Publications by authors named "Paul Brennan"

923 Publications

Clinical features, diagnosis, and survival analysis of dogs with glioma.

J Vet Intern Med 2021 Jun 12. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Faculty, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Gliomas in dogs remain poorly understood.

Objectives: To characterize the clinicopathologic findings, diagnostic imaging features and survival of a large sample of dogs with glioma using the Comparative Brain Tumor Consortium diagnostic classification.

Animals: Ninety-one dogs with histopathological diagnosis of glioma.

Methods: Multicentric retrospective case series. Signalment, clinicopathologic findings, diagnostic imaging characteristics, treatment, and outcome were used. Tumors were reclassified according to the new canine glioma diagnostic scheme.

Results: No associations were found between clinicopathologic findings or survival and tumor type or grade. However, definitive treatments provided significantly (P = .03) improved median survival time (84 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], 45-190) compared to palliative treatment (26 days; 95% CI, 11-54). On magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), oligodendrogliomas were associated with smooth margins and T1-weighted hypointensity compared to astrocytomas (odds ratio [OR], 42.5; 95% CI, 2.42-744.97; P = .04; OR, 45.5; 95% CI, 5.78-333.33; P < .001, respectively) and undefined gliomas (OR, 84; 95% CI, 3.43-999.99; P = .02; OR, 32.3; 95% CI, 2.51-500.00; P = .008, respectively) and were more commonly in contact with the ventricles than astrocytomas (OR, 7.47; 95% CI, 1.03-53.95; P = .049). Tumor spread to neighboring brain structures was associated with high-grade glioma (OR, 6.02; 95% CI, 1.06-34.48; P = .04).

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: Dogs with gliomas have poor outcomes, but risk factors identified in survival analysis inform prognosis and the newly identified MRI characteristics could refine diagnosis of tumor type and grade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16199DOI Listing
June 2021

The structural basis of fatty acid elongation by the ELOVL elongases.

Nat Struct Mol Biol 2021 Jun 10;28(6):512-520. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Structural Genomics Consortium, Centre for Medicines Discovery, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) are essential building blocks for the synthesis of ceramides and sphingolipids. The first step in the fatty acid elongation cycle is catalyzed by the 3-keto acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) synthases (in mammals, ELOVL elongases). Although ELOVLs are implicated in common diseases, including insulin resistance, hepatic steatosis and Parkinson's, their underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. Here we report the structure of the human ELOVL7 elongase, which comprises an inverted transmembrane barrel surrounding a 35-Å long tunnel containing a covalently attached product analogue. The structure reveals the substrate-binding sites in the narrow tunnel and an active site deep in the membrane. We demonstrate that chain elongation proceeds via an acyl-enzyme intermediate involving the second histidine in the canonical HxxHH motif. The unusual substrate-binding arrangement and chemistry suggest mechanisms for selective ELOVL inhibition, relevant for diseases where VLCFAs accumulate, such as X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41594-021-00605-6DOI Listing
June 2021

Targeted Deep Sequencing of Cell-Free DNA in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Using Low-Quality Serum: Concordance with Tumor Mutation.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 May 26;22(11). Epub 2021 May 26.

Genomic Epidemiology Branch, International Agency for Research on Cancer/World Health Organization (IARC/WHO), 69000 Lyon, France.

Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is emerging as a potential tumor biomarker. CfDNA-based biomarkers may be applicable in tumors without an available non-invasive screening method among at-risk populations. Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and residents of the Asian cancer belt are examples of those malignancies and populations. Previous epidemiological studies using cfDNA have pointed to the need for high volumes of good quality plasma (i.e., >1 mL plasma with 0 or 1 cycles of freeze-thaw) rather than archival serum, which is often the main available source of cfDNA in retrospective studies. Here, we have investigated the concordance of mutations in tumor tissue and cfDNA extracted from archival serum left-over from 42 cases and 39 matched controls (age, gender, residence) in a high-risk area of Northern Iran (Golestan). Deep sequencing of coding regions was complemented with a specialized variant caller (Needlestack). Overall, 23% to 31% of mutations were concordantly detected in tumor and serum cfDNA (based on two false discovery rate thresholds). Concordance was positively correlated with high cfDNA concentration, smoking history (-value = 0.02) and mutations with a high potential of neoantigen formation (OR; 95%CI = 1.9 (1.11-3.29)), suggesting that tumor DNA release in the bloodstream might reflect the effects of immune and inflammatory context on tumor cell turnover. We identified mutations in five controls, one of whom was subsequently diagnosed with ESCC. Overall, the results showed that cfDNA mutations can be reliably identified by deep sequencing of archival serum, with a rate of success comparable to plasma. Nonetheless, 70% non-identifiable mutations among cancer patients and 12% mutation detection in controls are the main challenges in applying cfDNA to detect tumor-related variants when blindly targeting whole coding regions of the gene in ESCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115627DOI Listing
May 2021

The PI3K/mTOR Pathway Is Targeted by Rare Germline Variants in Patients with Both Melanoma and Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 7;13(9). Epub 2021 May 7.

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

: Malignant melanoma and RCC have different embryonic origins, no common lifestyle risk factors but intriguingly share biological properties such as immune regulation and radioresistance. An excess risk of malignant melanoma is observed in RCC patients and vice versa. This bidirectional association is poorly understood, and hypothetic genetic co-susceptibility remains largely unexplored. We hereby provide a clinical and genetic description of a series of 125 cases affected by both malignant melanoma and RCC. Clinical germline mutation testing identified a pathogenic variant in a melanoma and/or RCC predisposing gene in 17/125 cases (13.6%). This included mutually exclusive variants in (p.E318K locus, N = 9 cases), (N = 3), (N = 2), (N = 2), and (N = 1). A subset of 46 early-onset cases, without underlying germline variation, was whole-exome sequenced. In this series, thirteen genes were significantly enriched in mostly exclusive rare variants predicted to be deleterious, compared to 19,751 controls of similar ancestry. The observed variation mainly consisted of novel or low-frequency variants (<0.01%) within genes displaying strong evolutionary mutational constraints along the PI3K/mTOR pathway, including , , , , and related epigenetic modifier . The screening of independently processed germline exomes from The Cancer Genome Atlas confirmed an association with melanoma and RCC but not with cancers of established differing etiology such as lung cancers. Our study highlights that an exome-wide case-control enrichment approach may better characterize the rare variant-based missing heritability of multiple primary cancers. In our series, the co-occurrence of malignant melanoma and RCC was associated with germline variation in the PI3K/mTOR signaling cascade, with potential relevance for early diagnostic and clinical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125037PMC
May 2021

Differences in risk factors for molecular subtypes of clear cell renal cell carcinoma.

Int J Cancer 2021 May 31. Epub 2021 May 31.

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

The ccA and ccB molecular subtypes of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) have well-characterized prognostic relevance. However, it is not known whether they possess distinct etiologies. We investigated the relationships between these subtypes and RCC risk factors within a case-control study conducted in Eastern Europe. We analyzed risk factor data for ccA (n = 144) and ccB (n = 106) cases and 1476 controls through case-only and case-control comparisons to assess risk factor differences across subtypes using logistic and polytomous regression models. We also performed a meta-analysis summarizing case-only results from our study and three patient cohorts. Patients with ccB tumors had poorer survival than those with ccA tumors and were more likely to be male (case-only odds ratio [OR] 2.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.43-5.03). In case-control analyses, body mass index was significantly associated with ccA tumors (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.18-5.10 for ≥35 vs <25 kg/m ) but not with ccB tumors (1.52, 0.56-4.12), while trichloroethylene was associated with ccB but not ccA (OR 3.09, 95% CI 1.11-8.65 and 1.25, 0.36-4.39 respectively for ≥1.58 ppm-years vs unexposed). A polygenic risk score of genetic variants identified from genome-wide association studies was associated with both ccA and, in particular, ccB (OR 1.82, 1.11-2.99 and 2.87, 95% CI 1.64-5.01 respectively for 90th vs 10th percentile). In a meta-analysis of case-only results including three patient cohorts, we still observed the ccB excess for male sex and the ccA excess for obesity. In conclusion, our findings suggest the existence of etiologic heterogeneity across ccRCC molecular subtypes for several risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33701DOI Listing
May 2021

CovidNeuroOnc: A UK multicenter, prospective cohort study of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the neuro-oncology service.

Neurooncol Adv 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):vdab014. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Department of Neurosurgery, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected cancer services. Our objective was to determine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on decision making and the resulting outcomes for patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial tumors.

Methods: We performed a multicenter prospective study of all adult patients discussed in weekly neuro-oncology and skull base multidisciplinary team meetings who had a newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial (excluding pituitary) tumor between 01 April and 31 May 2020. All patients had at least 30-day follow-up data. Descriptive statistical reporting was used.

Results: There were 1357 referrals for newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial tumors across 15 neuro-oncology centers. Of centers with all intracranial tumors, a change in initial management was reported in 8.6% of cases ( = 104/1210). Decisions to change the management plan reduced over time from a peak of 19% referrals at the start of the study to 0% by the end of the study period. Changes in management were reported in 16% ( = 75/466) of cases previously recommended for surgery and 28% of cases previously recommended for chemotherapy ( = 20/72). The reported SARS-CoV-2 infection rate was similar in surgical and non-surgical patients (2.6% vs. 2.4%, > .9).

Conclusions: Disruption to neuro-oncology services in the UK caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was most marked in the first month, affecting all diagnoses. Patients considered for chemotherapy were most affected. In those recommended surgical treatment this was successfully completed. Longer-term outcome data will evaluate oncological treatments received by these patients and overall survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/noajnl/vdab014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7928638PMC
January 2021

Joint IARC/NCI International Cancer Seminar Series Report: Expert consensus on future directions for ovarian carcinoma research.

Carcinogenesis 2021 May 25. Epub 2021 May 25.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, Maryland, US.

Recently, ovarian cancer research has evolved considerably because of the emerging recognition that rather than a single disease, ovarian carcinomas comprise several different histotypes that vary by etiologic origin, risk factors, molecular profiles, therapeutic approaches, and clinical outcome. Despite significant progress in our understanding of the etiologic heterogeneity of ovarian cancer, as well as important clinical advances, it remains the eighth most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide and the most fatal gynecologic cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) jointly convened an expert panel on ovarian carcinoma to develop consensus research priorities based on evolving scientific discoveries. Expertise ranged from etiology, prevention, early detection, pathology, model systems, molecular characterization, and treatment/clinical management. This report summarizes the current state of knowledge and highlights expert consensus on future directions to continue advancing etiologic, epidemiologic, and prognostic research on ovarian carcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgab043DOI Listing
May 2021

Novel Biomarkers of Habitual Alcohol Intake and Associations with Risk of Pancreatic and Liver Cancers and Liver Disease Mortality.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 May 19. Epub 2021 May 19.

Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Alcohol is an established risk factor for several cancers, but modest alcohol-cancer associations may be missed due to measurement error in self-reported assessments. Biomarkers of habitual alcohol intake may provide novel insight into the relationship between alcohol and cancer risk.

Methods: Untargeted metabolomics was used to identify metabolites correlated with self-reported habitual alcohol intake in a discovery dataset from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC; n = 454). Statistically significant correlations were tested in independent datasets of controls from case-control studies nested within EPIC (n = 280) and the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC; n = 438) study. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations of alcohol-associated metabolites and self-reported alcohol intake with risk of pancreatic cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver cancer, and liver disease mortality in the contributing studies.

Results: Two metabolites displayed a dose-response association with self-reported alcohol intake 2-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid and an unidentified compound. A 1-SD (log2) increase in levels of 2-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid was associated with risk of HCC (OR = 2.54; 95% CI = 1.51-4.27) and pancreatic cancer (OR = 1.43; 95% CI = 1.03-1.99) in EPIC and liver cancer (OR = 2.00; 95% CI = 1.44-2.77) and liver disease mortality (OR = 2.16; 95% CI = 1.63-2.86) in ATBC. Conversely, a 1-SD (log2) increase in questionnaire-derived alcohol intake was not associated with HCC or pancreatic cancer in EPIC or liver cancer in ATBC but was associated with liver disease mortality (OR = 2.19; 95% CI = 1.60-2.98) in ATBC.

Conclusions: 2-Hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid is a candidate biomarker of habitual alcohol intake that may advance the study of alcohol and cancer risk in population-based studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab078DOI Listing
May 2021

Early diagnosis of brain tumours using a novel spectroscopic liquid biopsy.

Brain Commun 2021 30;3(2):fcab056. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

ClinSpec Diagnostics Limited, Royal College Building, Glasgow G1 1XW, UK.

Early diagnosis of brain tumours is challenging and a major unmet need. Patients with brain tumours most often present with non-specific symptoms more commonly associated with less serious diagnoses, making it difficult to determine which patients to prioritize for brain imaging. Delays in diagnosis affect timely access to treatment, with potential impacts on quality of life and survival. A test to help identify which patients with non-specific symptoms are most likely to have a brain tumour at an earlier stage would dramatically impact on patients by prioritizing demand on diagnostic imaging facilities. This clinical feasibility study of brain tumour early diagnosis was aimed at determining the accuracy of our novel spectroscopic liquid biopsy test for the triage of patients with non-specific symptoms that might be indicative of a brain tumour, for brain imaging. Patients with a suspected brain tumour based on assessment of their symptoms in primary care can be referred for open access CT scanning. Blood samples were prospectively obtained from 385 of such patients, or patients with a new brain tumour diagnosis. Samples were analysed using our spectroscopic liquid biopsy test to predict presence of disease, blinded to the brain imaging findings. The results were compared to the patient's index brain imaging delivered as per standard care. Our test predicted the presence of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive brain tumour, with 91% sensitivity, and all brain tumours with 81% sensitivity, and 80% specificity. Negative predictive value was 95% and positive predictive value 45%. The reported levels of diagnostic accuracy presented here have the potential to improve current symptom-based referral guidelines, and streamline assessment and diagnosis of symptomatic patients with a suspected brain tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcab056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8111062PMC
March 2021

Using genetic variants to evaluate the causal effect of cholesterol lowering on head and neck cancer risk: A Mendelian randomization study.

PLoS Genet 2021 Apr 22;17(4):e1009525. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), which includes cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx, is a cause of substantial global morbidity and mortality. Strategies to reduce disease burden include discovery of novel therapies and repurposing of existing drugs. Statins are commonly prescribed for lowering circulating cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR). Results from some observational studies suggest that statin use may reduce HNSCC risk. We appraised the relationship of genetically-proxied cholesterol-lowering drug targets and other circulating lipid traits with oral (OC) and oropharyngeal (OPC) cancer risk using two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR). For the primary analysis, germline genetic variants in HMGCR, NPC1L1, CETP, PCSK9 and LDLR were used to proxy the effect of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering therapies. In secondary analyses, variants were used to proxy circulating levels of other lipid traits in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 188,578 individuals. Both primary and secondary analyses aimed to estimate the downstream causal effect of cholesterol lowering therapies on OC and OPC risk. The second sample for MR was taken from a GWAS of 6,034 OC and OPC cases and 6,585 controls (GAME-ON). Analyses were replicated in UK Biobank, using 839 OC and OPC cases and 372,016 controls and the results of the GAME-ON and UK Biobank analyses combined in a fixed-effects meta-analysis. We found limited evidence of a causal effect of genetically-proxied LDL-C lowering using HMGCR, NPC1L1, CETP or other circulating lipid traits on either OC or OPC risk. Genetically-proxied PCSK9 inhibition equivalent to a 1 mmol/L (38.7 mg/dL) reduction in LDL-C was associated with an increased risk of OC and OPC combined (OR 1.8 95%CI 1.2, 2.8, p = 9.31 x10-05), with good concordance between GAME-ON and UK Biobank (I2 = 22%). Effects for PCSK9 appeared stronger in relation to OPC (OR 2.6 95%CI 1.4, 4.9) than OC (OR 1.4 95%CI 0.8, 2.4). LDLR variants, resulting in genetically-proxied reduction in LDL-C equivalent to a 1 mmol/L (38.7 mg/dL), reduced the risk of OC and OPC combined (OR 0.7, 95%CI 0.5, 1.0, p = 0.006). A series of pleiotropy-robust and outlier detection methods showed that pleiotropy did not bias our findings. We found limited evidence for a role of cholesterol-lowering in OC and OPC risk, suggesting previous observational results may have been confounded. There was some evidence that genetically-proxied inhibition of PCSK9 increased risk, while lipid-lowering variants in LDLR, reduced risk of combined OC and OPC. This result suggests that the mechanisms of action of PCSK9 on OC and OPC risk may be independent of its cholesterol lowering effects; however, this was not supported uniformly across all sensitivity analyses and further replication of this finding is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8096036PMC
April 2021

Glioblastomas acquire myeloid-affiliated transcriptional programs via epigenetic immunoediting to elicit immune evasion.

Cell 2021 Apr 14;184(9):2454-2470.e26. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Institute for Regeneration and Repair, University of Edinburgh, 5 Little France Drive, Edinburgh EH16 4UU, UK; CRUK Edinburgh Centre, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Crewe Road South, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH42XR, UK. Electronic address:

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive brain tumor for which current immunotherapy approaches have been unsuccessful. Here, we explore the mechanisms underlying immune evasion in GBM. By serially transplanting GBM stem cells (GSCs) into immunocompetent hosts, we uncover an acquired capability of GSCs to escape immune clearance by establishing an enhanced immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Mechanistically, this is not elicited via genetic selection of tumor subclones, but through an epigenetic immunoediting process wherein stable transcriptional and epigenetic changes in GSCs are enforced following immune attack. These changes launch a myeloid-affiliated transcriptional program, which leads to increased recruitment of tumor-associated macrophages. Furthermore, we identify similar epigenetic and transcriptional signatures in human mesenchymal subtype GSCs. We conclude that epigenetic immunoediting may drive an acquired immune evasion program in the most aggressive mesenchymal GBM subtype by reshaping the tumor immune microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.03.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099351PMC
April 2021

HPV DNA genotyping, HPV E6*I mRNA detection, and p16/Ki-67 staining in Belgian head and neck cancer patient specimens, collected within the HPV-AHEAD study.

Cancer Epidemiol 2021 06 8;72:101925. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Unit of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Centre, Sciensano, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

Background: The main risk factors for head and neck cancer (HNC) are tobacco and alcohol use. However, an important fraction of oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) is caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV), a subgroup with increasing incidence in several western countries.

Methods: As part of the HPV-AHEAD study, we assessed the role of HPV infection in 772 archived tissue specimens of Belgian HNC patients: 455 laryngeal (LC), 106 oral cavity (OCC), 99 OPC, 76 hypopharyngeal (HC), and 36 unspecified parts of the head and neck. All specimens were tested for HPV DNA (21 genotypes); whereof all HPV DNA-positives, all HPV DNA-negative OPCs and a random subset of HPV DNA-negatives of the other HNC-sites were tested for the presence of type-specific HPV RNA and p16 over-expression.

Results: The highest HPV DNA prevalence was observed in OPC (36.4 %), and was significantly lower (p < 0.001) in the other HNCs (OCC:7.5 %, LC:6.6 %). HPV16 was the most common HPV-genotype in all HNCs. Approximately 83.0 % of the HPV DNA-positive OPCs tested HPV RNA or p16-positive, compared to about 37.5 % and 44.0 % in OCC and LC, respectively. Estimation of the attributable fraction of an HPV infection in HNC was very similar for HPV RNA or p16 in addition to DNA-positivity; with 30 % for OPC, and 3 % for OCC and LC.

Conclusion: Our study confirms the heterogeneity of HPV DNA prevalence across anatomical sites in HNC, with a predominance of HPV16 in all sites. The estimated proportion of HPV-driven HNC in Belgium, during the period 1980-2014, was 10 times higher in OPC compared to OCC and LC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2021.101925DOI Listing
June 2021

Assessment of the conjunctival microcirculation in adult patients with cyanotic congenital heart disease compared to healthy controls.

Microvasc Res 2021 Jul 7;136:104167. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Cardiology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast, United Kingdom.

Purpose: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common live birth defect and a proportion of these patients have chronic hypoxia. Chronic hypoxia leads to secondary erythrocytosis resulting in microvascular dysfunction and increased thrombosis risk. The conjunctival microcirculation is easily accessible for imaging and quantitative assessment. It has not previously been studied in adult CHD patients with cyanosis (CCHD).

Methods: We assessed the conjunctival microcirculation and compared CCHD patients and matched healthy controls to determine if there were differences in measured microcirculatory parameters. We acquired images using an iPhone 6s and slit-lamp biomicroscope. Parameters measured included diameter, axial velocity, wall shear rate and blood volume flow. The axial velocity was estimated by applying the 1D + T continuous wavelet transform (CWT). Results are for all vessels as they were not sub-classified into arterioles or venules.

Results: 11 CCHD patients and 14 healthy controls were recruited to the study. CCHD patients were markedly more hypoxic compared to the healthy controls (84% vs 98%, p = 0.001). A total of 736 vessels (292 vs 444) were suitable for analysis. Mean microvessel diameter (D) did not significantly differ between the CCHD patients and controls (20.4 ± 2.7 μm vs 20.2 ± 2.6 μm, p = 0.86). Axial velocity (Va) was lower in the CCHD patients (0.47 ± 0.06 mm/s vs 0.53 ± 0.05 mm/s, p = 0.03). Blood volume flow (Q) was lower for CCHD patients (121 ± 30pl/s vs 145 ± 50pl/s, p = 0.65) with the greatest differences observed in vessels >22 μm diameter (216 ± 121pl/s vs 258 ± 154pl/s, p = 0.001). Wall shear rate (WSR) was significantly lower for the CCHD group (153 ± 27 s vs 174 ± 22 s, p = 0.04).

Conclusions: This iPhone and slit-lamp combination assessment of conjunctival vessels found lower axial velocity, wall shear rate and in the largest vessel group, lower blood volume flow in chronically hypoxic patients with congenital heart disease. With further study this assessment method may have utility in the evaluation of patients with chronic hypoxia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mvr.2021.104167DOI Listing
July 2021

Assessment of the conjunctival microcirculation for patients presenting with acute myocardial infarction compared to healthy controls.

Sci Rep 2021 Apr 7;11(1):7660. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Cardiology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast, UK.

Microcirculatory dysfunction occurs early in cardiovascular disease (CVD) development. Acute myocardial infarction (MI) is a late consequence of CVD. The conjunctival microcirculation is readily-accessible for quantitative assessment and has not previously been studied in MI patients. We compared the conjunctival microcirculation of acute MI patients and age/sex-matched healthy controls to determine if there were differences in microcirculatory parameters. We acquired images using an iPhone 6s and slit-lamp biomicroscope. Parameters measured included diameter, axial velocity, wall shear rate and blood volume flow. Results are for all vessels as they were not sub-classified into arterioles or venules. The conjunctival microcirculation was assessed in 56 controls and 59 inpatients with a presenting diagnosis of MI. Mean vessel diameter for the controls was 21.41 ± 7.57 μm compared to 22.32 ± 7.66 μm for the MI patients (p < 0.001). Axial velocity for the controls was 0.53 ± 0.15 mm/s compared to 0.49 ± 0.17 mm/s for the MI patients (p < 0.001). Wall shear rate was higher for controls than MI patients (162 ± 93 s vs 145 ± 88 s, p < 0.001). Blood volume flow did not differ significantly for the controls and MI patients (153 ± 124 pl/s vs 154 ± 125 pl/s, p = 0.84). This pilot iPhone and slit-lamp assessment of the conjunctival microcirculation found lower axial velocity and wall shear rate in patients with acute MI. Further study is required to correlate these findings further and assess long-term outcomes in this patient group with a severe CVD phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-87315-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8027463PMC
April 2021

Oral Health and Risk of Upper Gastrointestinal Cancers in a Large Prospective Study from a High-risk Region: Golestan Cohort Study.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2021 Mar 17. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

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

Tooth loss and periodontal disease have been associated with several cancers, and poor oral health may be an important risk factor for upper gastrointestinal (UGI, i.e., esophageal and gastric) cancers. We assessed the relationship between oral health and UGI cancers using a large prospective study of over 50,000 adults living in Golestan Province, Iran, a high-incidence area for these cancers. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for the association between three different measures of oral health [frequency of tooth brushing; number of missing teeth; and the sum of decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT)] and UGI cancers. During a median follow-up duration of 13 years, there were 794 incident UGI cancers (396 esophageal and 398 gastric cancers). Daily tooth brushing was associated with a decreased risk of developing both esophageal (HR = 0.670; 95% CI: 0.486-0.924) and gastric (HR = 0.741; 95% CI: 0.544-1.01) cancers (combined UGI cancer HR = 0.697; 95% CI: 0.558-0.871) compared with never brushing. Tooth loss in excess of the loess smoothed, age- and sex-specific median number of teeth lost was significantly associated with esophageal (HR = 1.64; 95% CI: 1.08-2.47) and gastric cancers (HR = 1.58; 95% CI: 1.05-2.38). There were some adverse associations between DMFT and UGI cancers but most were not statistically significant. These results suggest increased risk of developing UGI cancers among individuals with poor oral health, and those who do not perform regular oral hygiene. PREVENTION RELEVANCE: Poor oral health is associated with the risk of upper gastrointestinal cancers, and oral hygiene practices may help prevent these cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-20-0577DOI Listing
March 2021

Fragment Screening Reveals Starting Points for Rational Design of Galactokinase 1 Inhibitors to Treat Classic Galactosemia.

ACS Chem Biol 2021 04 16;16(4):586-595. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Structural Genomics Consortium, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, OX3 7DQ.

Classic galactosemia is caused by loss-of-function mutations in galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT) that lead to toxic accumulation of its substrate, galactose-1-phosphate. One proposed therapy is to inhibit the biosynthesis of galactose-1-phosphate, catalyzed by galactokinase 1 (GALK1). Existing inhibitors of human GALK1 (hGALK1) are primarily ATP-competitive with limited clinical utility to date. Here, we determined crystal structures of hGALK1 bound with reported ATP-competitive inhibitors of the spiro-benzoxazole series, to reveal their binding mode in the active site. Spurred by the need for additional chemotypes of hGALK1 inhibitors, desirably targeting a nonorthosteric site, we also performed crystallography-based screening by soaking hundreds of hGALK1 crystals, already containing active site ligands, with fragments from a custom library. Two fragments were found to bind close to the ATP binding site, and a further eight were found in a hotspot distal from the active site, highlighting the strength of this method in identifying previously uncharacterized allosteric sites. To generate inhibitors of improved potency and selectivity targeting the newly identified binding hotspot, new compounds were designed by merging overlapping fragments. This yielded two micromolar inhibitors of hGALK1 that were not competitive with respect to either substrate (ATP or galactose) and demonstrated good selectivity over hGALK1 homologues, galactokinase 2 and mevalonate kinase. Our findings are therefore the first to demonstrate inhibition of hGALK1 from an allosteric site, with potential for further development of potent and selective inhibitors to provide novel therapeutics for classic galactosemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acschembio.0c00498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8056384PMC
April 2021

Male sex chromosomal complement exacerbates the pathogenicity of Th17 cells in a chronic model of central nervous system autoimmunity.

Cell Rep 2021 Mar;34(10):108833

axe Neurosciences, Centre de Recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Pavillon CHUL, 2705 boulevard Laurier, Quebec City, QC G1V 4G2, Canada; Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, 1050 ave de la Médecine, Quebec City, QC, Canada. Electronic address:

Sex differences in multiple sclerosis (MS) incidence and severity have long been recognized. However, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms for why male sex is associated with more aggressive disease remain poorly defined. Using a T cell adoptive transfer model of chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), we find that male Th17 cells induce disease of increased severity relative to female Th17 cells, irrespective of whether transferred to male or female recipients. Throughout the disease course, a greater frequency of male Th17 cells produce IFNγ, a hallmark of pathogenic Th17 responses. Intriguingly, XY chromosomal complement increases the pathogenicity of male Th17 cells. An X-linked immune regulator, Jarid1c, is downregulated in pathogenic male murine Th17 cells, and functional experiments reveal that it represses the severity of Th17-mediated EAE. Furthermore, Jarid1c expression is downregulated in CD4 T cells from MS-affected individuals. Our data indicate that male sex chromosomal complement critically regulates Th17 cell pathogenicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108833DOI Listing
March 2021

RHO to the DOCK for GDP disembarking: structural insights into the DOCK GTPase nucleotide exchange factors.

J Biol Chem 2021 Mar 5:100521. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Alzheimer's Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, OX3 7FZ, United Kingdom; Target Discovery Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, OX3 7FZ, United Kingdom; Centre for Medicines Discovery, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, OX3 7DQ, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

The human dedicator of cytokinesis (DOCK) family consists of 11 structurally conserved proteins that serve as atypical RHO guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RHO GEFs). These regulatory proteins act as mediators in numerous cellular cascades that promote cytoskeletal remodelling, playing roles in various crucial processes such as differentiation, migration, polarisation and axon growth in neurons. At the molecular level, DOCK DHR2 domains facilitate nucleotide dissociation from small GTPases, a process which is otherwise too slow for rapid spatiotemporal control of cellular signalling. Here, we provide an overview of the biological and structural characteristics for the various DOCK proteins and describe how they differ from other RHO GEFs and between DOCK sub-families. The expression of the family varies depending on cell or tissue type, and they are consequently implicated in a broad range of disease phenotypes, particularly in the brain. A growing body of available structural information reveals the mechanism by which the catalytic DHR2 domain elicits nucleotide dissociation and also indicates strategies for the discovery and design of high-affinity small molecule inhibitors. Such compounds could serve as chemical probes to interrogate the cellular function and provide starting points for drug discovery of this important class of enzymes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100521DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8063744PMC
March 2021

Genetically Raised Circulating Bilirubin Levels and Risk of Ten Cancers: A Mendelian Randomization Study.

Cells 2021 Feb 15;10(2). Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Nutrition and Metabolism Branch, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), 69008 Lyon, France.

Bilirubin, an endogenous antioxidant, may play a protective role in cancer development. We applied two-sample Mendelian randomization to investigate whether genetically raised bilirubin levels are causally associated with the risk of ten cancers (pancreas, kidney, endometrium, ovary, breast, prostate, lung, Hodgkin's lymphoma, melanoma, and neuroblastoma). The number of cases and their matched controls of European descent ranged from 122,977 and 105,974 for breast cancer to 1200 and 6417 for Hodgkin's lymphoma, respectively. A total of 115 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated ( < 5 × 10) with circulating total bilirubin, extracted from a genome-wide association study in the UK Biobank, were used as instrumental variables. One SNP (rs6431625) in the promoter region of the uridine-diphosphoglucuronate glucuronosyltransferase1A1 ( gene explained 16.9% and the remaining 114 SNPs (non- SNPs) explained 3.1% of phenotypic variance in circulating bilirubin levels. A one-standarddeviation increment in circulating bilirubin (≈ 4.4 µmol/L), predicted by non- SNPs, was inversely associated with risk of squamous cell lung cancer and Hodgkin's lymphoma (odds ratio (OR) 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73-0.99, 0.04 and OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.42-0.99, 0.04, respectively), which was confirmed after removing potential pleiotropic SNPs. In contrast, a positive association was observed with the risk of breast cancer after removing potential pleiotropic SNPs (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.04-1.20, 0.002). There was little evidence for robust associations with the other seven cancers investigated. Genetically raised bilirubin levels were inversely associated with risk of squamous cell lung cancer as well as Hodgkin's lymphoma and positively associated with risk of breast cancer. Further studies are required to investigate the utility of bilirubin as a low-cost clinical marker to improve risk prediction for certain cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells10020394DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918902PMC
February 2021

Genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies pleiotropic risk loci for aerodigestive squamous cell cancers.

PLoS Genet 2021 Mar 5;17(3):e1009254. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

University of Salzburg, Department of Biosciences and Cancer Cluster Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Squamous cell carcinomas (SqCC) of the aerodigestive tract have similar etiological risk factors. Although genetic risk variants for individual cancers have been identified, an agnostic, genome-wide search for shared genetic susceptibility has not been performed. To identify novel and pleotropic SqCC risk variants, we performed a meta-analysis of GWAS data on lung SqCC (LuSqCC), oro/pharyngeal SqCC (OSqCC), laryngeal SqCC (LaSqCC) and esophageal SqCC (ESqCC) cancers, totaling 13,887 cases and 61,961 controls of European ancestry. We identified one novel genome-wide significant (Pmeta<5x10-8) aerodigestive SqCC susceptibility loci in the 2q33.1 region (rs56321285, TMEM273). Additionally, three previously unknown loci reached suggestive significance (Pmeta<5x10-7): 1q32.1 (rs12133735, near MDM4), 5q31.2 (rs13181561, TMEM173) and 19p13.11 (rs61494113, ABHD8). Multiple previously identified loci for aerodigestive SqCC also showed evidence of pleiotropy in at least another SqCC site, these include: 4q23 (ADH1B), 6p21.33 (STK19), 6p21.32 (HLA-DQB1), 9p21.33 (CDKN2B-AS1) and 13q13.1(BRCA2). Gene-based association and gene set enrichment identified a set of 48 SqCC-related genes rel to DNA damage and epigenetic regulation pathways. Our study highlights the importance of cross-cancer analyses to identify pleiotropic risk loci of histology-related cancers arising at distinct anatomical sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009254DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7968735PMC
March 2021

Permeability of the Blood-Brain Barrier after Traumatic Brain Injury; Radiological Considerations.

J Neurotrauma 2021 Apr 12. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability, especially in young persons, and constitutes a major socioeconomic burden worldwide. It is regarded as the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in previously healthy young persons. Most of the mechanisms underpinning the development of secondary brain injury are consequences of disruption of the complex relationship between the cells and proteins constituting the neurovascular unit or a direct result of loss of integrity of the tight junctions (TJ) in the blood-brain barrier (BBB). A number of changes have been described in the BBB after TBI, including loss of TJ proteins, pericyte loss and migration, and altered expressions of water channel proteins at astrocyte end-feet processes. There is a growing research interest in identifying optimal biological and radiological biomarkers of severity of BBB dysfunction and its effects on outcomes after TBI. This review explores the microscopic changes occurring at the neurovascular unit, after TBI, and current radiological adjuncts for its evaluation in pre-clinical and clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.7545DOI Listing
April 2021

Long-term opiate use and risk of cardiovascular mortality: results from the Golestan Cohort Study.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2021 Mar;28(1):98-106

Digestive Oncology Research Center, Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Shariati Hospital, North Kargar Avenue, Tehran 14117-13135, Iran.

Aims: Tens of millions of people worldwide use opiates but little is known about their potential role in causing cardiovascular diseases. We aimed to study the association of long-term opiate use with cardiovascular mortality and whether this association is independent of the known risk factors.

Methods And Results: In the population-based Golestan Cohort Study-50 045 Iranian participants, 40-75 years, 58% women-we used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (HRs, 95% CIs) for the association of opiate use (at least once a week for a period of 6 months) with cardiovascular mortality, adjusting for potential confounders-i.e. age, sex, education, wealth, residential place, marital status, ethnicity, and tobacco and alcohol use. To show independent association, the models were further adjusted for hypertension, diabetes, waist and hip circumferences, physical activity, fruit/vegetable intake, aspirin and statin use, and history of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. In total, 8487 participants (72.2% men) were opiate users for a median (IQR) of 10 (4-20) years. During 548 940 person-years-median of 11.3 years, >99% success follow-up-3079 cardiovascular deaths occurred, with substantially higher rates in opiate users than non-users (1005 vs. 478 deaths/100 000 person-years). Opiate use was associated with increased cardiovascular mortality, with adjusted HR (95% CI) of 1.63 (1.49-1.79). Overall 10.9% of cardiovascular deaths were attributable to opiate use. The association was independent of the traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

Conclusion: Long-term opiate use was associated with an increased cardiovascular mortality independent of the traditional risk factors. Further research, particularly on mechanisms of action, is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurjpc/zwaa006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8133380PMC
March 2021

Occupational socioeconomic risk associations for head and neck cancer in Europe and South America: individual participant data analysis of pooled case-control studies within the INHANCE Consortium.

J Epidemiol Community Health 2021 Feb 23. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Division of Public Health, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Background: The association between socioeconomic disadvantage (low education and/or income) and head and neck cancer is well established, with smoking and alcohol consumption explaining up to three-quarters of the risk. We aimed to investigate the nature of and explanations for head and neck cancer risk associated with occupational socioeconomic prestige (a perceptual measure of psychosocial status), occupational socioeconomic position and manual-work experience, and to assess the potential explanatory role of occupational exposures.

Methods: Pooled analysis included 5818 patients with head and neck cancer (and 7326 control participants) from five studies in Europe and South America. Lifetime job histories were coded to: (1) occupational social prestige-Treiman's Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale (SIOPS); (2) occupational socioeconomic position-International Socio-Economic Index (ISEI); and (3) manual/non-manual jobs.

Results: For the longest held job, adjusting for smoking, alcohol and nature of occupation, increased head and neck cancer risk estimates were observed for low SIOPS OR=1.88 (95% CI: 1.64 to 2.17), low ISEI OR=1.74 (95% CI: 1.51 to 1.99) and manual occupations OR=1.49 (95% CI: 1.35 to 1.64). Following mutual adjustment by socioeconomic exposures, risk associated with low SIOPS remained OR=1.59 (95% CI: 1.30 to 1.94).

Conclusions: These findings indicate that low occupational socioeconomic prestige, position and manual work are associated with head and neck cancer, and such risks are only partly explained by smoking, alcohol and occupational exposures. Perceptual occupational psychosocial status (SIOPS) appears to be the strongest socioeconomic factor, relative to socioeconomic position and manual/non-manual work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214913DOI Listing
February 2021

Early economic evaluation to guide the development of a spectroscopic liquid biopsy for the detection of brain cancer.

Int J Technol Assess Health Care 2021 Feb 24;37:e41. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde, Technology and Innovation Centre, Glasgow, UK.

Objectives: An early economic evaluation to inform the translation into clinical practice of a spectroscopic liquid biopsy for the detection of brain cancer. Two specific aims are (1) to update an existing economic model with results from a prospective study of diagnostic accuracy and (2) to explore the potential of brain tumor-type predictions to affect patient outcomes and healthcare costs.

Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis from a UK NHS perspective of the use of spectroscopic liquid biopsy in primary and secondary care settings, as well as a cost-consequence analysis of the addition of tumor-type predictions was conducted. Decision tree models were constructed to represent simplified diagnostic pathways. Test diagnostic accuracy parameters were based on a prospective validation study. Four price points (GBP 50-200, EUR 57-228) for the test were considered.

Results: In both settings, the use of liquid biopsy produced QALY gains. In primary care, at test costs below GBP 100 (EUR 114), testing was cost saving. At GBP 100 (EUR 114) per test, the ICER was GBP 13,279 (EUR 15,145), whereas at GBP 200 (EUR 228), the ICER was GBP 78,300 (EUR 89,301). In secondary care, the ICER ranged from GBP 11,360 (EUR 12,956) to GBP 43,870 (EUR 50,034) across the range of test costs.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate the potential for the technology to be cost-effective in both primary and secondary care settings. Additional studies of test use in routine primary care practice are needed to resolve the remaining issues of uncertainty-prevalence in this patient population and referral behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266462321000143DOI Listing
February 2021

Timing of treatment of aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage: are the goals set in international guidelines achievable?

Ir J Med Sci 2021 Feb 18. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

National Neurosurgical Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Background And Aims: International guidelines emphasise the importance of securing ruptured cerebral aneurysms within 48-72 h of ictus. We assessed the timing of treatment of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) referred to a national neurosurgical centre.

Materials And Methods: Analysis of a prospective database of patients with aSAH admitted between 1st of February 2016 and 29th of February 2020 was performed. The timing to treatment was expressed in days and analysed in three ways: ictus to treatment, ictus to referral and referral to treatment. ORs with 95% CI were calculated for aneurysm treatment within 24, 48 and 72 h for good grade (WFSN 1-3) and poor grade (WFNS 4-5) cohorts separately.

Results: Of a total of 538 patients with aSAH, the aneurysm was secured in 312 (58%) within 24 h and in 398 (74%) within 48 h of ictus. Securing the aneurysm within 48 h of ictus was achieved in 89% (395/444) of patients who were referred within 24 h of ictus, but in only 3.2% (3/94) who were referred > 24 h after ictus. Poor grade patients (WFNS 4-5) were more likely than good grade patients (WFNS 1-3) to be referred to neurosurgery within 48 h of ictus (OR 22.87, 95% CI 3.14-166.49, p = 0.0020) and for their aneurysm to be secured within 48 h (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.06-2.98, p = 0.0297) of ictus. Ictus to referral delay was highest in WFNS grade 1 patients.

Conclusions: In centres with 7 day per week provision of interventional neuroradiology and vascular neurosurgery, the majority of patients with aSAH can be treated within the timeframes recommended by international guidelines and this applies to all grades of aSAH. However, delays still occur in a significant proportion of patients and this particularly applies to delays in presentation and diagnosis in good grade patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11845-021-02542-1DOI Listing
February 2021

Rare deleterious germline variants and risk of lung cancer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isolated right ventricular myocardial infarction: a case report.

Eur Heart J Case Rep 2021 Jan 9;5(1):ytaa494. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Cardiology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Co., Antrim BT12 6BA, UK.

Background: Isolated right ventricular myocardial infarction (RVMI) due to a recessive right coronary artery (RCA) occlusion is a rare presentation. It is typically caused by right ventricle (RV) branch occlusion complicating percutaneous coronary intervention. We report a case of an isolated RVMI due to flush RCA occlusion presenting via our primary percutaneous coronary intervention ST-elevation myocardial infarction pathway.

Case Summary: A 61-year-old female smoker with a history of hypercholesterolaemia presented via the primary percutaneous coronary intervention pathway with sudden onset of shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain while walking. Transradial coronary angiography revealed a normal left main coronary artery, large left anterior descending artery that wrapped around the apex and dominant left circumflex artery with the non-obstructive disease. The RCA was not selectively entered despite multiple attempts. The left ventriculogram showed normal left ventricle (LV) systolic function. She was in cardiogenic shock with a persistent ectopic atrial rhythm with retrograde p-waves and stabilized with intravenous dobutamine thus avoiding the need for a transcutaneous venous pacing system. A computed tomography pulmonary angiogram demonstrated no evidence of pulmonary embolism while an urgent cardiac gated computed tomography revealed a recessive RCA with ostial occlusive lesion. A cardiac magnetic resonance imaging confirmed RV free wall infarction. She was managed conservatively and discharged to her local district general hospital after 5th day of hospitalization at the tertiary centre.

Discussion: This case describes a relatively rare myocardial infarction presentation that can present with many disease mimics which can require as in this case, a multi-modality imaging approach to establish the diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjcr/ytaa494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7850631PMC
January 2021

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

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

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

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