Publications by authors named "Christoph Engel"

268 Publications

Health-related quality of life in primary hepatic cancer: a systematic review assessing the methodological properties of instruments and a meta-analysis comparing treatment strategies.

Qual Life Res 2021 Jul 20. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 110, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

Purpose: Patient-reported outcomes including health-related quality of life (HRQoL) are important oncological outcome measures. The validation of HRQoL instruments for patients with hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinoma is lacking. Furthermore, studies comparing different treatment options in respect to HRQoL are sparse. The objective of the systematic review and meta-analysis was, therefore, to identify all available HRQoL tools regarding primary liver cancer, to assess the methodological quality of these HRQoL instruments and to compare surgical, interventional and medical treatments with regard to HRQoL.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in MEDLINE, the Cochrane library, PsycINFO, CINAHL and EMBASE. The methodological quality of all identified HRQoL instruments was performed according to the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurements INstruments (COSMIN) standard. Consequently, the quality of reporting of HRQoL data was assessed. Finally, wherever possible HRQoL data were extracted and quantitative analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 124 studies using 29 different HRQoL instruments were identified. After the methodological assessment, only 10 instruments fulfilled the psychometric criteria and could be included in subsequent analyses. However, quality of reporting of HRQoL data was insufficient, precluding meta-analyses for 9 instruments.

Conclusion: Using a standardized methodological assessment, specific HRQoL instruments are recommended for use in patients with hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinoma. HRQoL data of patients undergoing treatment of primary liver cancers are sparse and reporting falls short of published standards. Meaningful comparison of established treatment options with regard to HRQoL was impossible indicating the need for future research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-021-02810-8DOI Listing
July 2021

Analyzing the link between anxiety and eating behavior as a potential pathway to eating-related health outcomes.

Sci Rep 2021 Jul 19;11(1):14717. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health, University of Leipzig, Ph.-Rosenthal-Str. 55, 04103, Leipzig, Germany.

Anxiety is a widespread phenomenon that affects various behaviors. We want to analyze in how far anxiety is connected to eating behaviors since this is one potential pathway to understanding eating-related health outcomes like obesity or eating disorders. We used data from the population-based LIFE-Adult-Study (n = 5019) to analyze the connection between anxiety (GAD-7) and the three dimensions of eating behaviors (FEV)-Cognitive Restraint, Disinhibition, and Hunger-while controlling for sociodemographic variables, smoking, physical activity, personality, and social support. Multivariate regression analyses showed significant positive associations between anxiety and Disinhibition as well as Hunger, but not between anxiety and Cognitive Restraint. Interventions that help individuals to better regulate and cope with anxiety, could be one potential pathway to reducing eating disorders and obesity in the population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94279-1DOI Listing
July 2021

No Difference in Penetrance between Truncating and Missense/Aberrant Splicing Pathogenic Variants in and : A Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database Study.

J Clin Med 2021 Jun 28;10(13). Epub 2021 Jun 28.

Medical Genetics, Institute for Medical Genetics and Pathology, University Hospital Basel, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Lynch syndrome is the most common genetic predisposition for hereditary cancer. Carriers of pathogenic changes in mismatch repair (MMR) genes have an increased risk of developing colorectal (CRC), endometrial, ovarian, urinary tract, prostate, and other cancers, depending on which gene is malfunctioning. In Lynch syndrome, differences in cancer incidence (penetrance) according to the gene involved have led to the stratification of cancer surveillance. By contrast, any differences in penetrance determined by the type of pathogenic variant remain unknown.

Objective: To determine cumulative incidences of cancer in carriers of truncating and missense or aberrant splicing pathogenic variants of the and genes.

Methods: Carriers of pathogenic variants of () and () genes filed in the Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database (PLSD) were categorized as truncating or missense/aberrant splicing according to the InSiGHT criteria for pathogenicity.

Results: Among 5199 carriers, 1045 had missense or aberrant splicing variants, and 3930 had truncating variants. Prospective observation years for the two groups were 8205 and 34,141 years, respectively, after which there were no significant differences in incidences for cancer overall or for colorectal cancer or endometrial cancers separately.

Conclusion: Truncating and missense or aberrant splicing pathogenic variants were associated with similar average cumulative incidences of cancer in carriers of and .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10132856DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8269121PMC
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 Jul 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
July 2021

Cytosine base modifications regulate DNA duplex stability and metabolism.

Nucleic Acids Res 2021 Jun 16. Epub 2021 Jun 16.

Cell Biology and Epigenetics, Department of Biology, Technical University of Darmstadt, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany.

DNA base modifications diversify the genome and are essential players in development. Yet, their influence on DNA physical properties and the ensuing effects on genome metabolism are poorly understood. Here, we focus on the interplay of cytosine modifications and DNA processes. We show by a combination of in vitro reactions with well-defined protein compositions and conditions, and in vivo experiments within the complex networks of the cell that cytosine methylation stabilizes the DNA helix, increasing its melting temperature and reducing DNA helicase and RNA/DNA polymerase speed. Oxidation of methylated cytosine, however, reverts the duplex stabilizing and genome metabolic effects to the level of unmodified cytosine. We detect this effect with DNA replication and transcription proteins originating from different species, ranging from prokaryotic and viral to the eukaryotic yeast and mammalian proteins. Accordingly, lack of cytosine methylation increases replication fork speed by enhancing DNA helicase unwinding speed in cells. We further validate that this cannot simply be explained by altered global DNA decondensation, changes in histone marks or chromatin structure and accessibility. We propose that the variegated deposition of cytosine modifications along the genome regulates DNA helix stability, thereby providing an elementary mechanism for local fine-tuning of DNA metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkab509DOI Listing
June 2021

The predictive ability of the 313 variant-based polygenic risk score for contralateral breast cancer risk prediction in women of European ancestry with a heterozygous BRCA1 or BRCA2 pathogenic variant.

Genet Med 2021 Jun 10. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute, Brno, Czech Republic.

Purpose: To evaluate the association between a previously published 313 variant-based breast cancer (BC) polygenic risk score (PRS) and contralateral breast cancer (CBC) risk, in BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variant heterozygotes.

Methods: We included women of European ancestry with a prevalent first primary invasive BC (BRCA1 = 6,591 with 1,402 prevalent CBC cases; BRCA2 = 4,208 with 647 prevalent CBC cases) from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA), a large international retrospective series. Cox regression analysis was performed to assess the association between overall and ER-specific PRS and CBC risk.

Results: For BRCA1 heterozygotes the estrogen receptor (ER)-negative PRS showed the largest association with CBC risk, hazard ratio (HR) per SD = 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.06-1.18), C-index = 0.53; for BRCA2 heterozygotes, this was the ER-positive PRS, HR = 1.15, 95% CI (1.07-1.25), C-index = 0.57. Adjusting for family history, age at diagnosis, treatment, or pathological characteristics for the first BC did not change association effect sizes. For women developing first BC < age 40 years, the cumulative PRS 5th and 95th percentile 10-year CBC risks were 22% and 32% for BRCA1 and 13% and 23% for BRCA2 heterozygotes, respectively.

Conclusion: The PRS can be used to refine individual CBC risks for BRCA1/2 heterozygotes of European ancestry, however the PRS needs to be considered in the context of a multifactorial risk model to evaluate whether it might influence clinical decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01198-7DOI Listing
June 2021

Evaluation of the association of heterozygous germline variants in NTHL1 with breast cancer predisposition: an international multi-center study of 47,180 subjects.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 May 12;7(1):52. Epub 2021 May 12.

School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.

Bi-allelic loss-of-function (LoF) variants in the base excision repair (BER) gene NTHL1 cause a high-risk hereditary multi-tumor syndrome that includes breast cancer, but the contribution of heterozygous variants to hereditary breast cancer is unknown. An analysis of 4985 women with breast cancer, enriched for familial features, and 4786 cancer-free women revealed significant enrichment for NTHL1 LoF variants. Immunohistochemistry confirmed reduced NTHL1 expression in tumors from heterozygous carriers but the NTHL1 bi-allelic loss characteristic mutational signature (SBS 30) was not present. The analysis was extended to 27,421 breast cancer cases and 19,759 controls from 10 international studies revealing 138 cases and 93 controls with a heterozygous LoF variant (OR 1.06, 95% CI: 0.82-1.39) and 316 cases and 179 controls with a missense variant (OR 1.31, 95% CI: 1.09-1.57). Missense variants selected for deleterious features by a number of in silico bioinformatic prediction tools or located within the endonuclease III functional domain showed a stronger association with breast cancer. Somatic sequencing of breast cancers from carriers indicated that the risk associated with NTHL1 appears to operate through haploinsufficiency, consistent with other described low-penetrance breast cancer genes. Data from this very large international multicenter study suggests that heterozygous pathogenic germline coding variants in NTHL1 may be associated with low- to moderate- increased risk of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-021-00255-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8115524PMC
May 2021

Uptake of hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in carriers of pathogenic mismatch repair variants: a Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database report.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 17;148:124-133. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Campus Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany; MGZ- Medical Genetics Center, Munich, Germany; The International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours (InSiGHT), The Polyposis Registry, St Mark's Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3UJ, UK; European Hereditary Tumour Group (EHTG), C/o Lindsays, Caledonian Exchange, 19A Canning Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8HE, United Kingdom.

Purpose: This study aimed to report the uptake of hysterectomy and/or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) to prevent gynaecological cancers (risk-reducing surgery [RRS]) in carriers of pathogenic MMR (path_MMR) variants.

Methods: The Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database (PLSD) was used to investigate RRS by a cross-sectional study in 2292 female path_MMR carriers aged 30-69 years.

Results: Overall, 144, 79, and 517 carriers underwent risk-reducing hysterectomy, BSO, or both combined, respectively. Two-thirds of procedures before 50 years of age were combined hysterectomy and BSO, and 81% of all procedures included BSO. Risk-reducing hysterectomy was performed before age 50 years in 28%, 25%, 15%, and 9%, and BSO in 26%, 25%, 14% and 13% of path_MLH1, path_MSH2, path_MSH6, and path_PMS2 carriers, respectively. Before 50 years of age, 107 of 188 (57%) BSO and 126 of 204 (62%) hysterectomies were performed in women without any prior cancer, and only 5% (20/392) were performed simultaneously with colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery.

Conclusion: Uptake of RRS before 50 years of age was low, and RRS was rarely undertaken in association with surgical treatment of CRC. Uptake of RRS aligned poorly with gene- and age-associated risk estimates for endometrial or ovarian cancer that were published recently from PLSD and did not correspond well with current clinical guidelines. The reasons should be clarified. Decision-making on opting for or against RRS and its timing should be better aligned with predicted risk and mortality for endometrial and ovarian cancer in Lynch syndrome to improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.022DOI Listing
May 2021

The Human Blood Transcriptome in a Large Population Cohort and Its Relation to Aging and Health.

Front Big Data 2020 30;3:548873. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

IZBI, Interdisciplinary Centre for Bioinformatics, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

The blood transcriptome is expected to provide a detailed picture of an organism's physiological state with potential outcomes for applications in medical diagnostics and molecular and epidemiological research. We here present the analysis of blood specimens of 3,388 adult individuals, together with phenotype characteristics such as disease history, medication status, lifestyle factors, and body mass index (BMI). The size and heterogeneity of this data challenges analytics in terms of dimension reduction, knowledge mining, feature extraction, and data integration. Self-organizing maps (SOM)-machine learning was applied to study transcriptional states on a population-wide scale. This method permits a detailed description and visualization of the molecular heterogeneity of transcriptomes and of their association with different phenotypic features. The diversity of transcriptomes is described by personalized SOM-portraits, which specify the samples in terms of modules of co-expressed genes of different functional context. We identified two major blood transcriptome types where type 1 was found more in men, the elderly, and overweight people and it upregulated genes associated with inflammation and increased heme metabolism, while type 2 was predominantly found in women, younger, and normal weight participants and it was associated with activated immune responses, transcriptional, ribosomal, mitochondrial, and telomere-maintenance cell-functions. We find a striking overlap of signatures shared by multiple diseases, aging, and obesity driven by an underlying common pattern, which was associated with the immune response and the increase of inflammatory processes. Machine learning applications for large and heterogeneous omics data provide a holistic view on the diversity of the human blood transcriptome. It provides a tool for comparative analyses of transcriptional signatures and of associated phenotypes in population studies and medical applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fdata.2020.548873DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7931910PMC
October 2020

Symptom Burden and Palliative Care Needs of Patients with Incurable Cancer at Diagnosis and During the Disease Course.

Oncologist 2021 06 30;26(6):e1058-e1065. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Leipzig University Medical Center, University Cancer Center Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Background: Although current guidelines advocate early integration of palliative care, symptom burden and palliative care needs of patients at diagnosis of incurable cancer and along the disease trajectory are understudied.

Material And Methods: We assessed distress, symptom burden, quality of life, and supportive care needs in patients with newly diagnosed incurable cancer in a prospective longitudinal observational multicenter study. Patients were evaluated using validated self-report measures (National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer [DT], Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy [FACT], Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life [SEIQoL-Q], Patients Health Questionnaire-4 [PHQ-4], modified Supportive Care Needs Survey [SCNS-SF-34]) at baseline (T0) and at 3 (T1), 6 (T2), and 12 months (T3) follow-up.

Results: From October 2014 to October 2016, 500 patients (219 women, 281 men; mean age 64.2 years) were recruited at 20 study sites in Germany following diagnosis of incurable metastatic, locally advanced, or recurrent lung (217), gastrointestinal (156), head and neck (55), gynecological (57), and skin (15) cancer. Patients reported significant distress (DT score ≥ 5) after diagnosis, which significantly decreased over time (T0: 67.2%, T1: 51.7%, T2: 47.9%, T3: 48.7%). The spectrum of reported symptoms was broad, with considerable variety between and within the cancer groups. Anxiety and depressiveness were most prevalent early in the disease course (T0: 30.8%, T1: 20.1%, T2: 14.7%, T3: 16.9%). The number of patients reporting unmet supportive care needs decreased over time (T0: 71.8 %, T1: 61.6%, T2: 58.1%, T3: 55.3%).

Conclusion: Our study confirms a variable and mostly high symptom burden at the time of diagnosis of incurable cancer, suggesting early screening by using standardized tools and underlining the usefulness of early palliative care.

Implications For Practice: A better understanding of symptom burden and palliative care needs of patients with newly diagnosed incurable cancer may guide clinical practice and help to improve the quality of palliative care services. The results of this study provide important information for establishing palliative care programs and related guidelines. Distress, symptom burden, and the need for support vary and are often high at the time of diagnosis. These findings underscore the need for implementation of symptom screening as well as early palliative care services, starting at the time of diagnosis of incurable cancer and tailored according to patients' needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/onco.13751DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8176980PMC
June 2021

A case-only study to identify genetic modifiers of breast cancer risk for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Nat Commun 2021 02 17;12(1):1078. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

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

Breast cancer (BC) risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers varies by genetic and familial factors. About 50 common variants have been shown to modify BC risk for mutation carriers. All but three, were identified in general population studies. Other mutation carrier-specific susceptibility variants may exist but studies of mutation carriers have so far been underpowered. We conduct a novel case-only genome-wide association study comparing genotype frequencies between 60,212 general population BC cases and 13,007 cases with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. We identify robust novel associations for 2 variants with BC for BRCA1 and 3 for BRCA2 mutation carriers, P < 10, at 5 loci, which are not associated with risk in the general population. They include rs60882887 at 11p11.2 where MADD, SP11 and EIF1, genes previously implicated in BC biology, are predicted as potential targets. These findings will contribute towards customising BC polygenic risk scores for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20496-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7890067PMC
February 2021

Precursor fractions of neurotensin and enkephalin might point to molecular mechanisms of cancer risk modulation during a lifestyle-intervention in germline BRCA1/2 gene mutation carriers.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Apr 4;186(3):741-752. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Gynecology and Center for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer, Klinikum Rechts Der Isar, Technical University Munich (TUM), Munich, Germany.

Background: Germline BRCA1/2 mutation carriers (gBMC) face increased cancer risks that are modulated via non-genetic lifestyle factors whose underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. The peptides Neurotensin (NT) and Enkephalin (ENK)-involved in tumorigenesis and obesity-related diseases-are of interest. We wanted to know whether these biomarkers differ between gBMC and women from the general population and what effect a 1-year lifestyle-intervention has in gBMC.

Methods: The stable precursor fragments pro-NT and pro-ENK were measured at study entry (SE), after 3 and 12 months for 68 women from LIBRE-1 (a controlled lifestyle-intervention feasibility trial for gBMC involving structured endurance training and the Mediterranean Diet). The SE values were compared with a cohort of the general population including female subjects with and without previous cancer disease, non-suggestive for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (OMA-reference). For LIBRE-1, we analysed the association between the intervention-related change in the two biomarkers and certain lifestyle factors.

Results: At SE, gBMC had a higher median pro-NT than OMA-reference (in the subgroups with previous cancer 117 vs. 91 pmol/L, p = 0.002). Non-diseased gBMC had lower median pro-ENK levels when compared to the non-diseased reference group. VO2peak and pro-NT 1-year change in LIBRE-1 were inversely correlated (r = - 0.435; CI - 0.653 to - 0.151; p = 0.004). Pro-ENK correlated positively with VO2peak at SE (r = 0.323; CI 0.061-0.544; p = 0.017). Regression analyses showed an inverse association of 1-year changes for pro-NT and Omega-6/Omega-3 (Estimate: - 37.9, p = 0.097/0.080) in multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: Our results give first indications for lifestyle-related modification particularly of pro-NT in gBMC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-06070-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019429PMC
April 2021

Do High Mental Demands at Work Protect Cognitive Health in Old Age Hippocampal Volume? Results From a Community Sample.

Front Aging Neurosci 2020 13;12:622321. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Max-Planck-Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.

As higher mental demands at work are associated with lower dementia risk and a key symptom of dementia is hippocampal atrophy, the study aimed at investigating the association between mental demands at work and hippocampal volume. We analyzed data from the population-based LIFE-Adult-Study in Leipzig, Germany ( = 1,409, age 40-80). Hippocampal volumes were measured three-dimensional Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; 3D MP-RAGE) and mental demands at work were classified the O*NET database. Linear regression analyses adjusted for gender, age, education, APOE e4-allele, hypertension, and diabetes revealed associations between higher demands in "language and knowledge," "information processing," and "creativity" at work on larger white and gray matter volume and better cognitive functioning with "creativity" having stronger effects for people not yet retired. Among retired individuals, higher demands in "pattern detection" were associated with larger white matter volume as well as larger hippocampal subfields CA2/CA3, suggesting a retention effect later in life. There were no other relevant associations with hippocampal volume. Our findings do not support the idea that mental demands at work protect cognitive health hippocampal volume or brain volume. Further research may clarify through what mechanism mentally demanding activities influence specifically dementia pathology in the brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2020.622321DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7848890PMC
January 2021

Conserved strategies of RNA polymerase I hibernation and activation.

Nat Commun 2021 02 3;12(1):758. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Regensburg Center for Biochemistry, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstraße 31, 93053, Regensburg, Germany.

RNA polymerase (Pol) I transcribes the ribosomal RNA precursor in all eukaryotes. The mechanisms 'activation by cleft contraction' and 'hibernation by dimerization' are unique to the regulation of this enzyme, but structure-function analysis is limited to baker's yeast. To understand whether regulation by such strategies is specific to this model organism or conserved among species, we solve three cryo-EM structures of Pol I from Schizosaccharomyces pombe in different functional states. Comparative analysis of structural models derived from high-resolution reconstructions shows that activation is accomplished by a conserved contraction of the active center cleft. In contrast to current beliefs, we find that dimerization of the S. pombe polymerase is also possible. This dimerization is achieved independent of the 'connector' domain but relies on two previously undescribed interfaces. Our analyses highlight the divergent nature of Pol I transcription systems from their counterparts and suggest conservation of regulatory mechanisms among organisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21031-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859239PMC
February 2021

Establishing Normative Data on Singing Voice Parameters of Children and Adolescents with Average Singing Activity Using the Voice Range Profile.

Folia Phoniatr Logop 2021 Feb 1:1-12. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Section of Phoniatrics and Audiology, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to establish and characterize age- and gender-specific normative data of the singing voice using the voice range profile for clinical diagnostics. Furthermore, associations between the singing voice and the socioeconomic status were examined.

Methods: Singing voice profiles of 1,578 mostly untrained children aged between 7.0 and 16.11 years were analyzed. Participants had to reproduce sung tones at defined pitches, resulting in maximum and minimum fundamental frequency and sound pressure level (SPL). In addition, maximum phonation time (MPT) was measured. Percentile curves of frequency, SPL and MPT were estimated. To examine the associations of socioeconomic status, multivariate analyses adjusted for age and sex were performed.

Results: In boys, the mean of the highest frequency was 750.9 Hz and lowered to 397.1 Hz with increasing age. Similarly, the minimum frequency was 194.4 Hz and lowered to 91.9 Hz. In girls, the mean maximum frequency decreased from 754.9 to 725.3 Hz. The mean minimum frequency lowered from 202.4 to 175.0 Hz. For both sexes, the mean frequency range ∆f showed a constant range of roughly 24 semitones. The MPT increased with age, for boys and girls. There was neither an effect of age nor sex on SPLmin or SPLmax, ranging between 52.6 and 54.1 dBA and between 86.5 and 82.8 dBA, respectively. Socioeconomic status was not associated with the above-mentioned variables.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this study is the first to present large normative data on the singing voice in childhood and adolescence based on a high number of measurements. In addition, we provide percentile curves for practical application in clinic and vocal pedagogy which may be applied to distinguish between normal and pathological singing voice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000513521DOI Listing
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

Oral contraceptive use and ovarian cancer risk for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers: an international cohort study.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2021 07 22;225(1):51.e1-51.e17. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute, Brno, Czech Republic.

Background: Ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers has been shown to decrease with longer duration of oral contraceptive use. Although the effects of using oral contraceptives in the general population are well established (approximately 50% risk reduction in ovarian cancer), the estimated risk reduction in mutation carriers is much less precise because of potential bias and small sample sizes. In addition, only a few studies on oral contraceptive use have examined the associations of duration of use, time since last use, starting age, and calendar year of start with risk of ovarian cancer.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate in more detail the associations of various characteristics of oral contraceptive use and risk of ovarian cancer, to provide healthcare providers and carriers with better risk estimates.

Study Design: In this international retrospective study, ovarian cancer risk associations were assessed using oral contraceptives data on 3989 BRCA1 and 2445 BRCA2 mutation carriers. Age-dependent-weighted Cox regression analyses were stratified by study and birth cohort and included breast cancer diagnosis as a covariate. To minimize survival bias, analyses were left truncated at 5 years before baseline questionnaire. Separate analyses were conducted for each aspect of oral contraceptive use and in a multivariate analysis, including all these aspects. In addition, the analysis of duration of oral contraceptive use was stratified by recency of use.

Results: Oral contraceptives were less often used by mutation carriers who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer (ever use: 58.6% for BRCA1 and 53.5% BRCA2) than by unaffected carriers (ever use: 88.9% for BRCA1 and 80.7% for BRCA2). The median duration of use was 7 years for both BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers who developed ovarian cancer and 9 and 8 years for unaffected BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers with ovarian cancer, respectively. For BRCA1 mutation carriers, univariate analyses have shown that both a longer duration of oral contraceptive use and more recent oral contraceptive use were associated with a reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer. However, in multivariate analyses, including duration of use, age at first use, and time since last use, duration of oral contraceptive use proved to be the prominent protective factor (compared with <5 years: 5-9 years [hazard ratio, 0.67; 95% confidence interval, 0.40-1.12]; >10 years [hazard ratio, 0.37; 95% confidence interval, 0.19-0.73]; P=.008). The inverse association between duration of use and ovarian cancer risk persisted for more than 15 years (duration of ≥10 years; BRCA1 <15 years since last use [hazard ratio, 0.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.14-0.43]; BRCA1 >15 years since last use [hazard ratio, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.18-0.59]). Univariate results for BRCA2 mutation carriers were similar but were inconclusive because of limited sample size.

Conclusion: For BRCA1 mutation carriers, longer duration of oral contraceptive use is associated with a greater reduction in ovarian cancer risk, and the protection is long term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2021.01.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8278569PMC
July 2021

Breast Cancer Risk Genes - Association Analysis in More than 113,000 Women.

N Engl J Med 2021 02 20;384(5):428-439. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

The authors' affiliations are as follows: the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Departments of Public Health and Primary Care (L.D., S. Carvalho, J.A., K.A.P., Q.W., M.K.B., J.D., B.D., N. Mavaddat, K. Michailidou, A.C.A., P.D.P.P., D.F.E.) and Oncology (C.L., P.A.H., C. Baynes, D.M.C., L.F., V.R., M. Shah, P.D.P.P., A.M.D., D.F.E.), University of Cambridge, Cambridge, the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (A. Campbell, D.J.P.), and the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Department of Psychology (D.J.P.), University of Edinburgh, the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre (D.A.C., J.F.), and the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh Medical School (A. Campbell, J.F.), Edinburgh, the Divisions of Informatics, Imaging, and Data Sciences (E.F.H.), Cancer Sciences (A. Howell), Population Health, Health Services Research, and Primary Care (A. Lophatananon, K. Muir), and Evolution and Genomic Sciences, School of Biological Sciences (W.G.N., E.M.V., D.G.E.), University of Manchester, the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Unit (E.F.H.) and the Nightingale Breast Screening Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital (E.F.H., H.I.), Academic Health Science Centre and North West Genomics Laboratory Hub, and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (W.G.N., E.M.V., D.G.E.), Manchester, the School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Guy's Campus, King's College London, London (E.J.S.), the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham (I.T.), and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford (I.T.) - all in the United Kingdom; the Human Genotyping-CEGEN Unit, Human Cancer Genetic Program (A.G.-N., M.R.A., N.Á., B.H., R.N.-T.), and the Human Genetics Group (V.F., A.O., J.B.), Spanish National Cancer Research Center, Centro de Investigación en Red de Enfermedades Raras (A.O., J.B.), Servicio de Oncología Médica, Hospital Universitario La Paz (M.P.Z.), and Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Hospital Clinico San Carlos, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos (M. de la Hoya), Madrid, the Genomic Medicine Group, Galician Foundation of Genomic Medicine, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago de Compostela, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago (A. Carracedo, M.G.-D.), and Centro de Investigación en Red de Enfermedades Raras y Centro Nacional de Genotipado, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (A. Carracedo), Santiago de Compostela, the Oncology and Genetics Unit, Instituto de Investigacion Sanitaria Galicia Sur, Xerencia de Xestion Integrada de Vigo-Servizo Galeo de Saúde, Vigo (J.E.C.), and Servicio de Cirugía General y Especialidades, Hospital Monte Naranco, Oviedo (J.I.A.P.) - all in Spain; the Division of Oncology and Pathology, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund (C. Wahlström, J.V., M.L., T. Törngren, Å.B., A.K.), the Department of Oncology, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro (C. Blomqvist), and the Departments of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (K.C., M.E., M.G., P. Hall, W.H., K.H.), Oncology, Södersjukhuset (P. Hall, S. Margolin), Molecular Medicine and Surgery (A. Lindblom), and Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset (S. Margolin, C. Wendt), Karolinska Institutet, and the Department of Clinical Genetics, Karolinska University Hospital (A. Lindblom), Stockholm - all in Sweden; the Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD (M.T.P., C.F., G.C.-T., A.B.S.), the Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria (G.G.G., R.J.M., R.L.M.), the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health (G.G.G., R.J.M., R.L.M.), and the Department of Clinical Pathology (M.C.S.), University of Melbourne, Anatomical Pathology, Alfred Hospital (C.M.), and the Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria (M.C.S.), Melbourne, VIC, and Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC (G.G.G., M.C.S., R.L.M.) - all in Australia; the Division of Molecular Pathology (R.K., S. Cornelissen, M.K.S.), Family Cancer Clinic (F.B.L.H., L.E.K.), Department of Epidemiology (M.A.R.), and Division of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology (M.K.S.), the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, Division Laboratories, Pharmacy and Biomedical Genetics, Department of Genetics, University Medical Center, Utrecht (M.G.E.M.A.), the Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus University Medical Center (J.M.C., A.M.W.O.), and the Department of Medical Oncology, Family Cancer Clinic, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute (B.A.M.H.-G., A. Hollestelle, M.J.H.), Rotterdam, the Department of Clinical Genetics, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht (E.B.G.G.), the Departments of Human Genetics (I.M.M.L., M.P.G.V., P.D.), Clinical Genetics (C.J.A.), and Pathology (P.D.), Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen (A.R.M.), and the Department of Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen (J.C.O.) - all in the Netherlands; the Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (B.D.), and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute (T.A., S.J.C., X.R.Y., M.G.-C.), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; the Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School (B.D.), and the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (R.M.V.D.), Boston; the Departments of Clinical Genetics (K.A.), Oncology (C. Blomqvist), and Obstetrics and Gynecology (H.N., M. Suvanto), Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, and the Unit of Clinical Oncology, Kuopio University Hospital (P. Auvinen), the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Oncology (P. Auvinen), the Translational Cancer Research Area (J.M.H., V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Pathology, and Forensic Medicine (J.M.H., V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), University of Eastern Finland, and the Biobank of Eastern Finland, Kuopio University Hospital (V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), Kuopio - both in Finland; the N.N. Alexandrov Research Institute of Oncology and Medical Radiology, Minsk, Belarus (N.N.A., N.V.B.); the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel (N.A.), the Institute of Medical Biometry and Epidemiology (H. Becher) and Cancer Epidemiology Group (T.M., J.C.-C.), University Cancer Center Hamburg, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics (M.W.B., P.A.F., L.H.) and Institute of Human Genetics (A.B.E.), University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-European Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg, Erlangen, the Division of Cancer Epidemiology (S.B., A. Jung, P.M.K., J.C.-C.), Molecular Epidemiology Group, C080 (B. Burwinkel, H.S.), Division of Pediatric Neurooncology (A.F.), and Molecular Genetics of Breast Cancer (U.H., M.M., M.U.R., D.T.), German Cancer Research Center, Molecular Biology of Breast Cancer, University Women's Clinic Heidelberg, University of Heidelberg (B. Burwinkel, A.S., H.S.), Hopp Children's Cancer Center (A.F.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Heidelberg (P.M.K.), and National Center for Tumor Diseases, University Hospital and German Cancer Research Center (A.S., C.S.), Heidelberg, the Department of Radiation Oncology (N.V.B., M. Bremer, H.C.) and the Gynecology Research Unit (N.V.B., T.D., P. Hillemanns, T.-W.P.-S., P.S.), Hannover Medical School, Hannover, the Institute of Human Genetics, University of Münster, Münster (N.B.-M.), Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Stuttgart (H. Brauch, W.-Y.L.), iFIT-Cluster of Excellence, University of Tübingen, and the German Cancer Consortium, German Cancer Research Center, Partner Site Tübingen (H. Brauch), and the University of Tübingen (W.-Y.L.), Tübingen, Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum (T.B.), Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics, and Epidemiology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig (C.E.), Center for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (E.H., R.K.S.) and Center for Integrated Oncology (E.H., R.K.S.), Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, the Department of Internal Medicine, Evangelische Kliniken Bonn, Johanniter Krankenhaus, Bonn (Y.-D.K.), the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Munich, Campus Großhadern, Munich (A. Meindl), and the Institute of Pathology, Städtisches Klinikum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe (T.R.) - all in Germany; the Gynecological Cancer Registry, Centre Georges-François Leclerc, Dijon (P. Arveux), and the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Team Exposome and Heredity, INSERM, University Paris-Saclay, Villejuif (E.C.-D., P.G., T. Truong) - both in France; the Institute of Biochemistry and Genetics, Ufa Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (M. Bermisheva, E.K.), the Department of Genetics and Fundamental Medicine, Bashkir State University (E.K., D.P., Y.V.), and the Ufa Research Institute of Occupational Health and Human Ecology (Y.V.), Ufa, Russia; the Department of Genetics and Pathology (K.B., A. Jakubowska, J. Lubiński, K.P.) and the Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Genetic Diagnostics (A. Jakubowska), Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland; the Copenhagen General Population Study, the Department of Clinical Biochemistry (S.E.B., B.G.N.), and the Department of Breast Surgery (H.F.), Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (S.E.B., B.G.N.) - both in Denmark; the Division of Cancer Prevention and Genetics, European Institute of Oncology Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) (B. Bonanni), the Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano (S. Manoukian), the Genome Diagnostics Program, FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology (P.P.), and the Unit of Molecular Bases of Genetic Risk and Genetic Testing, Department of Research, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (P.R.), Milan; the Department of Cancer Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital-Radiumhospitalet (A.-L.B.-D., G.I.G.A., V.N.K.), and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo (A.-L.B.-D., V.N.K.), Oslo; Medical Faculty, Universidad de La Sabana (I.B.), and the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department (F.G.) and Institute of Human Genetics (D.T.), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia; the Department of Internal Medicine and Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah (N.J.C., M.J.M., J.A.W.), and the Intermountain Healthcare Biorepository and Department of Pathology, Intermountain Healthcare (M.H.C.), Salt Lake City; the David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Medicine Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles (P.A.F.), and Moores Cancer Center (M.G.-D., M.E.M.) and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health (M.E.M.), University of California San Diego, La Jolla; the Departments of Medical Oncology (V.G., D.M.) and Pathology (M.T.), University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, and the Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Larissa, Larissa (E.S.) - both in Greece; the Fred A. Litwin Center for Cancer Genetics, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital (G.G., I.L.A.), the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (A.M.M.) and Molecular Genetics (I.L.A.), University of Toronto, and the Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network (A.M.M.), Toronto, and the Genomics Center, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec-Université Laval Research Center, Québec City, QC (J.S.) - both in Canada; the Department of Electron Microscopy and Molecular Pathology (A. Hadjisavvas, K.K., M.A.L.), the Cyprus School of Molecular Medicine (A. Hadjisavvas, K.K., M.A.L., K. Michailidou), and the Biostatistics Unit (K. Michailidou), Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, Nicosia, Cyprus; the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (M. Hartman, R.M.V.D.) and the Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (R.M.V.D.), National University of Singapore, the Department of Surgery, National University Health System (M. Hartman, J. Li), and the Human Genetics Division, Genome Institute of Singapore (J. Li), Singapore; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Nottingham Malaysia (W.K.H.), and the Breast Cancer Research Programme, Cancer Research Malaysia (W.K.H., P.S.N., S.-Y.Y., S.H.T.), Selangor, and the Breast Cancer Research Unit, Cancer Research Institute (N.A.M.T.), and the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine (N.A.M.T., P.S.N., S.H.T.), University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur - both in Malaysia; Surgery, School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway (M.J.K., N. Miller); the Department of Surgery, Daerim Saint Mary's Hospital (S.-W.K.), the Department of Surgery, Ulsan University College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center (J.W.L.), the Department of Surgery, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine and Soonchunhyang University Hospital (M.H.L.), Integrated Major in Innovative Medical Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine (S.K.P.), and the Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University (S.K.P.), Seoul, South Korea; the Department of Basic Sciences, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center, Lahore, Pakistan (M.U.R.); and the National Cancer Institute, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand (S.T.).

Background: Genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility is widely used, but for many genes, evidence of an association with breast cancer is weak, underlying risk estimates are imprecise, and reliable subtype-specific risk estimates are lacking.

Methods: We used a panel of 34 putative susceptibility genes to perform sequencing on samples from 60,466 women with breast cancer and 53,461 controls. In separate analyses for protein-truncating variants and rare missense variants in these genes, we estimated odds ratios for breast cancer overall and tumor subtypes. We evaluated missense-variant associations according to domain and classification of pathogenicity.

Results: Protein-truncating variants in 5 genes (, , , , and ) were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.0001. Protein-truncating variants in 4 other genes (, , , and ) were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.05 and a Bayesian false-discovery probability of less than 0.05. For protein-truncating variants in 19 of the remaining 25 genes, the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval of the odds ratio for breast cancer overall was less than 2.0. For protein-truncating variants in and , odds ratios were higher for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease than for ER-negative disease; for protein-truncating variants in , , , , , and , odds ratios were higher for ER-negative disease than for ER-positive disease. Rare missense variants (in aggregate) in , , and were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.001. For , , and , missense variants (in aggregate) that would be classified as pathogenic according to standard criteria were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall, with the risk being similar to that of protein-truncating variants.

Conclusions: The results of this study define the genes that are most clinically useful for inclusion on panels for the prediction of breast cancer risk, as well as provide estimates of the risks associated with protein-truncating variants, to guide genetic counseling. (Funded by European Union Horizon 2020 programs and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1913948DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611105PMC
February 2021

Performance of Breast Cancer Polygenic Risk Scores in 760 Female CHEK2 Germline Mutation Carriers.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jul;113(7):893-899

Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Genome-wide association studies suggest that the combined effects of breast cancer (BC)-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) can improve BC risk stratification using polygenic risk scores (PRSs). The performance of PRSs in genome-wide association studies-independent clinical cohorts is poorly studied in individuals carrying mutations in moderately penetrant BC predisposition genes such as CHEK2.

Methods: A total of 760 female CHEK2 mutation carriers were included; 561 women were affected with BC, of whom 74 developed metachronous contralateral BC (mCBC). For PRS calculations, 2 SNP sets covering 77 (SNP set 1, developed for BC risk stratification in women unselected for their BRCA1/2 germline mutation status) and 88 (SNP set 2, developed for BC risk stratification in female BRCA1/2 mutation carriers) BC-associated SNPs were used. All statistical tests were 2-sided.

Results: Both SNP sets provided concordant PRS results at the individual level (r = 0.91, P < 2.20 × 10-16). Weighted cohort Cox regression analyses revealed statistically significant associations of PRSs with the risk for first BC. For SNP set 1, a hazard ratio of 1.71 per SD of the PRS was observed (95% confidence interval = 1.36 to 2.15, P = 3.87 × 10-6). PRSs identify a subgroup of CHEK2 mutation carriers with a predicted lifetime risk for first BC that exceeds the surveillance thresholds defined by international guidelines. Association of PRS with mCBC was examined via Cox regression analysis (SNP set 1 hazard ratio = 1.23, 95% confidence interval = 0.86 to 1.78, P = .26).

Conclusions: PRSs may be used to personalize risk-adapted preventive measures for women with CHEK2 mutations. Larger studies are required to assess the role of PRSs in mCBC predisposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246885PMC
July 2021

Structure of human RNA polymerase III.

Nat Commun 2020 12 17;11(1):6409. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Division of Structural Biology, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, SW7 3RP, UK.

In eukaryotes, RNA Polymerase (Pol) III is specialized for the transcription of tRNAs and other short, untranslated RNAs. Pol III is a determinant of cellular growth and lifespan across eukaryotes. Upregulation of Pol III transcription is observed in cancer and causative Pol III mutations have been described in neurodevelopmental disorders and hypersensitivity to viral infection. Here, we report a cryo-EM reconstruction at 4.0 Å of human Pol III, allowing mapping and rationalization of reported genetic mutations. Mutations causing neurodevelopmental defects cluster in hotspots affecting Pol III stability and/or biogenesis, whereas mutations affecting viral sensing are located in proximity to DNA binding regions, suggesting an impairment of Pol III cytosolic viral DNA-sensing. Integrating x-ray crystallography and SAXS, we also describe the structure of the higher eukaryote specific RPC5 C-terminal extension. Surprisingly, experiments in living cells highlight a role for this module in the assembly and stability of human Pol III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20262-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7747717PMC
December 2020

[Detection of relevant changes in the speaking voice of women measured by the speaking voice profile].

Laryngorhinootologie 2020 Dec 16. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

Medizinische Fakultät, LIFE Forschungszentrum, Universität Leipzig.

Background:  A healthy voice serves us as a basis for communication and an indispensable tool in a modern society with a growing number of vocal-intensive professions. There are indications that the average frequency of the speaking voice of women has decreased in recent years and is approaching that of men in the sense of sociophony. An epidemiological prospective cohort study will investigate the influences of age, personality traits and socio-demographic factors on the speaking voice of women.

Material And Methods:  Within the framework of a standardized examination procedure, the speaking voice of 2478 voice-healthy female participants between 5 and83 years of age was registered in 4 different intensity levels (softest voice, conversational voice, classroom voice and shouting voice). Subsequently, the collected values for frequency and loudness of the different intensity levels were examined for correlation with age and results from questionnaires on personality (FFFK and BFI-10), on (mental) health (Patient-Health-Questionnaire - PHQ) and on socio-economic status (SES).

Results:  Significant age-related influences on the speaking voice could be demonstrated for all voice intensities. For the personality traits investigated, significant positive correlations between the volume of the calling and speaking voice and extraversion were found. For the frequency of the softest voice and speaking voice, significant correlations were found for the personality traits of extraversion and tolerance. While no significant associations were found between the voice parameters of the speaking voice and the PHQ, it was found that the SES has a significant influence on both frequency and intensity.

Conclusion:  In addition to age-related changes, relevant influences of personality traits and the SES on speaking voice parameters in women were confirmed, which should be considered in clinical care of dysphonia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-1327-4275DOI Listing
December 2020

Risk-reducing hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in female heterozygotes of pathogenic mismatch repair variants: a Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database report.

Genet Med 2021 04 1;23(4):705-712. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Campus Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany.

Purpose: To determine impact of risk-reducing hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) on gynecological cancer incidence and death in heterozygotes of pathogenic MMR (path_MMR) variants.

Methods: The Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database was used to investigate the effects of gynecological risk-reducing surgery (RRS) at different ages.

Results: Risk-reducing hysterectomy at 25 years of age prevents endometrial cancer before 50 years in 15%, 18%, 13%, and 0% of path_MLH1, path_MSH2, path_MSH6, and path_PMS2 heterozygotes and death in 2%, 2%, 1%, and 0%, respectively. Risk-reducing BSO at 25 years of age prevents ovarian cancer before 50 years in 6%, 11%, 2%, and 0% and death in 1%, 2%, 0%, and 0%, respectively. Risk-reducing hysterectomy at 40 years prevents endometrial cancer by 50 years in 13%, 16%, 11%, and 0% and death in 1%, 2%, 1%, and 0%, respectively. BSO at 40 years prevents ovarian cancer before 50 years in 4%, 8%, 0%, and 0%, and death in 1%, 1%, 0%, and 0%, respectively.

Conclusion: Little benefit is gained by performing RRS before 40 years of age and premenopausal BSO in path_MSH6 and path_PMS2 heterozygotes has no measurable benefit for mortality. These findings may aid decision making for women with LS who are considering RRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-01029-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026395PMC
April 2021

Depressive Symptomatology in Early Retirees Associated With Reason for Retirement-Results From the Population-Based LIFE-Adult-Study.

Front Psychiatry 2020 18;11:565442. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (ISAP), University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Background: Transition from employment to retirement is regarded a crucial event. However, there is mixed evidence on associations between retirement and mental health, especially regarding early retirement. In Germany, cases of early retirement due to ill health-particularly, mental ill health-are increasing. Therefore, we investigated the association between early retirement and depressive symptoms, including information on different types of early retirement.

Methods: We analyzed data from 4,808 participants of the population-based LIFE-Adult-Study (age: 40-65 years, 654 retired, 4,154 employed), controlling for sociodemographic information, social network, pre-existing health conditions, and duration of retirement. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Regression analysis using entropy balancing was applied to achieve covariate balance between retired and employed subjects.

Results: We found no overall-differences in depressive symptoms between employed and retired persons (men: b = -.52; p = 0.431; women: b = .05; p = .950). When looking at different types of early retirement, ill-health retirement was linked to increased depressive symptoms in women (b = 4.68, 95% CI = 1.71; 7.65), while voluntary retirement was associated with reduced depressive symptoms in men (b= -1.83, 95% CI = -3.22; -.43) even after controlling for covariates. For women, statutory retirement was linked to lower depressive symptomatology (b = -2.00, 95% CI = -3.99; -.02).

Conclusion: Depressive symptomatology among early retirees depends on reason for retirement: For women, ill-health retirement is linked to higher levels of depressive symptoms. Women who retire early due to ill-health constitute a risk group for depressive symptoms that needs specific attention in the health care and social security system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.565442DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530286PMC
September 2020

An exploratory randomized controlled trial comparing wood-composite and synthetic fibreglass splint systems for the immobilization of paediatric upper limb fractures.

Bone Joint J 2020 10;102-B(10):1405-1411

Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Hospital Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Aims: This exploratory randomized controlled trial (RCT) aimed to determine the splint-related outcomes when using the novel biodegradable wood-composite splint (Woodcast) compared to standard synthetic fibreglass (Dynacast) for the immobilization of undisplaced upper limb fractures in children.

Methods: An exploratory RCT was performed at a tertiary paediatric referral hospital between 1 June 2018 and 30 September 2019. The intention-to-treat population consisted of 170 patients (mean age 8.42 years (SD 3.42); Woodcast (WCG), n = 84, 57 male (67.9%); Dynacast (DNG), n = 86, 58 male (67.4%)). Patients with undisplaced upper limb fractures were randomly assigned to WCG or DNG treatment groups. Primary outcome was the stress stability of the splint material, defined as absence of any deformations or fractures within the splint during study period. Secondary outcomes included patient satisfaction and medical staff opinion. Additionally, biomechanical and chemical analysis of the splint samples was carried out.

Results: Of the initial 170 patients, 168 (98.8%) completed at least one follow-up, and were included for analysis of the primary endpoint. Both treatment groups were well-matched regarding to age, sex, and type and localization of the fracture. Splint breakage occurred in three patients (3.6%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.007% to 0.102%) in the WCG and in three children (3.5%, 95% CI 0.007% to 0.09%) in the DNG (p > 0.99). The incidence of splint-related adverse events did not differ between the WCG (n = 21; 25.0%) and DNG (n = 24; 27.9%; p = 0.720). Under experimental conditions, the maximal tensile strength of Dynacast samples was higher than those deriving from Woodcast (mean 15.37 N/mm² (SD 1.37) vs 10.75 N/mm² (SD 1.20); p = 0.002). Chemical analysis revealed detection of polyisocyanate-prepolymer in Dynacast and polyester in Woodcast samples.

Conclusion: Splint-related adverse events appear similar between WCG and DNG treatment groups during the treatment of undisplaced forearm fractures. Cite this article: 2020;102-B(10):1405-1411.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1302/0301-620X.102B10.BJJ-2020-0236.R3DOI Listing
October 2020

Loss and grief in elderly people: Results from the LIFE-Adult-Study.

Death Stud 2020 Sep 25:1-10. Epub 2020 Sep 25.

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

We evaluated 2,865 elderly people to investigate the prevalence of prolonged grief disorder (PGD), examine predictors and mental health correlates. The conditional prevalence of PGD varied between 0.8% and 5.2% (diagnostic algorithm vs. cut-off). PG-13 scores were related to depressive symptoms, sleep disturbances, reduced life satisfaction, and quality of life. Predictors were female gender, less time since death, more losses, having lost a child, partner, or sibling, and less social support. PGD is associated with adverse mental health consequences. Practitioners should pay special attention to elderly women who lost a close loved one and lack social support.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2020.1824203DOI Listing
September 2020

Value of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for gastric cancer surveillance in patients with Lynch syndrome.

Int J Cancer 2021 01 13;148(1):106-114. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Klinikum Hochsauerland, Meschede, Germany.

In our study, we evaluated the effectiveness of upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy as an instrument for early gastric cancer (GC) detection in Lynch syndrome (LS) patients by analyzing data from the registry of the German Consortium for Familial Intestinal Cancer. In a prospective, multicenter cohort study, 1128 out of 2009 registered individuals with confirmed LS underwent 5176 upper GI endoscopies. Compliance was good since 77.6% of upper GI endoscopies were completed within the recommended interval of 1 to 3 years. Forty-nine GC events were observed in 47 patients. MLH1 (n = 21) and MSH2 (n = 24) mutations were the most prevalent. GCs in patients undergoing regular surveillance were diagnosed significantly more often in an early-stage disease (UICC I) than GCs detected through symptoms (83% vs 25%; P = .0231). Thirty-two (68%) patients had a negative family history of GC. The median age at diagnosis was 51 years (range 28-66). Of all GC patients, 13 were diagnosed at an age younger than 45. Our study supports the recommendation of regular upper GI endoscopy surveillance for LS patients beginning no later than at the age of 30.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33294DOI Listing
January 2021

Norms of Interocular Circumpapillary Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness Differences at 768 Retinal Locations.

Transl Vis Sci Technol 2020 08 12;9(9):23. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Leipzig Research Centre for Civilization Diseases (LIFE), Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany.

Purpose: The onset and progression of optic neuropathies like glaucoma often occurs asymmetrically between the two eyes of a patient. Interocular circumpapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (cpRNFLT) differences could detect disease earlier. To apply such differences diagnostically, detailed location specific norms are necessary.

Methods: Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography cpRNFLT circle scans from the population-based Leipzig Research Centre for Civilization Diseases-Adult study were selected. At each of the 768 radial scanning locations, normative interocular cpRNFLT difference distributions were calculated based on age and interocular radius difference.

Results: A total of 8966 cpRNFLT scans of healthy eyes (4483 patients; 55% female; age range, 20-79 years) were selected. Global cpRNFLT average was 1.53 µm thicker in right eyes ( < 2.2 × 10). On 96% of the 768 locations, left minus right eye differences were significant ( < 0.05), varying between +11.6 µm (superonasal location) and -11.8 µm (nasal location). Increased age and difference in interocular scanning radii were associated with an increased mean and variance of interocular cpRNFLT difference at most retinal locations, apart from the area temporal to the inferior RNF bundle where cpRNFLT becomes more similar between eyes with age.

Conclusions: We provide pointwise normative distributions of interocular cpRNFLT differences at an unprecedentedly high spatial resolution of 768 A-scans and reveal considerable location specific asymmetries as well as their associations with age and scanning radius differences between eyes.

Translational Relevance: To facilitate clinical application, we implement these age- and radius-specific norms across all 768 locations in an open-source software to generate patient-specific normative color plots.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.9.23DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442876PMC
August 2020

Age-dependent performance of BRAF mutation testing in Lynch syndrome diagnostics.

Int J Cancer 2020 11 14;147(10):2801-2810. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Department of Applied Tumor Biology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Cooperation Unit Applied Tumor Biology, German Cancer research Center (DKFZ), and Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU), University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

BRAF V600E mutations have been reported as a marker of sporadic microsatellite instability (MSI) colorectal cancer (CRC). Current international diagnostic guidelines recommend BRAF mutation testing in MSI CRC patients to predict low risk of Lynch syndrome (LS). We evaluated the age-specific performance of BRAF testing in LS diagnostics. We systematically compared the prevalence of BRAF mutations in LS-associated CRCs and unselected MSI CRCs in different age groups as available from published studies, databases and population-based patient cohorts. Sensitivity/specificity analysis of BRAF testing for exclusion of LS and cost calculations were performed. Among 969 MSI CRCs from LS carriers in the literature and German HNPCC Consortium, 15 (1.6%) harbored BRAF mutations. Six of seven LS patients with BRAF-mutant CRC and reported age were <50 years. Among 339 of 756 (44.8%) of BRAF mutations detected in unselected MSI CRC, only 2 of 339 (0.6%) BRAF mutations were detected in patients <50 years. The inclusion of BRAF testing led to high risk of missing LS patients and increased costs at age <50 years. BRAF testing in patients <50 years carries a high risk of missing a hereditary cancer predisposition and is cost-inefficient. We suggest direct referral of MSI CRC patients <50 years to genetic counseling without BRAF testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33273DOI Listing
November 2020

Fatigue in Cancer and Neuroinflammatory and Autoimmune Disease: CNS Arousal Matters.

Brain Sci 2020 Aug 19;10(9). Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany.

The term fatigue is not only used to describe a sleepy state with a lack of drive, as observed in patients with chronic physical illnesses, but also a state with an inhibition of drive and central nervous system (CNS) hyperarousal, as frequently observed in patients with major depression. An electroencephalogram (EEG)-based algorithm has been developed to objectively assess CNS arousal and to disentangle these pathophysiologically heterogeneous forms of fatigue. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that fatigued patients with CNS hyperarousal score higher on depressive symptoms than those without this neurophysiological pattern.

Methods: Subjects with fatigue (Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory sum-score > 40) in the context of cancer, neuroinflammatory, or autoimmune diseases were drawn from the 60+ cohort of the Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases. CNS arousal was assessed by automatic EEG-vigilance stage classification using the Vigilance Algorithm Leipzig (VIGALL 2.1) based on 20 min EEG recordings at rest with eyes closed. Depression was assessed by the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS-SR).

Results: Sixty participants (33 female; median age: 67.5 years) were included in the analysis. As hypothesized, fatigued patients with CNS hyperarousal had higher IDS-SR scores than those without hyperarousal (F = 18.34; < 0.0001, η = 0.240).

Conclusion: hyperaroused fatigue in patients with chronic physical illness may be a sign of comorbid depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10090569DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564388PMC
August 2020