Publications by authors named "Mitchell J Machiela"

86 Publications

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

Altered regulation of DPF3, a member of the SWI/SNF complexes, underlies the 14q24 renal cancer susceptibility locus.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 09 13;108(9):1590-1610. Epub 2021 Aug 13.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Electronic address:

Our study investigated the underlying mechanism for the 14q24 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) susceptibility risk locus identified by a genome-wide association study (GWAS). The sentinel single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs4903064, at 14q24 confers an allele-specific effect on expression of the double PHD fingers 3 (DPF3) of the BAF SWI/SNF complex as assessed by massively parallel reporter assay, confirmatory luciferase assays, and eQTL analyses. Overexpression of DPF3 in renal cell lines increases growth rates and alters chromatin accessibility and gene expression, leading to inhibition of apoptosis and activation of oncogenic pathways. siRNA interference of multiple DPF3-deregulated genes reduces growth. Our results indicate that germline variation in DPF3, a component of the BAF complex, part of the SWI/SNF complexes, can lead to reduced apoptosis and activation of the STAT3 pathway, both critical in RCC carcinogenesis. In addition, we show that altered DPF3 expression in the 14q24 RCC locus could influence the effectiveness of immunotherapy treatment for RCC by regulating tumor cytokine secretion and immune cell activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.07.009DOI Listing
September 2021

Frequency of Pathogenic Germline Variants in Cancer-Susceptibility Genes in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Apr 23;5(2):pkab007. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Basic Research Subdirection, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (INCan), Mexico City, Mexico.

Background: Pediatric cancers are the leading cause of death by disease in children despite improved survival rates overall. The contribution of germline genetic susceptibility to pediatric cancer survivors has not been extensively characterized. We assessed the frequency of pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P/LP) variants in 5451 long-term pediatric cancer survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

Methods: Exome sequencing was conducted on germline DNA from 5451 pediatric cancer survivors (cases who survived ≥5 years from diagnosis; n = 5105 European) and 597 European cancer-free adults (controls). Analyses focused on comparing the frequency of rare P/LP variants in 237 cancer-susceptibility genes and a subset of 60 autosomal dominant high-to-moderate penetrance genes, for both case-case and case-control comparisons.

Results: Of European cases, 4.1% harbored a P/LP variant in high-to-moderate penetrance autosomal dominant genes compared with 1.3% in controls (2-sided  = 3 × 10). The highest frequency of P/LP variants was in genes typically associated with adult onset rather than pediatric cancers, including , , , , and . A statistically significant excess of P/LP variants, after correction for multiple tests, was detected in patients with central nervous system cancers (, , , ), Wilms tumor (, ), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (), and soft tissue sarcomas (, , , , ) compared with other pediatric cancers.

Conclusion: In long-term pediatric cancer survivors, we identified P/LP variants in cancer-susceptibility genes not previously associated with pediatric cancer as well as confirmed known associations. Further characterization of variants in these genes in pediatric cancer will be important to provide optimal genetic counseling for patients and their families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkab007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023430PMC
April 2021

Incident disease associations with mosaic chromosomal alterations on autosomes, X and Y chromosomes: insights from a phenome-wide association study in the UK Biobank.

Cell Biosci 2021 Jul 23;11(1):143. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD, 20892, USA.

Background: Mosaic chromosomal alterations (mCAs) are large chromosomal gains, losses and copy-neutral losses of heterozygosity (LOH) in peripheral leukocytes. While many individuals with detectable mCAs have no notable adverse outcomes, mCA-associated gene dosage alterations as well as clonal expansion of mutated leukocyte clones could increase susceptibility to disease.

Results: We performed a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) using existing data from 482,396 UK Biobank (UKBB) participants to investigate potential associations between mCAs and incident disease. Of the 1290 ICD codes we examined, our adjusted analysis identified a total of 50 incident disease outcomes associated with mCAs at PheWAS significance levels. We observed striking differences in the diseases associated with each type of alteration, with autosomal mCAs most associated with increased hematologic malignancies, incident infections and possibly cancer therapy-related conditions. Alterations of chromosome X were associated with increased lymphoid leukemia risk and, mCAs of chromosome Y were linked to potential reduced metabolic disease risk.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that a wide range of diseases are potential sequelae of mCAs and highlight the critical importance of careful covariate adjustment in mCA disease association studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13578-021-00651-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8299574PMC
July 2021

Prognostic impact of pre-transplant chromosomal aberrations in peripheral blood of patients undergoing unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplant for acute myeloid leukemia.

Sci Rep 2021 Jul 22;11(1):15004. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Dr., Rockville, MD, 20850, USA.

To improve risk stratification and treatment decisions for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We used SNP-array data from the DISCOVeRY-BMT study to detect chromosomal aberrations in pre-HCT peripheral blood (collected 2-4 weeks before the administration of conditioning regimen) from 1974 AML patients who received HCT between 2000 and 2011. All aberrations detected in ≥ 10 patients were tested for their association with overall survival (OS), separately by remission status, using the Kaplan-Meier estimator. Cox regression models were used for multivariable analyses. Follow-up was through January 2019. We identified 701 unique chromosomal aberrations in 285 patients (7% of 1438 in complete remission (CR) and 36% of 536 not in CR). Copy-neutral loss-of-heterozygosity (CNLOH) in chr17p in CR patients (3-year OS = 20% vs. 50%, with and without chr17p CNLOH, p = 0.0002), and chr13q in patients not in CR (3-year OS = 4% vs. 26%, with and without chr13q CNLOH, p < 0.0001) are risk factors for poor survival. Models adjusted for clinical factors showed approximately three-fold excess risk of post-HCT mortality with chr17p CNLOH in CR patients (hazard ratio, HR = 3.39, 95% confidence interval CI 1.74-6.60, p = 0.0003), or chr13q CNLOH in patients not in CR (HR = 2.68, 95% CI 1.75-4.09, p < 0.0001). The observed mortality was mostly driven by post-HCT relapse (HR = 2.47, 95% CI 1.01-6.02, p = 0.047 for chr17p CNLOH in CR patients, and HR = 2.58, 95% CI 1.63-4.08, p < 0.0001 for chr13q CNLOH in patients not in CR. Pre-transplant CNLOH in chr13q or chr17p predicts risk of poor outcomes after unrelated donor HCT in AML patients. A large prospective study is warranted to validate the results and evaluate novel strategies to improve survival in those patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94539-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8298542PMC
July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hematopoietic mosaic chromosomal alterations increase the risk for diverse types of infection.

Nat Med 2021 06 7;27(6):1012-1024. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, Helsinki, Finland.

Age is the dominant risk factor for infectious diseases, but the mechanisms linking age to infectious disease risk are incompletely understood. Age-related mosaic chromosomal alterations (mCAs) detected from genotyping of blood-derived DNA, are structural somatic variants indicative of clonal hematopoiesis, and are associated with aberrant leukocyte cell counts, hematological malignancy, and mortality. Here, we show that mCAs predispose to diverse types of infections. We analyzed mCAs from 768,762 individuals without hematological cancer at the time of DNA acquisition across five biobanks. Expanded autosomal mCAs were associated with diverse incident infections (hazard ratio (HR) 1.25; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.15-1.36; P = 1.8 × 10), including sepsis (HR 2.68; 95% CI = 2.25-3.19; P = 3.1 × 10), pneumonia (HR 1.76; 95% CI = 1.53-2.03; P = 2.3 × 10), digestive system infections (HR 1.51; 95% CI = 1.32-1.73; P = 2.2 × 10) and genitourinary infections (HR 1.25; 95% CI = 1.11-1.41; P = 3.7 × 10). A genome-wide association study of expanded mCAs identified 63 loci, which were enriched at transcriptional regulatory sites for immune cells. These results suggest that mCAs are a marker of impaired immunity and confer increased predisposition to infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01371-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8245201PMC
June 2021

Comparative international incidence of Ewing sarcoma 1988 to 2012.

Int J Cancer 2021 09 17;149(5):1054-1066. Epub 2021 May 17.

Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Ewing sarcoma (ES) is the second most common primary bone tumor in children and adolescents. There are few known epidemiological or genetic risk factors for ES. Numerous reports describe incidence rates and trends within the United States, but international comparisons are sparse. We used the Cancer Incidence in Five Continents (CI5) data to estimate age standardized incidence rates (ASRs; cases per million) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs), male-to-female incidence rate ratios (IRRs; 95% CI), and the average annual percent change in incidence (AAPC; 95% CI) for ES by geographic region for children and adults aged 0 to 49 years. We also estimated the ASR for each country or country subpopulation among the 10- to 19-year-old age range; capturing the peak incidence of ES. In total, 15 874 ES cases ages 0 to 49 were reported in the CI5 series between 1988 and 2012. AAPC estimates varied by age group and geographic region. Most of the statistically significant AAPCs showed an increased incidence over time; the only statistically significant decreases in incidence were observed among 20- to 29-year-olds and 30- to 39-year-olds in Southern Asia at -1.93% and -1.67%. When categorized by predominant ancestry, we observed countries and subpopulations with predominately African, East Asian, and Southeast Asian ancestry had the lowest incidence rates, whereas Pacific Islanders and populations with predominantly European and North African/Middle Eastern ancestry had the highest. An excess incidence in males was observed in most regions. Our results highlight substantial variation in ES incidence across geographic populations, reflecting potential ancestral influence on disease risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33674DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8282698PMC
September 2021

Radiation-related genomic profile of papillary thyroid carcinoma after the Chernobyl accident.

Science 2021 05 22;372(6543). Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident increased papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) incidence in surrounding regions, particularly for radioactive iodine (I)-exposed children. We analyzed genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic characteristics of 440 PTCs from Ukraine (from 359 individuals with estimated childhood I exposure and 81 unexposed children born after 1986). PTCs displayed radiation dose-dependent enrichment of fusion drivers, nearly all in the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, and increases in small deletions and simple/balanced structural variants that were clonal and bore hallmarks of nonhomologous end-joining repair. Radiation-related genomic alterations were more pronounced for individuals who were younger at exposure. Transcriptomic and epigenomic features were strongly associated with driver events but not radiation dose. Our results point to DNA double-strand breaks as early carcinogenic events that subsequently enable PTC growth after environmental radiation exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abg2538DOI Listing
May 2021

Lack of transgenerational effects of ionizing radiation exposure from the Chernobyl accident.

Science 2021 05 22;372(6543):725-729. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20892, USA.

Effects of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear accident remain a topic of interest. We investigated germline de novo mutations (DNMs) in children born to parents employed as cleanup workers or exposed to occupational and environmental ionizing radiation after the accident. Whole-genome sequencing of 130 children (born 1987-2002) and their parents did not reveal an increase in the rates, distributions, or types of DNMs relative to the results of previous studies. We find no elevation in total DNMs, regardless of cumulative preconception gonadal paternal [mean = 365 milligrays (mGy), range = 0 to 4080 mGy] or maternal (mean = 19 mGy, range = 0 to 550 mGy) exposure to ionizing radiation. Thus, we conclude that, over this exposure range, evidence is lacking for a substantial effect on germline DNMs in humans, suggesting minimal impact from transgenerational genetic effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abg2365DOI Listing
May 2021

In-utero exposure to zidovudine-containing antiretroviral therapy and clonal hematopoiesis in HIV-exposed uninfected newborns.

AIDS 2021 08;35(10):1525-1535

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

Objective: Zidovudine (ZDV) has been extensively used in pregnant women to prevent vertical transmission of HIV but few studies have evaluated potential mutagenic effects of ZDV during fetal development.

Design: Our study investigated clonal hematopoiesis in HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) newborns, 94 of whom were ZDV-exposed and 91 antiretroviral therapy (ART)-unexposed and matched for potential confounding factors.

Methods: Utilizing high depth sequencing and genotyping arrays, we comprehensively examined blood samples collected during the first week after birth for potential clonal hematopoiesis associated with fetal ZDV exposure, including clonal single nucleotide variants (SNVs), small insertions and deletions (indels), and large structural copy number or copy neutral alterations.

Results: We observed no statistically significant difference in the number of SNVs and indels per person in ZDV-exposed children (adjusted ratio [95% confidence interval, CI] for expected number of mutations = 0.79 [0.50--1.22], P = 0.3), and no difference in the number of large structural alterations. Mutations in common clonal hematopoiesis driver genes were not found in the study population. Mutational signature analyses on SNVs detected no novel signatures unique to the ZDV-exposed children and the mutational profiles were similar between the two groups.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that clonal hematopoiesis at levels detectable in our study is not strongly influenced by in-utero ZDV exposure; however, additional follow-up studies are needed to further evaluate the safety and potential long-term impacts of in-utero ZDV exposure in HEU children as well as better investigate genomic aberrations occurring late in pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000002894DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8286286PMC
August 2021

Genetically Inferred Telomere Length and Testicular Germ Cell Tumor Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 06 18;30(6):1275-1278. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI, Rockville, Maryland.

Background: Studies evaluating the association between peripheral blood leukocyte telomere length (LTL) and testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) risk have produced conflicting results.

Methods: Using available genotype data from the Testicular Cancer Consortium (TECAC), polygenic risk score and Mendelian randomization analyses of genetic variants previously associated with LTL were used to assess potential etiologic associations between telomere length and TGCT risk.

Results: Genetically inferred telomere length was not associated with TGCT risk among 2,049 cases and 6,921 controls with individual-level genotype data (OR, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.97-1.07). Mendelian randomization analyses using summary statistic data further indicated no evidence for an association between telomere length and TGCT risk among all available TECAC participants (3,558 cases and 13,971 controls).

Conclusions: Our analyses in the largest molecular genetic testicular cancer study to date provide no evidence for an association between genetically inferred peripheral blood LTL and TGCT risk.

Impact: The lack of evidence for an overall association indicates that peripheral blood LTL is likely not a strong biomarker for TGCT risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1775DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172526PMC
June 2021

sparrpowR: a flexible R package to estimate statistical power to identify spatial clustering of two groups and its application.

Int J Health Geogr 2021 03 18;20(1):13. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA.

Background: Cancer epidemiology studies require sufficient power to assess spatial relationships between exposures and cancer incidence accurately. However, methods for power calculations of spatial statistics are complicated and underdeveloped, and therefore underutilized by investigators. The spatial relative risk function, a cluster detection technique that detects spatial clusters of point-level data for two groups (e.g., cancer cases and controls, two exposure groups), is a commonly used spatial statistic but does not have a readily available power calculation for study design.

Results: We developed sparrpowR as an open-source R package to estimate the statistical power of the spatial relative risk function. sparrpowR generates simulated data applying user-defined parameters (e.g., sample size, locations) to detect spatial clusters with high statistical power. We present applications of sparrpowR that perform a power calculation for a study designed to detect a spatial cluster of incident cancer in relation to a point source of numerous environmental emissions. The conducted power calculations demonstrate the functionality and utility of sparrpowR to calculate the local power for spatial cluster detection.

Conclusions: sparrpowR improves the current capacity of investigators to calculate the statistical power of spatial clusters, which assists in designing more efficient studies. This newly developed R package addresses a critically underdeveloped gap in cancer epidemiology by estimating statistical power for a common spatial cluster detection technique.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12942-021-00267-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7977178PMC
March 2021

Detectable chromosome X mosaicism in males is rarely tolerated in peripheral leukocytes.

Sci Rep 2021 01 13;11(1):1193. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA.

Age-related male Y and female X chromosome mosaicism is commonly observed in large population-based studies. To investigate the frequency of male X chromosome mosaicism, we scanned for deviations in chromosome X genotyping array intensity data in a population-based survey of 196,219 UK Biobank men. We detected 12 (0.006%) men with mosaic chromosome X gains ≥ 2 Mb and found no evidence for mosaic chromosome X loss, a level of detection substantially lower than for autosomes or other sex chromosomes. The rarity of chromosome X mosaicism in males relative to females reflects the importance of chromosome X gene dosage for leukocyte function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80948-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7806852PMC
January 2021

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

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

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

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

Germline Variation and Somatic Alterations in Ewing Sarcoma.

Methods Mol Biol 2021 ;2226:3-14

Division of Translational Pediatric Sarcoma Research, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Ewing sarcoma (EwS) is a rare bone or soft tissue tumor that occurs early in life and as such genetic variation is a major contributor to EwS risk. To date, genetic investigations have identified key somatic mutations and germline variants of importance for EwS risk. While substantial progress is being made in uncovering the genetic etiology of EwS, considerable gaps in knowledge remain. Herein, we provide a summary of methodological approaches for future genomic investigations of EwS. We anticipate this recommended analytical framework for germline and somatic investigations, along with genomic data from growing EwS case series, will aid in accelerating new genomic discoveries in EwS and expand knowledge of the genetic architecture of EwS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-1020-6_1DOI Listing
April 2021

Clonal hematopoiesis is associated with risk of severe Covid-19.

medRxiv 2020 Nov 27. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Acquired somatic mutations in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (clonal hematopoiesis or CH) are associated with advanced age, increased risk of cardiovascular and malignant diseases, and decreased overall survival. These adverse sequelae may be mediated by altered inflammatory profiles observed in patients with CH. A pro-inflammatory immunologic profile is also associated with worse outcomes of certain infections, including SARS-CoV-2 and its associated disease Covid-19. Whether CH predisposes to severe Covid-19 or other infections is unknown. Among 515 individuals with Covid-19 from Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) and the Korean Clonal Hematopoiesis (KoCH) consortia, we found that CH was associated with severe Covid-19 outcomes (OR=1.9, 95%=1.2-2.9, p=0.01). We further explored the relationship between CH and risk of other infections in 14,211 solid tumor patients at MSK. CH was significantly associated with risk of (HR=2.0, 95% CI: 1.2-3.3, p=6×10 ) and infections (HR=1.5, 95% CI=1.1-2.1, p=5×10 ). These findings suggest a relationship between CH and risk of severe infections that warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.25.20233163DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7709186PMC
November 2020

Hematopoietic mosaic chromosomal alterations and risk for infection among 767,891 individuals without blood cancer.

medRxiv 2020 Nov 16. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Age is the dominant risk factor for infectious diseases, but the mechanisms linking the two are incompletely understood . Age-related mosaic chromosomal alterations (mCAs) detected from blood-derived DNA genotyping, are structural somatic variants associated with aberrant leukocyte cell counts, hematological malignancy, and mortality . Whether mCAs represent independent risk factors for infection is unknown. Here we use genome-wide genotyping of blood DNA to show that mCAs predispose to diverse infectious diseases. We analyzed mCAs from 767,891 individuals without hematological cancer at DNA acquisition across four countries. Expanded mCA (cell fraction >10%) prevalence approached 4% by 60 years of age and was associated with diverse incident infections, including sepsis, pneumonia, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalization. A genome-wide association study of expanded mCAs identified 63 significant loci. Germline genetic alleles associated with expanded mCAs were enriched at transcriptional regulatory sites for immune cells. Our results link mCAs with impaired immunity and predisposition to infections. Furthermore, these findings may also have important implications for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in prioritizing individual preventive strategies and evaluating immunization responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.12.20230821DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7685330PMC
November 2020

Genetically predicted telomere length is associated with clonal somatic copy number alterations in peripheral leukocytes.

PLoS Genet 2020 10 22;16(10):e1009078. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, United States of America.

Telomeres are DNA-protein structures at the ends of chromosomes essential in maintaining chromosomal stability. Observational studies have identified associations between telomeres and elevated cancer risk, including hematologic malignancies; but biologic mechanisms relating telomere length to cancer etiology remain unclear. Our study sought to better understand the relationship between telomere length and cancer risk by evaluating genetically-predicted telomere length (gTL) in relation to the presence of clonal somatic copy number alterations (SCNAs) in peripheral blood leukocytes. Genotyping array data were acquired from 431,507 participants in the UK Biobank and used to detect SCNAs from intensity information and infer telomere length using a polygenic risk score (PRS) of variants previously associated with leukocyte telomere length. In total, 15,236 (3.5%) of individuals had a detectable clonal SCNA on an autosomal chromosome. Overall, higher gTL value was positively associated with the presence of an autosomal SCNA (OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.05-1.09, P = 1.61×10-15). There was high consistency in effect estimates across strata of chromosomal event location (e.g., telomeric ends, interstitial or whole chromosome event; Phet = 0.37) and strata of copy number state (e.g., gain, loss, or neutral events; Phet = 0.05). Higher gTL value was associated with a greater cellular fraction of clones carrying autosomal SCNAs (β = 0.004, 95% CI = 0.002-0.007, P = 6.61×10-4). Our population-based examination of gTL and SCNAs suggests inherited components of telomere length do not preferentially impact autosomal SCNA event location or copy number status, but rather likely influence cellular replicative potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7608979PMC
October 2020

PCAmatchR: a flexible R package for optimal case-control matching using weighted principal components.

Bioinformatics 2021 05;37(8):1178-1181

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.

Summary: A concern when conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS) is the potential for population stratification, i.e. ancestry-based genetic differences between cases and controls, that if not properly accounted for, could lead to biased association results. We developed PCAmatchR as an open source R package for performing optimal case-control matching using principal component analysis (PCA) to aid in selecting controls that are well matched by ancestry to cases. PCAmatchR takes user supplied PCA outputs and selects matching controls for cases by utilizing a weighted Mahalanobis distance metric which weights each principal component by the percentage of genetic variation explained. Results from the 1000 Genomes Project data demonstrate both the functionality and performance of PCAmatchR for selecting matching controls for case populations as well as reducing inflation of association test statistics. PCAmatchR improves genomic similarity between matched cases and controls, which minimizes the effects of population stratification in GWAS analyses.

Availability And Implementation: PCAmatchR is freely available for download on GitHub (https://github.com/machiela-lab/PCAmatchR) or through CRAN (https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=PCAmatchR).

Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btaa784DOI Listing
May 2021

Low-frequency variation near common germline susceptibility loci are associated with risk of Ewing sarcoma.

PLoS One 2020 3;15(9):e0237792. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, United States of America.

Background: Ewing sarcoma (EwS) is a rare, aggressive solid tumor of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood associated with pathognomonic EWSR1-ETS fusion oncoproteins altering transcriptional regulation. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 6 common germline susceptibility loci but have not investigated low-frequency inherited variants with minor allele frequencies below 5% due to limited genotyped cases of this rare tumor.

Methods: We investigated the contribution of rare and low-frequency variation to EwS susceptibility in the largest EwS genome-wide association study to date (733 EwS cases and 1,346 unaffected controls of European ancestry).

Results: We identified two low-frequency variants, rs112837127 and rs2296730, on chromosome 20 that were associated with EwS risk (OR = 0.186 and 2.038, respectively; P-value < 5×10-8) and located near previously reported common susceptibility loci. After adjusting for the most associated common variant at the locus, only rs112837127 remained a statistically significant independent signal (OR = 0.200, P-value = 5.84×10-8).

Conclusions: These findings suggest rare variation residing on common haplotypes are important contributors to EwS risk.

Impact: Motivate future targeted sequencing studies for a comprehensive evaluation of low-frequency and rare variation around common EwS susceptibility loci.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237792PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7470401PMC
October 2020

Field Study of the Possible Effect of Parental Irradiation on the Germline of Children Born to Cleanup Workers and Evacuees of the Chornobyl Nuclear Accident.

Am J Epidemiol 2020 12;189(12):1451-1460

Although transgenerational effects of exposure to ionizing radiation have long been a concern, human research to date has been confined to studies of disease phenotypes in groups exposed to high doses and high dose rates, such as the Japanese atomic bomb survivors. Transgenerational effects of parental irradiation can be addressed using powerful new genomic technologies. In collaboration with the Ukrainian National Research Center for Radiation Medicine, the US National Cancer Institute, in 2014-2018, initiated a genomic alterations study among children born in selected regions of Ukraine to cleanup workers and/or evacuees exposed to low-dose-rate radiation after the 1986 Chornobyl (Chernobyl) nuclear accident. To investigate whether parental radiation exposure is associated with germline mutations and genomic alterations in the offspring, we are collecting biospecimens from father-mother-offspring constellations to study de novo mutations, minisatellite mutations, copy-number changes, structural variants, genomic insertions and deletions, methylation profiles, and telomere length. Genomic alterations are being examined in relation to parental gonadal dose, reconstructed using questionnaire and measurement data. Subjects are being recruited in exposure categories that will allow examination of parental origin, duration, and timing of exposure in relation to conception. Here we describe the study methodology and recruitment results and provide descriptive information on the first 150 families (mother-father-child(ren)) enrolled.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwaa095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7822640PMC
December 2020

LDtrait: An Online Tool for Identifying Published Phenotype Associations in Linkage Disequilibrium.

Cancer Res 2020 08 30;80(16):3443-3446. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI, Rockville, Maryland.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of germline susceptibility loci associated with risk for cancer as well as a wide range of other traits and diseases. An interest of many investigators is identifying traits or diseases that share common susceptibility loci. We developed LDtrait (https://ldlink.nci.nih.gov/?tab=ldtrait) as an open access web tool for finding germline variation associated with multiple traits. LDtrait searches the NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog to identify susceptibility loci in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with a user-provided list of query variants. Options allow for modifying LD thresholds, calculating LD from a diverse set of reference populations, and downloading annotated variant lists. Results from example query searches highlight the utility of LDtrait in uncovering cross-trait associations for cancer risk and other traits. LDtrait accelerates etiologic understanding of cancer genetics by rapidly identifying genetic similarities with other traits or diseases. SIGNIFICANCE: The new GWAS search tool LDtrait will expedite discovery of shared genetic components underlying seemingly unrelated diseases and may offer novel insights into cancer research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-0985DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442674PMC
August 2020

Coinherited genetics of multiple myeloma and its precursor, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.

Blood Adv 2020 06;4(12):2789-2797

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

So far, 23 germline susceptibility loci have been associated with multiple myeloma (MM) risk. It is unclear whether the genetic variation associated with MM susceptibility also predisposes to its precursor, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). Leveraging 2434 MM cases, 754 MGUS cases, and 2 independent sets of controls (2567/879), we investigated potential shared genetic susceptibility of MM and MGUS by (1) performing MM and MGUS genome-wide association studies (GWAS); (2) validating the association of a polygenic risk score (PRS) based on 23 established MM loci (MM-PRS) with risk of MM, and for the first time with MGUS; and (3) examining genetic correlation of MM and MGUS. Heritability and genetic estimates yielded 17% (standard error [SE] ±0.04) and 15% (SE ±0.11) for MM and MGUS risk, respectively, and a 55% (SE ±0.30) genetic correlation. The MM-PRS was associated with risk of MM when assessed continuously (odds ratio [OR], 1.17 per SD; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13-1.21) or categorically (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.38-2.09 for highest; OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.55-0.90 for lowest compared with middle quintile). The MM-PRS was similarly associated with MGUS (OR, 1.19 per SD; 95% CI, 1.14-1.26 as a continuous measure, OR, 1.77, 95%CI: 1.29-2.43 for highest and OR, 0.70, 95%CI: 0.50-0.98 for lowest compared with middle quintile). MM and MGUS associations did not differ by age, sex, or MM immunoglobulin isotype. We validated a 23-SNP MM-PRS in an independent series of MM cases and provide evidence for its association with MGUS. Our results suggest shared common genetic susceptibility to MM and MGUS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001435DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7322948PMC
June 2020

Genome-wide association meta-analyses combining multiple risk phenotypes provide insights into the genetic architecture of cutaneous melanoma susceptibility.

Nat Genet 2020 05 27;52(5):494-504. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Department of Dermatology, Instituto Valenciano de Oncología, Valencia, Spain.

Most genetic susceptibility to cutaneous melanoma remains to be discovered. Meta-analysis genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 36,760 cases of melanoma (67% newly genotyped) and 375,188 controls identified 54 significant (P < 5 × 10) loci with 68 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms. Analysis of risk estimates across geographical regions and host factors suggests the acral melanoma subtype is uniquely unrelated to pigmentation. Combining this meta-analysis with GWAS of nevus count and hair color, and transcriptome association approaches, uncovered 31 potential secondary loci for a total of 85 cutaneous melanoma susceptibility loci. These findings provide insights into cutaneous melanoma genetic architecture, reinforcing the importance of nevogenesis, pigmentation and telomere maintenance, together with identifying potential new pathways for cutaneous melanoma pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0611-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255059PMC
May 2020

: An R Package for Rapidly Calculating Linkage Disequilibrium Statistics in Diverse Populations.

Front Genet 2020 28;11:157. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

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

Genomic research involving human genetics and evolutionary biology relies heavily on linkage disequilibrium (LD) to investigate population-specific genetic structure, functionally map regions of disease susceptibility and uncover evolutionary history. Interactive and powerful tools are needed to calculate population-specific LD estimates for integrative genomics research. LDlink is an interactive suite of web-based tools developed to query germline variants in 1000 Genomes Project population groups of interest and generate interactive tables and plots of LD estimates. As an expansion to this resource, we have developed an R package, , designed to rapidly calculate statistics for large lists of variants and LD attributes that eliminates the time needed to perform repetitive requests from the web-based LDlink tool. accelerates genomic research by providing efficient and user-friendly functions to programmatically interrogate and download pairwise LD estimates from expansive lists of genetic variants. is a free and publicly available R package that can be installed from the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) or downloaded from https://github.com/CBIIT/LDlinkR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2020.00157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7059597PMC
February 2020

Mosaic chromosome Y loss is associated with alterations in blood cell counts in UK Biobank men.

Sci Rep 2020 02 27;10(1):3655. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, 9609 Medical Center Drive MSC 9776, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.

Mosaic loss of Y chromosome (mLOY) is the most frequently detected somatic copy number alteration in leukocytes of men. In this study, we investigate blood cell counts as a potential mechanism linking mLOY to disease risk in 206,353 UK males. Associations between mLOY, detected by genotyping arrays, and blood cell counts were assessed by multivariable linear models adjusted for relevant risk factors. Among the participants, mLOY was detected in 39,809 men. We observed associations between mLOY and reduced erythrocyte count (-0.009 [-0.014, -0.005] × 10 cells/L, p = 2.75 × 10) and elevated thrombocyte count (5.523 [4.862, 6.183] × 10 cells/L, p = 2.32 × 10) and leukocyte count (0.218 [0.198, 0.239] × 10 cells/L, p = 9.22 × 10), particularly for neutrophil count (0.174 × [0.158, 0.190]10 cells/L, p = 1.24 × 10) and monocyte count (0.021 [0.018 to 0.024] × 10 cells/L, p = 6.93 × 10), but lymphocyte count was less consistent (0.016 [0.007, 0.025] × 10 cells/L, p = 8.52 × 10). Stratified analyses indicate these associations are independent of the effects of aging and smoking. Our findings provide population-based evidence for associations between mLOY and blood cell counts that should stimulate investigation of the underlying biological mechanisms linking mLOY to cancer and chronic disease risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-59963-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7046668PMC
February 2020

Genetically Determined Height and Risk of Non-hodgkin Lymphoma.

Front Oncol 2019 28;9:1539. Epub 2020 Jan 28.

Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Although the evidence is not consistent, epidemiologic studies have suggested that taller adult height may be associated with an increased risk of some non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes. Height is largely determined by genetic factors, but how these genetic factors may contribute to NHL risk is unknown. We investigated the relationship between genetic determinants of height and NHL risk using data from eight genome-wide association studies (GWAS) comprising 10,629 NHL cases, including 3,857 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), 2,847 follicular lymphoma (FL), 3,100 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and 825 marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) cases, and 9,505 controls of European ancestry. We evaluated genetically predicted height by constructing polygenic risk scores using 833 height-associated SNPs. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for association between genetically determined height and the risk of four NHL subtypes in each GWAS and then used fixed-effect meta-analysis to combine subtype results across studies. We found suggestive evidence between taller genetically determined height and increased CLL risk (OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.00-1.17, = 0.049), which was slightly stronger among women (OR = 1.15, 95% CI: 1.01-1.31, = 0.036). No significant associations were observed with DLBCL, FL, or MZL. Our findings suggest that there may be some shared genetic factors between CLL and height, but other endogenous or environmental factors may underlie reported epidemiologic height associations with other subtypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2019.01539DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6999122PMC
January 2020
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