer Res 2020 03 13;80(5):1210-1218. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, University Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Repeated exposure to the acute proinflammatory environment that follows ovulation at the ovarian surface and distal fallopian tube over a woman's reproductive years may increase ovarian cancer risk. To address this, analyses included individual-level data from 558,709 naturally menopausal women across 20 prospective cohorts, among whom 3,246 developed invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (2,045 serous, 319 endometrioid, 184 mucinous, 121 clear cell, 577 other/unknown). Cox models were used to estimate multivariable-adjusted HRs between lifetime ovulatory cycles (LOC) and its components and ovarian cancer risk overall and by histotype. Women in the 90th percentile of LOC (>514 cycles) were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than women in the 10th percentile (<294) [HR (95% confidence interval): 1.92 (1.60-2.30)]. Risk increased 14% per 5-year increase in LOC (60 cycles) [(1.10-1.17)]; this association remained after adjustment for LOC components: number of pregnancies and oral contraceptive use [1.08 (1.04-1.12)]. The association varied by histotype, with increased risk of serous [1.13 (1.09-1.17)], endometrioid [1.20 (1.10-1.32)], and clear cell [1.37 (1.18-1.58)], but not mucinous [0.99 (0.88-1.10), P-heterogeneity = 0.01] tumors. Heterogeneity across histotypes was reduced [P-heterogeneity = 0.15] with adjustment for LOC components [1.08 serous, 1.11 endometrioid, 1.26 clear cell, 0.94 mucinous]. Although the 10-year absolute risk of ovarian cancer is small, it roughly doubles as the number of LOC rises from approximately 300 to 500. The consistency and linearity of effects strongly support the hypothesis that each ovulation leads to small increases in the risk of most ovarian cancers, a risk that cumulates through life, suggesting this as an important area for identifying intervention strategies. SIGNIFICANCE: Although ovarian cancer is rare, risk of most ovarian cancers doubles as the number of lifetime ovulatory cycles increases from approximately 300 to 500. Thus, identifying an important area for cancer prevention research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-2850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7056529PMC
March 2020

Fine-mapping of 150 breast cancer risk regions identifies 191 likely target genes.

Nat Genet 2020 01 7;52(1):56-73. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Milan, Italy.

Genome-wide association studies have identified breast cancer risk variants in over 150 genomic regions, but the mechanisms underlying risk remain largely unknown. These regions were explored by combining association analysis with in silico genomic feature annotations. We defined 205 independent risk-associated signals with the set of credible causal variants in each one. In parallel, we used a Bayesian approach (PAINTOR) that combines genetic association, linkage disequilibrium and enriched genomic features to determine variants with high posterior probabilities of being causal. Potentially causal variants were significantly over-represented in active gene regulatory regions and transcription factor binding sites. We applied our INQUSIT pipeline for prioritizing genes as targets of those potentially causal variants, using gene expression (expression quantitative trait loci), chromatin interaction and functional annotations. Known cancer drivers, transcription factors and genes in the developmental, apoptosis, immune system and DNA integrity checkpoint gene ontology pathways were over-represented among the highest-confidence target genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0537-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6974400PMC
January 2020

The :p.Arg658* truncating variant is associated with risk of triple-negative breast cancer.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2019 1;5:38. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

25University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Houston, TX USA.

Breast cancer is a common disease partially caused by genetic risk factors. Germline pathogenic variants in DNA repair genes , , , , and are associated with breast cancer risk. , which encodes for a DNA translocase, has been proposed as a breast cancer predisposition gene, with greater effects for the ER-negative and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtypes. We tested the three recurrent protein-truncating variants :p.Arg658*, p.Gln1701*, and p.Arg1931* for association with breast cancer risk in 67,112 cases, 53,766 controls, and 26,662 carriers of pathogenic variants of or . These three variants were also studied functionally by measuring survival and chromosome fragility in patient-derived immortalized fibroblasts treated with diepoxybutane or olaparib. We observed that :p.Arg658* was associated with increased risk of ER-negative disease and TNBC (OR = 2.44,  = 0.034 and OR = 3.79;  = 0.009, respectively). In a country-restricted analysis, we confirmed the associations detected for :p.Arg658* and found that also :p.Arg1931* was associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk (OR = 1.96;  = 0.006). The functional results indicated that all three variants were deleterious affecting cell survival and chromosome stability with :p.Arg658* causing more severe phenotypes. In conclusion, we confirmed that the two rare deleterious variants p.Arg658* and p.Arg1931* are risk factors for ER-negative and TNBC subtypes. Overall our data suggest that the effect of truncating variants on breast cancer risk may depend on their position in the gene. Cell sensitivity to olaparib exposure, identifies a possible therapeutic option to treat -associated tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-019-0127-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825205PMC
November 2019

Reply to Comment on: "Night shift work and risk of breast cancer in women: the Generations Study cohort".

Br J Cancer 2019 10 5;121(8):723-724. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, SW7 3RP, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-019-0568-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889433PMC
October 2019

Two truncating variants in FANCC and breast cancer risk.

Sci Rep 2019 08 29;9(1):12524. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Westmead Institute for Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Fanconi anemia (FA) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder with 22 disease-causing genes reported to date. In some FA genes, monoallelic mutations have been found to be associated with breast cancer risk, while the risk associations of others remain unknown. The gene for FA type C, FANCC, has been proposed as a breast cancer susceptibility gene based on epidemiological and sequencing studies. We used the Oncoarray project to genotype two truncating FANCC variants (p.R185X and p.R548X) in 64,760 breast cancer cases and 49,793 controls of European descent. FANCC mutations were observed in 25 cases (14 with p.R185X, 11 with p.R548X) and 26 controls (18 with p.R185X, 8 with p.R548X). There was no evidence of an association with the risk of breast cancer, neither overall (odds ratio 0.77, 95%CI 0.44-1.33, p = 0.4) nor by histology, hormone receptor status, age or family history. We conclude that the breast cancer risk association of these two FANCC variants, if any, is much smaller than for BRCA1, BRCA2 or PALB2 mutations. If this applies to all truncating variants in FANCC it would suggest there are differences between FA genes in their roles on breast cancer risk and demonstrates the merit of large consortia for clarifying risk associations of rare variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-48804-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6715680PMC
August 2019

A combination of the immunohistochemical markers CK7 and SATB2 is highly sensitive and specific for distinguishing primary ovarian mucinous tumors from colorectal and appendiceal metastases.

Mod Pathol 2019 12 25;32(12):1834-1846. Epub 2019 Jun 25.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska Cancer Center, Inst Clinical Scienses, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Primary ovarian mucinous tumors can be difficult to distinguish from metastatic gastrointestinal neoplasms by histology alone. The expected immunoprofile of a suspected metastatic lower gastrointestinal tumor is CK7/CK20/CDX2/PAX8. This study assesses the addition of a novel marker SATB2, to improve the diagnostic algorithm. A test cohort included 155 ovarian mucinous tumors (105 carcinomas and 50 borderline tumors) and 230 primary lower gastrointestinal neoplasms (123 colorectal adenocarcinomas and 107 appendiceal neoplasms). All cases were assessed for SATB2, PAX8 CK7, CK20, and CDX2 expression on tissue microarrays. Expression was scored in a 3-tier system as absent, focal (1-50% of tumor cells) and diffuse ( >50% of tumor cells) and then categorized into either absent/present or nondiffuse/diffuse. SATB2 and PAX8 expression was further evaluated in ovarian tumors from an international cohort of 2876 patients (expansion cohort, including 159 mucinous carcinomas and 46 borderline mucinous tumors). The highest accuracy of an individual marker in distinguishing lower gastrointestinal from ovarian mucinous tumors was CK7 (91.7%, nondiffuse/diffuse cut-off) followed by SATB2 (88.8%, present/absent cut-off). The most effective combination was CK7 and SATB2 with accuracy of 95.3% using the 3-tier interpretation, absent/focal/diffuse. This combination outperformed the standard clinical set of CK7, CK20 and CDX2 (87.5%). Re-evaluation of outlier cases confirmed ovarian origin for all but one case. The accuracy of SATB2 was confirmed in the expansion cohort (91.5%). SATB2 expression was also detected in 15% of ovarian endometrioid carcinoma but less than 5% of other ovarian histotypes. A simple two marker combination of CK7 and SATB2 can distinguish lower gastrointestinal from ovarian primary mucinous tumors with greater than 95% accuracy. PAX8 and CDX2 have value as second-line markers. The utility of CK20 in this setting is low and this warrants replacement of this marker with SATB2 in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-019-0302-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8207534PMC
December 2019
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