Publications by authors named "Eric J Duell"

173 Publications

Plasma concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and pancreatic cancer risk.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Jul 14. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Cancer Registry and Histopathology Department, "Civic-M.P. Arezzo" Hospital, ASP Ragusa, Ragusa, Italy.

Background: Findings and limitations of previous studies on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and pancreatic cancer risk support conducting further research in prospective cohorts.

Methods: We conducted a prospective case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Participants were 513 pancreatic cancer cases and 1020 matched controls. Concentrations of 22 POPs were measured in plasma collected at baseline.

Results: Some associations were observed at higher concentrations of p, p'-DDT, trans-nonachlor, β-hexachlorocyclohexane and the sum of six organochlorine pesticides and of 16 POPs. The odds ratio (OR) for the upper quartile of trans-nonachlor was 1.55 (95% confidence interval 1.06-2.26; P for trend = 0.025). Associations were stronger in the groups predefined as most valid (participants having fasted >6 h, with microscopic diagnostic confirmation, normal weight, and never smokers), and as most relevant (follow-up ≥10 years). Among participants having fasted >6 h, the ORs were relevant for 10 of 11 exposures. Higher ORs were also observed among cases with microscopic confirmation than in cases with a clinical diagnosis, and among normal-weight participants than in the rest of participants. Among participants with a follow-up ≥10 years, estimates were higher than in participants with a shorter follow-up (for trans-nonachlor: OR = 2.14, 1.01 to 4.53, P for trend = 0.035). Overall, trans-nonachlor, three PCBs and the two sums of POPs were the exposures most clearly associated with pancreatic cancer risk.

Conclusions: Individually or in combination, most of the 22 POPs analysed did not or only moderately increased the risk of pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab115DOI Listing
July 2021

Hepcidin-regulating iron metabolism genes and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: a pathway analysis of genome-wide association studies.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 Jul 13. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, USA.

Background: Epidemiological studies have suggested positive associations for iron and red meat intake with risk of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Inherited pathogenic variants in genes involved in the hepcidin-regulating iron metabolism pathway are known to cause iron overload and hemochromatosis.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine whether common genetic variation in the hepcidin-regulating iron metabolism pathway is associated with PDAC.

Methods: We conducted a pathway analysis of the hepcidin-regulating genes using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) summary statistics generated from 4 genome-wide association studies in 2 large consortium studies using the summary data-based adaptive rank truncated product method. Our population consisted of 9253 PDAC cases and 12,525 controls of European descent. Our analysis included 11 hepcidin-regulating genes [bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), bone morphogenetic protein 6 (BMP6), ferritin heavy chain 1 (FTH1), ferritin light chain (FTL), hepcidin (HAMP), homeostatic iron regulator (HFE), hemojuvelin (HJV), nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2), ferroportin 1 (SLC40A1), transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1), and transferrin receptor 2 (TFR2)] and their surrounding genomic regions (±20 kb) for a total of 412 SNPs.

Results: The hepcidin-regulating gene pathway was significantly associated with PDAC (P = 0.002), with the HJV, TFR2, TFR1, BMP6, and HAMP genes contributing the most to the association.

Conclusions: Our results support that genetic susceptibility related to the hepcidin-regulating gene pathway is associated with PDAC risk and suggest a potential role of iron metabolism in pancreatic carcinogenesis. Further studies are needed to evaluate effect modification by intake of iron-rich foods on this association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab217DOI Listing
July 2021

Smoking Modifies Pancreatic Cancer Risk Loci on 2q21.3.

Cancer Res 2021 Jun 11;81(11):3134-3143. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Germline variation and smoking are independently associated with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We conducted genome-wide smoking interaction analysis of PDAC using genotype data from four previous genome-wide association studies in individuals of European ancestry (7,937 cases and 11,774 controls). Examination of expression quantitative trait loci data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project followed by colocalization analysis was conducted to determine whether there was support for common SNP(s) underlying the observed associations. Statistical tests were two sided and < 5 × 10 was considered statistically significant. Genome-wide significant evidence of qualitative interaction was identified on chr2q21.3 in intron 5 of the transmembrane protein 163 (TMEM163) and upstream of the cyclin T2 (CCNT2). The most significant SNP using the Empirical Bayes method, in this region that included 45 significantly associated SNPs, was rs1818613 [per allele OR in never smokers 0.87, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.82-0.93; former smokers 1.00, 95% CI, 0.91-1.07; current smokers 1.25, 95% CI 1.12-1.40, = 3.08 × 10). Examination of the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project data demonstrated an expression quantitative trait locus in this region for TMEM163 and CCNT2 in several tissue types. Colocalization analysis supported a shared SNP, rs842357, in high linkage disequilibrium with rs1818613 ( = 0. 94) driving both the observed interaction and the expression quantitative trait loci signals. Future studies are needed to confirm and understand the differential biologic mechanisms by smoking status that contribute to our PDAC findings. SIGNIFICANCE: This large genome-wide interaction study identifies a susceptibility locus on 2q21.3 that significantly modified PDAC risk by smoking status, providing insight into smoking-associated PDAC, with implications for prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-3267DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8178175PMC
June 2021

Tumor-Associated Microbiome: Where Do We Stand?

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Feb 1;22(3). Epub 2021 Feb 1.

ONCOBELL Program, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, 08908 Catalonia, Spain.

The study of the human microbiome in oncology is a growing and rapidly evolving field. In the past few years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of studies investigating associations of microbiome and cancer, from oncogenesis and cancer progression to resistance or sensitivity to specific anticancer therapies. The gut microbiome is now known to play a significant role in antitumor immune responses and in predicting the efficacy of immune-checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients. Beyond the gut, the tumor-associated microbiome-microbe communities located either in the tumor or within its body compartment-seems to interact with the local microenvironment and the tumor immune contexture, ultimately impacting cancer progression and treatment outcome. However, pre-clinical research focusing on causality and mechanistic pathways as well as proof-of-concept studies are still needed to fully understand the potential clinical utility of microbiome in cancer patients. Moreover, there is a need for the standardization of methodology and the implementation of quality control across microbiome studies to allow for a better interpretation and greater comparability of the results reported between them. This review summarizes the accumulating evidence in the field and discusses the current and upcoming challenges of microbiome studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031446DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867144PMC
February 2021

Identifying environmental risk factors for inflammatory bowel diseases: a Mendelian randomization study.

Sci Rep 2020 11 6;10(1):19273. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Colorectal Cancer Group, ONCOBELL Program, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Hospitalet de Llobregat, Avinguda de La Granvia de L'Hospitalet, 199, 08908, Barcelona, Spain.

Several studies have examined environmental factors and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) using traditional approaches; however, provided results are still conflicting. Our aim was to determine whether lifestyle and nutrient exposures, related to IBD in observational meta-analyses, influence IBD risk using a Mendelian randomization (MR) approach. A two-sample MR approach was applied on summary-level genome-wide association results. Genetic variants strongly associated with measures of tobacco smoking, obesity and fat distribution, physical activity, and blood levels of vitamins and fatty acids were evaluated on genetic data from international IBD consortia including a total of 25,042 IBD cases (12,194 cases of Crohn's disease (CD) and 12,366 cases of ulcerative colitis (UC)) and 34,915 controls. Our results indicated that, among lifestyle exposures, being a smoker was positively associated with CD (OR 1.13, P = 0.02), but it was not associated with UC risk (OR 0.99, P = 0.88). Body-mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage were positively associated with CD (OR 1.11, P = 0.02, per standard deviation (SD) of 4.6 kg/m; and OR 1.50, P = 3 × 10, per SD of 6.6%; respectively); while for UC, BMI was inversely associated (OR 0.85, P = 5 × 10; per SD) and body fat percentage showed a OR of 1.11 (P = 0.11; per SD). Additionally, among nutrient exposures, omega-3 fatty acids levels were inversely associated with CD (OR 0.67, P = 2 × 10). Our MR results did not support a protective effect for being a smoker on UC risk; however, they are compatible with a risk effect for higher body fat proportion and a protective role for higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids on CD etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76361-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7648100PMC
November 2020

A new efficient method to detect genetic interactions for lung cancer GWAS.

BMC Med Genomics 2020 10 30;13(1):162. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Quantitative Biomedical Science Program, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 03755, USA.

Background: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have proven successful in predicting genetic risk of disease using single-locus models; however, identifying single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) interactions at the genome-wide scale is limited due to computational and statistical challenges. We addressed the computational burden encountered when detecting SNP interactions for survival analysis, such as age of disease-onset. To confront this problem, we developed a novel algorithm, called the Efficient Survival Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (ES-MDR) method, which used Martingale Residuals as the outcome parameter to estimate survival outcomes, and implemented the Quantitative Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction method to identify significant interactions associated with age of disease-onset.

Methods: To demonstrate efficacy, we evaluated this method on two simulation data sets to estimate the type I error rate and power. Simulations showed that ES-MDR identified interactions using less computational workload and allowed for adjustment of covariates. We applied ES-MDR on the OncoArray-TRICL Consortium data with 14,935 cases and 12,787 controls for lung cancer (SNPs = 108,254) to search over all two-way interactions to identify genetic interactions associated with lung cancer age-of-onset. We tested the best model in an independent data set from the OncoArray-TRICL data.

Results: Our experiment on the OncoArray-TRICL data identified many one-way and two-way models with a single-base deletion in the noncoding region of BRCA1 (HR 1.24, P = 3.15 × 10), as the top marker to predict age of lung cancer onset.

Conclusions: From the results of our extensive simulations and analysis of a large GWAS study, we demonstrated that our method is an efficient algorithm that identified genetic interactions to include in our models to predict survival outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12920-020-00807-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596958PMC
October 2020

Mendelian Randomization Analysis of n-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Levels and Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 12 23;29(12):2735-2739. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Whether circulating polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels are associated with pancreatic cancer risk is uncertain. Mendelian randomization (MR) represents a study design using genetic instruments to better characterize the relationship between exposure and outcome.

Methods: We utilized data from genome-wide association studies within the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium and Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium, involving approximately 9,269 cases and 12,530 controls of European descent, to evaluate associations between pancreatic cancer risk and genetically predicted plasma n-6 PUFA levels. Conventional MR analyses were performed using individual-level and summary-level data.

Results: Using genetic instruments, we did not find evidence of associations between genetically predicted plasma n-6 PUFA levels and pancreatic cancer risk [estimates per one SD increase in each PUFA-specific weighted genetic score using summary statistics: linoleic acid odds ratio (OR) = 1.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.98-1.02; arachidonic acid OR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.99-1.01; and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.87-1.02]. The OR estimates remained virtually unchanged after adjustment for covariates, using individual-level data or summary statistics, or stratification by age and sex.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that variations of genetically determined plasma n-6 PUFA levels are not associated with pancreatic cancer risk.

Impact: These results suggest that modifying n-6 PUFA levels through food sources or supplementation may not influence risk of pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7710600PMC
December 2020

Incorporating multiple sets of eQTL weights into gene-by-environment interaction analysis identifies novel susceptibility loci for pancreatic cancer.

Genet Epidemiol 2020 11 10;44(8):880-892. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Department of Biostatistics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

It is of great scientific interest to identify interactions between genetic variants and environmental exposures that may modify the risk of complex diseases. However, larger sample sizes are usually required to detect gene-by-environment interaction (G × E) than required to detect genetic main association effects. To boost the statistical power and improve the understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms, we incorporate functional genomics information, specifically, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), into a data-adaptive G × E test, called aGEw. This test adaptively chooses the best eQTL weights from multiple tissues and provides an extra layer of weighting at the genetic variant level. Extensive simulations show that the aGEw test can control the Type 1 error rate, and the power is resilient to the inclusion of neutral variants and noninformative external weights. We applied the proposed aGEw test to the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (discovery cohort of 3,585 cases and 3,482 controls) and the PanScan II genome-wide association study data (replication cohort of 2,021 cases and 2,105 controls) with smoking as the exposure of interest. Two novel putative smoking-related pancreatic cancer susceptibility genes, TRIP10 and KDM3A, were identified. The aGEw test is implemented in an R package aGE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22348DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7657998PMC
November 2020

Gallbladder disease, cholecystectomy, and pancreatic cancer risk in the International Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (PanC4).

Eur J Cancer Prev 2020 09;29(5):408-415

Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Background: The association among gallbladder disease, cholecystectomy, and pancreatic cancer is unclear. Moreover, time interval between gallbladder disease or cholecystectomy and pancreatic cancer diagnosis is not considered in most previous studies.

Aim: To quantify the association among gallbladder disease, cholecystectomy, and pancreatic cancer, considering time since first diagnosis of gallbladder disease or cholecystectomy.

Methods: We used data from nine case-control studies within the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium, including 5760 cases of adenocarcinoma of the exocrine pancreas and 8437 controls. We estimated pooled odds ratios and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals by estimating study-specific odds ratios through multivariable unconditional logistic regression models, and then pooling the obtained estimates using fixed-effects models.

Results: Compared with patients with no history of gallbladder disease, the pooled odds ratio of pancreatic cancer was 1.69 (95% confidence interval, 1.51-1.88) for patients reporting a history of gallbladder disease. The odds ratio was 4.90 (95% confidence interval, 3.45-6.97) for gallbladder disease diagnosed <2 years before pancreatic cancer diagnosis and 1.11 (95% confidence interval, 0.96-1.29) when ≥2 years elapsed. The pooled odds ratio was 1.64 (95% confidence interval, 1.43-1.89) for patients who underwent cholecystectomy, as compared to those without cholecystectomy. The odds ratio was 7.00 (95% confidence interval, 4.13-11.86) for a surgery <2 years before pancreatic cancer diagnosis and 1.28 (95% confidence interval, 1.08-1.53) for a surgery ≥2 years before.

Conclusions: There appears to be no long-term effect of gallbladder disease on pancreatic cancer risk, and at most a modest one for cholecystectomy. The strong short-term association can be explained by diagnostic bias and reverse causation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000572DOI Listing
September 2020

Genome-Wide Association Study Data Reveal Genetic Susceptibility to Chronic Inflammatory Intestinal Diseases and Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Risk.

Cancer Res 2020 09 8;80(18):4004-4013. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.

Registry-based epidemiologic studies suggest associations between chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). As genetic susceptibility contributes to a large proportion of chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases, we hypothesize that the genomic regions surrounding established genome-wide associated variants for these chronic inflammatory diseases are associated with PDAC. We examined the association between PDAC and genomic regions (±500 kb) surrounding established common susceptibility variants for ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis. We analyzed summary statistics from genome-wide association studies data for 8,384 cases and 11,955 controls of European descent from two large consortium studies using the summary data-based adaptive rank truncated product method to examine the overall association of combined genomic regions for each inflammatory disease group. Combined genomic susceptibility regions for ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic pancreatitis were associated with PDAC at values < 0.05 (0.0040, 0.0057, 0.011, and 3.4 × 10, respectively). After excluding the 20 PDAC susceptibility regions (±500 kb) previously identified by GWAS, the genomic regions for ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, and inflammatory bowel disease remained associated with PDAC ( = 0.0029, 0.0057, and 0.0098, respectively). Genomic regions for celiac disease ( = 0.22) and primary sclerosing cholangitis ( = 0.078) were not associated with PDAC. Our results support the hypothesis that genomic regions surrounding variants associated with inflammatory intestinal diseases, particularly, ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic pancreatitis are associated with PDAC. SIGNIFICANCE: The joint effects of common variants in genomic regions containing susceptibility loci for inflammatory bowel disease and chronic pancreatitis are associated with PDAC and may provide insights to understanding pancreatic cancer etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-0447DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7861352PMC
September 2020

Genome-Wide Gene-Diabetes and Gene-Obesity Interaction Scan in 8,255 Cases and 11,900 Controls from PanScan and PanC4 Consortia.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 09 16;29(9):1784-1791. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: Obesity and diabetes are major modifiable risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Interactions between genetic variants and diabetes/obesity have not previously been comprehensively investigated in pancreatic cancer at the genome-wide level.

Methods: We conducted a gene-environment interaction (GxE) analysis including 8,255 cases and 11,900 controls from four pancreatic cancer genome-wide association study (GWAS) datasets (Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium I-III and Pancreatic Cancer Case Control Consortium). Obesity (body mass index ≥30 kg/m) and diabetes (duration ≥3 years) were the environmental variables of interest. Approximately 870,000 SNPs (minor allele frequency ≥0.005, genotyped in at least one dataset) were analyzed. Case-control (CC), case-only (CO), and joint-effect test methods were used for SNP-level GxE analysis. As a complementary approach, gene-based GxE analysis was also performed. Age, sex, study site, and principal components accounting for population substructure were included as covariates. Meta-analysis was applied to combine individual GWAS summary statistics.

Results: No genome-wide significant interactions (departures from a log-additive odds model) with diabetes or obesity were detected at the SNP level by the CC or CO approaches. The joint-effect test detected numerous genome-wide significant GxE signals in the GWAS main effects top hit regions, but the significance diminished after adjusting for the GWAS top hits. In the gene-based analysis, a significant interaction of diabetes with variants in the (family with sequence similarity 63 member A) gene (significance threshold < 1.25 × 10) was observed in the meta-analysis ( = 1.2 ×10, = 4.2 ×10).

Conclusions: This analysis did not find significant GxE interactions at the SNP level but found one significant interaction with diabetes at the gene level. A larger sample size might unveil additional genetic factors via GxE scans.

Impact: This study may contribute to discovering the mechanism of diabetes-associated pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0275DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483330PMC
September 2020

Menstrual Factors, Reproductive History, Hormone Use, and Urothelial Carcinoma Risk: A Prospective Study in the EPIC Cohort.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 08 28;29(8):1654-1664. Epub 2020 May 28.

Hellenic Health Foundation, Kaisareias 13 & Alexandroupoleos, Athens, Greece.

Background: Urothelial carcinoma is the predominant (95%) bladder cancer subtype in industrialized nations. Animal and epidemiologic human studies suggest that hormonal factors may influence urothelial carcinoma risk.

Methods: We used an analytic cohort of 333,919 women from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Cohort. Associations between hormonal factors and incident urothelial carcinoma (overall and by tumor grade, tumor aggressiveness, and non-muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma) risk were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: During a mean of 15 years of follow-up, 529 women developed urothelial carcinoma. In a model including number of full-term pregnancies (FTP), menopausal status, and menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), number of FTP was inversely associated with urothelial carcinoma risk (HR = 0.48; 0.25-0.90; in parous women = 0.010) and MHT use (compared with nonuse) was positively associated with urothelial carcinoma risk (HR = 1.27; 1.03-1.57), but no dose response by years of MHT use was observed. No modification of HRs by smoking status was observed. Finally, sensitivity analyses in never smokers showed similar HR patterns for the number of FTP, while no association between MHT use and urothelial carcinoma risk was observed. Association between MHT use and urothelial carcinoma risk remained significant only in current smokers. No heterogeneity of the risk estimations in the final model was observed by tumor aggressiveness or by tumor grade. A positive association between MTH use and non-muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma risk was observed.

Conclusions: Our results support that increasing the number of FTP may reduce urothelial carcinoma risk.

Impact: More detailed studies on parity are needed to understand the possible effects of perinatal hormone changes in urothelial cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0184DOI Listing
August 2020

Associations between Genetically Predicted Blood Protein Biomarkers and Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 07 21;29(7):1501-1508. Epub 2020 May 21.

Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota.

Background: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal malignancies, with few known risk factors and biomarkers. Several blood protein biomarkers have been linked to PDAC in previous studies, but these studies have assessed only a limited number of biomarkers, usually in small samples. In this study, we evaluated associations of circulating protein levels and PDAC risk using genetic instruments.

Methods: To identify novel circulating protein biomarkers of PDAC, we studied 8,280 cases and 6,728 controls of European descent from the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium and the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium, using genetic instruments of protein quantitative trait loci.

Results: We observed associations between predicted concentrations of 38 proteins and PDAC risk at an FDR of < 0.05, including 23 of those proteins that showed an association even after Bonferroni correction. These include the protein encoded by , which has been implicated as a potential target gene of PDAC risk variant. Eight of the identified proteins (LMA2L, TM11D, IP-10, ADH1B, STOM, TENC1, DOCK9, and CRBB2) were associated with PDAC risk after adjusting for previously reported PDAC risk variants (OR ranged from 0.79 to 1.52). Pathway enrichment analysis showed that the encoding genes for implicated proteins were significantly enriched in cancer-related pathways, such as STAT3 and IL15 production.

Conclusions: We identified 38 candidates of protein biomarkers for PDAC risk.

Impact: This study identifies novel protein biomarker candidates for PDAC, which if validated by additional studies, may contribute to the etiologic understanding of PDAC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334065PMC
July 2020

Serologic markers of Chlamydia trachomatis and other sexually transmitted infections and subsequent ovarian cancer risk: Results from the EPIC cohort.

Int J Cancer 2020 10 24;147(8):2042-2052. Epub 2020 Apr 24.

Clinical Microbiology, Department of Translational Medicine, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.

A substantial proportion of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) arises in the fallopian tube and other epithelia of the upper genital tract; these epithelia may incur damage and neoplastic transformation after sexually transmitted infections (STI) and pelvic inflammatory disease. We investigated the hypothesis that past STI infection, particularly Chlamydia trachomatis, is associated with higher EOC risk in a nested case-control study within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort including 791 cases and 1669 matched controls. Serum antibodies against C. trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and human papillomavirus (HPV) 16, 18 and 45 were assessed using multiplex fluorescent bead-based serology. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) comparing women with positive vs. negative serology. A total of 40% of the study population was seropositive to at least one STI. Positive serology to C. trachomatis Pgp3 antibodies was not associated with EOC risk overall, but with higher risk of the mucinous histotype (RR = 2.30 [95% CI = 1.22-4.32]). Positive serology for chlamydia heat shock protein 60 (cHSP60-1) was associated with higher risk of EOC overall (1.36 [1.13-1.64]) and with the serous subtype (1.44 [1.12-1.85]). None of the other evaluated STIs were associated with EOC risk overall; however, HSV-2 was associated with higher risk of endometrioid EOC (2.35 [1.24-4.43]). The findings of our study suggest a potential role of C. trachomatis in the carcinogenesis of serous and mucinous EOC, while HSV-2 might promote the development of endometrioid disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32999DOI Listing
October 2020

Serum levels of hsa-miR-16-5p, hsa-miR-29a-3p, hsa-miR-150-5p, hsa-miR-155-5p and hsa-miR-223-3p and subsequent risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in the EPIC study.

Int J Cancer 2020 09 2;147(5):1315-1324. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red: Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is an incurable disease accounting for almost one-third of leukemias in the Western world. Aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) is a well-established characteristic of CLL, and the robust nature of miRNAs makes them eminently suitable liquid biopsy biomarkers. Using a nested case-control study within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), the predictive values of five promising human miRNAs (hsa-miR-16-5p, hsa-miR-29a-3p, hsa-miR-150-5p, hsa-miR-155-5p and hsa-miR-223-3p), identified in a pilot study, were examined in serum of 224 CLL cases (diagnosed 3 months to 18 years after enrollment) and 224 matched controls using Taqman based assays. Conditional logistic regressions were applied to adjust for potential confounders. The median time from blood collection to CLL diagnosis was 10 years (p25-p75: 7-13 years). Overall, the upregulation of hsa-miR-150-5p, hsa-miR-155-5p and hsa-miR-29a-3p was associated with subsequent risk of CLL [OR (95%CI) = 1.42 (1.18-1.72), 1.64 (1.31-2.04) and 1.75 (1.31-2.34) for hsa-miR-150-5p, hsa-miR-155-5p and hsa-miR-29a-3p, respectively] and the strongest associations were observed within 10 years of diagnosis. However, the predictive performance of these miRNAs was modest (area under the curve <0.62). hsa-miR-16-5p and hsa-miR-223-3p levels were unrelated to CLL risk. The findings of this first prospective study suggest that hsa-miR-29a, hsa-miR-150-5p and hsa-miR-155-5p were upregulated in early stages of CLL but were modest predictive biomarkers of CLL risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32894DOI Listing
September 2020

A Transcriptome-Wide Association Study Identifies Novel Candidate Susceptibility Genes for Pancreatic Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2020 10;112(10):1003-1012

Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT, USA.

Background: Although 20 pancreatic cancer susceptibility loci have been identified through genome-wide association studies in individuals of European ancestry, much of its heritability remains unexplained and the genes responsible largely unknown.

Methods: To discover novel pancreatic cancer risk loci and possible causal genes, we performed a pancreatic cancer transcriptome-wide association study in Europeans using three approaches: FUSION, MetaXcan, and Summary-MulTiXcan. We integrated genome-wide association studies summary statistics from 9040 pancreatic cancer cases and 12 496 controls, with gene expression prediction models built using transcriptome data from histologically normal pancreatic tissue samples (NCI Laboratory of Translational Genomics [n = 95] and Genotype-Tissue Expression v7 [n = 174] datasets) and data from 48 different tissues (Genotype-Tissue Expression v7, n = 74-421 samples).

Results: We identified 25 genes whose genetically predicted expression was statistically significantly associated with pancreatic cancer risk (false discovery rate < .05), including 14 candidate genes at 11 novel loci (1p36.12: CELA3B; 9q31.1: SMC2, SMC2-AS1; 10q23.31: RP11-80H5.9; 12q13.13: SMUG1; 14q32.33: BTBD6; 15q23: HEXA; 15q26.1: RCCD1; 17q12: PNMT, CDK12, PGAP3; 17q22: SUPT4H1; 18q11.22: RP11-888D10.3; and 19p13.11: PGPEP1) and 11 at six known risk loci (5p15.33: TERT, CLPTM1L, ZDHHC11B; 7p14.1: INHBA; 9q34.2: ABO; 13q12.2: PDX1; 13q22.1: KLF5; and 16q23.1: WDR59, CFDP1, BCAR1, TMEM170A). The association for 12 of these genes (CELA3B, SMC2, and PNMT at novel risk loci and TERT, CLPTM1L, INHBA, ABO, PDX1, KLF5, WDR59, CFDP1, and BCAR1 at known loci) remained statistically significant after Bonferroni correction.

Conclusions: By integrating gene expression and genotype data, we identified novel pancreatic cancer risk loci and candidate functional genes that warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djz246DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7566474PMC
October 2020

Immune-mediated genetic pathways resulting in pulmonary function impairment increase lung cancer susceptibility.

Nat Commun 2020 01 7;11(1):27. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Impaired lung function is often caused by cigarette smoking, making it challenging to disentangle its role in lung cancer susceptibility. Investigation of the shared genetic basis of these phenotypes in the UK Biobank and International Lung Cancer Consortium (29,266 cases, 56,450 controls) shows that lung cancer is genetically correlated with reduced forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV: r = 0.098, p = 2.3 × 10) and the ratio of FEV to forced vital capacity (FEV/FVC: r = 0.137, p = 2.0 × 10). Mendelian randomization analyses demonstrate that reduced FEV increases squamous cell carcinoma risk (odds ratio (OR) = 1.51, 95% confidence intervals: 1.21-1.88), while reduced FEV/FVC increases the risk of adenocarcinoma (OR = 1.17, 1.01-1.35) and lung cancer in never smokers (OR = 1.56, 1.05-2.30). These findings support a causal role of pulmonary impairment in lung cancer etiology. Integrative analyses reveal that pulmonary function instruments, including 73 novel variants, influence lung tissue gene expression and implicate immune-related pathways in mediating the observed effects on lung carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13855-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6946810PMC
January 2020

Healthy lifestyle and the risk of pancreatic cancer in the EPIC study.

Eur J Epidemiol 2020 Oct 28;35(10):975-986. Epub 2019 Sep 28.

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

Pancreatic cancer (PC) is a highly fatal cancer with currently limited opportunities for early detection and effective treatment. Modifiable factors may offer pathways for primary prevention. In this study, the association between the Healthy Lifestyle Index (HLI) and PC risk was examined. Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort, 1113 incident PC (57% women) were diagnosed from 400,577 participants followed-up for 15 years (median). HLI scores combined smoking, alcohol intake, dietary exposure, physical activity and, in turn, overall and central adiposity using BMI (HLI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR, HLI), respectively. High values of HLI indicate adherence to healthy behaviors. Cox proportional hazard models with age as primary time variable were used to estimate PC hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Sensitivity analyses were performed by excluding, in turn, each factor from the HLI score. Population attributable fractions (PAF) were estimated assuming participants' shift to healthier lifestyles. The HRs for a one-standard deviation increment of HLI and HLI were 0.84 (95% CI: 0.79, 0.89; p = 4.3e-09) and 0.77 (0.72, 0.82; p = 1.7e-15), respectively. Exclusions of smoking from HLI resulted in HRs of 0.88 (0.82, 0.94; p = 4.9e-04). The overall PAF estimate was 19% (95% CI: 11%, 26%), and 14% (6%, 21%) when smoking was removed from the score. Adherence to a healthy lifestyle was inversely associated with PC risk, beyond the beneficial role of smoking avoidance. Public health measures targeting compliance with healthy lifestyles may have an impact on PC incidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10654-019-00559-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116136PMC
October 2020

Socioeconomic Effect of Education on Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Western Europe: An Update on the EPIC Cohorts Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2019 06;28(6):1089-1092

Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Background: To analyze the potential effect of social inequality on pancreatic cancer risk in Western Europe, by reassessing the association within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study, including a larger number of cases and an extended follow-up.

Methods: Data on highest education attained were gathered for 459,170 participants (70% women) from 10 European countries. A relative index of inequality (RII) based on adult education was calculated for comparability across countries and generations. Cox regression models were applied to estimate relative inequality in pancreatic cancer risk, stratifying by age, gender, and center, and adjusting for known pancreatic cancer risk factors.

Results: A total of 1,223 incident pancreatic cancer cases were included after a mean follow-up of 13.9 (±4.0) years. An inverse social trend was found in models adjusted for age, sex, and center for both sexes [HR of RII, 1.27; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02-1.59], which was also significant among women (HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.05-1.92). Further adjusting by smoking intensity, alcohol consumption, body mass index, prevalent diabetes, and physical activity led to an attenuation of the RII risk and loss of statistical significance.

Conclusions: The present reanalysis does not sustain the existence of an independent social inequality influence on pancreatic cancer risk in Western European women and men, using an index based on adult education, the most relevant social indicator linked to individual lifestyles, in a context of very low pancreatic cancer survival from (quasi) universal public health systems.

Impact: The results do not support an association between education and risk of pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-1153DOI Listing
June 2019

Consumption of nuts and seeds and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

Int J Cancer 2020 01 6;146(1):76-84. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Department for Determinants of Chronic Diseases (DCD), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Four epidemiologic studies have assessed the association between nut intake and pancreatic cancer risk with contradictory results. The present study aims to investigate the relation between nut intake (including seeds) and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazards ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for nut intake and PDAC risk. Information on intake of nuts was obtained from the EPIC country-specific dietary questionnaires. After a mean follow-up of 14 years, 476,160 participants were eligible for the present study and included 1,283 PDAC cases. No association was observed between consumption of nuts and PDAC risk (highest intake vs nonconsumers: HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.72-1.10; p-trend = 0.70). Furthermore, no evidence for effect-measure modification was observed when different subgroups were analyzed. Overall, in EPIC, the highest intake of nuts was not statistically significantly associated with PDAC risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32415DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340534PMC
January 2020

Anthropometric and reproductive factors and risk of esophageal and gastric cancer by subtype and subsite: Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Int J Cancer 2020 02 21;146(4):929-942. Epub 2019 May 21.

Institution of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Sweden.

Obesity has been associated with upper gastrointestinal cancers; however, there are limited prospective data on associations by subtype/subsite. Obesity can impact hormonal factors, which have been hypothesized to play a role in these cancers. We investigated anthropometric and reproductive factors in relation to esophageal and gastric cancer by subtype and subsite for 476,160 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Multivariable hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox models. During a mean follow-up of 14 years, 220 esophageal adenocarcinomas (EA), 195 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas, 243 gastric cardia (GC) and 373 gastric noncardia (GNC) cancers were diagnosed. Body mass index (BMI) was associated with EA in men (BMI ≥30 vs. 18.5-25 kg/m : HR = 1.94, 95% CI: 1.25-3.03) and women (HR = 2.66, 95% CI: 1.15-6.19); however, adjustment for waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) attenuated these associations. After mutual adjustment for BMI and HC, respectively, WHR and waist circumference (WC) were associated with EA in men (HR = 3.47, 95% CI: 1.99-6.06 for WHR >0.96 vs. <0.91; HR = 2.67, 95% CI: 1.52-4.72 for WC >98 vs. <90 cm) and women (HR = 4.40, 95% CI: 1.35-14.33 for WHR >0.82 vs. <0.76; HR = 5.67, 95% CI: 1.76-18.26 for WC >84 vs. <74 cm). WHR was also positively associated with GC in women, and WC was positively associated with GC in men. Inverse associations were observed between parity and EA (HR = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.14-0.99; >2 vs. 0) and age at first pregnancy and GNC (HR = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.32-0.91; >26 vs. <22 years); whereas bilateral ovariectomy was positively associated with GNC (HR = 1.87, 95% CI: 1.04-3.36). These findings support a role for hormonal pathways in upper gastrointestinal cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32386DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6973006PMC
February 2020

Genetic interaction analysis among oncogenesis-related genes revealed novel genes and networks in lung cancer development.

Oncotarget 2019 Mar 5;10(19):1760-1774. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, N.N. Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russian Federation.

The development of cancer is driven by the accumulation of many oncogenesis-related genetic alterations and tumorigenesis is triggered by complex networks of involved genes rather than independent actions. To explore the epistasis existing among oncogenesis-related genes in lung cancer development, we conducted pairwise genetic interaction analyses among 35,031 SNPs from 2027 oncogenesis-related genes. The genotypes from three independent genome-wide association studies including a total of 24,037 lung cancer patients and 20,401 healthy controls with Caucasian ancestry were analyzed in the study. Using a two-stage study design including discovery and replication studies, and stringent Bonferroni correction for multiple statistical analysis, we identified significant genetic interactions between SNPs in (OR=0.44, value=3.27x10 in overall lung cancer and OR=0.41, value=9.71x10 in non-small cell lung cancer), (OR=0.73, value=1.01x10 in adenocarcinoma) and (OR=1.82, value=7.62x10 in squamous cell carcinoma) in our analysis. None of these genes have been identified from previous main effect association studies in lung cancer. Further eQTL gene expression analysis in lung tissues provided information supporting the functional role of the identified epistasis in lung tumorigenesis. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed potential pathways and gene networks underlying molecular mechanisms in overall lung cancer as well as histology subtypes development. Our results provide evidence that genetic interactions between oncogenesis-related genes play an important role in lung tumorigenesis and epistasis analysis, combined with functional annotation, provides a valuable tool for uncovering functional novel susceptibility genes that contribute to lung cancer development by interacting with other modifier genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26678DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6442994PMC
March 2019

Elevated Platelet Count Appears to Be Causally Associated with Increased Risk of Lung Cancer: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2019 05 30;28(5):935-942. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.

Background: Platelets are a critical element in coagulation and inflammation, and activated platelets are linked to cancer risk through diverse mechanisms. However, a causal relationship between platelets and risk of lung cancer remains unclear.

Methods: We performed single and combined multiple instrumental variable Mendelian randomization analysis by an inverse-weighted method, in addition to a series of sensitivity analyses. Summary data for associations between SNPs and platelet count are from a recent publication that included 48,666 Caucasian Europeans, and the International Lung Cancer Consortium and Transdisciplinary Research in Cancer of the Lung data consisting of 29,266 cases and 56,450 controls to analyze associations between candidate SNPs and lung cancer risk.

Results: Multiple instrumental variable analysis incorporating six SNPs showed a 62% increased risk of overall non-small cell lung cancer [NSCLC; OR, 1.62; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.15-2.27; = 0.005] and a 200% increased risk for small-cell lung cancer (OR, 3.00; 95% CI, 1.27-7.06; = 0.01). Results showed only a trending association with NSCLC histologic subtypes, which may be due to insufficient sample size and/or weak effect size. A series of sensitivity analysis retained these findings.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest a causal relationship between elevated platelet count and increased risk of lung cancer and provide evidence of possible antiplatelet interventions for lung cancer prevention.

Impact: These findings provide a better understanding of lung cancer etiology and potential evidence for antiplatelet interventions for lung cancer prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-0356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7075698PMC
May 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

Systematic analyses of regulatory variants in DNase I hypersensitive sites identified two novel lung cancer susceptibility loci.

Carcinogenesis 2019 05;40(3):432-440

Department of Radiation Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHS) are abundant in regulatory elements, such as promoter, enhancer and transcription factor binding sites. Many studies have revealed that disease-associated variants were concentrated in DHS-related regions. However, limited studies are available on the roles of DHS-related variants in lung cancer. In this study, we performed a large-scale case-control study with 20 871 lung cancer cases and 15 971 controls to evaluate the associations between regulatory genetic variants in DHS and lung cancer susceptibility. The expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis and pathway-enrichment analysis were performed to identify the possible target genes and pathways. In addition, we performed motif-based analysis to explore the lung-cancer-related motifs using sequence kernel association test. Two novel variants, rs186332 in 20q13.3 (C>T, odds ratio [OR] = 1.17, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.10-1.24, P = 8.45 × 10-7) and rs4839323 in 1p13.2 (T>C, OR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.89-0.95, P = 1.02 × 10-6) showed significant association with lung cancer risk. The eQTL analysis suggested that these two SNPs might regulate the expression of MRGBP and SLC16A1, respectively. What's more, the expression of both MRGBP and SLC16A1 was aberrantly elevated in lung tumor tissues. The motif-based analysis identified 10 motifs related to the risk of lung cancer (P < 1.71 × 10-4). Our findings suggested that variants in DHS might modify lung cancer susceptibility through regulating the expression of surrounding genes. This study provided us a deeper insight into the roles of DHS-related genetic variants for lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgy187DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6783905PMC
May 2019

Agnostic Pathway/Gene Set Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Data Identifies Associations for Pancreatic Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 Jun;111(6):557-567

Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, CA.

Background: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identify associations of individual single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with cancer risk but usually only explain a fraction of the inherited variability. Pathway analysis of genetic variants is a powerful tool to identify networks of susceptibility genes.

Methods: We conducted a large agnostic pathway-based meta-analysis of GWAS data using the summary-based adaptive rank truncated product method to identify gene sets and pathways associated with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in 9040 cases and 12 496 controls. We performed expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis and functional annotation of the top SNPs in genes contributing to the top associated pathways and gene sets. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: We identified 14 pathways and gene sets associated with PDAC at a false discovery rate of less than 0.05. After Bonferroni correction (P ≤ 1.3 × 10-5), the strongest associations were detected in five pathways and gene sets, including maturity-onset diabetes of the young, regulation of beta-cell development, role of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor transactivation by G protein-coupled receptors in cardiac hypertrophy pathways, and the Nikolsky breast cancer chr17q11-q21 amplicon and Pujana ATM Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC) network gene sets. We identified and validated rs876493 and three correlating SNPs (PGAP3) and rs3124737 (CASP7) from the Pujana ATM PCC gene set as eQTLs in two normal derived pancreas tissue datasets.

Conclusion: Our agnostic pathway and gene set analysis integrated with functional annotation and eQTL analysis provides insight into genes and pathways that may be biologically relevant for risk of PDAC, including those not previously identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6579744PMC
June 2019

Methodological issues in a prospective study on plasma concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and pancreatic cancer risk within the EPIC cohort.

Environ Res 2019 02 23;169:417-433. Epub 2018 Nov 23.

Department of Community Medicine, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Background: The use of biomarkers of environmental exposure to explore new risk factors for pancreatic cancer presents clinical, logistic, and methodological challenges that are also relevant in research on other complex diseases.

Objectives: First, to summarize the main design features of a prospective case-control study -nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort- on plasma concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and pancreatic cancer risk. And second, to assess the main methodological challenges posed by associations among characteristics and habits of study participants, fasting status, time from blood draw to cancer diagnosis, disease progression bias, basis of cancer diagnosis, and plasma concentrations of lipids and POPs. Results from etiologic analyses on POPs and pancreatic cancer risk, and other analyses, will be reported in future articles.

Methods: Study subjects were 1533 participants (513 cases and 1020 controls matched by study centre, sex, age at blood collection, date and time of blood collection, and fasting status) enrolled between 1992 and 2000. Plasma concentrations of 22 POPs were measured by gas chromatography - triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS). To estimate the magnitude of the associations we calculated multivariate-adjusted odds ratios by unconditional logistic regression, and adjusted geometric means by General Linear Regression Models.

Results: There were differences among countries in subjects' characteristics (as age, gender, smoking, lipid and POP concentrations), and in study characteristics (as time from blood collection to index date, year of last follow-up, length of follow-up, basis of cancer diagnosis, and fasting status). Adjusting for centre and time of blood collection, no factors were significantly associated with fasting status. Plasma concentrations of lipids were related to age, body mass index, fasting, country, and smoking. We detected and quantified 16 of the 22 POPs in more than 90% of individuals. All 22 POPs were detected in some participants, and the smallest number of POPs detected in one person was 15 (median, 19) with few differences by country. The highest concentrations were found for p,p'-DDE, PCBs 153 and 180 (median concentration: 3371, 1023, and 810 pg/mL, respectively). We assessed the possible occurrence of disease progression bias (DPB) in eight situations defined by lipid and POP measurements, on one hand, and by four factors: interval from blood draw to index date, tumour subsite, tumour stage, and grade of differentiation, on the other. In seven of the eight situations results supported the absence of DPB.

Conclusions: The coexistence of differences across study centres in some design features and participant characteristics is of relevance to other multicentre studies. Relationships among subjects' characteristics and among such characteristics and design features may play important roles in the forthcoming analyses on the association between plasma concentrations of POPs and pancreatic cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.11.027DOI Listing
February 2019

Alcohol consumption and lung cancer risk: A pooled analysis from the International Lung Cancer Consortium and the SYNERGY study.

Cancer Epidemiol 2019 02 13;58:25-32. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

University Institute of Oncology (IUOPA), University of Oviedo, and CIBERESP, Spain.

Background: There is inadequate evidence to determine whether there is an effect of alcohol consumption on lung cancer risk. We conducted a pooled analysis of data from the International Lung Cancer Consortium and the SYNERGY study to investigate this possible association by type of beverage with adjustment for other potential confounders.

Methods: Twenty one case-control studies and one cohort study with alcohol-intake data obtained from questionnaires were included in this pooled analysis (19,149 cases and 362,340 controls). Adjusted odds ratios (OR) or hazard ratios (HR) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for each measure of alcohol consumption. Effect estimates were combined using random or fixed-effects models where appropriate. Associations were examined for overall lung cancer and by histological type.

Results: We observed an inverse association between overall risk of lung cancer and consumption of alcoholic beverages compared to non-drinkers, but the association was not monotonic. The lowest risk was observed for persons who consumed 10-19.9 g/day ethanol (OR vs. non-drinkers = 0.78; 95% CI: 0.67, 0.91), where 1 drink is approximately 12-15 g. This J-shaped association was most prominent for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The association with all lung cancer varied little by type of alcoholic beverage, but there were notable differences for SCC. We observed an association with beer intake (OR for ≥20 g/day vs nondrinker = 1.42; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.90).

Conclusions: Whether the non-monotonic associations we observed or the positive association between beer drinking and squamous cell carcinoma reflect real effects await future analyses and insights about possible biological mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2018.10.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6662590PMC
February 2019

CA19-9 and apolipoprotein-A2 isoforms as detection markers for pancreatic cancer: a prospective evaluation.

Int J Cancer 2019 04 4;144(8):1877-1887. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública. Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria ibs.GRANADA, Hospitales Universitarios de Granada/Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.

Recently, we identified unique processing patterns of apolipoprotein A2 (ApoA2) in patients with pancreatic cancer. Our study provides a first prospective evaluation of an ApoA2 isoform ("ApoA2-ATQ/AT"), alone and in combination with carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9), as an early detection biomarker for pancreatic cancer. We performed ELISA measurements of CA19-9 and ApoA2-ATQ/AT in 156 patients with pancreatic cancer and 217 matched controls within the European EPIC cohort, using plasma samples collected up to 60 months prior to diagnosis. The detection discrimination statistics were calculated for risk scores by strata of lag-time. For CA19-9, in univariate marker analyses, C-statistics to distinguish future pancreatic cancer patients from cancer-free individuals were 0.80 for plasma taken ≤6 months before diagnosis, and 0.71 for >6-18 months; for ApoA2-ATQ/AT, C-statistics were 0.62, and 0.65, respectively. Joint models based on ApoA2-ATQ/AT plus CA19-9 significantly improved discrimination within >6-18 months (C = 0.74 vs. 0.71 for CA19-9 alone, p = 0.022) and ≤ 18 months (C = 0.75 vs. 0.74, p = 0.022). At 98% specificity, and for lag times of ≤6, >6-18 or ≤ 18 months, sensitivities were 57%, 36% and 43% for CA19-9 combined with ApoA2-ATQ/AT, respectively, vs. 50%, 29% and 36% for CA19-9 alone. Compared to CA19-9 alone, the combination of CA19-9 and ApoA2-ATQ/AT may improve detection of pancreatic cancer up to 18 months prior to diagnosis under usual care, and may provide a useful first measure for pancreatic cancer detection prior to imaging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.31900DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6760974PMC
April 2019
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