Publications by authors named "Ian Tomlinson"

482 Publications

Bidirectional Mendelian randomisation analysis of the relationship between circulating vitamin D concentration and colorectal cancer risk.

Int J Cancer 2021 Aug 27. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, Medical Research Council Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, Western General Hospital, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Epidemiological evidence is consistent with a protective effect of vitamin D against colorectal cancer (CRC), but the observed strong associations are open to confounders and potential reverse causation. Previous Mendelian randomisation (MR) studies were limited by poor genetic instruments and inadequate statistical power. Moreover, whether genetically higher CRC risk can influence vitamin D level, namely the reverse causation, still remains unknown. Herein, we report the first bidirectional MR study. We employed 110 newly identified genetic variants as proxies for vitamin D to obtain unconfounded effect estimates on CRC risk in 26 397 CRC cases and 41 481 controls of European ancestry. To test for reserve causation, we estimated effects of 115 CRC-risk variants on vitamin D level among 417 580 participants from the UK Biobank. The causal association was estimated using the random-effect inverse-variance weighted (IVW) method. We found no significant causal effect of vitamin D on CRC risk [IVW estimate odds ratio: 0.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.88-1.07, P = .565]. Similarly, no significant reverse causal association was identified between genetically increased CRC risk and vitamin D levels (IVW estimate β: -0.002, 95% CI = -0.008 to 0.004, P = .543). Stratified analysis by tumour sites did not identify significant causal associations in either direction between vitamin D and colon or rectal cancer. Despite the improved statistical power of this study, we found no evidence of causal association of either direction between circulating vitamin D and CRC risk. Significant associations reported by observational studies may be primarily driven by unidentified confounders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33779DOI Listing
August 2021

Association of germline genetic variants with breast cancer-specific survival in patient subgroups defined by clinic-pathological variables related to tumor biology and type of systemic treatment.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 Aug 18;23(1):86. Epub 2021 Aug 18.

Department of Medicine, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Background: Given the high heterogeneity among breast tumors, associations between common germline genetic variants and survival that may exist within specific subgroups could go undetected in an unstratified set of breast cancer patients.

Methods: We performed genome-wide association analyses within 15 subgroups of breast cancer patients based on prognostic factors, including hormone receptors, tumor grade, age, and type of systemic treatment. Analyses were based on 91,686 female patients of European ancestry from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium, including 7531 breast cancer-specific deaths over a median follow-up of 8.1 years. Cox regression was used to assess associations of common germline variants with 15-year and 5-year breast cancer-specific survival. We assessed the probability of these associations being true positives via the Bayesian false discovery probability (BFDP < 0.15).

Results: Evidence of associations with breast cancer-specific survival was observed in three patient subgroups, with variant rs5934618 in patients with grade 3 tumors (15-year-hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence interval (CI)] 1.32 [1.20, 1.45], P = 1.4E-08, BFDP = 0.01, per G allele); variant rs4679741 in patients with ER-positive tumors treated with endocrine therapy (15-year-HR [95% CI] 1.18 [1.11, 1.26], P = 1.6E-07, BFDP = 0.09, per G allele); variants rs1106333 (15-year-HR [95% CI] 1.68 [1.39,2.03], P = 5.6E-08, BFDP = 0.12, per A allele) and rs78754389 (5-year-HR [95% CI] 1.79 [1.46,2.20], P = 1.7E-08, BFDP = 0.07, per A allele), in patients with ER-negative tumors treated with chemotherapy.

Conclusions: We found evidence of four loci associated with breast cancer-specific survival within three patient subgroups. There was limited evidence for the existence of associations in other patient subgroups. However, the power for many subgroups is limited due to the low number of events. Even so, our results suggest that the impact of common germline genetic variants on breast cancer-specific survival might be limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01450-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8371820PMC
August 2021

Non-Lynch Familial and Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer Explained by Accumulation of Low-Risk Genetic Variants.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jul 31;13(15). Epub 2021 Jul 31.

Hereditary Cancer Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology, 08908 Barcelona, Spain.

A large proportion of familial and/or early-onset cancer patients do not carry pathogenic variants in known cancer predisposing genes. We aimed to assess the contribution of previously validated low-risk colorectal cancer (CRC) alleles to familial/early-onset CRC (fCRC) and to serrated polyposis. We estimated the association of CRC with a 92-variant-based weighted polygenic risk score (wPRS) using 417 fCRC patients, 80 serrated polyposis patients, 1077 hospital-based incident CRC patients, and 1642 controls. The mean wPRS was significantly higher in fCRC than in controls or sporadic CRC patients. fCRC patients in the highest (20th) wPRS quantile were at four-fold greater CRC risk than those in the middle quantile (10th). Compared to low-wPRS fCRC, a higher number of high-wPRS fCRC patients had developed multiple primary CRCs, had CRC family history, and were diagnosed at age ≥50. No association with wPRS was observed for serrated polyposis. In conclusion, a relevant proportion of mismatch repair (MMR)-proficient fCRC cases might be explained by the accumulation of low-risk CRC alleles. Validation in independent cohorts and development of predictive models that include polygenic risk score (PRS) data and other CRC predisposing factors will determine the implementation of PRS into genetic testing and counselling in familial and early-onset CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13153857DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8345397PMC
July 2021

Mendelian randomisation study of smoking exposure in relation to breast cancer risk.

Br J Cancer 2021 Aug 2. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: Despite a modest association between tobacco smoking and breast cancer risk reported by recent epidemiological studies, it is still equivocal whether smoking is causally related to breast cancer risk.

Methods: We applied Mendelian randomisation (MR) to evaluate a potential causal effect of cigarette smoking on breast cancer risk. Both individual-level data as well as summary statistics for 164 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) reported in genome-wide association studies of lifetime smoking index (LSI) or cigarette per day (CPD) were used to obtain MR effect estimates. Data from 108,420 invasive breast cancer cases and 87,681 controls were used for the LSI analysis and for the CPD analysis conducted among ever-smokers from 26,147 cancer cases and 26,072 controls. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to address pleiotropy.

Results: Genetically predicted LSI was associated with increased breast cancer risk (OR 1.18 per SD, 95% CI: 1.07-1.30, P = 0.11 × 10), but there was no evidence of association for genetically predicted CPD (OR 1.02, 95% CI: 0.78-1.19, P = 0.85). The sensitivity analyses yielded similar results and showed no strong evidence of pleiotropic effect.

Conclusion: Our MR study provides supportive evidence for a potential causal association with breast cancer risk for lifetime smoking exposure but not cigarettes per day among smokers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01432-8DOI Listing
August 2021

Genetic mapping of novel modifiers for Apc induced intestinal polyps' development using the genetic architecture power of the collaborative cross mice.

BMC Genomics 2021 Jul 22;22(1):566. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Clinical Microbiology & Immunology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Ramat Aviv, 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Background: Familial adenomatous polyposis is an inherited genetic disease, characterized by colorectal polyps. It is caused by inactivating mutations in the Adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) gene. Mice carrying a nonsense mutation in the Apc gene at R850, which is designated Apc (Multiple intestinal neoplasia), develop intestinal adenomas. Several genetic modifier loci of Min (Mom) were previously mapped, but so far, most of the underlying genes have not been identified. To identify novel modifier loci associated with Apc, we performed quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis for polyp development using 49 F1 crosses between different Collaborative Cross (CC) lines and C57BL/6 J-Apcmice. The CC population is a genetic reference panel of recombinant inbred lines, each line independently descended from eight genetically diverse founder strains. C57BL/6 J-Apc males were mated with females from 49 CC lines. F1 offspring were terminated at 23 weeks and polyp counts from three sub-regions (SB1-3) of small intestinal and colon were recorded.

Results: The number of polyps in all these sub-regions and colon varied significantly between the different CC lines. At 95% genome-wide significance, we mapped nine novel QTL for variation in polyp number, with distinct QTL associated with each intestinal sub-region. QTL confidence intervals varied in width between 2.63-17.79 Mb. We extracted all genes in the mapped QTL at 90 and 95% CI levels using the BioInfoMiner online platform to extract, significantly enriched pathways and key linker genes, that act as regulatory and orchestrators of the phenotypic landscape associated with the Apc mutation.

Conclusions: Genomic structure of the CC lines has allowed us to identify novel modifiers and confirmed some of the previously mapped modifiers. Key genes involved mainly in metabolic and immunological processes were identified. Future steps in this analysis will be to identify regulatory elements - and possible epistatic effects - located in the mapped QTL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-021-07890-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8299641PMC
July 2021

Expression of the cancer-associated DNA polymerase ε P286R in fission yeast leads to translesion synthesis polymerase dependent hypermutation and defective DNA replication.

PLoS Genet 2021 Jul 6;17(7):e1009526. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

ZRAB, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Somatic and germline mutations in the proofreading domain of the replicative DNA polymerase ε (POLE-exonuclease domain mutations, POLE-EDMs) are frequently found in colorectal and endometrial cancers and, occasionally, in other tumours. POLE-associated cancers typically display hypermutation, and a unique mutational signature, with a predominance of C > A transversions in the context TCT and C > T transitions in the context TCG. To understand better the contribution of hypermutagenesis to tumour development, we have modelled the most recurrent POLE-EDM (POLE-P286R) in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Whole-genome sequencing analysis revealed that the corresponding pol2-P287R allele also has a strong mutator effect in vivo, with a high frequency of base substitutions and relatively few indel mutations. The mutations are equally distributed across different genomic regions, but in the immediate vicinity there is an asymmetry in AT frequency. The most abundant base-pair changes are TCT > TAT transversions and, in contrast to human mutations, TCG > TTG transitions are not elevated, likely due to the absence of cytosine methylation in fission yeast. The pol2-P287R variant has an increased sensitivity to elevated dNTP levels and DNA damaging agents, and shows reduced viability on depletion of the Pfh1 helicase. In addition, S phase is aberrant and RPA foci are elevated, suggestive of ssDNA or DNA damage, and the pol2-P287R mutation is synthetically lethal with rad3 inactivation, indicative of checkpoint activation. Significantly, deletion of genes encoding some translesion synthesis polymerases, most notably Pol κ, partially suppresses pol2-P287R hypermutation, indicating that polymerase switching contributes to this phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009526DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8284607PMC
July 2021

Functional annotation of the 2q35 breast cancer risk locus implicates a structural variant in influencing activity of a long-range enhancer element.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 07 18;108(7):1190-1203. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Genomic Epidemiology Group, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg 69120, Germany.

A combination of genetic and functional approaches has identified three independent breast cancer risk loci at 2q35. A recent fine-scale mapping analysis to refine these associations resulted in 1 (signal 1), 5 (signal 2), and 42 (signal 3) credible causal variants at these loci. We used publicly available in silico DNase I and ChIP-seq data with in vitro reporter gene and CRISPR assays to annotate signals 2 and 3. We identified putative regulatory elements that enhanced cell-type-specific transcription from the IGFBP5 promoter at both signals (30- to 40-fold increased expression by the putative regulatory element at signal 2, 2- to 3-fold by the putative regulatory element at signal 3). We further identified one of the five credible causal variants at signal 2, a 1.4 kb deletion (esv3594306), as the likely causal variant; the deletion allele of this variant was associated with an average additional increase in IGFBP5 expression of 1.3-fold (MCF-7) and 2.2-fold (T-47D). We propose a model in which the deletion allele of esv3594306 juxtaposes two transcription factor binding regions (annotated by estrogen receptor alpha ChIP-seq peaks) to generate a single extended regulatory element. This regulatory element increases cell-type-specific expression of the tumor suppressor gene IGFBP5 and, thereby, reduces risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (odds ratio = 0.77, 95% CI 0.74-0.81, p = 3.1 × 10).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.05.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8322933PMC
July 2021

The clinical features of polymerase proof-reading associated polyposis (PPAP) and recommendations for patient management.

Fam Cancer 2021 May 5. Epub 2021 May 5.

Polyposis Registry, St Mark's Hospital, Harrow, London, HA1 3UJ, UK.

Pathogenic germline exonuclease domain (ED) variants of POLE and POLD1 cause the Mendelian dominant condition polymerase proof-reading associated polyposis (PPAP). We aimed to describe the clinical features of all PPAP patients with probably pathogenic variants. We identified patients with a variants mapping to the EDs of POLE or POLD1 from cancer genetics clinics, a colorectal cancer (CRC) clinical trial, and systematic review of the literature. We used multiple evidence sources to separate ED variants into those with strong evidence of pathogenicity and those of uncertain importance. We performed quantitative analysis of the risk of CRC, colorectal adenomas, endometrial cancer or any cancer in the former group. 132 individuals carried a probably pathogenic ED variant (105 POLE, 27 POLD1). The earliest malignancy was colorectal cancer at 14. The most common tumour types were colorectal, followed by endometrial in POLD1 heterozygotes and duodenal in POLE heterozygotes. POLD1-mutant cases were at a significantly higher risk of endometrial cancer than POLE heterozygotes. Five individuals with a POLE pathogenic variant, but none with a POLD1 pathogenic variant, developed ovarian cancer. Nine patients with POLE pathogenic variants and one with a POLD1 pathogenic variant developed brain tumours. Our data provide important evidence for PPAP management. Colonoscopic surveillance is recommended from age 14 and upper-gastrointestinal surveillance from age 25. The management of other tumour risks remains uncertain, but surveillance should be considered. In the absence of strong genotype-phenotype associations, these recommendations should apply to all PPAP patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10689-021-00256-yDOI Listing
May 2021

An Evaluation of the Diagnostic Accuracy of a Panel of Variants in and a Single Variant in ENOSF1 for Predicting Common Capecitabine Related Toxicities.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 24;13(7). Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Oxford Cancer Biomarkers, The Magdalen Centre, Oxford Science Park, Robert Robinson Avenue, Oxford OX4 4GA, UK.

Efficacy of 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy is limited by significant toxicity. Tests based upon variants in the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC) guidelines with high level evidence of a link to dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) phenotype and 5-FU toxicity are available to identify patients at high risk of severe adverse events (AEs). We previously reported associations between rs1213215, rs2612091, and NM_000110.3:c.1906-14763G>A (rs12022243) and capecitabine induced toxicity in clinical trial QUASAR 2. We also identified patients with DPD deficiency alleles NM_000110.3: c.1905+1G>A, NM_000110.3: c.2846C>T, NM_000110.3:c.1679T>G and NM_000110.3:c.1651G>A. We have now assessed the frequency of thirteen additional deficiency variants in 888 patients from the QUASAR 2 clinical trial. We also compared the area under the curve (AUC)-a measure of diagnostic accuracy-of the high-level evidence variants from the CPIC guidelines plus and minus additional deficiency variants and or common variants associated with 5-FU toxicity. Including additional deficiency variants retained good diagnostic accuracy for serious adverse events (AEs) and improved sensitivity for predicting grade 4 haematological toxicities (sensitivity 0.75, specificity 0.94) but the improvement in AUC for this toxicity was not significant. Larger datasets will be required to determine the benefit of including additional deficiency variants not observed here. Genotyping two common alleles statistically significantly improves AUC for prediction of risk of HFS and may be clinically useful (AUC difference 0.177, sensitivity 0.84, specificity 0.31).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13071497DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8037940PMC
March 2021

Germline and Somatic Genetic Variants in the p53 Pathway Interact to Affect Cancer Risk, Progression, and Drug Response.

Cancer Res 2021 04 8;81(7):1667-1680. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Target Discovery Institute, University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Insights into oncogenesis derived from cancer susceptibility loci (SNP) hold the potential to facilitate better cancer management and treatment through precision oncology. However, therapeutic insights have thus far been limited by our current lack of understanding regarding both interactions of these loci with somatic cancer driver mutations and their influence on tumorigenesis. For example, although both germline and somatic genetic variation to the p53 tumor suppressor pathway are known to promote tumorigenesis, little is known about the extent to which such variants cooperate to alter pathway activity. Here we hypothesize that cancer risk-associated germline variants interact with somatic mutational status to modify cancer risk, progression, and response to therapy. Focusing on a cancer risk SNP (rs78378222) with a well-documented ability to directly influence p53 activity as well as integration of germline datasets relating to cancer susceptibility with tumor data capturing somatically-acquired genetic variation provided supportive evidence for this hypothesis. Integration of germline and somatic genetic data enabled identification of a novel entry point for therapeutic manipulation of p53 activities. A cluster of cancer risk SNPs resulted in increased expression of prosurvival p53 target gene and attenuation of p53-mediated responses to genotoxic therapies, which were reversed by pharmacologic inhibition of the prosurvival c-KIT signal. Together, our results offer evidence of how cancer susceptibility SNPs can interact with cancer driver genes to affect cancer progression and identify novel combinatorial therapies. SIGNIFICANCE: These results offer evidence of how cancer susceptibility SNPs can interact with cancer driver genes to affect cancer progression and present novel therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-0177DOI Listing
April 2021

Genetically predicted physical activity levels are associated with lower colorectal cancer risk: a Mendelian randomisation study.

Br J Cancer 2021 03 29;124(7):1330-1338. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Colon Cancer Genetics Group, Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre and Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Medical Research Council Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Background: We conducted a Mendelian randomisation (MR) study to investigate whether physical activity (PA) causes a reduction of colorectal cancer risk and to understand the contributions of effects mediated through changes in body fat.

Methods: Common genetic variants associated with self-reported moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), acceleration vector magnitude PA (AMPA) and sedentary time were used as instrumental variables. To control for confounding effects of obesity, we included instrumental variables for body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, waist circumference and arm, trunk and leg fat ratios. We analysed the effect of these instrumental variables in a colorectal cancer genome-wide association study comprising 31,197 cases and 61,770 controls of European ancestry by applying two-sample and multivariable MR study designs.

Results: We found decreased colorectal cancer risk for genetically represented measures of MVPA and AMPA that were additional to effects mediated through genetic measures of obesity. Odds ratio and 95% confidence interval (CI) per standard deviation increase in MVPA and AMPA was 0.56 (0.31, 1.01) and 0.60 (0.41, 0.88), respectively. No association has been found between sedentary time and colorectal cancer risk. The proportion of effect mediated through BMI was 2% (95% CI: 0, 14) and 32% (95% CI: 12, 46) for MVPA and AMPA, respectively.

Conclusion: These findings provide strong evidence to reinforce public health measures on preventing colorectal cancer that promote PA at a population level regardless of body fatness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01236-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8007642PMC
March 2021

Breast Cancer Risk Factors and Survival by Tumor Subtype: Pooled Analyses from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 04 26;30(4):623-642. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Gynaecology Research Unit, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Background: It is not known whether modifiable lifestyle factors that predict survival after invasive breast cancer differ by subtype.

Methods: We analyzed data for 121,435 women diagnosed with breast cancer from 67 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium with 16,890 deaths (8,554 breast cancer specific) over 10 years. Cox regression was used to estimate associations between risk factors and 10-year all-cause mortality and breast cancer-specific mortality overall, by estrogen receptor (ER) status, and by intrinsic-like subtype.

Results: There was no evidence of heterogeneous associations between risk factors and mortality by subtype ( > 0.30). The strongest associations were between all-cause mortality and BMI ≥30 versus 18.5-25 kg/m [HR (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.19 (1.06-1.34)]; current versus never smoking [1.37 (1.27-1.47)], high versus low physical activity [0.43 (0.21-0.86)], age ≥30 years versus <20 years at first pregnancy [0.79 (0.72-0.86)]; >0-<5 years versus ≥10 years since last full-term birth [1.31 (1.11-1.55)]; ever versus never use of oral contraceptives [0.91 (0.87-0.96)]; ever versus never use of menopausal hormone therapy, including current estrogen-progestin therapy [0.61 (0.54-0.69)]. Similar associations with breast cancer mortality were weaker; for example, 1.11 (1.02-1.21) for current versus never smoking.

Conclusions: We confirm associations between modifiable lifestyle factors and 10-year all-cause mortality. There was no strong evidence that associations differed by ER status or intrinsic-like subtype.

Impact: Given the large dataset and lack of evidence that associations between modifiable risk factors and 10-year mortality differed by subtype, these associations could be cautiously used in prognostication models to inform patient-centered care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0924DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026532PMC
April 2021

CYP3A7*1C allele: linking premenopausal oestrone and progesterone levels with risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers.

Br J Cancer 2021 02 26;124(4):842-854. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Molecular Epidemiology Group, C080, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Epidemiological studies provide strong evidence for a role of endogenous sex hormones in the aetiology of breast cancer. The aim of this analysis was to identify genetic variants that are associated with urinary sex-hormone levels and breast cancer risk.

Methods: We carried out a genome-wide association study of urinary oestrone-3-glucuronide and pregnanediol-3-glucuronide levels in 560 premenopausal women, with additional analysis of progesterone levels in 298 premenopausal women. To test for the association with breast cancer risk, we carried out follow-up genotyping in 90,916 cases and 89,893 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. All women were of European ancestry.

Results: For pregnanediol-3-glucuronide, there were no genome-wide significant associations; for oestrone-3-glucuronide, we identified a single peak mapping to the CYP3A locus, annotated by rs45446698. The minor rs45446698-C allele was associated with lower oestrone-3-glucuronide (-49.2%, 95% CI -56.1% to -41.1%, P = 3.1 × 10); in follow-up analyses, rs45446698-C was also associated with lower progesterone (-26.7%, 95% CI -39.4% to -11.6%, P = 0.001) and reduced risk of oestrogen and progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer (OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.82-0.91, P = 6.9 × 10).

Conclusions: The CYP3A7*1C allele is associated with reduced risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer possibly mediated via an effect on the metabolism of endogenous sex hormones in premenopausal women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01185-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884683PMC
February 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sensitive and affordable multiplex RT-qPCR assay for SARS-CoV-2 detection.

PLoS Biol 2020 12 15;18(12):e3001030. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Medical Microbiology and Virology Service, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

With the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), there is a need for sensitive, specific, and affordable diagnostic tests to identify infected individuals, not all of whom are symptomatic. The most sensitive test involves the detection of viral RNA using RT-qPCR (quantitative reverse transcription PCR), with many commercial kits now available for this purpose. However, these are expensive, and supply of such kits in sufficient numbers cannot always be guaranteed. We therefore developed a multiplex assay using well-established SARS-CoV-2 targets alongside a human cellular control (RPP30) and a viral spike-in control (Phocine Herpes Virus 1 [PhHV-1]), which monitor sample quality and nucleic acid extraction efficiency, respectively. Here, we establish that this test performs as well as widely used commercial assays, but at substantially reduced cost. Furthermore, we demonstrate >1,000-fold variability in material routinely collected by combined nose and throat swabbing and establish a statistically significant correlation between the detected level of human and SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids. The inclusion of the human control probe in our assay therefore provides a quantitative measure of sample quality that could help reduce false-negative rates. We demonstrate the feasibility of establishing a robust RT-qPCR assay at approximately 10% of the cost of equivalent commercial assays, which could benefit low-resource environments and make high-volume testing affordable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7771873PMC
December 2020

Germline variation in the insulin-like growth factor pathway and risk of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Carcinogenesis 2021 04;42(3):369-377

Department of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Science, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and its precursor, Barrett's esophagus (BE), have uncovered significant genetic components of risk, but most heritability remains unexplained. Targeted assessment of genetic variation in biologically relevant pathways using novel analytical approaches may identify missed susceptibility signals. Central obesity, a key BE/EAC risk factor, is linked to systemic inflammation, altered hormonal signaling and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis dysfunction. Here, we assessed IGF-related genetic variation and risk of BE and EAC. Principal component analysis was employed to evaluate pathway-level and gene-level associations with BE/EAC, using genotypes for 270 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near 12 IGF-related genes, ascertained from 3295 BE cases, 2515 EAC cases and 3207 controls in the Barrett's and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON) GWAS. Gene-level signals were assessed using Multi-marker Analysis of GenoMic Annotation (MAGMA) and SNP summary statistics from BEACON and an expanded GWAS meta-analysis (6167 BE cases, 4112 EAC cases, 17 159 controls). Global variation in the IGF pathway was associated with risk of BE (P = 0.0015). Gene-level associations with BE were observed for GHR (growth hormone receptor; P = 0.00046, false discovery rate q = 0.0056) and IGF1R (IGF1 receptor; P = 0.0090, q = 0.0542). These gene-level signals remained significant at q < 0.1 when assessed using data from the largest available BE/EAC GWAS meta-analysis. No significant associations were observed for EAC. This study represents the most comprehensive evaluation to date of inherited genetic variation in the IGF pathway and BE/EAC risk, providing novel evidence that variation in two genes encoding cell-surface receptors, GHR and IGF1R, may influence risk of BE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgaa132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052954PMC
April 2021

The Glasgow Microenvironment Score associates with prognosis and adjuvant chemotherapy response in colorectal cancer.

Br J Cancer 2021 02 23;124(4):786-796. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

School of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Background: The Glasgow Microenvironment Score (GMS) combines peritumoural inflammation and tumour stroma percentage to assess interactions between tumour and microenvironment. This was previously demonstrated to associate with colorectal cancer (CRC) prognosis, and now requires validation and assessment of interactions with adjuvant therapy.

Methods: Two cohorts were utilised; 862 TNM I-III CRC validation cohort, and 2912 TNM II-III CRC adjuvant chemotherapy cohort (TransSCOT). Primary endpoints were disease-free survival (DFS) and relapse-free survival (RFS). Exploratory endpoint was adjuvant chemotherapy interaction.

Results: GMS independently associated with DFS (p = 0.001) and RFS (p < 0.001). GMS significantly stratified RFS for both low risk (GMS 0 v GMS 2: HR 3.24 95% CI 1.85-5.68, p < 0.001) and high-risk disease (GMS 0 v GMS 2: HR 2.18 95% CI 1.39-3.41, p = 0.001). In TransSCOT, chemotherapy type (p = 0.013), but not duration (p = 0.64) was dependent on GMS. Furthermore, GMS 0 significantly associated with improved DFS in patients receiving FOLFOX compared with CAPOX (HR 2.23 95% CI 1.19-4.16, p = 0.012).

Conclusions: This study validates the GMS as a prognostic tool for patients with stage I-III colorectal cancer, independent of TNM, with the ability to stratify both low- and high-risk disease. Furthermore, GMS 0 could be employed to identify a subset of patients that benefit from FOLFOX over CAPOX.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01168-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884404PMC
February 2021

Prediction of relapse-free survival according to adjuvant chemotherapy and regulator of chromosome condensation 2 (RCC2) expression in colorectal cancer.

ESMO Open 2020 11;5(6):e001040

Department of Molecular Oncology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; K.G. Jebsen Colorectal Cancer Research Centre, Clinic for Cancer Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. Electronic address:

Background: There is a need for improved selection of patients for adjuvant chemotherapy after resection of non-metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Regulator of chromosome condensation 2 (RCC2) is a potential prognostic biomarker. We report on the establishment of a robust protocol for RCC2 expression analysis and prognostic tumour biomarker evaluation in patients who did and did not receive adjuvant chemotherapy.

Materials And Methods: RCC2 was analysed in 2916 primary CRCs from the QUASAR2 randomised trial and two single-hospital Norwegian series. A new protocol using fluorescent antibody staining and digital image analysis was optimised. Biomarker value for 5-year relapse-free survival was analysed in relation to tumour stage, adjuvant chemotherapy and the molecular markers microsatellite instability, / / mutations and expression.

Results: Low RCC2 expression was scored in 41% of 2696 evaluable samples. Among patients with stage I-III CRC who had not received adjuvant chemotherapy, low RCC2 expression was an independent marker of inferior 5-year relapse-free survival in multivariable Cox models including clinicopathological factors and molecular markers (HR 1.45, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.94, p=0.012, N=521). RCC2 was not prognostic in patients who had received adjuvant chemotherapy, neither in QUASAR2 nor the pooled Norwegian series. The interaction between RCC2 and adjuvant chemotherapy for prediction of patient outcome was significant in stage III, and strongest among patients with microsatellite stable tumours (p=0.028).

Conclusions: Low expression of RCC2 is a biomarker for poor prognosis in patients with stage I-III CRC and seems to be a predictive biomarker for effect of adjuvant chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-001040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682466PMC
November 2020

In-depth Clinical and Biological Exploration of DNA Damage Immune Response as a Biomarker for Oxaliplatin Use in Colorectal Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 01 7;27(1):288-300. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

MRC Clinical Trials Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Purpose: The DNA damage immune response (DDIR) assay was developed in breast cancer based on biology associated with deficiencies in homologous recombination and Fanconi anemia pathways. A positive DDIR call identifies patients likely to respond to platinum-based chemotherapies in breast and esophageal cancers. In colorectal cancer, there is currently no biomarker to predict response to oxaliplatin. We tested the ability of the DDIR assay to predict response to oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in colorectal cancer and characterized the biology in DDIR-positive colorectal cancer.

Experimental Design: Samples and clinical data were assessed according to DDIR status from patients who received either 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or 5FUFA (bolus and infusion 5-FU with folinic acid) plus oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) within the FOCUS trial ( = 361, stage IV), or neoadjuvant FOLFOX in the FOxTROT trial ( = 97, stage II/III). Whole transcriptome, mutation, and IHC data of these samples were used to interrogate the biology of DDIR in colorectal cancer.

Results: Contrary to our hypothesis, DDIR-negative patients displayed a trend toward improved outcome for oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy compared with DDIR-positive patients. DDIR positivity was associated with microsatellite instability (MSI) and colorectal molecular subtype 1. Refinement of the DDIR signature, based on overlapping IFN-related chemokine signaling associated with DDIR positivity across colorectal cancer and breast cancer cohorts, further confirmed that the DDIR assay did not have predictive value for oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in colorectal cancer.

Conclusions: DDIR positivity does not predict improved response following oxaliplatin treatment in colorectal cancer. However, data presented here suggest the potential of the DDIR assay in identifying immune-rich tumors that may benefit from immune checkpoint blockade, beyond current use of MSI status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3237DOI Listing
January 2021

Breast Cancer Polygenic Risk Score and Contralateral Breast Cancer Risk.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 11 5;107(5):837-848. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry, Hong Kong; Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, Department of Pathology, Happy Valley, Hong Kong.

Previous research has shown that polygenic risk scores (PRSs) can be used to stratify women according to their risk of developing primary invasive breast cancer. This study aimed to evaluate the association between a recently validated PRS of 313 germline variants (PRS) and contralateral breast cancer (CBC) risk. We included 56,068 women of European ancestry diagnosed with first invasive breast cancer from 1990 onward with follow-up from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Metachronous CBC risk (N = 1,027) according to the distribution of PRS was quantified using Cox regression analyses. We assessed PRS interaction with age at first diagnosis, family history, morphology, ER status, PR status, and HER2 status, and (neo)adjuvant therapy. In studies of Asian women, with limited follow-up, CBC risk associated with PRS was assessed using logistic regression for 340 women with CBC compared with 12,133 women with unilateral breast cancer. Higher PRS was associated with increased CBC risk: hazard ratio per standard deviation (SD) = 1.25 (95%CI = 1.18-1.33) for Europeans, and an OR per SD = 1.15 (95%CI = 1.02-1.29) for Asians. The absolute lifetime risks of CBC, accounting for death as competing risk, were 12.4% for European women at the 10 percentile and 20.5% at the 90 percentile of PRS. We found no evidence of confounding by or interaction with individual characteristics, characteristics of the primary tumor, or treatment. The C-index for the PRS alone was 0.563 (95%CI = 0.547-0.586). In conclusion, PRS is an independent factor associated with CBC risk and can be incorporated into CBC risk prediction models to help improve stratification and optimize surveillance and treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.09.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675034PMC
November 2020

Young-onset colorectal cancer is associated with a personal history of type 2 diabetes.

Asia Pac J Clin Oncol 2021 Feb 3;17(1):131-138. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Department of Haematology and Oncology, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville South, South Australia, Australia.

Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is rising in incidence in young adults, and this observation is currently unexplained. We investigated whether having a personal history of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) was a potential risk factor for young-onset colorectal cancer (YOCRC).

Methods: The South Australian Young Onset (SAYO) CRC study is a series of young adults with CRC below age 55. Ninety unrelated YOCRC cases were recruited to the study. Personal history and detailed family history of T2D were obtained at face-to-face interview and confirmed from medical records. Whole exome sequencing was conducted on germline DNA from each CRC case. Controls for personal history studies of T2D were 240 patients with proven clear colonoscopies and no known CRC predispositions.

Results: The median age of YOCRC cases was 44 years (18-54) and of controls was 45 years (18-54), and 53% of both cases and controls were females (P = 0.99). Left-sided (distal) CRC was seen in 67/89 (75%) of cases. A personal history of T2D was confirmed in 17/90 (19%) YOCRC patients compared with controls (12/240, 5%; P < 0.001; odds ratio = 4.4; 95% confidence interval, 2.0-9.7). YOCRC patients frequently reported at least one first-degree relative with T2D (32/85, 38%). Ten of 87 (12%) of YOCRC cases had CRC-related pathogenic germline variants, however, no pathogenic variants in familial diabetes-associated genes were seen.

Conclusions: Though the mechanism remains unclear, our observations suggest that there is enrichment for personal history of T2D in YOCRC patients.

Impact: A diagnosis of T2D could therefore potentially identify a subset of young adults at increased risk for CRC and in whom early screening might be appropriate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajco.13428DOI Listing
February 2021

Pervasive chromosomal instability and karyotype order in tumour evolution.

Nature 2020 11 2;587(7832):126-132. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Department of Biomedicine, Cancer Metastasis Laboratory, University of Basel and University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Chromosomal instability in cancer consists of dynamic changes to the number and structure of chromosomes. The resulting diversity in somatic copy number alterations (SCNAs) may provide the variation necessary for tumour evolution. Here we use multi-sample phasing and SCNA analysis of 1,421 samples from 394 tumours across 22 tumour types to show that continuous chromosomal instability results in pervasive SCNA heterogeneity. Parallel evolutionary events, which cause disruption in the same genes (such as BCL9, MCL1, ARNT (also known as HIF1B), TERT and MYC) within separate subclones, were present in 37% of tumours. Most recurrent losses probably occurred before whole-genome doubling, that was found as a clonal event in 49% of tumours. However, loss of heterozygosity at the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) locus and loss of chromosome 8p to a single haploid copy recurred at substantial subclonal frequencies, even in tumours with whole-genome doubling, indicating ongoing karyotype remodelling. Focal amplifications that affected chromosomes 1q21 (which encompasses BCL9, MCL1 and ARNT), 5p15.33 (TERT), 11q13.3 (CCND1), 19q12 (CCNE1) and 8q24.1 (MYC) were frequently subclonal yet appeared to be clonal within single samples. Analysis of an independent series of 1,024 metastatic samples revealed that 13 focal SCNAs were enriched in metastatic samples, including gains in chromosome 8q24.1 (encompassing MYC) in clear cell renal cell carcinoma and chromosome 11q13.3 (encompassing CCND1) in HER2 breast cancer. Chromosomal instability may enable the continuous selection of SCNAs, which are established as ordered events that often occur in parallel, throughout tumour evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2698-6DOI Listing
November 2020

Mendelian randomization analyses suggest a role for cholesterol in the development of endometrial cancer.

Int J Cancer 2021 01 7;148(2):307-319. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Blood lipids have been associated with the development of a range of cancers, including breast, lung and colorectal cancer. For endometrial cancer, observational studies have reported inconsistent associations between blood lipids and cancer risk. To reduce biases from unmeasured confounding, we performed a bidirectional, two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis to investigate the relationship between levels of three blood lipids (low-density lipoprotein [LDL] and high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol, and triglycerides) and endometrial cancer risk. Genetic variants associated with each of these blood lipid levels (P < 5 × 10 ) were identified as instrumental variables, and assessed using genome-wide association study data from the Endometrial Cancer Association Consortium (12 906 cases and 108 979 controls) and the Global Lipids Genetic Consortium (n = 188 578). Mendelian randomization analyses found genetically raised LDL cholesterol levels to be associated with lower risks of endometrial cancer of all histologies combined, and of endometrioid and non-endometrioid subtypes. Conversely, higher genetically predicted HDL cholesterol levels were associated with increased risk of non-endometrioid endometrial cancer. After accounting for the potential confounding role of obesity (as measured by genetic variants associated with body mass index), the association between genetically predicted increased LDL cholesterol levels and lower endometrial cancer risk remained significant, especially for non-endometrioid endometrial cancer. There was no evidence to support a role for triglycerides in endometrial cancer development. Our study supports a role for LDL and HDL cholesterol in the development of non-endometrioid endometrial cancer. Further studies are required to understand the mechanisms underlying these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33206DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7757859PMC
January 2021

Image-based consensus molecular subtype (imCMS) classification of colorectal cancer using deep learning.

Gut 2021 03 20;70(3):544-554. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Objective: Complex phenotypes captured on histological slides represent the biological processes at play in individual cancers, but the link to underlying molecular classification has not been clarified or systematised. In colorectal cancer (CRC), histological grading is a poor predictor of disease progression, and consensus molecular subtypes (CMSs) cannot be distinguished without gene expression profiling. We hypothesise that image analysis is a cost-effective tool to associate complex features of tissue organisation with molecular and outcome data and to resolve unclassifiable or heterogeneous cases. In this study, we present an image-based approach to predict CRC CMS from standard H&E sections using deep learning.

Design: Training and evaluation of a neural network were performed using a total of n=1206 tissue sections with comprehensive multi-omic data from three independent datasets (training on FOCUS trial, n=278 patients; test on rectal cancer biopsies, GRAMPIAN cohort, n=144 patients; and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), n=430 patients). Ground truth CMS calls were ascertained by matching random forest and single sample predictions from CMS classifier.

Results: Image-based CMS (imCMS) accurately classified slides in unseen datasets from TCGA (n=431 slides, AUC)=0.84) and rectal cancer biopsies (n=265 slides, AUC=0.85). imCMS spatially resolved intratumoural heterogeneity and provided secondary calls correlating with bioinformatic prediction from molecular data. imCMS classified samples previously unclassifiable by RNA expression profiling, reproduced the expected correlations with genomic and epigenetic alterations and showed similar prognostic associations as transcriptomic CMS.

Conclusion: This study shows that a prediction of RNA expression classifiers can be made from H&E images, opening the door to simple, cheap and reliable biological stratification within routine workflows.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2019-319866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7873419PMC
March 2021

The MLH1 polymorphism rs1800734 and risk of endometrial cancer with microsatellite instability.

Clin Epigenetics 2020 07 8;12(1):102. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Cancer Gene Regulation Group, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford, OX3 7BN, UK.

Both colorectal (CRC, 15%) and endometrial cancers (EC, 30%) exhibit microsatellite instability (MSI) due to MLH1 hypermethylation and silencing. The MLH1 promoter polymorphism, rs1800734 is associated with MSI CRC risk, increased methylation and reduced MLH1 expression. In EC samples, we investigated rs1800734 risk using MSI and MSS cases and controls. We found no evidence that rs1800734 or other MLH1 SNPs were associated with the risk of MSI EC. We found the rs1800734 risk allele had no effect on MLH1 methylation or expression in ECs. We propose that MLH1 hypermethylation occurs by different mechanisms in CRC and EC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-020-00889-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7346630PMC
July 2020

Prediction of colorectal cancer risk based on profiling with common genetic variants.

Int J Cancer 2020 12 20;147(12):3431-3437. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Centre for Global Health, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Increasing numbers of common genetic variants associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) have been identified. Our study aimed to determine whether risk prediction based on common genetic variants might enable stratification for CRC risk. Meta-analysis of 11 genome-wide association studies comprising 16 871 cases and 26 328 controls was performed to capture CRC susceptibility variants. Genetic prediction models with several candidate polygenic risk scores (PRSs) were generated from Scottish CRC case-control studies (6478 cases and 11 043 controls) and the score with the best performance was then tested in UK Biobank (UKBB) (4800 cases and 20 287 controls). A weighted PRS of 116 CRC single nucleotide polymorphisms (wPRS ) was found with the best predictive performance, reporting a c-statistics of 0.60 and an odds ratio (OR) of 1.46 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.41-1.50, per SD increase) in Scottish data set. The predictive performance of this wPRS was consistently validated in UKBB data set with c-statistics of 0.61 and an OR of 1.49 (95% CI = 1.44-1.54, per SD increase). Modeling the levels of PRS with age and sex in the general UK population shows that employing genetic risk profiling can achieve a moderate degree of risk discrimination that could be helpful to identify a subpopulation with higher CRC risk due to genetic susceptibility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33191DOI Listing
December 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 association study identifies 32 novel breast cancer susceptibility loci from overall and subtype-specific analyses.

Nat Genet 2020 06 18;52(6):572-581. Epub 2020 May 18.

Molecular Medicine Unit, Fundación Pública Galega de Medicina Xenómica, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Breast cancer susceptibility variants frequently show heterogeneity in associations by tumor subtype. To identify novel loci, we performed a genome-wide association study including 133,384 breast cancer cases and 113,789 controls, plus 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer) of European ancestry, using both standard and novel methodologies that account for underlying tumor heterogeneity by estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 status and tumor grade. We identified 32 novel susceptibility loci (P < 5.0 × 10), 15 of which showed evidence for associations with at least one tumor feature (false discovery rate < 0.05). Five loci showed associations (P < 0.05) in opposite directions between luminal and non-luminal subtypes. In silico analyses showed that these five loci contained cell-specific enhancers that differed between normal luminal and basal mammary cells. The genetic correlations between five intrinsic-like subtypes ranged from 0.35 to 0.80. The proportion of genome-wide chip heritability explained by all known susceptibility loci was 54.2% for luminal A-like disease and 37.6% for triple-negative disease. The odds ratios of polygenic risk scores, which included 330 variants, for the highest 1% of quantiles compared with middle quantiles were 5.63 and 3.02 for luminal A-like and triple-negative disease, respectively. These findings provide an improved understanding of genetic predisposition to breast cancer subtypes and will inform the development of subtype-specific polygenic risk scores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0609-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7808397PMC
June 2020

Histological phenotypic subtypes predict recurrence risk and response to adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with stage III colorectal cancer.

J Pathol Clin Res 2020 10 13;6(4):283-296. Epub 2020 May 13.

Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Histological 'phenotypic subtypes' that classify patients into four groups (immune, canonical, latent and stromal) have previously been demonstrated to stratify survival in a stage I-III colorectal cancer (CRC) pilot cohort. However, clinical utility has not yet been validated. Therefore, this study assessed prognostic value of these subtypes in additional patient cohorts along with associations with risk of recurrence and response to chemotherapy. Two independent stage I-III CRC patient cohorts (internal and external cohort) were utilised to investigate phenotypic subtypes. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival (DFS) and the secondary endpoint was recurrence risk (RR). Stage II-III patients, from the SCOT adjuvant chemotherapy trial, were utilised to further validate prognostic value and for exploratory analysis assessing associations with adjuvant chemotherapy. In an 893-patient internal cohort, phenotypic subtype independently associated with DFS (p = 0.025) and this was attenuated in stage III patients (p = 0.020). Phenotypic subtype also independently associated with RR (p < 0.001) in these patients. In a 146-patient external cohort, phenotypic subtype independently stratified patients by DFS (p = 0.028), validating their prognostic value. In 1343 SCOT trial patients, the effect of treatment type significantly depended on phenotypic subtype (p = 0.011). Phenotypic subtype independently associated with DFS in stage III patients receiving FOLFOX (p = 0.028). Furthermore, the immune subtype significantly associated with better response to FOLFOX compared to CAPOX adjuvant chemotherapy in stage III patients (p = 0.013). In conclusion, histological phenotypic subtypes are an effective prognostic classification in patients with stage III CRC that associates with risk of recurrence and response to FOLFOX adjuvant chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cjp2.171DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7578335PMC
October 2020
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