Publications by authors named "Ghislaine Scelo"

120 Publications

Mutational signatures in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma from eight countries with varying incidence.

Nat Genet 2021 Nov 18;53(11):1553-1563. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

Digestive Oncology Research Center, Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Shariati Hospital, Tehran, Iran.

Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) shows remarkable variation in incidence that is not fully explained by known lifestyle and environmental risk factors. It has been speculated that an unknown exogenous exposure(s) could be responsible. Here we combine the fields of mutational signature analysis with cancer epidemiology to study 552 ESCC genomes from eight countries with varying incidence rates. Mutational profiles were similar across all countries studied. Associations between specific mutational signatures and ESCC risk factors were identified for tobacco, alcohol, opium and germline variants, with modest impacts on mutation burden. We find no evidence of a mutational signature indicative of an exogenous exposure capable of explaining differences in ESCC incidence. Apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like (APOBEC)-associated mutational signatures single-base substitution (SBS)2 and SBS13 were present in 88% and 91% of cases, respectively, and accounted for 25% of the mutation burden on average, indicating that APOBEC activation is a crucial step in ESCC tumor development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00928-6DOI Listing
November 2021

Working life, health and well-being of parents: a joint effort to uncover hidden treasures in European birth cohorts.

Scand J Work Environ Health 2021 10 25;47(7):550-560. Epub 2021 Aug 25.

Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Turin, via Santena 7, 10126 Torino, Italy.

Objective: Birth cohorts collect valuable and under-utilized information on employment and health of parents before and during pregnancy, at birth, and sometimes after birth. In this discussion paper, we examine how these data could be exploited to study the complex relationships and interactions between parenthood, work, and health among parents themselves.

Methods: Using a web-based database of birth cohorts, we summarize information on maternal employment and health conditions and other potentially related variables in cohorts spread throughout Europe. This provided information on what data are available and could be used in future studies, and what was missing if specific questions are to be addressed, exploiting the opportunity to explore work-health associations across heterogenous geographical and social contexts.

Results: We highlight the many potentialities provided by birth cohorts and identify gaps that need to be addressed to adopt a life-course approach and investigate topics specific to the peri-pregnancy period, such as psychosocial aspects. We address the technical difficulties implied by data harmonization and the ethical challenges related to the repurposing of data, and provide scientific, ecological and economic arguments in favor of improving the value of data already available as a result of a serious investment in human and material resources.

Conclusions: There is a hidden treasure in birth cohorts that deserves to be brought out to study the relationships between employment and health among working parents in a time when the boundaries between work and life are being stretched more than ever before.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3980DOI Listing
October 2021

Different Pigmentation Risk Loci for High-Risk Monosomy 3 and Low-Risk Disomy 3 Uveal Melanomas.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Aug 23. Epub 2021 Aug 23.

Inserm U830, DNA Repair and Uveal Melanoma (D.R.U.M.), Equipe labellisée par la Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer, Institut Curie, PSL Research University, Paris, 75005, France.

Background: Uveal melanoma (UM), a rare malignant tumor of the eye, is predominantly observed in populations of European ancestry. UMs carrying a monosomy 3 (M3) frequently relapse mainly in the liver, whereas UMs with disomy 3 (D3) are associated with more favorable outcome. Here, we explored the UM genetic predisposition factors in a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1,142 European UM patients and 882 healthy controls.

Methods: We combined two independent datasets (GSA array) with the dataset described in a previously published GWAS in UM (Omni5 array), which were imputed separately and subsequently merged. Patients were stratified according to their chromosome 3 status and identified UM risk loci were tested for differential association with M3 or D3 subgroups. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: We recapitulated the previously identified risk locus on chromosome 5 on CLPTM1L (rs421284: odds ratio [OR] =1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.35-1.86; P=1.98 × 10-8) and identified two additional risk loci involved in eye pigmentation: IRF4 locus on chromosome 6 (rs12203592: OR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.44-2.16; P =3.55 × 10-8) and HERC locus on chromosome 15 (rs12913832: OR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.48-0.67; P =1.88 × 10-11). The IRF4 rs12203592 SNP was found to be exclusively associated with risk for the D3 UM subtype (ORD3 = 2.73, 95% CI = 1.87-3.97; P =1.78 × 10-7), and the HERC2 rs12913832 SNP was exclusively associated with risk for the M3 UM subtype (ORM3 = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.79-3.29; P =1.13 × 10-8). However, the CLPTM1L risk locus was equally statistically significant in both subgroups.

Conclusion: This work identified two additional UM risk loci known for their role in pigmentation. Importantly, we demonstrate that UM tumor biology and metastatic potential are influenced by patients' genetic backgrounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab167DOI Listing
August 2021

A comparison of complementary measures of vitamin B6 status, function, and metabolism in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 07;114(1):338-347

Department of Medical Biosciences, Pathology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Background: Vitamin B6 insufficiency has been linked to increased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. The circulating concentration of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) is a commonly used measure of vitamin B6 status. Ratios of substrates indicating PLP coenzymatic function and metabolism may be useful complementary measures to further explore the role of vitamin B6 in health.

Objectives: We explored the sensitivity of 5 outcomes, namely PLP concentration, homocysteine:cysteine (Hcy:Cys), cystathionine:cysteine (Cysta:Cys), the 3´-hydroxykynurenine ratio (HKr), and the 4-pyridoxic acid ratio (PAr) to vitamin B6 intake as well as personal and lifestyle characteristics.

Medthods: Dietary intake and biomarker data were collected from participants from 3 nested case-control studies within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Bayesian regression models assessed the associations of the 5 biomarker outcomes with vitamin B6 intake and personal and lifestyle covariates. Analogous models examined the relations of Hcy:Cys, Cysta:Cys, and HKr with PLP.

Results: In total, 4608 participants were included in the analyses. Vitamin B6 intake was most strongly associated with PLP, moderately associated with Hcy:Cys, Cysta:Cys, and HKr, and not associated with PAr (fold change in marker given a doubling of vitamin B6 intake: PLP 1.60 [95% credible interval (CrI): 1.50, 1.71]; Hcy:Cys 0.87 [95% CrI: 0.84, 0.90]; Cysta:Cys 0.89 [95% CrI: 0.84, 0.94]; HKr 0.88 [95% CrI: 0.85, 0.91]; PAr 1.00 [95% CrI: 0.95, 1.05]). PAr was most sensitive to age, and HKr was least sensitive to BMI and alcohol intake. Sex and menopause status were strongly associated with all 5 markers.

Conclusions: We found that 5 different markers, capturing different aspects of vitamin B6-related biological processes, varied in their associations with vitamin B6 intake and personal and lifestyle predictors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246608PMC
July 2021

Rare deleterious germline variants and risk of lung cancer.

NPJ Precis Oncol 2021 Feb 16;5(1):12. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

Recent studies suggest that rare variants exhibit stronger effect sizes and might play a crucial role in the etiology of lung cancers (LC). Whole exome plus targeted sequencing of germline DNA was performed on 1045 LC cases and 885 controls in the discovery set. To unveil the inherited causal variants, we focused on rare and predicted deleterious variants and small indels enriched in cases or controls. Promising candidates were further validated in a series of 26,803 LCs and 555,107 controls. During discovery, we identified 25 rare deleterious variants associated with LC susceptibility, including 13 reported in ClinVar. Of the five validated candidates, we discovered two pathogenic variants in known LC susceptibility loci, ATM p.V2716A (Odds Ratio [OR] 19.55, 95%CI 5.04-75.6) and MPZL2 p.I24M frameshift deletion (OR 3.88, 95%CI 1.71-8.8); and three in novel LC susceptibility genes, POMC c.*28delT at 3' UTR (OR 4.33, 95%CI 2.03-9.24), STAU2 p.N364M frameshift deletion (OR 4.48, 95%CI 1.73-11.55), and MLNR p.Q334V frameshift deletion (OR 2.69, 95%CI 1.33-5.43). The potential cancer-promoting role of selected candidate genes and variants was further supported by endogenous DNA damage assays. Our analyses led to the identification of new rare deleterious variants with LC susceptibility. However, in-depth mechanistic studies are still needed to evaluate the pathogenic effects of these specific alleles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41698-021-00146-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7887261PMC
February 2021

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

Cancer Res 2021 06 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

Sexual dimorphism in cancer: insights from transcriptional signatures in kidney tissue and renal cell carcinoma.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 04;30(5):343-355

Section of Genetics, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), 69372 Lyon, France.

Sexual dimorphism in cancer incidence and outcome is widespread. Understanding the underlying mechanisms is fundamental to improve cancer prevention and clinical management. Sex disparities are particularly striking in kidney cancer: across diverse populations, men consistently show unexplained 2-fold increased incidence and worse prognosis. We have characterized genome-wide expression and regulatory networks of 609 renal tumors and 256 non-tumor renal tissues. Normal kidney displayed sex-specific transcriptional signatures, including higher expression of X-linked tumor suppressor genes in women. Sex-dependent genotype-phenotype associations unraveled women-specific immune regulation. Sex differences were markedly expanded in tumors, with male-biased expression of key genes implicated in metabolism, non-malignant diseases with male predominance and carcinogenesis, including markers of tumor infiltrating leukocytes. Analysis of sex-dependent RCC progression and survival uncovered prognostic markers involved in immune response and oxygen homeostasis. In summary, human kidney tissues display remarkable sexual dimorphism at the molecular level. Sex-specific transcriptional signatures further shape renal cancer, with relevance for clinical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8098110PMC
April 2021

Morphological findings in frozen non-neoplastic kidney tissues of patients with kidney cancer from large-scale multicentric studies on renal cancer.

Virchows Arch 2021 Jun 5;478(6):1099-1107. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372, Lyon Cedex 8, France.

There are unexplained geographical variations in the incidence of kidney cancer with the high rates reported in Baltic countries, as well as eastern and central Europe. Having access to a large and well-annotated collection of "tumor/non-tumor" pairs of kidney cancer patients from the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, UK, and Russia, we aimed to analyze the morphology of non-neoplastic renal tissue in nephrectomy specimens. By applying digital pathology, we performed a microscopic examination of 1012 frozen non-neoplastic kidney tissues from patients with renal cell carcinoma. Four components of renal parenchyma were evaluated and scored for the intensity of interstitial inflammation and fibrosis, tubular atrophy, glomerulosclerosis, and arterial wall thickening, globally called chronic renal parenchymal changes. Moderate or severe changes were observed in 54 (5.3%) of patients with predominance of occurrence in Romania (OR = 2.67, CI 1.07-6.67) and Serbia (OR = 4.37, CI 1.20-15.96) in reference to those from Russia. Further adjustment for comorbidities, tumor characteristics, and stage did not change risk estimates. In multinomial regression model, relative probability of non-glomerular changes was 5.22 times higher for Romania and Serbia compared to Russia. Our findings show that the frequency of chronic renal parenchymal changes, with the predominance of chronic interstitial nephritis pattern, in kidney cancer patients varies by country, significantly more frequent in countries located in central and southeastern Europe where the incidence of kidney cancer has been reported to be moderate to high. The observed association between these pathological features and living in certain geographic areas requires a larger population-based study to confirm this association on a large scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00428-020-02986-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8203524PMC
June 2021

Risk Prediction for Renal Cell Carcinoma: Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Prospective Cohort Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 03 17;30(3):507-512. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Early detection of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has the potential to improve disease outcomes. No screening program for sporadic RCC is in place. Given relatively low incidence, screening would need to focus on people at high risk of clinically meaningful disease so as to limit overdiagnosis and screen-detected false positives.

Methods: Among 192,172 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort (including 588 incident RCC cases), we evaluated a published RCC risk prediction model (including age, sex, BMI, and smoking status) in terms of discrimination (C-statistic) and calibration (observed probability as a function of predicted probability). We used a flexible parametric survival model to develop an expanded model including age, sex, BMI, and smoking status, with the addition of self-reported history of hypertension and measured blood pressure.

Results: The previously published model yielded well-calibrated probabilities and good discrimination (C-statistic [95% CI]: 0.699 [0.679-0.721]). Our model had slightly improved discrimination (0.714 [0.694-0.735], bootstrap optimism-corrected C-statistic: 0.709). Despite this good performance, predicted risk was low for the vast majority of participants, with 70% of participants having 10-year risk less than 0.0025.

Conclusions: Although the models performed well for the prediction of incident RCC, they are currently insufficiently powerful to identify individuals at substantial risk of RCC in a general population.

Impact: Despite the promising performance of the EPIC RCC risk prediction model, further development of the model, possibly including biomarkers of risk, is required to enable risk stratification of RCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1438DOI Listing
March 2021

Cancers emerging early in adulthood: Analysis of trends and patterns in European cancer registries.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 2;143:33-39. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin and CPO-Piemonte, Turin, Italy.

Background: Although cancer is typically a disease of the older age groups, some types start emerging early in adulthood. This implies that exposures and stressors occurring before adulthood might play a role in the risk of cancer in adults. Little research has been conducted in this area.

Methods: We used European data from the Cancer in Five Continents Vol. XI to calculate cumulative risks by the end of subsequent adulthood decades of age (20-29, 30-39, 40-49) for 34 cancer sites and classified them as early-age emerging cancers if they reached 0.005% by 29 years old, intermediate-age emerging cancers by 39 years old, and late-age emerging cancers after 40 years old. We used data from Cancer in Five Continents Plus to analyse time trends in incidence rates by age groups over the period 1998-2012.

Findings: We identified 14 early-age emerging cancers. Nine of them showed significant increasing trends over calendar time in the early decades of adulthood, often more pronouncedly so in 20-29-year-olds than in 30-39 or 40-49-year-olds. The increase of colon cancer rates in the 20-29-year-olds was particularly high with an average annual percent change of 7.9% (95% confidence interval: 5.9%-10%). Decreases in incidence rates were only observed for cancer types classified as intermediate- or late-age emerging cancers.

Interpretation: Cancer prevention efforts seem to have favourably impacted intermediate- and late-age emerging cancer incidence rates. For early-age emerging cancers, aetiological research is needed to identify exposures and stressors occurring early in life, especially for those cancers that have been increasing in young adults. This knowledge will be essential to develop preventive strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.10.026DOI Listing
January 2021

Development of Sensitive Droplet Digital PCR Assays for Detecting Urinary Promoter Mutations as Non-Invasive Biomarkers for Detection of Urothelial Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 27;12(12). Epub 2020 Nov 27.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 69372 Lyon, France.

Somatic mutations in the () promoter regions are frequent events in urothelial cancer (UC) and their detection in urine (supernatant cell-free DNA or DNA from exfoliated cells) could serve as putative non-invasive biomarkers for UC detection and monitoring. However, detecting these tumor-borne mutations in urine requires highly sensitive methods, capable of measuring low-level mutations. In this study, we developed sensitive droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) assays for detecting promoter mutations (C228T, C228A, CC242-243TT, and C250T). We tested the C228T and C250T ddPCR assays on all samples with sufficient quantity of urinary DNA (urine supernatant cell-free DNA (US cfDNA) or urine pellet cellular DNA (UP cellDNA)) from the DIAGURO ( = 89/93 cases and = 92/94 controls) and from the IPO-PORTO ( = 49/50 cases and = 50/50 controls) series that were previously screened with the UroMuTERT assay and compared the performance of the two approaches. In the DIAGURO series, the sensitivity and specificity of the ddPCR assays for detecting UC using either US cfDNA or UP cellDNA were 86.8% and 92.4%. The sensitivity was slightly higher than that of the UroMuTERT assay in the IPO-PORTO series (67.4% vs. 65.3%, respectively), but not in the DIAGURO series (86.8% vs. 90.7%). The specificity was 100% in the IPO-PORTO controls for both the UroMuTERT and ddPCR assays, whereas in the DIAGURO series, the specificity dropped for ddPCR (92.4% versus 95.6%). Overall, an almost perfect agreement between the two methods was observed for both US cfDNA ( = 164; kappa coefficient of 0.91) and UP cellDNA ( = 280; kappa coefficient of 0.94). In a large independent series of serial urine samples from DIAGURO follow-up BC cases ( = 394), the agreement between ddPCR and UroMuTERT was (i) strong (kappa coefficient of 0.87), regardless of urine DNA types (kappa coefficient 0.89 for US cfDNA and 0.85 for UP cellDNA), (ii) the highest for samples with mutant allelic fractions (MAFs) > 2% (kappa coefficient of 0.99) and (iii) only minimal for the samples with the lowest MAFs (< 0.5%; kappa coefficient 0.32). Altogether, our results indicate that the two methods (ddPCR and UroMuTERT) for detecting urinary promoter mutations are comparable and that the discrepancies relate to the detection of low-allelic fraction mutations. The simplicity of the ddPCR assays makes them suitable for implementation in clinical settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123541DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7761513PMC
November 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

Integration of multiomic annotation data to prioritize and characterize inflammation and immune-related risk variants in squamous cell lung cancer.

Genet Epidemiol 2021 02 14;45(1):99-114. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Faculty of Medical Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Clinical trial results have recently demonstrated that inhibiting inflammation by targeting the interleukin-1β pathway can offer a significant reduction in lung cancer incidence and mortality, highlighting a pressing and unmet need to understand the benefits of inflammation-focused lung cancer therapies at the genetic level. While numerous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have explored the genetic etiology of lung cancer, there remains a large gap between the type of information that may be gleaned from an association study and the depth of understanding necessary to explain and drive translational findings. Thus, in this study we jointly model and integrate extensive multiomics data sources, utilizing a total of 40 genome-wide functional annotations that augment previously published results from the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) GWAS, to prioritize and characterize single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that increase risk of squamous cell lung cancer through the inflammatory and immune responses. Our work bridges the gap between correlative analysis and translational follow-up research, refining GWAS association measures in an interpretable and systematic manner. In particular, reanalysis of the ILCCO data highlights the impact of highly associated SNPs from nuclear factor-κB signaling pathway genes as well as major histocompatibility complex mediated variation in immune responses. One consequence of prioritizing likely functional SNPs is the pruning of variants that might be selected for follow-up work by over an order of magnitude, from potentially tens of thousands to hundreds. The strategies we introduce provide informative and interpretable approaches for incorporating extensive genome-wide annotation data in analysis of genetic association studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22358DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7855632PMC
February 2021

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

Pathway Analysis of Renal Cell Carcinoma Genome-Wide Association Studies Identifies Novel Associations.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 10 30;29(10):2065-2069. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland.

Background: Much of the heritable risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) associated with common genetic variation is unexplained. New analytic approaches have been developed to increase the discovery of risk variants in genome-wide association studies (GWAS), including multi-locus testing through pathway analysis.

Methods: We conducted a pathway analysis using GWAS summary data from six previous scans (10,784 cases and 20,406 controls) and evaluated 3,678 pathways and gene sets drawn from the Molecular Signatures Database. To replicate findings, we analyzed GWAS summary data from the UK Biobank (903 cases and 451,361 controls) and the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging cohort (317 cases and 50,511 controls).

Results: We identified 14 pathways/gene sets associated with RCC in both the discovery ( < 1.36 × 10, the Bonferroni correction threshold) and replication ( < 0.05) sets, 10 of which include components of the PI3K/AKT pathway. In tests across 2,035 genes in these pathways, associations (Bonferroni corrected < 2.46 × 10 in discovery and replication sets combined) were observed for , and . The strongest SNP signal was for rs12124078 ( = 2.6 × 10; = 1.5 × 10; = 6.9 × 10), a expression quantitative trait locus.

Conclusions: Our pathway analysis implicates genetic variation within the PI3K/AKT pathway as a source of RCC heritability and identifies several promising novel susceptibility genes, including , which warrant further investigation.

Impact: Our findings illustrate the value of pathway analysis as a complementary approach to analyzing GWAS data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0472DOI Listing
October 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

Assessment of polygenic architecture and risk prediction based on common variants across fourteen cancers.

Nat Commun 2020 07 3;11(1):3353. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have led to the identification of hundreds of susceptibility loci across cancers, but the impact of further studies remains uncertain. Here we analyse summary-level data from GWAS of European ancestry across fourteen cancer sites to estimate the number of common susceptibility variants (polygenicity) and underlying effect-size distribution. All cancers show a high degree of polygenicity, involving at a minimum of thousands of loci. We project that sample sizes required to explain 80% of GWAS heritability vary from 60,000 cases for testicular to over 1,000,000 cases for lung cancer. The maximum relative risk achievable for subjects at the 99th risk percentile of underlying polygenic risk scores (PRS), compared to average risk, ranges from 12 for testicular to 2.5 for ovarian cancer. We show that PRS have potential for risk stratification for cancers of breast, colon and prostate, but less so for others because of modest heritability and lower incidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16483-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7335068PMC
July 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

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

Protein-altering germline mutations implicate novel genes related to lung cancer development.

Nat Commun 2020 05 11;11(1):2220. Epub 2020 May 11.

Radboud University Medical Center, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Few germline mutations are known to affect lung cancer risk. We performed analyses of rare variants from 39,146 individuals of European ancestry and investigated gene expression levels in 7,773 samples. We find a large-effect association with an ATM L2307F (rs56009889) mutation in adenocarcinoma for discovery (adjusted Odds Ratio = 8.82, P = 1.18 × 10) and replication (adjusted OR = 2.93, P = 2.22 × 10) that is more pronounced in females (adjusted OR = 6.81 and 3.19 and for discovery and replication). We observe an excess loss of heterozygosity in lung tumors among ATM L2307F allele carriers. L2307F is more frequent (4%) among Ashkenazi Jewish populations. We also observe an association in discovery (adjusted OR = 2.61, P = 7.98 × 10) and replication datasets (adjusted OR = 1.55, P = 0.06) with a loss-of-function mutation, Q4X (rs150665432) of an uncharacterized gene, KIAA0930. Our findings implicate germline genetic variants in ATM with lung cancer susceptibility and suggest KIAA0930 as a novel candidate gene for lung cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15905-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7214407PMC
May 2020

Dysregulation at multiple points of the kynurenine pathway is a ubiquitous feature of renal cancer: implications for tumour immune evasion.

Br J Cancer 2020 07 11;123(1):137-147. Epub 2020 May 11.

Clinical and Biomedical Proteomics Group, University of Leeds, St. James's University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7TF, UK.

Background: Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), the first step in the kynurenine pathway (KP), is upregulated in some cancers and represents an attractive therapeutic target given its role in tumour immune evasion. However, the recent failure of an IDO inhibitor in a late phase trial raises questions about this strategy.

Methods: Matched renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and normal kidney tissues were subject to proteomic profiling. Tissue immunohistochemistry and gene expression data were used to validate findings. Phenotypic effects of loss/gain of expression were examined in vitro.

Results: Quinolate phosphoribosyltransferase (QPRT), the final and rate-limiting enzyme in the KP, was identified as being downregulated in RCC. Loss of QPRT expression led to increased potential for anchorage-independent growth. Gene expression, mass spectrometry (clear cell and chromophobe RCC) and tissue immunohistochemistry (clear cell, papillary and chromophobe), confirmed loss or decreased expression of QPRT and showed downregulation of other KP enzymes, including kynurenine 3-monoxygenase (KMO) and 3-hydroxyanthranilate-3,4-dioxygenase (HAAO), with a concomitant maintenance or upregulation of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), the key enzyme in the NAD+ salvage pathway.

Conclusions: Widespread dysregulation of the KP is common in RCC and is likely to contribute to tumour immune evasion, carrying implications for effective therapeutic targeting of this critical pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-0874-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7341846PMC
July 2020

Needlestack: an ultra-sensitive variant caller for multi-sample next generation sequencing data.

NAR Genom Bioinform 2020 Jun 20;2(2):lqaa021. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Genetic Cancer Susceptibility Group, Section of Genetics, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), 150 cours Albert Thomas, 69008 Lyon, France.

The emergence of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized the way of reaching a genome sequence, with the promise of potentially providing a comprehensive characterization of DNA variations. Nevertheless, detecting somatic mutations is still a difficult problem, in particular when trying to identify low abundance mutations, such as subclonal mutations, tumour-derived alterations in body fluids or somatic mutations from histological normal tissue. The main challenge is to precisely distinguish between sequencing artefacts and true mutations, particularly when the latter are so rare they reach similar abundance levels as artefacts. Here, we present needlestack, a highly sensitive variant caller, which directly learns from the data the level of systematic sequencing errors to accurately call mutations. Needlestack is based on the idea that the sequencing error rate can be dynamically estimated from analysing multiple samples together. We show that the sequencing error rate varies across alterations, illustrating the need to precisely estimate it. We evaluate the performance of needlestack for various types of variations, and we show that needlestack is robust among positions and outperforms existing state-of-the-art method for low abundance mutations. Needlestack, along with its source code is freely available on the GitHub platform: https://github.com/IARCbioinfo/needlestack.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nargab/lqaa021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182099PMC
June 2020

Circulating tumour-derived KRAS mutations in pancreatic cancer cases are predominantly carried by very short fragments of cell-free DNA.

EBioMedicine 2020 May 3;55:102462. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Genetic Cancer Susceptibility group, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon, France. Electronic address:

Background: The DNA released into the bloodstream by malignant tumours· called circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), is often a small fraction of total cell-free DNA shed predominantly by hematopoietic cells and is therefore challenging to detect. Understanding the biological properties of ctDNA is key to the investigation of its clinical relevance as a non-invasive marker for cancer detection and monitoring.

Methods: We selected 40 plasma DNA samples of pancreatic cancer cases previously reported to carry a KRAS mutation at the 'hotspot' codon 12 and re-screened the cell-free DNA using a 4-size amplicons strategy (57 bp, 79 bp, 167 bp and 218 bp) combined with ultra-deep sequencing in order to investigate whether amplicon lengths could impact on the capacity of detection of ctDNA, which in turn could provide inference of ctDNA and non-malignant cell-free DNA size distribution.

Findings: Higher KRAS amplicon size (167 bp and 218 bp) was associated with lower detectable cell-free DNA mutant allelic fractions (p < 0·0001), with up to 4·6-fold (95% CI: 2·6-8·1) difference on average when comparing the 218bp- and the 57bp-amplicons. The proportion of cases with detectable KRAS mutations was also hampered with increased amplicon lengths, with only half of the cases having detectable ctDNA using the 218 bp assay relative to those detected with amplicons less than 80 bp.

Interpretation: Tumour-derived mutations are carried by shorter cell-free DNA fragments than fragments of wild-type allele. Targeting short amplicons increases the sensitivity of cell-free DNA assays for pancreatic cancer and should be taken into account for optimized assay design and for evaluating their clinical performance.

Funding: IARC; MH CZ - DRO; MH SK; exchange program between IARC and Sao Paulo medical Sciences; French Cancer League.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.09.042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7251242PMC
May 2020

Components of one-carbon metabolism and renal cell carcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Eur J Nutr 2020 Dec 11;59(8):3801-3813. Epub 2020 Mar 11.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Purpose: Little is known about the aetiology of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Components of one-carbon (1C) metabolism, which are required for nucleotide synthesis and methylation reactions, may be related to risk of RCC but existing evidence is inconclusive. We conducted a systematic review and independent exposure-specific meta-analyses of dietary intake and circulating biomarkers of 1C metabolites and RCC risk.

Methods: Medline and Embase databases were searched for observational studies investigating RCC or kidney cancer incidence or mortality in relation to components of 1C metabolism and 12 eligible articles were included in the meta-analyses. We used Bayesian meta-analyses to estimate summary relative risks (RRs) and 95% credible intervals (CrIs) comparing the highest versus lowest categories as well as the between-study heterogeneity.

Results: We did not find convincing evidence of an association between any exposure (riboflavin, vitamin B, folate, vitamin B, methionine, homocysteine, choline, or betaine) and RCC risk. However, vitamin B biomarker status did have a protective (RR = 0.62) but imprecise (95% CrI 0.39-1.14) effect estimate and folate intake had a notable association as well (RR = 0.85, 95% CrI 0.71-1.01).

Conclusion: There was a lack of precision due largely to the low number of studies. Further investigation is warranted, especially for folate and vitamin B, which had consistent suggestive evidence of a protective effect for both dietary intake and biomarker status. A unique strength of this review is the use of Bayesian meta-analyses which allowed for robust estimation of between-study heterogeneity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02211-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7669778PMC
December 2020

Urinary TERT promoter mutations are detectable up to 10 years prior to clinical diagnosis of bladder cancer: Evidence from the Golestan Cohort Study.

EBioMedicine 2020 Mar 17;53:102643. Epub 2020 Feb 17.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France. Electronic address:

Background: Detecting pre-clinical bladder cancer (BC) using urinary biomarkers may provide a valuable opportunity for screening and management. Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations detectable in urine have emerged as promising BC biomarkers.

Methods: We performed a nested case-control study within the population-based prospective Golestan Cohort Study (50,045 participants, followed up to 14 years) and assessed TERT promoter mutations in baseline urine samples from 38 asymptomatic individuals who subsequently developed primary BC and 152 matched controls using a Next-Generation Sequencing-based single-plex assay (UroMuTERT) and droplet digital PCR assays.

Findings: Results were obtained for 30 cases and 101 controls. TERT promoter mutations were detected in 14 pre-clinical cases (sensitivity 46·67%) and none of the controls (specificity 100·00%). At an estimated BC cumulative incidence of 0·09% in the cohort, the positive and negative predictive values were 100·00% and 99·95% respectively. The mutant allelic fractions decreased with the time interval from urine collection until BC diagnosis (p = 0·033) but the mutations were detectable up to 10 years prior to clinical diagnosis.

Interpretation: Our results provide the first evidence from a population-based prospective cohort study of the potential of urinary TERT promoter mutations as promising non-invasive biomarkers for early detection of BC. Further studies should validate this finding and assess their clinical utility in other longitudinal cohorts.

Funding: French Cancer League, World Cancer Research Fund International, Cancer Research UK, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102643DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7118568PMC
March 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

exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, micro-RNA profiles, and fetal growth: a pilot study protocol.

J Public Health Res 2019 Sep 5;8(2):1550. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

The developing fetus is particularly vulnerable to the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Molecular fingerprints of EDCs can be identified via microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles and may be etiologically implicated in the developmental origin of disease (DOHaD). This pilot study includes pregnant women at high risk (smoking at conception), and low risk (non-smoking at conception) for SGA birth (birthweight<10 percentile for gestational age). We have randomly selected 12 mothers (3 high-risk SGA birth, 3 low-risk SGA birth, 3 high-risk non-SGA birth, 3 low-risk non-SGA birth), with EDC measurements from gestational week 17. All offspring are female. We aim to test the stability of our samples (maternal serum, cord blood, placenta tissue), observe the differential expression of miRNA profiles over time (gestational weeks 17, 25, 33, 37, birth), and study the consistency between maternal EDC measures and miRNA expression profiles across our repeated measures. Results from this pilot study will inform the development of a larger cohort wide analysis, and will impact the current state of knowledge in the fields of public health, epigenetics, and the DOHaD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/jphr.2019.1550DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6747021PMC
September 2019

Sex specific associations in genome wide association analysis of renal cell carcinoma.

Eur J Hum Genet 2019 10 23;27(10):1589-1598. Epub 2019 Jun 23.

Russian N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Centre, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has an undisputed genetic component and a stable 2:1 male to female sex ratio in its incidence across populations, suggesting possible sexual dimorphism in its genetic susceptibility. We conducted the first sex-specific genome-wide association analysis of RCC for men (3227 cases, 4916 controls) and women (1992 cases, 3095 controls) of European ancestry from two RCC genome-wide scans and replicated the top findings using an additional series of men (2261 cases, 5852 controls) and women (1399 cases, 1575 controls) from two independent cohorts of European origin. Our study confirmed sex-specific associations for two known RCC risk loci at 14q24.2 (DPF3) and 2p21(EPAS1). We also identified two additional suggestive male-specific loci at 6q24.3 (SAMD5, male odds ratio (OR) = 0.83 [95% CI = 0.78-0.89], P = 1.71 × 10 compared with female odds ratio (OR) = 0.98 [95% CI = 0.90-1.07], P = 0.68) and 12q23.3 (intergenic, OR = 0.75 [95% CI = 0.68-0.83], P = 1.59 × 10 compared with OR = 0.93 [95% CI = 0.82-1.06], P = 0.21) that attained genome-wide significance in the joint meta-analysis. Herein, we provide evidence of sex-specific associations in RCC genetic susceptibility and advocate the necessity of larger genetic and genomic studies to unravel the endogenous causes of sex bias in sexually dimorphic traits and diseases like RCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-019-0455-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777615PMC
October 2019
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