Publications by authors named "David V Conti"

207 Publications

Novel strategy for disease risk prediction incorporating predicted gene expression and DNA methylation data: a multi-phased study of prostate cancer.

Cancer Commun (Lond) 2021 Sep 14. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, 96813, USA.

Background: DNA methylation and gene expression are known to play important roles in the etiology of human diseases such as prostate cancer (PCa). However, it has not yet been possible to incorporate information of DNA methylation and gene expression into polygenic risk scores (PRSs). Here, we aimed to develop and validate an improved PRS for PCa risk by incorporating genetically predicted gene expression and DNA methylation, and other genomic information using an integrative method.

Methods: Using data from the PRACTICAL consortium, we derived multiple sets of genetic scores, including those based on available single-nucleotide polymorphisms through widely used methods of pruning and thresholding, LDpred, LDpred-funt, AnnoPred, and EBPRS, as well as PRS constructed using the genetically predicted gene expression and DNA methylation through a revised pruning and thresholding strategy. In the tuning step, using the UK Biobank data (1458 prevalent cases and 1467 controls), we selected PRSs with the best performance. Using an independent set of data from the UK Biobank, we developed an integrative PRS combining information from individual scores. Furthermore, in the testing step, we tested the performance of the integrative PRS in another independent set of UK Biobank data of incident cases and controls.

Results: Our constructed PRS had improved performance (C statistics: 76.1%) over PRSs constructed by individual benchmark methods (from 69.6% to 74.7%). Furthermore, our new PRS had much higher risk assessment power than family history. The overall net reclassification improvement was 69.0% by adding PRS to the baseline model compared with 12.5% by adding family history.

Conclusions: We developed and validated a new PRS which may improve the utility in predicting the risk of developing PCa. Our innovative method can also be applied to other human diseases to improve risk prediction across multiple outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cac2.12205DOI Listing
September 2021

Prenatal and postnatal exposure to PFAS and cardiometabolic factors and inflammation status in children from six European cohorts.

Environ Int 2021 Sep 6;157:106853. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

Developing children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of endocrine disrupting chemicals. We hypothesized that early life exposure to PFASs is associated with poor metabolic health in children. We studied the association between prenatal and postnatal PFASs mixture exposure and cardiometabolic health in children, and the role of inflammatory proteins. In 1,101 mothers-child pairs from the Human Early Life Exposome project, we measured the concentrations of PFAS in blood collected in pregnancy and at 8 years (range = 6-12 years). We applied Bayesian Kernel Machine regression (BKMR) to estimate the associations between exposure to PFAS mixture and the cardiometabolic factors as age and sex- specific z-scores of waist circumference (WC), systolic and diastolic blood pressures (BP), and concentrations of triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) cholesterol. We measured thirty six inflammatory biomarkers in child plasma and examined the underlying role of inflammatory status for the exposure-outcome association by integrating the three panels into a network. Exposure to the PFAS mixture was positively associated with HDL-C and systolic BP, and negatively associated with WC, LDL-C and TG. When we examined the independent effects of the individual chemicals in the mixture, prenatal PFHxS was negatively associated with HDL-C and prenatal PFNA was positively associated with WC and these were opposing directions from the overall mixture. Further, the network consisted of five distinct communities connected with positive and negative correlations. The selected inflammatory biomarkers were positively, while the postnatal PFAS were negatively related with the included cardiometabolic factors, and only prenatal PFOA was positively related with the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1beta and WC. Our study supports that prenatal, rather than postnatal, PFAS exposure might contribute to an unfavorable lipidemic profile and adiposity in childhood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106853DOI Listing
September 2021

Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Glucose Homeostasis in Youth.

Environ Health Perspect 2021 Sep 1;129(9):97002. Epub 2021 Sep 1.

Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Background: Exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a prevalent class of persistent pollutants, may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Objective: We examined associations between PFAS exposure and glucose metabolism in youth.

Methods: Overweight/obese adolescents from the Study of Latino Adolescents at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes (SOLAR; ) participated in annual visits for an average of . Generalizability of findings were tested in young adults from the Southern California Children's Health Study (CHS; ) who participated in a clinical visit with a similar protocol. At each visit, oral glucose tolerance tests were performed to estimate glucose metabolism and function via the insulinogenic index. Four PFAS were measured at baseline using liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry; high levels were defined as concentrations percentile.

Results: In females from the SOLAR, high perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) levels () were associated with the development of dysregulated glucose metabolism beginning in late puberty. The magnitude of these associations increased postpuberty and persisted through 18 years of age. For example, postpuberty, females with high PFHxS levels had higher 60-min glucose (95% CI: ; ), higher 2-h glucose (95% CI: ; ), and 25% lower function () compared with females with low levels. Results were largely consistent in the CHS, where females with elevated PFHxS levels had higher 60-min glucose (95% CI: ; ) and higher 2-h glucose, which did not meet statistical significance (95% CI: ; ). In males, no consistent associations between PFHxS and glucose metabolism were observed. No consistent associations were observed for other PFAS and glucose metabolism.

Discussion: Youth exposure to PFHxS was associated with dysregulated glucose metabolism in females, which may be due to changes in function. These associations appeared during puberty and were most pronounced postpuberty. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP9200.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP9200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8409228PMC
September 2021

A genetic association study of tobacco withdrawal endophenotypes in African Americans.

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2021 Jul 19. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

BioRealm LLC.

Genome-wide association (GWA) genetic epidemiology research has identified several variants modestly associated with brief self-report smoking measures, predominately in European Americans. GWA research has not applied intensive laboratory-based measures of smoking endophenotypes in African Americans-a population with disproportionately low quit smoking rates and high tobacco-related disease risk. This genetic epidemiology study of non-Hispanic African Americans tested associations of 89 genetic variants identified in previous GWA research and exploratory GWAs with 24 laboratory-derived tobacco withdrawal endophenotypes. African American cigarette smokers (N = 528; ≥10 cig/day; 36.2% female) completed two counterbalanced visits following either 16-hr of tobacco deprivation or ad libitum smoking. At both visits, self-report and behavioral measures across six unique "sub-phenotype" domains within the tobacco withdrawal syndrome were assessed (Urge/Craving, Negative Affect, Low Positive Affect, Cognition, Hunger, and Motivation to Resume Smoking). Results of the candidate variant analysis found two significant small-magnitude associations. The rs11915747 alternate allele in the CAD2M gene region was associated with .09 larger deprivation-induced changes in reported impulsivity (0-4 scale). The rs2471711alternate allele in the AC097480.1/AC097480.2 gene region was associated with 0.26 lower deprivation-induced changes in confusion (0-4 scale). For both variants, associations were opposite in direction to previous research. Individual genetic variants may exert only weak influences on tobacco withdrawal in African Americans. Larger sample sizes of non-European ancestry individuals might be needed to investigate both known and novel loci that may be ancestry-specific. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pha0000492DOI Listing
July 2021

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

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

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

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

An integrated risk and epidemiological model to estimate risk-stratified COVID-19 outcomes for Los Angeles County: March 1, 2020-March 1, 2021.

PLoS One 2021 24;16(6):e0253549. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States of America.

The objective of this study was to use available data on the prevalence of COVID-19 risk factors in subpopulations and epidemic dynamics at the population level to estimate probabilities of severe illness and the case and infection fatality rates (CFR and IFR) stratified across subgroups representing all combinations of the risk factors age, comorbidities, obesity, and smoking status. We focus on the first year of the epidemic in Los Angeles County (LAC) (March 1, 2020-March 1, 2021), spanning three epidemic waves. A relative risk modeling approach was developed to estimate conditional effects from available marginal data. A dynamic stochastic epidemic model was developed to produce time-varying population estimates of epidemic parameters including the transmission and infection observation rate. The epidemic and risk models were integrated to produce estimates of subpopulation-stratified probabilities of disease progression and CFR and IFR for LAC. The probabilities of disease progression and CFR and IFR were found to vary as extensively between age groups as within age categories combined with the presence of absence of other risk factors, suggesting that it is inappropriate to summarize epidemiological parameters for age categories alone, let alone the entire population. The fine-grained subpopulation-stratified estimates of COVID-19 outcomes produced in this study are useful in understanding disparities in the effect of the epidemic on different groups in LAC, and can inform analyses of targeted subpopulation-level policy interventions.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0253549PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8224896PMC
July 2021

Bayesian variable selection with a pleiotropic loss function in Mendelian randomization.

Stat Med 2021 Oct 21;40(23):5025-5045. Epub 2021 Jun 21.

MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Mendelian randomization is the use of genetic variants as instruments to assess the existence of a causal relationship between a risk factor and an outcome. A Mendelian randomization analysis requires a set of genetic variants that are strongly associated with the risk factor and only associated with the outcome through their effect on the risk factor. We describe a novel variable selection algorithm for Mendelian randomization that can identify sets of genetic variants which are suitable in both these respects. Our algorithm is applicable in the context of two-sample summary-data Mendelian randomization and employs a recently proposed theoretical extension of the traditional Bayesian statistics framework, including a loss function to penalize genetic variants that exhibit pleiotropic effects. The algorithm offers robust inference through the use of model averaging, as we illustrate by running it on a range of simulation scenarios and comparing it against established pleiotropy-robust Mendelian randomization methods. In a real-data application, we study the effect of systolic and diastolic blood pressure on the risk of suffering from coronary heart disease (CHD). Based on a recent large-scale GWAS for blood pressure, we use 395 genetic variants for systolic and 391 variants for diastolic blood pressure. Both traits are shown to have significant risk-increasing effects on CHD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sim.9109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8446304PMC
October 2021

Prenatal and childhood exposure to air pollution and traffic and the risk of liver injury in European children.

Environ Epidemiol 2021 Jun 11;5(3):e153. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most prevalent pediatric chronic liver disease. Experimental studies suggest effects of air pollution and traffic exposure on liver injury. We present the first large-scale human study to evaluate associations of prenatal and childhood air pollution and traffic exposure with liver injury.

Methods: Study population included 1,102 children from the Human Early Life Exposome project. Established liver injury biomarkers, including alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, and cytokeratin-18, were measured in serum between ages 6-10 years. Air pollutant exposures included nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter <10 μm (PM), and <2.5 μm. Traffic measures included traffic density on nearest road, traffic load in 100-m buffer, and inverse distance to nearest road. Exposure assignments were made to residential address during pregnancy (prenatal) and residential and school addresses in year preceding follow-up (childhood). Childhood indoor air pollutant exposures were also examined. Generalized additive models were fitted adjusting for confounders. Interactions by sex and overweight/obese status were examined.

Results: Prenatal and childhood exposures to air pollution and traffic were not associated with child liver injury biomarkers. There was a significant interaction between prenatal ambient PM and overweight/obese status for alanine aminotransferase, with stronger associations among children who were overweight/obese. There was no evidence of interaction with sex.

Conclusion: This study found no evidence for associations between prenatal or childhood air pollution or traffic exposure with liver injury biomarkers in children. Findings suggest PM associations maybe higher in children who are overweight/obese, consistent with the multiple-hits hypothesis for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EE9.0000000000000153DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8196121PMC
June 2021

The International Family Study of Nonsyndromic Orofacial Clefts: Design and Methods.

Cleft Palate Craniofac J 2021 May 31:10556656211018956. Epub 2021 May 31.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: The majority of research to understand the risk factors of nonsyndromic orofacial clefts (NSOFCs) has been conducted in high-income populations. Although patients with NSOFCs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at the highest risk of not receiving care, global health infrastructure allows innovative partnerships to explore the etiologic mechanisms of cleft and targets for prevention unique to these populations.

Methods: The International Family Study (IFS) is an ongoing case-control study with supplemental parental trio data designed to examine genetic, environmental, lifestyle, and sociodemographic risk factors for NSOFCs in 8 LMICs (through August 2020). Interview and biological samples are collected for each family. The interview includes demographics, family history of cleft, diet and water sources, maternal pregnancy history, and other lifestyle and environmental factors.

Results: Seven of 8 countries are currently summarized (2012-2017) for a total of 2955 case and 2774 control families with 11 946 unique biological samples from Vietnam, Philippines, Honduras, Madagascar, Morocco, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nicaragua. The phenotype distribution was 1641 (55.5%) cases with cleft lip and palate, 782 (26.5%) with cleft lip (CL), and 432 (14.6%) with cleft palate (CP).

Discussion: The International Family Study is the largest case set of NSOFCs with an associated biobank in LMICs currently assembled. The biobank, family, and case-control study now include samples from 8 LMICs where local health care infrastructure cannot address the surgical burden of cleft or investigate causal mechanisms. The International Family Study can be a source of information and may collaborate with local public health institutions regarding education and interventions to potentially prevent NSOFCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10556656211018956DOI Listing
May 2021

Combined Effect of a Polygenic Risk Score and Rare Genetic Variants on Prostate Cancer Risk.

Eur Urol 2021 Aug 1;80(2):134-138. Epub 2021 May 1.

Center for Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Although prostate cancer is known to have a strong genetic basis and is influenced by both common and rare variants, the ability to investigate the combined effect of such genetic risk factors has been limited to date. We conducted an investigation of 81 094 men from the UK Biobank, including 3568 prostate cancer cases, to examine the combined effect of rare pathogenic/likely pathogenic/deleterious (P/LP/D) germline variants and common prostate cancer risk variants, measured using a polygenic risk score (PRS), on prostate cancer risk. The absolute risk of prostate cancer for HOXB13, BRCA2, ATM, and CHEK2 P/LP/D carriers ranged from 9% to 56%, and the absolute risk in noncarriers ranged from 2% to 31%, by age 85 yr, for men in the lowest and highest PRS decile, respectively. The high-penetrant HOXB13 G84E prostate cancer risk variant was most common in cases in the lowest PRS quintile (4.4%) and least common in cases in the highest PRS quintile (0.5%; p = 0.005), whereas there was no statistically significant difference in frequencies by PRS in controls. While rare and common variants strongly and distinctly influence prostate cancer onset, consideration of rare and common variants in conjunction will lead to more precise estimates of a man's lifetime risk of prostate cancer. PATIENT SUMMARY: We found that the risk of prostate cancer conveyed by rare variants could vary depending on an individual's genetic profile of common risk variants. This implies that in order to comprehensively assess genetic risk of prostate cancer, it is important to consider both rare and common variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2021.04.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8286329PMC
August 2021

Evaluation of a Multiethnic Polygenic Risk Score Model for Prostate Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Apr 1. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Urology Division, Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Polygenic risk scores (PRS) of common genetic variants have shown promise in prostate cancer risk stratification, but their validity across populations has yet to be confirmed. We evaluated a multiethnic PRS model based on 269 germline genetic risk variants (261 were available for analysis) using an independent population of 13,628 U.S. men. The PRS was strongly associated with prostate cancer, but not with any other disease. Comparing men in the top PRS decile to those at average risk (40%-60%), the odds ratio of prostate cancer was 3.89 (95% confidence interval = 3.24 to 4.68) for men of European ancestry and 3.81 (95% confidence interval = 1.48 to 10.19) for men of African ancestry. By age 85, the cumulative incidence of prostate cancer for European American men was 7.1% in the bottom and 54.1% in the top decile. This suggests that the PRS can be used to identify a substantial proportion of men at high risk for prostate cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab058DOI Listing
April 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Utero Exposure to Mercury Is Associated With Increased Susceptibility to Liver Injury and Inflammation in Childhood.

Hepatology 2021 Sep 30;74(3):1546-1559. Epub 2021 Aug 30.

Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Background And Aims: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most prevalent cause of liver disease in children. Mercury (Hg), a ubiquitous toxic metal, has been proposed as an environmental factor contributing to toxicant-associated fatty liver disease.

Approach And Results: We investigated the effect of prenatal exposure to Hg on childhood liver injury by combining epidemiological results from a multicenter mother-child cohort with complementary in vitro experiments on monocyte cells that are known to play a key role in liver immune homeostasis and NAFLD. We used data from 872 mothers and their children (median age, 8.1 years; interquartile range [IQR], 6.5-8.7) from the European Human Early-Life Exposome cohort. We measured Hg concentration in maternal blood during pregnancy (median, 2.0 μg/L; IQR, 1.1-3.6). We also assessed serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a common screening tool for pediatric NAFLD, and plasma concentrations of inflammation-related cytokines in children. We found that prenatal Hg exposure was associated with a phenotype in children that was characterized by elevated ALT (≥22.1 U/L for females and ≥25.8 U/L for males) and increased concentrations of circulating IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α. Consistently, inflammatory monocytes exposed in vitro to a physiologically relevant dose of Hg demonstrated significant up-regulation of genes encoding these four cytokines and increased concentrations of IL-8 and TNF-α in the supernatants.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that developmental exposure to Hg can contribute to inflammation and increased NAFLD risk in early life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.31809DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8446089PMC
September 2021

Discovery and fine-mapping of height loci via high-density imputation of GWASs in individuals of African ancestry.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 12;108(4):564-582. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Although many loci have been associated with height in European ancestry populations, very few have been identified in African ancestry individuals. Furthermore, many of the known loci have yet to be generalized to and fine-mapped within a large-scale African ancestry sample. We performed sex-combined and sex-stratified meta-analyses in up to 52,764 individuals with height and genome-wide genotyping data from the African Ancestry Anthropometry Genetics Consortium (AAAGC). We additionally combined our African ancestry meta-analysis results with published European genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. In the African ancestry analyses, we identified three novel loci (SLC4A3, NCOA2, ECD/FAM149B1) in sex-combined results and two loci (CRB1, KLF6) in women only. In the African plus European sex-combined GWAS, we identified an additional three novel loci (RCCD1, G6PC3, CEP95) which were equally driven by AAAGC and European results. Among 39 genome-wide significant signals at known loci, conditioning index SNPs from European studies identified 20 secondary signals. Two of the 20 new secondary signals and none of the 8 novel loci had minor allele frequencies (MAF) < 5%. Of 802 known European height signals, 643 displayed directionally consistent associations with height, of which 205 were nominally significant (p < 0.05) in the African ancestry sex-combined sample. Furthermore, 148 of 241 loci contained ≤20 variants in the credible sets that jointly account for 99% of the posterior probability of driving the associations. In summary, trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed novel signals and further improved fine-mapping of putative causal variants in loci shared between African and European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059339PMC
April 2021

Genetic architectures of proximal and distal colorectal cancer are partly distinct.

Gut 2021 Jul 25;70(7):1325-1334. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology - IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: An understanding of the etiologic heterogeneity of colorectal cancer (CRC) is critical for improving precision prevention, including individualized screening recommendations and the discovery of novel drug targets and repurposable drug candidates for chemoprevention. Known differences in molecular characteristics and environmental risk factors among tumors arising in different locations of the colorectum suggest partly distinct mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The extent to which the contribution of inherited genetic risk factors for CRC differs by anatomical subsite of the primary tumor has not been examined.

Design: To identify new anatomical subsite-specific risk loci, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses including data of 48 214 CRC cases and 64 159 controls of European ancestry. We characterised effect heterogeneity at CRC risk loci using multinomial modelling.

Results: We identified 13 loci that reached genome-wide significance (p<5×10) and that were not reported by previous GWASs for overall CRC risk. Multiple lines of evidence support candidate genes at several of these loci. We detected substantial heterogeneity between anatomical subsites. Just over half (61) of 109 known and new risk variants showed no evidence for heterogeneity. In contrast, 22 variants showed association with distal CRC (including rectal cancer), but no evidence for association or an attenuated association with proximal CRC. For two loci, there was strong evidence for effects confined to proximal colon cancer.

Conclusion: Genetic architectures of proximal and distal CRC are partly distinct. Studies of risk factors and mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and precision prevention strategies should take into consideration the anatomical subsite of the tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321534DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223655PMC
July 2021

Rare Variants in the DNA Repair Pathway and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 05 24;30(5):895-903. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida.

Background: Inherited susceptibility is an important contributor to colorectal cancer risk, and rare variants in key genes or pathways could account in part for the missing proportion of colorectal cancer heritability.

Methods: We conducted an exome-wide association study including 2,327 cases and 2,966 controls of European ancestry from three large epidemiologic studies. Single variant associations were tested using logistic regression models, adjusting for appropriate study-specific covariates. In addition, we examined the aggregate effects of rare coding variation at the gene and pathway levels using Bayesian model uncertainty techniques.

Results: In an exome-wide gene-level analysis, we identified as the top associated gene based on the Bayesian risk index (BRI) method [summary Bayes factor (BF) = 2604.23]. A rare coding variant in this gene, rs139401613, was the top associated variant ( = 1.01 × 10) in an exome-wide single variant analysis. Pathway-level association analyses based on the integrative BRI (iBRI) method found extreme evidence of association with the DNA repair pathway (BF = 17852.4), specifically with the nonhomologous end joining (BF = 437.95) and nucleotide excision repair (BF = 36.96) subpathways. The iBRI method also identified , and as the top associated DNA repair genes (summary BF ≥ 10), with rs28988897, rs8178232, rs141369732, and rs201642761 being the most likely associated variants in these genes, respectively.

Conclusions: We identified novel variants and genes associated with colorectal cancer risk and provided additional evidence for a role of DNA repair in colorectal cancer tumorigenesis.

Impact: This study provides new insights into the genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer, which has potential for translation into improved risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8102340PMC
May 2021

Prenatal metal mixtures and child blood pressure in the Rhea mother-child cohort in Greece.

Environ Health 2021 01 6;20(1). Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: Child blood pressure (BP) is predictive of future cardiovascular risk. Prenatal exposure to metals has been associated with higher BP in childhood, but most studies have evaluated elements individually and measured BP at a single time point. We investigated impacts of prenatal metal mixture exposures on longitudinal changes in BP during childhood and elevated BP at 11 years of age.

Methods: The current study included 176 mother-child pairs from the Rhea Study in Heraklion, Greece and focused on eight elements (antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium) measured in maternal urine samples collected during pregnancy (median gestational age at collection: 12 weeks). BP was measured at approximately 4, 6, and 11 years of age. Covariate-adjusted Bayesian Varying Coefficient Kernel Machine Regression and Bayesian Kernel Machine Regression (BKMR) were used to evaluate metal mixture impacts on baseline and longitudinal changes in BP (from ages 4 to 11) and the development of elevated BP at age 11, respectively. BKMR results were compared using static versus percentile-based cutoffs to define elevated BP.

Results: Molybdenum and lead were the mixture components most consistently associated with BP. J-shaped relationships were observed between molybdenum and both systolic and diastolic BP at age 4. Similar associations were identified for both molybdenum and lead in relation to elevated BP at age 11. For molybdenum concentrations above the inflection points (~ 40-80 μg/L), positive associations with BP at age 4 were stronger at high levels of lead. Lead was positively associated with BP measures at age 4, but only at high levels of molybdenum. Potential interactions between molybdenum and lead were also identified for BP at age 11, but were sensitive to the cutoffs used to define elevated BP.

Conclusions: Prenatal exposure to high levels of molybdenum and lead, particularly in combination, may contribute to higher BP at age 4. These early effects appear to persist throughout childhood, contributing to elevated BP in adolescence. Future studies are needed to identify the major sources of molybdenum and lead in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-020-00685-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7789252PMC
January 2021

A Hierarchical Approach Using Marginal Summary Statistics for Multiple Intermediates in a Mendelian Randomization or Transcriptome Analysis.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 06;190(6):1148-1158

Previous research has demonstrated the usefulness of hierarchical modeling for incorporating a flexible array of prior information in genetic association studies. When this prior information consists of estimates from association analyses of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP)-intermediate or SNP-gene expression, a hierarchical model is equivalent to a 2-stage instrumental or transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) analysis, respectively. We propose to extend our previous approach for the joint analysis of marginal summary statistics to incorporate prior information via a hierarchical model (hJAM). In this framework, the use of appropriate estimates as prior information yields an analysis similar to Mendelian randomization (MR) and TWAS approaches. hJAM is applicable to multiple correlated SNPs and intermediates to yield conditional estimates for the intermediates on the outcome, thus providing advantages over alternative approaches. We investigated the performance of hJAM in comparison with existing MR and TWAS approaches and demonstrated that hJAM yields an unbiased estimate, maintains correct type-I error, and has increased power across extensive simulations. We applied hJAM to 2 examples: estimating the causal effects of body mass index (GIANT Consortium) and type 2 diabetes (DIAGRAM data set, GERA Cohort, and UK Biobank) on myocardial infarction (UK Biobank) and estimating the causal effects of the expressions of the genes for nuclear casein kinase and cyclin dependent kinase substrate 1 and peptidase M20 domain containing 1 on the risk of prostate cancer (PRACTICAL and GTEx).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwaa287DOI Listing
June 2021

Trans-ancestry genome-wide association meta-analysis of prostate cancer identifies new susceptibility loci and informs genetic risk prediction.

Nat Genet 2021 01 4;53(1):65-75. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Prostate cancer is a highly heritable disease with large disparities in incidence rates across ancestry populations. We conducted a multiancestry meta-analysis of prostate cancer genome-wide association studies (107,247 cases and 127,006 controls) and identified 86 new genetic risk variants independently associated with prostate cancer risk, bringing the total to 269 known risk variants. The top genetic risk score (GRS) decile was associated with odds ratios that ranged from 5.06 (95% confidence interval (CI), 4.84-5.29) for men of European ancestry to 3.74 (95% CI, 3.36-4.17) for men of African ancestry. Men of African ancestry were estimated to have a mean GRS that was 2.18-times higher (95% CI, 2.14-2.22), and men of East Asian ancestry 0.73-times lower (95% CI, 0.71-0.76), than men of European ancestry. These findings support the role of germline variation contributing to population differences in prostate cancer risk, with the GRS offering an approach for personalized risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00748-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8148035PMC
January 2021

Estimation of COVID-19 risk-stratified epidemiological parameters and policy implications for Los Angeles County through an integrated risk and stochastic epidemiological model.

medRxiv 2020 Dec 14. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Background: Health disparities have emerged with the COVID-19 epidemic because the risk of exposure to infection and the prevalence of risk factors for severe outcomes given infection vary within and between populations. However, estimated epidemic quantities such as rates of severe illness and death, the case fatality rate (CFR), and infection fatality rate (IFR), are often expressed in terms of aggregated population-level estimates due to the lack of epidemiological data at the refined subpopulation level. For public health policy makers to better address the pandemic, stratified estimates are necessary to investigate the potential outcomes of policy scenarios targeting specific subpopulations.

Methods: We develop a framework for using available data on the prevalence of COVID-19 risk factors (age, comorbidities, BMI, smoking status) in subpopulations, and epidemic dynamics at the population level and stratified by age, to estimate subpopulation-stratified probabilities of severe illness and the CFR (as deaths over observed infections) and IFR (as deaths over estimated total infections) across risk profiles representing all combinations of risk factors including age, comorbidities, obesity class, and smoking status. A dynamic epidemic model is integrated with a relative risk model to produce time-varying subpopulation-stratified estimates. The integrated model is used to analyze dynamic outcomes and parameters by population and subpopulation, and to simulate alternate policy scenarios that protect specific at-risk subpopulations or modify the population-wide transmission rate. The model is calibrated to data from the Los Angeles County population during the period March 1 - October 15 2020.

Findings: We estimate a rate of 0.23 (95% CI: 0.13,0.33) of infections observed before April 15, which increased over the epidemic course to 0.41 (0.11,0.69). Overall population-average IFR( ) estimates for LAC peaked at 0.77% (0.38%,1.15%) on May 15 and decreased to 0.55% (0.24%,0.90%) by October 15. The population-average IFR( ) stratified by age group varied extensively across subprofiles representing each combination of the additional risk factors considered (comorbidities, BMI, smoking). We found median IFRs ranging from 0.009%-0.04% in the youngest age group (0-19), from 0.1%-1.8% for those aged 20-44, 0.36%-4.3% for those aged 45-64, and 1.02%-5.42% for those aged 65+. In the group aged 65+ for which the rate of unobserved infections is likely much lower, we find median CFRs in the range 4.4%-23.45%. The initial societal lockdown period avoided overwhelming healthcare capacity and greatly reduced the observed death count. In comparative scenario analysis, alternative policies in which the population-wide transmission rate is reduced to a moderate and sustainable level of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) would not have been sufficient to avoid overwhelming healthcare capacity, and additionally would have exceeded the observed death count. Combining the moderate NPI policy with stringent protection of the at-risk subpopulation of individuals 65+ would have resulted in a death count similar to observed levels, but hospital counts would have approached capacity limits.

Interpretation: The risk of severe illness and death of COVID-19 varies tremendously across subpopulations and over time, suggesting that it is inappropriate to summarize epidemiological parameters for the entire population and epidemic time period. This includes variation not only across age groups, but also within age categories combined with other risk factors analyzed in this study (comorbidities, obesity status, smoking). In the policy analysis accounting for differences in IFR across risk groups in comparing the control of infections and protection of higher risk groups, we find that the strict initial lockdown period in LAC was effective because it both reduced overall transmission and protected individuals at greater risk, resulting in preventing both healthcare overload and deaths. While similar numbers of deaths as observed in LAC could have been achieved with a more moderate NPI policy combined with greater protection of individuals 65+, this would have come at the expense of overwhelming the healthcare system. In anticipation of a continued rise in cases in LAC this winter, policy makers need to consider the trade offs of various policy options on the numbers of the overall population that may become infected, severely ill, and that die when considering policies targeted at subpopulations at greatest risk of transmitting infection and at greatest risk for developing severe outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.11.20209627DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7756248PMC
December 2020

The role of smoke from cooking indoors over an open flame and parental smoking on the risk of cleft lip and palate: A case- control study in 7 low-resource countries.

J Glob Health 2020 Dec;10(2):020410

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, California, USA.

Background: Cleft is one of the most common birth defects globally and the lack of access to surgery means millions are living untreated. Smoke exposure from cooking occurs infrequently in developed countries but represents a high-proportion of smoke exposure in less-developed regions. We aimed to study if smoke exposure from cooking is associated with an increased risk in cleft, while accounting for other smoke sources.

Methods: We conducted a population-sampled case-control study of children with cleft lip and/or palate and healthy newborns from Vietnam, Philippines, Honduras, Nicaragua, Morocco, Congo, and Madagascar. Multivariable regression models were used to assess associations between maternal cooking during pregnancy, parental smoking, and household tobacco smoke with cleft.

Results: 2137 cases and 2014 controls recruited between 2012-2017 were included. While maternal smoking was uncommon (<1%), 58.3% case and 36.1% control mothers cooked over an open fire inside. Children whose mothers reported cook smoke exposure were 49% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2-1.8) more likely to have a child with a cleft. This was consistent in five of seven countries. No significant associations were found for any other smoke exposure.

Conclusions: Our finding of maternal cook smoke and cleft in low-resource countries, similar to maternal tobacco smoke in high-resource countries, may reflect a common etiology. This relationship was present across geographically diverse countries with variable socioeconomic statuses and access to care. Exposures specific to low-resource settings must be considered to develop public health strategies that address the populations at increased risk of living with cleft and inform the mechanisms leading to cleft development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.10.020410DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7568926PMC
December 2020

Identifying Novel Susceptibility Genes for Colorectal Cancer Risk From a Transcriptome-Wide Association Study of 125,478 Subjects.

Gastroenterology 2021 03 12;160(4):1164-1178.e6. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Background And Aims: Susceptibility genes and the underlying mechanisms for the majority of risk loci identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for colorectal cancer (CRC) risk remain largely unknown. We conducted a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) to identify putative susceptibility genes.

Methods: Gene-expression prediction models were built using transcriptome and genetic data from the 284 normal transverse colon tissues of European descendants from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx), and model performance was evaluated using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 355). We applied the gene-expression prediction models and GWAS data to evaluate associations of genetically predicted gene-expression with CRC risk in 58,131 CRC cases and 67,347 controls of European ancestry. Dual-luciferase reporter assays and knockdown experiments in CRC cells and tumor xenografts were conducted.

Results: We identified 25 genes associated with CRC risk at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P < 9.1 × 10, including genes in 4 novel loci, PYGL (14q22.1), RPL28 (19q13.42), CAPN12 (19q13.2), MYH7B (20q11.22), and MAP1L3CA (20q11.22). In 9 known GWAS-identified loci, we uncovered 9 genes that have not been reported previously, whereas 4 genes remained statistically significant after adjusting for the lead risk variant of the locus. Through colocalization analysis in GWAS loci, we additionally identified 12 putative susceptibility genes that were supported by TWAS analysis at P < .01. We showed that risk allele of the lead risk variant rs1741640 affected the promoter activity of CABLES2. Knockdown experiments confirmed that CABLES2 plays a vital role in colorectal carcinogenesis.

Conclusions: Our study reveals new putative susceptibility genes and provides new insight into the biological mechanisms underlying CRC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.08.062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7956223PMC
March 2021

Replication and Genetic Risk Score Analysis for Pancreatic Cancer in a Diverse Multiethnic Population.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 12 21;29(12):2686-2692. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

Background: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several SNPs associated with pancreatic cancer. No studies yet have attempted to replicate these SNPs in US minority populations. We aimed to replicate the associations of 31 GWAS-identified SNPs with pancreatic cancer and build and test a polygenic risk score (PRS) for pancreatic cancer in an ethnically diverse population.

Methods: We evaluated 31 risk variants in the Multiethnic Cohort and the Southern Community Cohort Study. We included 691 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cases and 13,778 controls from African-American, Japanese-American, Latino, Native Hawaiian, and white participants. We tested the association between each SNP and PDAC, established a PRS using the 31 SNPs, and tested the association between the score and PDAC risk.

Results: Eleven of the 31 SNPs were replicated in the multiethnic sample. The PRS was associated with PDAC risk [OR top vs. middle quintile = 2.25 (95% confidence interval, 1.73-2.92)]. Notably, the PRS was associated with PDAC risk in all ethnic groups except Native Hawaiian (OR per risk allele ranged from 1.33 in Native Hawaiians to 1.91 in African Americans; heterogeneity = 0.12).

Conclusions: This is the first study to replicate 11 of the 31 GWAS-identified risk variants for pancreatic cancer in multiethnic populations, including African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Latinos. Our results also suggest a potential utility of PRS with GWAS-identified risk variants for the identification of individuals at increased risk for PDAC across multiple ethnic groups.

Impact: PRS can potentially be used to stratify pancreatic cancer risk across multiple ethnic groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0963DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7710597PMC
December 2020

Dysregulated lipid and fatty acid metabolism link perfluoroalkyl substances exposure and impaired glucose metabolism in young adults.

Environ Int 2020 12 3;145:106091. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Division of Environmental Health, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) exposure is ubiquitous among the US population and has been linked to adverse health outcomes including cardiometabolic diseases, immune dysregulation and endocrine disruption. However, the metabolic mechanism underlying the adverse health effect of PFASs exposure is unknown.

Objective: The aim of this project is to investigate the association between PFASs exposure and altered metabolic pathways linked to increased cardiometabolic risk in young adults.

Methods: A total of 102 young adults with 82% overweight or obese participants were enrolled from Southern California between 2014 and 2017. Cardiometabolic outcomes were assessed including oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) measures, body fat and lipid profiles. High-resolution metabolomics was used to quantify plasma exposure levels of three PFAS congeners and intensity profiles of the untargeted metabolome. Fasting concentrations of 45 targeted metabolites involved in fatty acid and lipid metabolism were used to verify untargeted metabolomics findings. Bayesian Kernel Machine Regression (BKMR) was used to examine the associations between PFAS exposure mixture and cardiometabolic outcomes adjusting for covariates. Mummichog pathway enrichment analysis was used to explore PFAS-associated metabolic pathways. Moreover, the effect of PFAS exposure on the metabolic network, including metabolomic profiles and cardiometabolic outcomes, was investigated.

Results: Higher exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was associated with higher 30-minute glucose levels and glucose area under the curve (AUC) during the OGTT (p < 0.001). PFAS exposure was also associated with altered lipid pathways, which contributed to the metabolic network connecting PFOA and higher glucose levels following the OGTT. Targeted metabolomics analysis indicated that higher PFOA exposure was associated with higher levels of glycerol (p = 0.006), which itself was associated with higher 30-minute glucose (p = 0.006).

Conclusions: Increased lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation could contribute to the biological mechanisms linking PFAS exposure and impaired glucose metabolism among young adults. Findings of this study warrants future experimental studies and epidemiological studies with larger sample size to replicate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.106091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009052PMC
December 2020

Germline Sequencing DNA Repair Genes in 5545 Men With Aggressive and Nonaggressive Prostate Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 May;113(5):616-625

Center for Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: There is an urgent need to identify factors specifically associated with aggressive prostate cancer (PCa) risk. We investigated whether rare pathogenic, likely pathogenic, or deleterious (P/LP/D) germline variants in DNA repair genes are associated with aggressive PCa risk in a case-case study of aggressive vs nonaggressive disease.

Methods: Participants were 5545 European-ancestry men, including 2775 nonaggressive and 2770 aggressive PCa cases, which included 467 metastatic cases (16.9%). Samples were assembled from 12 international studies and germline sequenced together. Rare (minor allele frequency < 0.01) P/LP/D variants were analyzed for 155 DNA repair genes. We compared single variant, gene-based, and DNA repair pathway-based burdens by disease aggressiveness. All statistical tests are 2-sided.

Results: BRCA2 and PALB2 had the most statistically significant gene-based associations, with 2.5% of aggressive and 0.8% of nonaggressive cases carrying P/LP/D BRCA2 alleles (odds ratio [OR] = 3.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.94 to 5.25, P = 8.58 × 10-7) and 0.65% of aggressive and 0.11% of nonaggressive cases carrying P/LP/D PALB2 alleles (OR = 6.31, 95% CI = 1.83 to 21.68, P = 4.79 × 10-4). ATM had a nominal association, with 1.6% of aggressive and 0.8% of nonaggressive cases carrying P/LP/D ATM alleles (OR = 1.88, 95% CI = 1.10 to 3.22, P = .02). In aggregate, P/LP/D alleles within 24 literature-curated candidate PCa DNA repair genes were more common in aggressive than nonaggressive cases (carrier frequencies = 14.2% vs 10.6%, respectively; P = 5.56 × 10-5). However, this difference was non-statistically significant (P = .18) on excluding BRCA2, PALB2, and ATM. Among these 24 genes, P/LP/D carriers had a 1.06-year younger diagnosis age (95% CI = -1.65 to 0.48, P = 3.71 × 10-4).

Conclusions: Risk conveyed by DNA repair genes is largely driven by rare P/LP/D alleles within BRCA2, PALB2, and ATM. These findings support the importance of these genes in both screening and disease management considerations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa132DOI Listing
May 2021

Pathogenic Variants in Cancer Predisposition Genes and Prostate Cancer Risk in Men of African Ancestry.

JCO Precis Oncol 2020 31;4:32-43. Epub 2020 Jan 31.

Center for Genetic Epidemiology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.

Purpose: In studies of men of European ancestry, rare pathogenic variants in DNA repair pathway genes have been shown to be associated with risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The contribution of rare coding variation to prostate cancer risk in men of African ancestry has not been established.

Methods: We sequenced a panel of 19 DNA repair and cancer predisposition genes in 2,453 African American and 1,151 Ugandan prostate cancer cases and controls. Rare variants were classified as pathogenic or putatively functionally disruptive and examined in association with prostate cancer risk and disease aggressiveness in gene and pathway-level association analyses.

Results: Pathogenic variants were found in 75 out of 2,098 cases (3.6%) and 31 out of 1,481 controls (2.1%) (OR=1.82, 95% CI=1.19 to 2.79, P=0.0044) with the association being stronger for more aggressive disease phenotypes (OR=3.10, 95% CI=1.54 to 6.23, P=0.0022). The highest risks for aggressive disease were observed with pathogenic variants in the , , and genes, with odds ratios ranging from ~4 to 15 in the combined study sample of African American and Ugandan men. Rare, non-pathogenic, non-synonymous variants did not have a major impact on risk of overall prostate cancer or disease aggressiveness.

Conclusions: Rare pathogenic variants in DNA repair genes have appreciable effects on risk of aggressive prostate cancer in men of African ancestry. These findings have potential implications for panel testing and risk stratification in this high-risk population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/po.19.00179DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442213PMC
January 2020

Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances Associated With Increased Susceptibility to Liver Injury in Children.

Hepatology 2020 11 19;72(5):1758-1770. Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Background And Aims: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are widespread and persistent pollutants that have been shown to have hepatotoxic effects in animal models. However, human evidence is scarce. We evaluated how prenatal exposure to PFAS associates with established serum biomarkers of liver injury and alterations in serum metabolome in children.

Approach And Results: We used data from 1,105 mothers and their children (median age, 8.2 years; interquartile range, 6.6-9.1) from the European Human Early-Life Exposome cohort (consisting of six existing population-based birth cohorts in France, Greece, Lithuania, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom). We measured concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorooctanoate, perfluorononanoate, perfluorohexane sulfonate, and perfluoroundecanoate in maternal blood. We assessed concentrations of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and gamma-glutamyltransferase in child serum. Using Bayesian kernel machine regression, we found that higher exposure to PFAS during pregnancy was associated with higher liver enzyme levels in children. We also measured child serum metabolomics through a targeted assay and found significant perturbations in amino acid and glycerophospholipid metabolism associated with prenatal PFAS. A latent variable analysis identified a profile of children at high risk of liver injury (odds ratio, 1.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.21-1.92) that was characterized by high prenatal exposure to PFAS and increased serum levels of branched-chain amino acids (valine, leucine, and isoleucine), aromatic amino acids (tryptophan and phenylalanine), and glycerophospholipids (phosphatidylcholine [PC] aa C36:1 and Lyso-PC a C18:1).

Conclusions: Developmental exposure to PFAS can contribute to pediatric liver injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.31483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7723317PMC
November 2020

Variability in Cytogenetic Testing for Multiple Myeloma: A Comprehensive Analysis From Across the United States.

JCO Oncol Pract 2020 10 29;16(10):e1169-e1180. Epub 2020 May 29.

Division of Hematology-Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL.

Purpose: Multiple myeloma (MM) treatment has changed tremendously, with significant improvement in patient out-comes. One group with a suboptimal benefit is patients with high-risk cytogenetics, as tested by conventional karyotyping or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Methodology for these tests has been published, but not necessarily standardized.

Methods: We address variability in the testing and reporting methodology for MM cytogenetics in the United States using the ongoing African American Multiple Myeloma Study (AAMMS). We evaluated clinical and cytogenetic data from 1,221 patients (1,161 with conventional karyotyping and 976 with FISH) tested between 1998 and 2016 across 58 laboratories nationwide.

Results: Interlab and intralab variability was noted for the number of cells analyzed for karyotyping, with a significantly higher number of cells analyzed in patients in whom cytogenetics were normal (P 5.0025). For FISH testing, CD138-positive cell enrichment was used in 29.7% of patients and no enrichment in 50% of patients, whereas the remainder had unknown status. A significantly smaller number of cells was analyzed for patients in which CD138 cell enrichment was used compared with those without such enrichment (median, 50 v 200; P, .0001). A median of 7 loci probes (range, 1-16) were used for FISH testing across all laboratories, with variability in the loci probed even within a given laboratory. Chromosome 13-related abnormalities were the most frequently tested abnormality (n5956; 97.9%), and t(14;16) was the least frequently tested abnormality (n 5 119; 12.2%).

Conclusions: We report significant variability in cytogenetic testing across the United States for MM, potentially leading to variability in risk stratification, with possible clinical implications and personalized treatment approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JOP.19.00639DOI Listing
October 2020

A Germline Variant at 8q24 Contributes to Familial Clustering of Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry.

Eur Urol 2020 09 12;78(3):316-320. Epub 2020 May 12.

Department of Surgery, Center for Prostate Disease Research, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Although men of African ancestry have a high risk of prostate cancer (PCa), no genes or mutations have been identified that contribute to familial clustering of PCa in this population. We investigated whether the African ancestry-specific PCa risk variant at 8q24, rs72725854, is enriched in men with a PCa family history in 9052 cases, 143 cases from high-risk families, and 8595 controls of African ancestry. We found the risk allele to be significantly associated with earlier age at diagnosis, more aggressive disease, and enriched in men with a PCa family history (32% of high-risk familial cases carried the variant vs 23% of cases without a family history and 12% of controls). For cases with two or more first-degree relatives with PCa who had at least one family member diagnosed at age <60 yr, the odds ratios for TA heterozygotes and TT homozygotes were 3.92 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.13-7.22) and 33.41 (95% CI = 10.86-102.84), respectively. Among men with a PCa family history, the absolute risk by age 60 yr reached 21% (95% CI = 17-25%) for TA heterozygotes and 38% (95% CI = 13-65%) for TT homozygotes. We estimate that in men of African ancestry, rs72725854 accounts for 32% of the total familial risk explained by all known PCa risk variants. PATIENT SUMMARY: We found that rs72725854, an African ancestry-specific risk variant, is more common in men with a family history of prostate cancer and in those diagnosed with prostate cancer at younger ages. Men of African ancestry may benefit from the knowledge of their carrier status for this genetic risk variant to guide decisions about prostate cancer screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2020.04.060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805560PMC
September 2020
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