Publications by authors named "Daniel Barnes"

57 Publications

Altered regulation of BRCA1 exon 11 splicing is associated with breast cancer risk in carriers of BRCA1 pathogenic variants.

Hum Mutat 2021 Nov 31;42(11):1488-1502. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Germline pathogenic variants in BRCA1 confer a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The BRCA1 exon 11 (formally exon 10) is one of the largest exons and codes for the nuclear localization signals of the corresponding gene product. This exon can be partially or entirely skipped during pre-mRNA splicing, leading to three major in-frame isoforms that are detectable in most cell types and tissue, and in normal and cancer settings. However, it is unclear whether the splicing imbalance of this exon is associated with cancer risk. Here we identify a common genetic variant in intron 10, rs5820483 (NC_000017.11:g.43095106_43095108dup), which is associated with exon 11 isoform expression and alternative splicing, and with the risk of breast cancer, but not ovarian cancer, in BRCA1 pathogenic variant carriers. The identification of this genetic effect was confirmed by analogous observations in mouse cells and tissue in which a loxP sequence was inserted in the syntenic intronic region. The prediction that the rs5820483 minor allele variant would create a binding site for the splicing silencer hnRNP A1 was confirmed by pull-down assays. Our data suggest that perturbation of BRCA1 exon 11 splicing modifies the breast cancer risk conferred by pathogenic variants of this gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.24276DOI Listing
November 2021

Breast and Prostate Cancer Risks for Male BRCA1 and BRCA2 Pathogenic Variant Carriers Using Polygenic Risk Scores.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jul 28. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Background: Recent population-based female breast cancer and prostate cancer polygenic risk scores (PRS) have been developed. We assessed the associations of these PRS with breast and prostate cancer risks for male BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variant carriers.

Methods: 483 BRCA1 and 1,318 BRCA2 European ancestry male carriers were available from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). A 147-single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) prostate cancer PRS (PRSPC) and a 313-SNP breast cancer PRS were evaluated. There were three versions of the breast cancer PRS, optimized to predict overall (PRSBC), estrogen-receptor (ER) negative (PRSER-) or ER-positive (PRSER+) breast cancer risk.

Results: PRSER+ yielded the strongest association with breast cancer risk. The odds ratios (ORs) per PRSER+ standard deviation estimates were 1.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] =1.07-1.83) for BRCA1 and 1.33 (95% CI = 1.16-1.52) for BRCA2 carriers. PRSPC was associated with prostate cancer risk for both BRCA1 (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.28-2.33) and BRCA2 (OR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.34-1.91) carriers. The estimated breast cancer ORs were larger after adjusting for female relative breast cancer family history. By age 85 years, for BRCA2 carriers, the breast cancer risk varied from 7.7% to 18.4% and prostate cancer risk from 34.1% to 87.6% between the 5th and 95th percentiles of the PRS distributions.

Conclusions: Population-based prostate and female breast cancer PRS are associated with a wide range of absolute breast and prostate cancer risks for male BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers. These findings warrant further investigation aimed at providing personalized cancer risks for male carriers and to inform clinical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab147DOI Listing
July 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 09 10;23(9):1726-1737. 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
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8460445PMC
September 2021

SARS-CoV2 antibody positivity rates and employee expectations of positivity rates among health care workers at a community hospital in North Carolina.

Am J Infect Control 2021 09 8;49(9):1204-1205. Epub 2021 May 8.

FirstHealth of the Carolinas Department of Pathology, Pinehurst NC.

Our study surveyed over 2000 employees of a community health care system in the Southeast United States for SARS-CoV2 antibodies. Survey included subjects' expectation of the result. Our local area had low community prevalence of SARS-CoV2 but low diagnostic testing capacity during much of the early phase of the epidemic. Despite only 3% positivity rate for antibodies in this population, 17% of subjects expected to have positive antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2021.04.086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8106531PMC
September 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

RNF168 regulates R-loop resolution and genomic stability in BRCA1/2-deficient tumors.

J Clin Invest 2021 02;131(3)

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network and Department of Medical Biophysics, and.

Germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) genes considerably increase breast and ovarian cancer risk. Given that tumors with these mutations have elevated genomic instability, they exhibit relative vulnerability to certain chemotherapies and targeted treatments based on poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibition. However, the molecular mechanisms that influence cancer risk and therapeutic benefit or resistance remain only partially understood. BRCA1 and BRCA2 have also been implicated in the suppression of R-loops, triple-stranded nucleic acid structures composed of a DNA:RNA hybrid and a displaced ssDNA strand. Here, we report that loss of RNF168, an E3 ubiquitin ligase and DNA double-strand break (DSB) responder, remarkably protected Brca1-mutant mice against mammary tumorigenesis. We demonstrate that RNF168 deficiency resulted in accumulation of R-loops in BRCA1/2-mutant breast and ovarian cancer cells, leading to DSBs, senescence, and subsequent cell death. Using interactome assays, we identified RNF168 interaction with DHX9, a helicase involved in the resolution and removal of R-loops. Mechanistically, RNF168 directly ubiquitylated DHX9 to facilitate its recruitment to R-loop-prone genomic loci. Consequently, loss of RNF168 impaired DHX9 recruitment to R-loops, thereby abrogating its ability to resolve R-loops. The data presented in this study highlight a dependence of BRCA1/2-defective tumors on factors that suppress R-loops and reveal a fundamental RNF168-mediated molecular mechanism that governs cancer development and vulnerability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI140105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7843228PMC
February 2021

Polygenic risk scores and breast and epithelial ovarian cancer risks for carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variants.

Genet Med 2020 10 15;22(10):1653-1666. Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Department of Clinical Genetics, Exeter, UK.

Purpose: We assessed the associations between population-based polygenic risk scores (PRS) for breast (BC) or epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) with cancer risks for BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variant carriers.

Methods: Retrospective cohort data on 18,935 BRCA1 and 12,339 BRCA2 female pathogenic variant carriers of European ancestry were available. Three versions of a 313 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) BC PRS were evaluated based on whether they predict overall, estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, or ER-positive BC, and two PRS for overall or high-grade serous EOC. Associations were validated in a prospective cohort.

Results: The ER-negative PRS showed the strongest association with BC risk for BRCA1 carriers (hazard ratio [HR] per standard deviation = 1.29 [95% CI 1.25-1.33], P = 3×10). For BRCA2, the strongest association was with overall BC PRS (HR = 1.31 [95% CI 1.27-1.36], P = 7×10). HR estimates decreased significantly with age and there was evidence for differences in associations by predicted variant effects on protein expression. The HR estimates were smaller than general population estimates. The high-grade serous PRS yielded the strongest associations with EOC risk for BRCA1 (HR = 1.32 [95% CI 1.25-1.40], P = 3×10) and BRCA2 (HR = 1.44 [95% CI 1.30-1.60], P = 4×10) carriers. The associations in the prospective cohort were similar.

Conclusion: Population-based PRS are strongly associated with BC and EOC risks for BRCA1/2 carriers and predict substantial absolute risk differences for women at PRS distribution extremes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0862-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7521995PMC
October 2020

Immune Cell Associations with Cancer Risk.

iScience 2020 Jul 20;23(7):101296. Epub 2020 Jun 20.

ProCURE, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet del Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonia 08908, Spain. Electronic address:

Proper immune system function hinders cancer development, but little is known about whether genetic variants linked to cancer risk alter immune cells. Here, we report 57 cancer risk loci associated with differences in immune and/or stromal cell contents in the corresponding tissue. Predicted target genes show expression and regulatory associations with immune features. Polygenic risk scores also reveal associations with immune and/or stromal cell contents, and breast cancer scores show consistent results in normal and tumor tissue. SH2B3 links peripheral alterations of several immune cell types to the risk of this malignancy. Pleiotropic SH2B3 variants are associated with breast cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. A retrospective case-cohort study indicates a positive association between blood counts of basophils, leukocytes, and monocytes and age at breast cancer diagnosis. These findings broaden our knowledge of the role of the immune system in cancer and highlight promising prevention strategies for individuals at high risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2020.101296DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334419PMC
July 2020

Characterization of the Cancer Spectrum in Men With Germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 Pathogenic Variants: Results From the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA).

JAMA Oncol 2020 08;6(8):1218-1230

Department of Oncology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Importance: The limited data on cancer phenotypes in men with germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variants (PVs) have hampered the development of evidence-based recommendations for early cancer detection and risk reduction in this population.

Objective: To compare the cancer spectrum and frequencies between male BRCA1 and BRCA2 PV carriers.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Retrospective cohort study of 6902 men, including 3651 BRCA1 and 3251 BRCA2 PV carriers, older than 18 years recruited from cancer genetics clinics from 1966 to 2017 by 53 study groups in 33 countries worldwide collaborating through the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). Clinical data and pathologic characteristics were collected.

Main Outcomes And Measures: BRCA1/2 status was the outcome in a logistic regression, and cancer diagnoses were the independent predictors. All odds ratios (ORs) were adjusted for age, country of origin, and calendar year of the first interview.

Results: Among the 6902 men in the study (median [range] age, 51.6 [18-100] years), 1634 cancers were diagnosed in 1376 men (19.9%), the majority (922 of 1,376 [67%]) being BRCA2 PV carriers. Being affected by any cancer was associated with a higher probability of being a BRCA2, rather than a BRCA1, PV carrier (OR, 3.23; 95% CI, 2.81-3.70; P < .001), as well as developing 2 (OR, 7.97; 95% CI, 5.47-11.60; P < .001) and 3 (OR, 19.60; 95% CI, 4.64-82.89; P < .001) primary tumors. A higher frequency of breast (OR, 5.47; 95% CI, 4.06-7.37; P < .001) and prostate (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.09-1.78; P = .008) cancers was associated with a higher probability of being a BRCA2 PV carrier. Among cancers other than breast and prostate, pancreatic cancer was associated with a higher probability (OR, 3.00; 95% CI, 1.55-5.81; P = .001) and colorectal cancer with a lower probability (OR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.29-0.78; P = .003) of being a BRCA2 PV carrier.

Conclusions And Relevance: Significant differences in the cancer spectrum were observed in male BRCA2, compared with BRCA1, PV carriers. These data may inform future recommendations for surveillance of BRCA1/2-associated cancers and guide future prospective studies for estimating cancer risks in men with BRCA1/2 PVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2134DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7333177PMC
August 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

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

Candidate Causal Variants at the 8p12 Breast Cancer Risk Locus Regulate .

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Jan 10;12(1). Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane QLD 4006, Australia.

Genome-wide association studies have revealed a locus at 8p12 that is associated with breast cancer risk. Fine-mapping of this locus identified 16 candidate causal variants (CCVs). However, as these variants are intergenic, their function is unclear. To map chromatin looping from this risk locus to a previously identified candidate target gene, , we performed chromatin conformation capture analyses in normal and tumoural breast cell lines. We identified putative regulatory elements, containing CCVs, which looped to the promoter region. Using reporter gene assays, we found that the risk allele of CCV rs7461885 reduced the activity of a enhancer element, consistent with the function of as a tumour suppressor gene. Furthermore, the risk allele of CCV rs12155535, located in another enhancer element, was negatively correlated with looping of this element to the promoter region, suggesting that this allele would be associated with reduced expression. These findings provide the first evidence that CCV risk alleles downregulate expression, suggesting that this gene is a regulatory target of the 8p12 breast cancer risk locus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010170DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7016765PMC
January 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

Non-coding RNAs underlie genetic predisposition to breast cancer.

Genome Biol 2020 01 7;21(1). Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Cancer Division, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.

Background: Genetic variants identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are predominantly non-coding and typically attributed to altered regulatory elements such as enhancers and promoters. However, the contribution of non-coding RNAs to complex traits is not clear.

Results: Using targeted RNA sequencing, we systematically annotated multi-exonic non-coding RNA (mencRNA) genes transcribed from 1.5-Mb intervals surrounding 139 breast cancer GWAS signals and assessed their contribution to breast cancer risk. We identify more than 4000 mencRNA genes and show their expression distinguishes normal breast tissue from tumors and different breast cancer subtypes. Importantly, breast cancer risk variants, identified through genetic fine-mapping, are significantly enriched in mencRNA exons, but not the promoters or introns. eQTL analyses identify mencRNAs whose expression is associated with risk variants. Furthermore, chromatin interaction data identify hundreds of mencRNA promoters that loop to regions that contain breast cancer risk variants.

Conclusions: We have compiled the largest catalog of breast cancer-associated mencRNAs to date and provide evidence that modulation of mencRNAs by GWAS variants may provide an alternative mechanism underlying complex traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-019-1876-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947989PMC
January 2020

Chromatin interactome mapping at 139 independent breast cancer risk signals.

Genome Biol 2020 01 7;21(1). Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Cancer Program, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.

Background: Genome-wide association studies have identified 196 high confidence independent signals associated with breast cancer susceptibility. Variants within these signals frequently fall in distal regulatory DNA elements that control gene expression.

Results: We designed a Capture Hi-C array to enrich for chromatin interactions between the credible causal variants and target genes in six human mammary epithelial and breast cancer cell lines. We show that interacting regions are enriched for open chromatin, histone marks for active enhancers, and transcription factors relevant to breast biology. We exploit this comprehensive resource to identify candidate target genes at 139 independent breast cancer risk signals and explore the functional mechanism underlying altered risk at the 12q24 risk region.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the power of combining genetics, computational genomics, and molecular studies to rationalize the identification of key variants and candidate target genes at breast cancer GWAS signals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-019-1877-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947858PMC
January 2020

Frying Oil Evaluation by a Portable Sensor Based on Dielectric Constant Measurement.

Sensors (Basel) 2019 Dec 5;19(24). Epub 2019 Dec 5.

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Intelligent Manufacturing and Robotics, School of Mechatronic Engineering and Automation1, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China.

A portable capacitive sensor was designed to assess frying oil degradation by measuring the changes in electrical capacitance. An interdigital electrode (IDE) was designed to be implemented as the testing probe (as IDEs are resistive to parasitic capacitance), together with an adjacent capacitive chip Pcap01 and a further microprocessor STM32, which were used as the data-processing elements. Experimental results demonstrated that viscosity could be a useful frying oil quality indicator, and also proved a preliminary correlation between IDE capacitance and oils' total polar materials. This implies that IDE capacitance could be a suitable metric for conveniently assessing frying oil degradation. The designed capacitance sensor is light in weight, cost effective, and has excellent potential for simple, inexpensive, on-the-spot testing of the current quality of frying oil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s19245375DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6960906PMC
December 2019

Association of Genomic Domains in and with Prostate Cancer Risk and Aggressiveness.

Cancer Res 2020 02 13;80(3):624-638. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Unité de Prévention et d'Epidémiologie Génétique, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France.

Pathogenic sequence variants (PSV) in or () are associated with increased risk and severity of prostate cancer. We evaluated whether PSVs in were associated with risk of overall prostate cancer or high grade (Gleason 8+) prostate cancer using an international sample of 65 and 171 male PSV carriers with prostate cancer, and 3,388 and 2,880 male PSV carriers without prostate cancer. PSVs in the 3' region of (c.7914+) were significantly associated with elevated risk of prostate cancer compared with reference bin c.1001-c.7913 [HR = 1.78; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25-2.52; = 0.001], as well as elevated risk of Gleason 8+ prostate cancer (HR = 3.11; 95% CI, 1.63-5.95; = 0.001). c.756-c.1000 was also associated with elevated prostate cancer risk (HR = 2.83; 95% CI, 1.71-4.68; = 0.00004) and elevated risk of Gleason 8+ prostate cancer (HR = 4.95; 95% CI, 2.12-11.54; = 0.0002). No genotype-phenotype associations were detected for PSVs in . These results demonstrate that specific PSVs may be associated with elevated risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: Aggressive prostate cancer risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers may vary according to the specific BRCA2 mutation inherited by the at-risk individual.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1840DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7553241PMC
February 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

Genome-wide association and transcriptome studies identify target genes and risk loci for breast cancer.

Nat Commun 2019 04 15;10(1):1741. Epub 2019 Apr 15.

Molecular Oncology Laboratory, CIBERONC, Hospital Clinico San Carlos, IdISSC (Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos), 28040, Madrid, Spain.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 170 breast cancer susceptibility loci. Here we hypothesize that some risk-associated variants might act in non-breast tissues, specifically adipose tissue and immune cells from blood and spleen. Using expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) reported in these tissues, we identify 26 previously unreported, likely target genes of overall breast cancer risk variants, and 17 for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer, several with a known immune function. We determine the directional effect of gene expression on disease risk measured based on single and multiple eQTL. In addition, using a gene-based test of association that considers eQTL from multiple tissues, we identify seven (and four) regions with variants associated with overall (and ER-negative) breast cancer risk, which were not reported in previous GWAS. Further investigation of the function of the implicated genes in breast and immune cells may provide insights into the etiology of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08053-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465407PMC
April 2019

Shared heritability and functional enrichment across six solid cancers.

Nat Commun 2019 01 25;10(1):431. Epub 2019 Jan 25.

Human Cancer Genetics Programme, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Calle de Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3, 28029, Madrid, Spain.

Quantifying the genetic correlation between cancers can provide important insights into the mechanisms driving cancer etiology. Using genome-wide association study summary statistics across six cancer types based on a total of 296,215 cases and 301,319 controls of European ancestry, here we estimate the pair-wise genetic correlations between breast, colorectal, head/neck, lung, ovary and prostate cancer, and between cancers and 38 other diseases. We observed statistically significant genetic correlations between lung and head/neck cancer (r = 0.57, p = 4.6 × 10), breast and ovarian cancer (r = 0.24, p = 7 × 10), breast and lung cancer (r = 0.18, p =1.5 × 10) and breast and colorectal cancer (r = 0.15, p = 1.1 × 10). We also found that multiple cancers are genetically correlated with non-cancer traits including smoking, psychiatric diseases and metabolic characteristics. Functional enrichment analysis revealed a significant excess contribution of conserved and regulatory regions to cancer heritability. Our comprehensive analysis of cross-cancer heritability suggests that solid tumors arising across tissues share in part a common germline genetic basis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08054-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6347624PMC
January 2019

Exome Chip Meta-analysis Fine Maps Causal Variants and Elucidates the Genetic Architecture of Rare Coding Variants in Smoking and Alcohol Use.

Biol Psychiatry 2019 06 6;85(11):946-955. Epub 2018 Dec 6.

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

Background: Smoking and alcohol use have been associated with common genetic variants in multiple loci. Rare variants within these loci hold promise in the identification of biological mechanisms in substance use. Exome arrays and genotype imputation can now efficiently genotype rare nonsynonymous and loss of function variants. Such variants are expected to have deleterious functional consequences and to contribute to disease risk.

Methods: We analyzed ∼250,000 rare variants from 16 independent studies genotyped with exome arrays and augmented this dataset with imputed data from the UK Biobank. Associations were tested for five phenotypes: cigarettes per day, pack-years, smoking initiation, age of smoking initiation, and alcoholic drinks per week. We conducted stratified heritability analyses, single-variant tests, and gene-based burden tests of nonsynonymous/loss-of-function coding variants. We performed a novel fine-mapping analysis to winnow the number of putative causal variants within associated loci.

Results: Meta-analytic sample sizes ranged from 152,348 to 433,216, depending on the phenotype. Rare coding variation explained 1.1% to 2.2% of phenotypic variance, reflecting 11% to 18% of the total single nucleotide polymorphism heritability of these phenotypes. We identified 171 genome-wide associated loci across all phenotypes. Fine mapping identified putative causal variants with double base-pair resolution at 24 of these loci, and between three and 10 variants for 65 loci. Twenty loci contained rare coding variants in the 95% credible intervals.

Conclusions: Rare coding variation significantly contributes to the heritability of smoking and alcohol use. Fine-mapping genome-wide association study loci identifies specific variants contributing to the biological etiology of substance use behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.11.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534468PMC
June 2019

Meta-analysis of up to 622,409 individuals identifies 40 novel smoking behaviour associated genetic loci.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 10 7;25(10):2392-2409. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Department of Complex Trait Genetics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam Neuroscience, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Smoking is a major heritable and modifiable risk factor for many diseases, including cancer, common respiratory disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Fourteen genetic loci have previously been associated with smoking behaviour-related traits. We tested up to 235,116 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) on the exome-array for association with smoking initiation, cigarettes per day, pack-years, and smoking cessation in a fixed effects meta-analysis of up to 61 studies (up to 346,813 participants). In a subset of 112,811 participants, a further one million SNVs were also genotyped and tested for association with the four smoking behaviour traits. SNV-trait associations with P < 5 × 10 in either analysis were taken forward for replication in up to 275,596 independent participants from UK Biobank. Lastly, a meta-analysis of the discovery and replication studies was performed. Sixteen SNVs were associated with at least one of the smoking behaviour traits (P < 5 × 10) in the discovery samples. Ten novel SNVs, including rs12616219 near TMEM182, were followed-up and five of them (rs462779 in REV3L, rs12780116 in CNNM2, rs1190736 in GPR101, rs11539157 in PJA1, and rs12616219 near TMEM182) replicated at a Bonferroni significance threshold (P < 4.5 × 10) with consistent direction of effect. A further 35 SNVs were associated with smoking behaviour traits in the discovery plus replication meta-analysis (up to 622,409 participants) including a rare SNV, rs150493199, in CCDC141 and two low-frequency SNVs in CEP350 and HDGFRP2. Functional follow-up implied that decreased expression of REV3L may lower the probability of smoking initiation. The novel loci will facilitate understanding the genetic aetiology of smoking behaviour and may lead to the identification of potential drug targets for smoking prevention and/or cessation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0313-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7515840PMC
October 2020

Epidemiology of ATTRV30M neuropathy in Cyprus and the modifier effect of complement C1q on the age of disease onset.

Amyloid 2018 Dec 20;25(4):220-226. Epub 2018 Dec 20.

a Department of Neuropathology/Neurology Clinic A , The Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics , Nicosia , Cyprus.

Background: ATTRV30M amyloidosis is a lethal autosomal dominant sensorimotor and autonomic neuropathy caused by amyloid deposition composed of aggregated misfolded TTR monomers with the V30M mutation. The age of onset in patients with ATTRV30M varies in different foci and the mechanism behind it is still unknown.

Methods: The tertiary neurology center following all ATTRV30M patients in Cyprus was used to collect demographic data to estimate; prevalence, incidence, penetrance, anticipation, time from disease onset to diagnosis and transplantation. Ocular, cardiac and leptomeningeal involvement in transplanted patients was explored. Correlation of C1q tagging SNPs with age of disease onset was carried out.

Results: Prevalence and incidence for ATTRV30M neuropathy in Cyprus are 5.4/100,000 and 0.3/100,000 respectively. Mean age of onset is 40.6 years and anticipation is 8.3 years. Penetrance reaches 51% and 75% by the ages of 50 and 80 years respectively. In liver transplanted patients rates of ocular, cardiac and leptomeningeal involvement were estimated to be 60%, 20% and 16%, respectively. C1q polymorphisms correlated with age of disease onset.

Conclusions: ATTRV30M neuropathy has a rising prevalence in Cyprus due to improved survival of patients. Late onset complications are becoming a major problem. Complement C1q appears to be a modifier in this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13506129.2018.1534731DOI Listing
December 2018

A Transcriptome-Wide Association Study Among 97,898 Women to Identify Candidate Susceptibility Genes for Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Risk.

Cancer Res 2018 09 27;78(18):5419-5430. Epub 2018 Jul 27.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified approximately 35 loci associated with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) risk. The majority of GWAS-identified disease susceptibility variants are located in noncoding regions, and causal genes underlying these associations remain largely unknown. Here, we performed a transcriptome-wide association study to search for novel genetic loci and plausible causal genes at known GWAS loci. We used RNA sequencing data (68 normal ovarian tissue samples from 68 individuals and 6,124 cross-tissue samples from 369 individuals) and high-density genotyping data from European descendants of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx V6) project to build ovarian and cross-tissue models of genetically regulated expression using elastic net methods. We evaluated 17,121 genes for their -predicted gene expression in relation to EOC risk using summary statistics data from GWAS of 97,898 women, including 29,396 EOC cases. With a Bonferroni-corrected significance level of < 2.2 × 10, we identified 35 genes, including at 11q14.2 (Z = 5.08, = 3.83 × 10, the cross-tissue model; 1 Mb away from any GWAS-identified EOC risk variant), a potential novel locus for EOC risk. All other 34 significantly associated genes were located within 1 Mb of known GWAS-identified loci, including 23 genes at 6 loci not previously linked to EOC risk. Upon conditioning on nearby known EOC GWAS-identified variants, the associations for 31 genes disappeared and three genes remained ( < 1.47 × 10). These data identify one novel locus ) and 34 genes at 13 known EOC risk loci associated with EOC risk, providing new insights into EOC carcinogenesis. Transcriptomic analysis of a large cohort confirms earlier GWAS loci and reveals FZD4 as a novel locus associated with EOC risk. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0951DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6139053PMC
September 2018

CONFIRM: a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III clinical trial investigating the effect of nivolumab in patients with relapsed mesothelioma: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

Trials 2018 Apr 18;19(1):233. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, Centre for Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

Background: Mesothelioma is an incurable, apoptosis-resistant cancer caused in most cases by previous exposure to asbestos and is increasing in incidence. It represents a growing health burden but remains under-researched, with limited treatment options. Early promising signals of activity relating to both PD-L1- and PD-1-targeted treatment in mesothelioma implicate a dependency of mesothelioma on this immune checkpoint. There is a need to evaluate checkpoint inhibitors in patients with relapsed mesothelioma where treatment options are limited.

Methods: The addition of 12 months of nivolumab (anti-PD1 antibody) to standard practice will be conducted in the UK using a randomised, placebo-controlled phase III trial (the Cancer Research UK CONFIRM trial). A total of 336 patients with pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma who have received at least two prior lines of therapy will be recruited from UK secondary care sites. Patients will be randomised 2:1 (nivolumab:placebo), stratified according to epithelioid/non-epithelioid, to receive either 240 mg nivolumab monotherapy or saline placebo as a 30-min intravenous infusion. Treatment will be for up to 12 months. We will determine whether the use of nivolumab increases overall survival (the primary efficacy endpoint). Secondary endpoints will include progression-free survival, objective response rate, toxicity, quality of life and cost-effectiveness. Analysis will be performed according to the intention-to-treat principle using a Cox regression analysis for the primary endpoint (and for other time-to-event endpoints).

Discussion: The outcome of this trial will provide evidence of the potential benefit of the use of nivolumab in the treatment of relapsed mesothelioma. If found to be clinically effective, safe and cost-effective it is likely to become the new standard of care in the UK.

Trial Registration: EudraCT Number: 2016-003111-35 (entered on 21 July 2016); ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03063450 . Registered on 24 February 2017.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-018-2602-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5907297PMC
April 2018

Risks of breast or ovarian cancer in BRCA1 or BRCA2 predictive test negatives: findings from the EMBRACE study.

Genet Med 2018 12 22;20(12):1575-1582. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Oncogenetics Team, The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

Purpose: BRCA1/BRCA2 predictive test negatives are proven noncarriers of a BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation that is carried by their relatives. The risk of developing breast cancer (BC) or epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) in these women is uncertain. The study aimed to estimate risks of invasive BC and EOC in a large cohort of BRCA1/BRCA2 predictive test negatives.

Methods: We used cohort analysis to estimate incidences, cumulative risks, and standardized incidence ratios (SIRs).

Results: A total of 1,895 unaffected women were eligible for inclusion in the BC risk analysis and 1,736 in the EOC risk analysis. There were 23 incident invasive BCs and 2 EOCs. The cumulative risk of invasive BC was 9.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.9-15%) by age 85 years and the corresponding risk of EOC was 0.6% (95% CI 0.2-2.6%). The SIR for invasive BC was 0.93 (95% CI 0.62-1.40) in the overall cohort, 0.85 (95% CI 0.48-1.50) in noncarriers from BRCA1 families, and 1.03 (95% CI 0.57-1.87) in noncarriers from BRCA2 families. The SIR for EOC was 0.79 (95% CI 0.20-3.17) in the overall cohort.

Conclusion: Our results did not provide evidence for elevated risks of invasive BC or EOC in BRCA1/BRCA2 predictive test negatives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/gim.2018.44DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6033314PMC
December 2018

Tumour risks and genotype-phenotype correlations associated with germline variants in succinate dehydrogenase subunit genes , and .

J Med Genet 2018 06 31;55(6):384-394. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

West Midlands Regional Genetics service, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.

Background: Germline pathogenic variants in / are the most frequent causes of inherited phaeochromocytomas/paragangliomas. Insufficient information regarding penetrance and phenotypic variability hinders optimum management of mutation carriers. We estimate penetrance for symptomatic tumours and elucidate genotype-phenotype correlations in a large cohort of / mutation carriers.

Methods: A retrospective survey of 1832 individuals referred for genetic testing due to a personal or family history of phaeochromocytoma/paraganglioma. 876 patients (401 previously reported) had a germline mutation in / (n=673/43/160). Tumour risks were correlated with in silico structural prediction analyses.

Results: Tumour risks analysis provided novel penetrance estimates and genotype-phenotype correlations. In addition to tumour type susceptibility differences for individual genes, we confirmed that the p.Pro81Leu mutation has a distinct phenotype and identified increased age-related tumour risks with highly destabilising missense mutations. By Kaplan-Meier analysis, the penetrance (cumulative risk of clinically apparent tumours) in and (paternally inherited) mutation-positive non-probands (n=371/67 with detailed clinical information) by age 60 years was 21.8% (95% CI 15.2% to 27.9%) and 43.2% (95% CI 25.4% to 56.7%), respectively. Risk of malignant disease at age 60 years in non-proband mutation carriers was 4.2%(95% CI 1.1% to 7.2%). With retrospective cohort analysis to adjust for ascertainment, cumulative tumour risks for mutation carriers at ages 60 years and 80 years were 23.9% (95% CI 20.9% to 27.4%) and 30.6% (95% CI 26.8% to 34.7%).

Conclusions: Overall risks of clinically apparent tumours for mutation carriers are substantially lower than initially estimated and will improve counselling of affected families. Specific genotype-tumour risk associations provides a basis for novel investigative strategies into succinate dehydrogenase-related mechanisms of tumourigenesis and the development of personalised management for / mutation carriers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2017-105127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992372PMC
June 2018

Identification of ten variants associated with risk of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer.

Nat Genet 2017 Dec 23;49(12):1767-1778. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, USA.

Most common breast cancer susceptibility variants have been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of predominantly estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease. We conducted a GWAS using 21,468 ER-negative cases and 100,594 controls combined with 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer), all of European origin. We identified independent associations at P < 5 × 10 with ten variants at nine new loci. At P < 0.05, we replicated associations with 10 of 11 variants previously reported in ER-negative disease or BRCA1 mutation carrier GWAS and observed consistent associations with ER-negative disease for 105 susceptibility variants identified by other studies. These 125 variants explain approximately 16% of the familial risk of this breast cancer subtype. There was high genetic correlation (0.72) between risk of ER-negative breast cancer and breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers. These findings may lead to improved risk prediction and inform further fine-mapping and functional work to better understand the biological basis of ER-negative breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5808456PMC
December 2017
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