Publications by authors named "Montserrat Garcia-Closas"

373 Publications

Circulating tumor DNA is readily detectable among Ghanaian breast cancer patients supporting non-invasive cancer genomic studies in Africa.

NPJ Precis Oncol 2021 Sep 17;5(1):83. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

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

Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) sequencing studies could provide novel insights into the molecular pathology of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. In 15 patient plasma samples collected at the time of diagnosis as part of the Ghana Breast Health Study and unselected for tumor grade and subtype, ctDNA was detected in a majority of patients based on whole- genome sequencing at high (30×) and low (0.1×) depths. Breast cancer driver copy number alterations were observed in the majority of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41698-021-00219-7DOI Listing
September 2021

Genomic and evolutionary classification of lung cancer in never smokers.

Nat Genet 2021 Sep 6;53(9):1348-1359. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

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

Lung cancer in never smokers (LCINS) is a common cause of cancer mortality but its genomic landscape is poorly characterized. Here high-coverage whole-genome sequencing of 232 LCINS showed 3 subtypes defined by copy number aberrations. The dominant subtype (piano), which is rare in lung cancer in smokers, features somatic UBA1 mutations, germline AR variants and stem cell-like properties, including low mutational burden, high intratumor heterogeneity, long telomeres, frequent KRAS mutations and slow growth, as suggested by the occurrence of cancer drivers' progenitor cells many years before tumor diagnosis. The other subtypes are characterized by specific amplifications and EGFR mutations (mezzo-forte) and whole-genome doubling (forte). No strong tobacco smoking signatures were detected, even in cases with exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Genes within the receptor tyrosine kinase-Ras pathway had distinct impacts on survival; five genomic alterations independently doubled mortality. These findings create avenues for personalized treatment in LCINS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00920-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8432745PMC
September 2021

Polygenic risk score for the prediction of breast cancer is related to lesser terminal duct lobular unit involution of the breast.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 Sep 7;6(1):41. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

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

Terminal duct lobular units (TDLUs) are the predominant anatomical structures where breast cancers originate. Having lesser degrees of age-related TDLU involution, measured as higher TDLUs counts or more epithelial TDLU substructures (acini), is related to increased breast cancer risk among women with benign breast disease (BBD). We evaluated whether a recently developed polygenic risk score (PRS) based on 313-common variants for breast cancer prediction is related to TDLU involution in the background, normal breast tissue, as this could provide mechanistic clues on the genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Among 1398 women without breast cancer, higher values of the PRS were significantly associated with higher TDLU counts (P = 0.004), but not with acini counts (P = 0.808), in histologically normal tissue samples from donors and diagnostic BBD biopsies. Mediation analysis indicated that TDLU counts may explain a modest proportion (≤10%) of the association of the 313-variant PRS with breast cancer risk. These findings suggest that TDLU involution might be an intermediate step in the association between common genetic variation and breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00184-7DOI Listing
September 2020

Discovery of structural deletions in breast cancer predisposition genes using whole genome sequencing data from > 2000 women of African-ancestry.

Hum Genet 2021 Aug 27. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, TN, 37203-1738, Nashville, USA.

Single germline nucleotide pathogenic variants have been identified in 12 breast cancer predisposition genes, but structural deletions in these genes remain poorly characterized. We conducted in-depth whole genome sequencing (WGS) in genomic DNA samples obtained from 1340 invasive breast cancer cases and 675 controls of African ancestry. We identified 25 deletions in the intragenic regions of ten established breast cancer predisposition genes based on a consensus call from six state-of-the-art SV callers. Overall, no significant case-control difference was found in the frequency of these deletions. However, 1.0% of cases and 0.3% of controls carried any of the eight putative protein-truncating rare deletions located in BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, TP53, NF1, RAD51D, RAD51C and CHEK2, resulting in an odds ratio (OR) of 3.29 (95% CI 0.74-30.16). We also identified a low-frequency deletion in NF1 associated with breast cancer risk (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.14-3.42). In addition, we detected 56 deletions, including six putative protein-truncating deletions, in suspected breast predisposition genes. This is the first large study to systematically search for structural deletions in breast cancer predisposition genes. Many of the deletions, particularly those resulting in protein truncations, are likely to be pathogenic. Results from this study, if confirmed in future large-scale studies, could have significant implications for genetic testing for this common cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-021-02342-8DOI 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

Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing.

Nature 2021 08 4;596(7872):393-397. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Genome Integrity and Instability Group, Institut de Biotecnologia i Biomedicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Reproductive longevity is essential for fertility and influences healthy ageing in women, but insights into its underlying biological mechanisms and treatments to preserve it are limited. Here we identify 290 genetic determinants of ovarian ageing, assessed using normal variation in age at natural menopause (ANM) in about 200,000 women of European ancestry. These common alleles were associated with clinical extremes of ANM; women in the top 1% of genetic susceptibility have an equivalent risk of premature ovarian insufficiency to those carrying monogenic FMR1 premutations. The identified loci implicate a broad range of DNA damage response (DDR) processes and include loss-of-function variants in key DDR-associated genes. Integration with experimental models demonstrates that these DDR processes act across the life-course to shape the ovarian reserve and its rate of depletion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that experimental manipulation of DDR pathways highlighted by human genetics increases fertility and extends reproductive life in mice. Causal inference analyses using the identified genetic variants indicate that extending reproductive life in women improves bone health and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, but increases the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms that govern ovarian ageing, when they act, and how they might be targeted by therapeutic approaches to extend fertility and prevent disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03779-7DOI Listing
August 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

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

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

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

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

Impact of breast cancer risk factors on clinically relevant prognostic biomarkers for primary breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Sep 29;189(2):483-495. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA.

Purpose: In addition to impacting incidence, risk factors for breast cancer may also influence recurrence and survival from the disease. However, it is unclear how these factors affect combinatorial biomarkers for aiding treatment decision-making in breast cancer.

Methods: Patients were 8179 women with histologically confirmed invasive breast cancer, diagnosed and treated in a large cancer hospital in Beijing, China. Individual clinicopathological (tumor size, grade, lymph nodes) and immunohistochemical (IHC: ER, PR, HER2, KI67) markers were used to define clinically relevant combinatorial prognostic biomarkers, including the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI: combining size, grade, nodes) and IHC4 score (combining ER, PR, HER2, KI67). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between breast cancer risk factors and quartiles (Q1-Q4) of NPI and IHC4 were assessed in multivariable polytomous logistic regression models.

Results: Overall, increasing parity (OR(95% CI) = 1.20(1.05-1.37);P = 0.007), overweight (OR(95% CI) = 1.60(1.29-1.98)), and obesity (OR(95% CI)  = 2.12(1.43-3.14)) were associated with higher likelihood of developing tumors with high (Q4) versus low (Q1) NPI score. Conversely, increasing age (OR(95% CI) = 0.75(0.66-0.84);P < 0.001) and positive family history of breast cancer (FHBC) (OR(95% CI) = 0.66(0.45-0.95)) were inversely associated with NPI. Only body mass index (BMI) was associated with IHC4, with overweight (OR(95% CI)  = 0.82(0.66-1.02)) and obese (OR(95% CI)  = 0.52(0.36-0.76)) women less likely to develop high IHC4 tumors. Notably, elevated BMI was associated with higher NPI irrespective of hormone receptor-expression status.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that factors affecting breast cancer incidence, particularly age, parity, FHBC, and BMI, may impact clinically relevant prognostic biomarkers with implications for surveillance, prognostication, and counseling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06294-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8357643PMC
September 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

Tumor-Associated Stromal Cellular Density as a Predictor of Recurrence and Mortality in Breast Cancer: Results from Ethnically Diverse Study Populations.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Jul 5;30(7):1397-1407. Epub 2021 May 5.

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

Purpose: Tumor-associated stroma is comprised of fibroblasts, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), macrophages, endothelial cells, and other cells that interactively influence tumor progression through inflammation and wound repair. Although gene-expression signatures reflecting wound repair predict breast cancer survival, it is unclear whether combined density of tumor-associated stromal cells, a morphologic proxy for inflammation and wound repair signatures on routine hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections, is of prognostic relevance.

Methods: By applying machine learning to digitized H&E-stained sections for 2,084 breast cancer patients from China ( = 596; 24-55 years), Poland ( = 810; 31-75 years), and the United States ( = 678; 55-78 years), we characterized tumor-associated stromal cellular density (SCD) as the percentage of tumor-stroma that is occupied by nucleated cells. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between SCD and clinical outcomes [recurrence (China) and mortality (Poland and the United States)] were estimated using Cox proportional hazard regression, adjusted for clinical variables.

Results: SCD was independently predictive of poor clinical outcomes in hormone receptor-positive (luminal) tumors from China [multivariable HR (95% CI) = 1.86 (1.06-3.26); = 0.03], Poland [HR (95% CI) = 1.80 (1.12-2.89); = 0.01], and the United States [HR (95% CI) = 2.42 (1.33-4.42); = 0.002]. In general, SCD provided more prognostic information than most classic clinicopathologic factors, including grade, size, PR, HER2, IHC4, and TILs, predicting clinical outcomes irrespective of menopausal or lymph nodal status. SCD was not predictive of outcomes in hormone receptor-negative tumors.

Conclusions: Our findings support the independent prognostic value of tumor-associated SCD among ethnically diverse luminal breast cancer patients.

Impact: Assessment of tumor-associated SCD on standard H&E could help refine prognostic assessment and therapeutic decision making in luminal breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-21-0055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8254774PMC
July 2021

Targeted Deep Sequencing of Bladder Tumors Reveals Novel Associations between Cancer Gene Mutations and Mutational Signatures with Major Risk Factors.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jul 13;27(13):3725-3733. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Laboratory of Translational Genomics, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland.

Purpose: Exome- and whole-genome sequencing of muscle-invasive bladder cancer has revealed important insights into the molecular landscape; however, there are few studies of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer with detailed risk factor information.

Experimental Design: We examined the relationship between smoking and other bladder cancer risk factors and somatic mutations and mutational signatures in bladder tumors. Targeted sequencing of frequently mutated genes in bladder cancer was conducted in 322 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded bladder tumors from a population-based case-control study. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), evaluating mutations and risk factors. We used SignatureEstimation to extract four known single base substitution mutational signatures and Poisson regression to calculate risk ratios (RR) and 95% CIs, evaluating signatures and risk factors.

Results: Non-silent mutations were more common in females than males (OR = 1.83; 95% CI, 1.05-3.19). There was striking heterogeneity in the relationship between smoking status and established single base substitution signatures: current smoking status was associated with greater Signature mutations compared with former ( = 0.024) and never smoking (RR = 1.40; 95% CI, 1.09-1.80; = 0.008), former smoking was associated with greater APOBEC-Signature13 mutations ( = 0.05), and never smoking was associated with greater APOBEC-Signature2 mutations (RR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.17-2.01; = 0.002). There was evidence that smoking duration (the component most strongly associated with bladder cancer risk) was associated with Signature mutations and APOBEC-Signature13 mutations among current ( = 0.005) and former smokers ( = 0.0004), respectively.

Conclusions: These data quantify the contribution of bladder cancer risk factors to mutational burden and suggest different signature enrichments among never, former, and current smokers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4419DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8254772PMC
July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prospective evaluation of a breast-cancer risk model integrating classical risk factors and polygenic risk in 15 cohorts from six countries.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Mar 23. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Rigorous evaluation of the calibration and discrimination of breast-cancer risk-prediction models in prospective cohorts is critical for applications under clinical guidelines. We comprehensively evaluated an integrated model incorporating classical risk factors and a 313-variant polygenic risk score (PRS) to predict breast-cancer risk.

Methods: Fifteen prospective cohorts from six countries with 239 340 women (7646 incident breast-cancer cases) of European ancestry aged 19-75 years were included. Calibration of 5-year risk was assessed by comparing expected and observed proportions of cases overall and within risk categories. Risk stratification for women of European ancestry aged 50-70 years in those countries was evaluated by the proportion of women and future cases crossing clinically relevant risk thresholds.

Results: Among women <50 years old, the median (range) expected-to-observed ratio for the integrated model across 15 cohorts was 0.9 (0.7-1.0) overall and 0.9 (0.7-1.4) at the highest-risk decile; among women ≥50 years old, these were 1.0 (0.7-1.3) and 1.2 (0.7-1.6), respectively. The proportion of women identified above a 3% 5-year risk threshold (used for recommending risk-reducing medications in the USA) ranged from 7.0% in Germany (∼841 000 of 12 million) to 17.7% in the USA (∼5.3 of 30 million). At this threshold, 14.7% of US women were reclassified by adding the PRS to classical risk factors, with identification of 12.2% of additional future cases.

Conclusion: Integrating a 313-variant PRS with classical risk factors can improve the identification of European-ancestry women at elevated risk who could benefit from targeted risk-reducing strategies under current clinical guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab036DOI Listing
March 2021

Tracing Lung Cancer Risk Factors Through Mutational Signatures in Never-Smokers.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 06;190(6):962-976

Epidemiologic studies often rely on questionnaire data, exposure measurement tools, and/or biomarkers to identify risk factors and the underlying carcinogenic processes. An emerging and promising complementary approach to investigate cancer etiology is the study of somatic "mutational signatures" that endogenous and exogenous processes imprint on the cellular genome. These signatures can be identified from a complex web of somatic mutations thanks to advances in DNA sequencing technology and analytical algorithms. This approach is at the core of the Sherlock-Lung study (2018-ongoing), a retrospective case-only study of over 2,000 lung cancers in never-smokers (LCINS), using different patterns of mutations observed within LCINS tumors to trace back possible exposures or endogenous processes. Whole genome and transcriptome sequencing, genome-wide methylation, microbiome, and other analyses are integrated with data from histological and radiological imaging, lifestyle, demographic characteristics, environmental and occupational exposures, and medical records to classify LCINS into subtypes that could reveal distinct risk factors. To date, we have received samples and data from 1,370 LCINS cases from 17 study sites worldwide and whole-genome sequencing has been completed on 1,257 samples. Here, we present the Sherlock-Lung study design and analytical strategy, also illustrating some empirical challenges and the potential for this approach in future epidemiologic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwaa234DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8316614PMC
June 2021

A case-only study to identify genetic modifiers of breast cancer risk for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Nat Commun 2021 02 17;12(1):1078. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Breast cancer (BC) risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers varies by genetic and familial factors. About 50 common variants have been shown to modify BC risk for mutation carriers. All but three, were identified in general population studies. Other mutation carrier-specific susceptibility variants may exist but studies of mutation carriers have so far been underpowered. We conduct a novel case-only genome-wide association study comparing genotype frequencies between 60,212 general population BC cases and 13,007 cases with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. We identify robust novel associations for 2 variants with BC for BRCA1 and 3 for BRCA2 mutation carriers, P < 10, at 5 loci, which are not associated with risk in the general population. They include rs60882887 at 11p11.2 where MADD, SP11 and EIF1, genes previously implicated in BC biology, are predicted as potential targets. These findings will contribute towards customising BC polygenic risk scores for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20496-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7890067PMC
February 2021

Comparative validation of the BOADICEA and Tyrer-Cuzick breast cancer risk models incorporating classical risk factors and polygenic risk in a population-based prospective cohort of women of European ancestry.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 02 15;23(1):22. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute of Health, 9609 Medical Center Drive 7E-342, Rockville, MD, 20850, USA.

Background: The Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm (BOADICEA) and the Tyrer-Cuzick breast cancer risk prediction models are commonly used in clinical practice and have recently been extended to include polygenic risk scores (PRS). In addition, BOADICEA has also been extended to include reproductive and lifestyle factors, which were already part of Tyrer-Cuzick model. We conducted a comparative prospective validation of these models after incorporating the recently developed 313-variant PRS.

Methods: Calibration and discrimination of 5-year absolute risk was assessed in a nested case-control sample of 1337 women of European ancestry (619 incident breast cancer cases) aged 23-75 years from the Generations Study.

Results: The extended BOADICEA model with reproductive/lifestyle factors and PRS was well calibrated across risk deciles; expected-to-observed ratio (E/O) at the highest risk decile :0.97 (95 % CI 0.51 - 1.86) for women younger than 50 years and 1.09 (0.66 - 1.80) for women 50 years or older. Adding reproductive/lifestyle factors and PRS to the BOADICEA model improved discrimination modestly in younger women (area under the curve (AUC) 69.7 % vs. 69.1%) and substantially in older women (AUC 64.6 % vs. 56.8%). The Tyrer-Cuzick model with PRS showed evidence of overestimation at the highest risk decile: E/O = 1.54(0.81 - 2.92) for younger and 1.73 (1.03 - 2.90) for older women.

Conclusion: The extended BOADICEA model identified women in a European-ancestry population at elevated breast cancer risk more accurately than the Tyrer-Cuzick model with PRS. With the increasing availability of PRS, these analyses can inform choice of risk models incorporating PRS for risk stratified breast cancer prevention among women of European ancestry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01399-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885342PMC
February 2021

A multilayered post-GWAS assessment on genetic susceptibility to pancreatic cancer.

Genome Med 2021 02 1;13(1):15. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

CIBERONC, Madrid, Spain.

Background: Pancreatic cancer (PC) is a complex disease in which both non-genetic and genetic factors interplay. To date, 40 GWAS hits have been associated with PC risk in individuals of European descent, explaining 4.1% of the phenotypic variance.

Methods: We complemented a new conventional PC GWAS (1D) with genome spatial autocorrelation analysis (2D) permitting to prioritize low frequency variants not detected by GWAS. These were further expanded via Hi-C map (3D) interactions to gain additional insight into the inherited basis of PC. In silico functional analysis of public genomic information allowed prioritization of potentially relevant candidate variants.

Results: We identified several new variants located in genes for which there is experimental evidence of their implication in the biology and function of pancreatic acinar cells. Among them is a novel independent variant in NR5A2 (rs3790840) with a meta-analysis p value = 5.91E-06 in 1D approach and a Local Moran's Index (LMI) = 7.76 in 2D approach. We also identified a multi-hit region in CASC8-a lncRNA associated with pancreatic carcinogenesis-with a lowest p value = 6.91E-05. Importantly, two new PC loci were identified both by 2D and 3D approaches: SIAH3 (LMI = 18.24), CTRB2/BCAR1 (LMI = 6.03), in addition to a chromatin interacting region in XBP1-a major regulator of the ER stress and unfolded protein responses in acinar cells-identified by 3D; all of them with a strong in silico functional support.

Conclusions: This multi-step strategy, combined with an in-depth in silico functional analysis, offers a comprehensive approach to advance the study of PC genetic susceptibility and could be applied to other diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-020-00816-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7849104PMC
February 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

Associations of fecal microbial profiles with breast cancer and nonmalignant breast disease in the Ghana Breast Health Study.

Int J Cancer 2021 06 26;148(11):2712-2723. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

The gut microbiota may play a role in breast cancer etiology by regulating hormonal, metabolic and immunologic pathways. We investigated associations of fecal bacteria with breast cancer and nonmalignant breast disease in a case-control study conducted in Ghana, a country with rising breast cancer incidence and mortality. To do this, we sequenced the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize bacteria in fecal samples collected at the time of breast biopsy (N = 379 breast cancer cases, N = 102 nonmalignant breast disease cases, N = 414 population-based controls). We estimated associations of alpha diversity (observed amplicon sequence variants [ASVs], Shannon index, and Faith's phylogenetic diversity), beta diversity (Bray-Curtis and unweighted/weighted UniFrac distance), and the presence and relative abundance of select taxa with breast cancer and nonmalignant breast disease using multivariable unconditional polytomous logistic regression. All alpha diversity metrics were strongly, inversely associated with odds of breast cancer and for those in the highest relative to lowest tertile of observed ASVs, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) was 0.21 (0.13-0.36; P < .001). Alpha diversity associations were similar for nonmalignant breast disease and breast cancer grade/molecular subtype. All beta diversity distance matrices and multiple taxa with possible estrogen-conjugating and immune-related functions were strongly associated with breast cancer (all Ps < .001). There were no statistically significant differences between breast cancer and nonmalignant breast disease cases in any microbiota metric. In conclusion, fecal bacterial characteristics were strongly and similarly associated with breast cancer and nonmalignant breast disease. Our findings provide novel insight into potential microbially-mediated mechanisms of breast disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33473DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8386185PMC
June 2021

Impact of Population Growth and Aging on Estimates of Excess U.S. Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic, March to August 2020.

Ann Intern Med 2021 04 15;174(4):437-443. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland (M.S.S., J.S.A., M.G., P.S.A., N.D.F., A.B.D.).

Background: Excess death estimates quantify the full impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Widely reported U.S. excess death estimates have not accounted for recent population changes, especially increases in the population older than 65 years.

Objective: To estimate excess deaths in the United States in 2020, after accounting for population changes.

Design: Surveillance study.

Setting: United States, March to August 2020.

Participants: All decedents.

Measurements: Age-specific excess deaths in the United States from 1 March to 31 August 2020 compared with 2015 to 2019 were estimated, after changes in population size and age were taken into account, by using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provisional death data and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. Cause-specific excess deaths were estimated by month and age.

Results: From March through August 2020, 1 671 400 deaths were registered in the United States, including 173 300 COVID-19 deaths. An average of 1 370 000 deaths were reported over the same months during 2015 to 2019, for a crude excess of 301 400 deaths (128 100 non-COVID-19 deaths). However, the 2020 U.S. population includes 5.04 million more persons aged 65 years and older than the average population in 2015 to 2019 (a 10% increase). After population changes were taken into account, an estimated 217 900 excess deaths occurred from March through August 2020 (173 300 COVID-19 and 44 600 non-COVID-19 deaths). Most excess non-COVID-19 deaths occurred in April, July, and August, and 34 900 (78%) were in persons aged 25 to 64 years. Diabetes, Alzheimer disease, and heart disease caused the most non-COVID-19 excess deaths.

Limitation: Provisional death data are underestimated because of reporting delays.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an estimated 218 000 excess deaths in the United States between March and August 2020, and 80% of those deaths had COVID-19 as the underlying cause. Accounting for population changes substantially reduced the excess non-COVID-19 death estimates, providing important information for guiding future clinical and public health interventions.

Primary Funding Source: National Cancer Institute.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/M20-7385DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7901655PMC
April 2021

Mortality Tracker: the COVID-19 case for real time web APIs as epidemiology commons.

Bioinformatics 2021 08;37(14):2073-2074

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

Motivation: Mortality Tracker is an in-browser application for data wrangling, analysis, dissemination and visualization of public time series of mortality in the United States. It was developed in response to requests by epidemiologists for portable real time assessment of the effect of COVID-19 on other causes of death and all-cause mortality. This is performed by comparing 2020 real time values with observations from the same week in the previous 5 years, and by enabling the extraction of temporal snapshots of mortality series that facilitate modeling the interdependence between its causes.

Results: Our solution employs a scalable 'Data Commons at Web Scale' approach that abstracts all stages of the data cycle as in-browser components. Specifically, the data wrangling computation, not just the orchestration of data retrieval, takes place in the browser, without any requirement to download or install software. This approach, where operations that would normally be computed server-side are mapped to in-browser SDKs, is sometimes loosely described as Web APIs, a designation adopted here.

Availabilityand Implementation: https://episphere.github.io/mortalitytracker; webcast demo: youtu.be/ZsvCe7cZzLo.

Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btaa933DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665316PMC
August 2021

Cancer therapy shapes the fitness landscape of clonal hematopoiesis.

Nat Genet 2020 11 26;52(11):1219-1226. Epub 2020 Oct 26.

Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.

Acquired mutations are pervasive across normal tissues. However, understanding of the processes that drive transformation of certain clones to cancer is limited. Here we study this phenomenon in the context of clonal hematopoiesis (CH) and the development of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (tMNs). We find that mutations are selected differentially based on exposures. Mutations in ASXL1 are enriched in current or former smokers, whereas cancer therapy with radiation, platinum and topoisomerase II inhibitors preferentially selects for mutations in DNA damage response genes (TP53, PPM1D, CHEK2). Sequential sampling provides definitive evidence that DNA damage response clones outcompete other clones when exposed to certain therapies. Among cases in which CH was previously detected, the CH mutation was present at tMN diagnosis. We identify the molecular characteristics of CH that increase risk of tMN. The increasing implementation of clinical sequencing at diagnosis provides an opportunity to identify patients at risk of tMN for prevention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00710-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7891089PMC
November 2020

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

Polygenic risk score for the prediction of breast cancer is related to lesser terminal duct lobular unit involution of the breast.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 7;6:41. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

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

Terminal duct lobular units (TDLUs) are the predominant anatomical structures where breast cancers originate. Having lesser degrees of age-related TDLU involution, measured as higher TDLUs counts or more epithelial TDLU substructures (acini), is related to increased breast cancer risk among women with benign breast disease (BBD). We evaluated whether a recently developed polygenic risk score (PRS) based on 313-common variants for breast cancer prediction is related to TDLU involution in the background, normal breast tissue, as this could provide mechanistic clues on the genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Among 1398 women without breast cancer, higher values of the PRS were significantly associated with higher TDLU counts ( = 0.004), but not with acini counts ( = 0.808), in histologically normal tissue samples from donors and diagnostic BBD biopsies. Mediation analysis indicated that TDLU counts may explain a modest proportion (≤10%) of the association of the 313-variant PRS with breast cancer risk. These findings suggest that TDLU involution might be an intermediate step in the association between common genetic variation and breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00184-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477555PMC
September 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

Common Susceptibility Loci for Male Breast Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 04;113(4):453-461

Division of Oncology, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund, Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.

Background: The etiology of male breast cancer (MBC) is poorly understood. In particular, the extent to which the genetic basis of MBC differs from female breast cancer (FBC) is unknown. A previous genome-wide association study of MBC identified 2 predisposition loci for the disease, both of which were also associated with risk of FBC.

Methods: We performed genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping of European ancestry MBC case subjects and controls in 3 stages. Associations between directly genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms with MBC were assessed using fixed-effects meta-analysis of 1380 cases and 3620 controls. Replication genotyping of 810 cases and 1026 controls was used to validate variants with P values less than 1 × 10-06. Genetic correlation with FBC was evaluated using linkage disequilibrium score regression, by comprehensively examining the associations of published FBC risk loci with risk of MBC and by assessing associations between a FBC polygenic risk score and MBC. All statistical tests were 2-sided.

Results: The genome-wide association study identified 3 novel MBC susceptibility loci that attained genome-wide statistical significance (P < 5 × 10-08). Genetic correlation analysis revealed a strong shared genetic basis with estrogen receptor-positive FBC. Men in the top quintile of genetic risk had a fourfold increased risk of breast cancer relative to those in the bottom quintile (odds ratio = 3.86, 95% confidence interval = 3.07 to 4.87, P = 2.08 × 10-30).

Conclusions: These findings advance our understanding of the genetic basis of MBC, providing support for an overlapping genetic etiology with FBC and identifying a fourfold high-risk group of susceptible men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023850PMC
April 2021
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