Publications by authors named "Paul Pharoah"

646 Publications

A systematic review assessing the existence of pneumothorax-only variants of FLCN. Implications for lifelong surveillance of renal tumours.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Jul 15. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Department of Respiratory Medicine, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.

Individuals with Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS) may develop fibrofolliculomas, pneumothorax and/or renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Currently, all patients with pathogenic FLCN variants are recommended to have renal surveillance. It has however been suggested that some FLCN variants only cause pneumothorax, which would make surveillance unnecessary in certain cases. This review assesses this possibility. We provide an up-to-date analysis of clinical and genetic features of BHDS. The PUBMED database was systematically searched to find all articles describing patients with pathogenic FLCN variants. The relevant clinical and genetic features of these patients were recorded and analysed. The prevalence of pneumothorax, pulmonary cysts, RCC and characteristic skin lesions in BHDS were 50.9% (n = 1038), 91.9% (n = 720), 22.5% (n = 929) and 47.9% (n = 989), respectively. There was a higher prevalence of pneumothoraces (p < 0.0001) but lower prevalence of dermatological findings (p < 0.0001) in patients from East Asia compared to North America or Europe. Of the 194 pathogenic FLCN variants, 76 could be defined as 'pneumothorax-only'. Pneumothorax only pathogenic variants (POPVs) were distributed throughout the gene, and there were no statistical differences in variant type. The majority of POPVs (65/76) affected no more than three individuals. Individuals with 'POPVs' also tended to be younger (45 vs. 47 years, p < 0.05). Many apparent POPVs in the literature could result from variable expressivity, age-related penetrance and other confounding factors. We therefore recommend that all individuals found to carry a pathogenic FLCN variant be enroled in lifelong surveillance for RCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00921-xDOI Listing
July 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

Identification of a Locus Near Associated With Progression-Free Survival in Ovarian Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Jun 23. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Gynecologic Oncology Center, Kiel, Germany.

Background: Many loci have been found to be associated with risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). However, although there is considerable variation in progression-free survival (PFS), no loci have been found to be associated with outcome at genome-wide levels of significance.

Methods: We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of PFS in 2,352 women with EOC who had undergone cytoreductive surgery and standard carboplatin/paclitaxel chemotherapy.

Results: We found seven SNPs at 12q24.33 associated with PFS ( < 5 × 10), the top SNP being rs10794418 (HR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.15-1.34; = 1.47 × 10). High expression of a nearby gene, , is associated with shorter PFS in EOC, and with poor prognosis in other cancers. SNP rs10794418 is also associated with expression of in ovarian tumors, with the allele associated with shorter PFS being associated with higher expression, and chromatin interactions were detected between the promoter and associated SNPs in serous and endometrioid EOC cell lines. ULK1 knockout ovarian cancer cell lines showed significantly increased sensitivity to carboplatin .

Conclusions: The locus at 12q24.33 represents one of the first genome-wide significant loci for survival for any cancer. is a plausible candidate for the target of this association.

Impact: This finding provides insight into genetic markers associated with EOC outcome and potential treatment options..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1817DOI Listing
June 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 Jul 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
July 2021

Gene-Environment Interactions Relevant to Estrogen and Risk of Breast Cancer: Can Gene-Environment Interactions Be Detected Only among Candidate SNPs from Genome-Wide Association Studies?

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 14;13(10). Epub 2021 May 14.

Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, 2730 Herlev, Denmark.

In this study we aim to examine gene-environment interactions (GxEs) between genes involved with estrogen metabolism and environmental factors related to estrogen exposure. GxE analyses were conducted with 1970 Korean breast cancer cases and 2052 controls in the case-control study, the Seoul Breast Cancer Study (SEBCS). A total of 11,555 SNPs from the 137 candidate genes were included in the GxE analyses with eight established environmental factors. A replication test was conducted by using an independent population from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), with 62,485 Europeans and 9047 Asians. The GxE tests were performed by using two-step methods in GxEScan software. Two interactions were found in the SEBCS. The first interaction was shown between rs13035764 of NCOA1 and age at menarche in the GE|2df model (-2df = 1.2 × 10). The age at menarche before 14 years old was associated with the high risk of breast cancer, and the risk was higher when subjects had homozygous minor allele G. The second GxE was shown between rs851998 near ESR1 and height in the GE|2df model (-2df = 1.1 × 10). Height taller than 160 cm was associated with a high risk of breast cancer, and the risk increased when the minor allele was added. The findings were not replicated in the BCAC. These results would suggest specificity in Koreans for breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13102370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8156547PMC
May 2021

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

Carcinogenesis 2021 Jun;42(6):785-793

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

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 and the United States National Cancer Institute 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
June 2021

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

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Mar 26. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

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

Background: Polygenic risk scores (PRS) 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 9,241 cases and 10,193 controls. 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 (AUC). 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 ratios per standard deviation of PRS313 was 1.27 (95%CI = 1.23 to 1.31), with an AUC of 0.571 (95%CI = 0.562 to 0.579). Compared to 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 to 1.72). 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 to 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
March 2021

Genetically predicted circulating concentrations of micronutrients and risk of colorectal cancer among individuals of European descent: a Mendelian randomization study.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 06;113(6):1490-1502

Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: The literature on associations of circulating concentrations of minerals and vitamins with risk of colorectal cancer is limited and inconsistent. Evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to support the efficacy of dietary modification or nutrient supplementation for colorectal cancer prevention is also limited.

Objectives: To complement observational and RCT findings, we investigated associations of genetically predicted concentrations of 11 micronutrients (β-carotene, calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and zinc) with colorectal cancer risk using Mendelian randomization (MR).

Methods: Two-sample MR was conducted using 58,221 individuals with colorectal cancer and 67,694 controls from the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, Colorectal Cancer Transdisciplinary Study, and Colon Cancer Family Registry. Inverse variance-weighted MR analyses were performed with sensitivity analyses to assess the impact of potential violations of MR assumptions.

Results: Nominally significant associations were noted for genetically predicted iron concentration and higher risk of colon cancer [ORs per SD (ORSD): 1.08; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.17; P value = 0.05] and similarly for proximal colon cancer, and for vitamin B-12 concentration and higher risk of colorectal cancer (ORSD: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.21; P value = 0.01) and similarly for colon cancer. A nominally significant association was also noted for genetically predicted selenium concentration and lower risk of colon cancer (ORSD: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.96, 1.00; P value = 0.05) and similarly for distal colon cancer. These associations were robust to sensitivity analyses. Nominally significant inverse associations were observed for zinc and risk of colorectal and distal colon cancers, but sensitivity analyses could not be performed. None of these findings survived correction for multiple testing. Genetically predicted concentrations of β-carotene, calcium, copper, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B-6 were not associated with disease risk.

Conclusions: These results suggest possible causal associations of circulating iron and vitamin B-12 (positively) and selenium (inversely) with risk of colon cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168352PMC
June 2021

Benefit, Harm, and Cost-effectiveness Associated With Magnetic Resonance Imaging Before Biopsy in Age-based and Risk-stratified Screening for Prostate Cancer.

JAMA Netw Open 2021 03 1;4(3):e2037657. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Importance: If magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) mitigates overdiagnosis of prostate cancer while improving the detection of clinically significant cases, including MRI in a screening program for prostate cancer could be considered.

Objective: To evaluate the benefit-harm profiles and cost-effectiveness associated with MRI before biopsy compared with biopsy-first screening for prostate cancer using age-based and risk-stratified screening strategies.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This decision analytical model used a life-table approach and was conducted between December 2019 and July 2020. A hypothetical cohort of 4.48 million men in England aged 55 to 69 years were analyzed and followed-up to 90 years of age.

Exposures: No screening, age-based screening, and risk-stratified screening in the hypothetical cohort. Age-based screening consisted of screening every 4 years with prostate-specific antigen between the ages of 55 and 69 years. Risk-stratified screening used age and polygenic risk profiles.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The benefit-harm profile (deaths from prostate cancer, quality-adjusted life-years, overdiagnosis, and biopsies) and cost-effectiveness (net monetary benefit, from a health care system perspective) were analyzed. Both age-based and risk-stratified screening were evaluated using a biopsy-first and an MRI-first diagnostic pathway. Results were derived from probabilistic analyses and were discounted at 3.5% per annum.

Results: The hypothetical cohort included 4.48 million men in England, ranging in age from 55 to 69 years (median, 62 years). Compared with biopsy-first age-based screening, MRI-first age-based screening was associated with 0.9% (1368; 95% uncertainty interval [UI], 1370-1409) fewer deaths from prostate cancer, 14.9% (12 370; 95% UI, 11 100-13 670) fewer overdiagnoses, and 33.8% (650 500; 95% UI, 463 200-907 000) fewer biopsies. At 10-year absolute risk thresholds of 2% and 10%, MRI-first risk-stratified screening was associated with between 10.4% (7335; 95% UI, 6630-8098) and 72.6% (51 250; 95% UI, 46 070-56 890) fewer overdiagnosed cancers, respectively, and between 21.7% fewer MRIs (412 100; 95% UI, 411 400-412 900) and 53.5% fewer biopsies (1 016 000; 95% UI, 1 010 000-1 022 000), respectively, compared with MRI-first age-based screening. The most cost-effective strategies at willingness-to-pay thresholds of £20 000 (US $26 000) and £30 000 (US $39 000) per quality-adjusted life-year gained were MRI-first risk-stratified screening at 10-year absolute risk thresholds of 8.5% and 7.5%, respectively.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this decision analytical model of a hypothetical cohort, an MRI-first diagnostic pathway was associated with an improvement in the benefit-harm profile and cost-effectiveness of screening for prostate cancer compared with biopsy-first screening. These improvements were greater when using risk-stratified screening based on age and polygenic risk profile and may warrant prospective evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.37657DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7953309PMC
March 2021

Genetic architectures of proximal and distal colorectal cancer are partly distinct.

Gut 2021 Jul 25;70(7):1325-1334. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology - IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: An understanding of the etiologic heterogeneity of colorectal cancer (CRC) is critical for improving precision prevention, including individualized screening recommendations and the discovery of novel drug targets and repurposable drug candidates for chemoprevention. Known differences in molecular characteristics and environmental risk factors among tumors arising in different locations of the colorectum suggest partly distinct mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The extent to which the contribution of inherited genetic risk factors for CRC differs by anatomical subsite of the primary tumor has not been examined.

Design: To identify new anatomical subsite-specific risk loci, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses including data of 48 214 CRC cases and 64 159 controls of European ancestry. We characterised effect heterogeneity at CRC risk loci using multinomial modelling.

Results: We identified 13 loci that reached genome-wide significance (p<5×10) and that were not reported by previous GWASs for overall CRC risk. Multiple lines of evidence support candidate genes at several of these loci. We detected substantial heterogeneity between anatomical subsites. Just over half (61) of 109 known and new risk variants showed no evidence for heterogeneity. In contrast, 22 variants showed association with distal CRC (including rectal cancer), but no evidence for association or an attenuated association with proximal CRC. For two loci, there was strong evidence for effects confined to proximal colon cancer.

Conclusion: Genetic architectures of proximal and distal CRC are partly distinct. Studies of risk factors and mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and precision prevention strategies should take into consideration the anatomical subsite of the tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321534DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223655PMC
July 2021

NHS announces a pilot of a blood test for early detection of many cancers.

J Med Screen 2021 03;28(1):1-2

Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0969141320986823DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7905743PMC
March 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

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

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

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

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

Meta-analysis of the association between emphysematous change on thoracic computerised tomography scan and recurrent pneumothorax.

QJM 2021 Feb 4. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Respiratory Medicine, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Rd, Cambridge, CB2 0SP.

Objectives: At least a third of patients go on to suffer a recurrence following a first spontaneous pneumothorax. Surgical intervention reduces the risk of recurrence and has been advocated as a primary treatment for pneumothorax. But surgery exposes patients to the risks of anaesthesia and in some cases can cause chronic pain. Risk stratification of patients to identify those most at risk of recurrence would help direct the most appropriate patients to early intervention. Many studies have addressed the role of thoracic computerised tomography (CT) in identifying those individuals at increased risk of recurrence, but a consensus is lacking. Our objective was to clarify whether CT provides valuable prognostic information for recurrent pneumothorax.

Methods: We conducted an exhaustive search of the literature for thoracic CT imaging and pneumothorax, and then performed a meta-analysis using a random effects model to estimate the common odds ratio and standard error.

Results: : Here we show by meta-analysis of data from 2475 individuals that emphysematous change on CT scan is associated with a significant increased odds ratio for recurrent pneumothorax ipsilateral to the radiological abnormality (OR 2.49, 95% CI 1.51 to 4.13).

Conclusions: : The association holds true for primary spontaneous pneumothorax when considering emphysematous changes including blebs and bullae. Features such as bullae at the azygoesophageal recess or increased Goddard score similarly predicted recurrent secondary pneumothorax, as shown by subgroup analysis. Our meta-analysis suggests that CT scanning has value in risk stratifying patients considering surgery for pneumothorax.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcab020DOI Listing
February 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A comprehensive re-assessment of the association between vitamin D and cancer susceptibility using Mendelian randomization.

Nat Commun 2021 01 11;12(1):246. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Statistical Genetics Group, Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, 300 Herston Road, Brisbane, QLD, 4006, Australia.

Previous Mendelian randomization (MR) studies on 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and cancer have typically adopted a handful of variants and found no relationship between 25(OH)D and cancer; however, issues of horizontal pleiotropy cannot be reliably addressed. Using a larger set of variants associated with 25(OH)D (74 SNPs, up from 6 previously), we perform a unified MR analysis to re-evaluate the relationship between 25(OH)D and ten cancers. Our findings are broadly consistent with previous MR studies indicating no relationship, apart from ovarian cancers (OR 0.89; 95% C.I: 0.82 to 0.96 per 1 SD change in 25(OH)D concentration) and basal cell carcinoma (OR 1.16; 95% C.I.: 1.04 to 1.28). However, after adjustment for pigmentation related variables in a multivariable MR framework, the BCC findings were attenuated. Here we report that lower 25(OH)D is unlikely to be a causal risk factor for most cancers, with our study providing more precise confidence intervals than previously possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20368-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801600PMC
January 2021

A Combined Proteomics and Mendelian Randomization Approach to Investigate the Effects of Aspirin-Targeted Proteins on Colorectal Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Mar 14;30(3):564-575. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Nutrition and Metabolism Section, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France.

Background: Evidence for aspirin's chemopreventative properties on colorectal cancer (CRC) is substantial, but its mechanism of action is not well-understood. We combined a proteomic approach with Mendelian randomization (MR) to identify possible new aspirin targets that decrease CRC risk.

Methods: Human colorectal adenoma cells (RG/C2) were treated with aspirin (24 hours) and a stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) based proteomics approach identified altered protein expression. Protein quantitative trait loci (pQTLs) from INTERVAL ( = 3,301) and expression QTLs (eQTLs) from the eQTLGen Consortium ( = 31,684) were used as genetic proxies for protein and mRNA expression levels. Two-sample MR of mRNA/protein expression on CRC risk was performed using eQTL/pQTL data combined with CRC genetic summary data from the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR), Colorectal Transdisciplinary (CORECT), Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (GECCO) consortia and UK Biobank (55,168 cases and 65,160 controls).

Results: Altered expression was detected for 125/5886 proteins. Of these, aspirin decreased MCM6, RRM2, and ARFIP2 expression, and MR analysis showed that a standard deviation increase in mRNA/protein expression was associated with increased CRC risk (OR: 1.08, 95% CI, 1.03-1.13; OR: 3.33, 95% CI, 2.46-4.50; and OR: 1.15, 95% CI, 1.02-1.29, respectively).

Conclusions: MCM6 and RRM2 are involved in DNA repair whereby reduced expression may lead to increased DNA aberrations and ultimately cancer cell death, whereas ARFIP2 is involved in actin cytoskeletal regulation, indicating a possible role in aspirin's reduction of metastasis.

Impact: Our approach has shown how laboratory experiments and population-based approaches can combine to identify aspirin-targeted proteins possibly affecting CRC risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086774PMC
March 2021

Genetically predicted circulating protein biomarkers and ovarian cancer risk.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 02 25;160(2):506-513. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK; Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. Electronic address:

Objective: Most women with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) are diagnosed after the disease has metastasized and survival in this group remains poor. Circulating proteins associated with the risk of developing EOC have the potential to serve as biomarkers for early detection and diagnosis. We integrated large-scale genomic and proteomic data to identify novel plasma proteins associated with EOC risk.

Methods: We used the germline genetic variants most strongly associated (P <1.5 × 10) with plasma levels of 1329 proteins in 3301 healthy individuals from the INTERVAL study to predict circulating levels of these proteins in 22,406 EOC cases and 40,941 controls from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). Association testing was performed by weighting the beta coefficients and standard errors for EOC risk from the OCAC study by the inverse of the beta coefficients from INTERVAL.

Results: We identified 26 proteins whose genetically predicted circulating levels were associated with EOC risk at false discovery rate < 0.05. The 26 proteins included MFAP2, SEMG2, DLK1, and NTNG1 and a group of 22 proteins whose plasma levels were predicted by variants at chromosome 9q34.2. All 26 protein association signals identified were driven by association with the high-grade serous histotype that comprised 58% of the EOC cases in OCAC. Regional genomic plots confirmed overlap of the genetic association signal underlying both plasma protein level and EOC risk for the 26 proteins. Pathway analysis identified enrichment of seven biological pathways among the 26 proteins (P <0.05), highlighting roles for Focal Adhesion-PI3K-Akt-mTOR and Notch signaling.

Conclusion: The identified proteins further illuminate the etiology of EOC and represent promising new EOC biomarkers for targeted validation by studies involving direct measurement of plasma proteins in EOC patient cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.11.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7855757PMC
February 2021

Breast cancer risk factors and their effects on survival: a Mendelian randomisation study.

BMC Med 2020 11 17;18(1):327. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Division of Molecular Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Observational studies have investigated the association of risk factors with breast cancer prognosis. However, the results have been conflicting and it has been challenging to establish causality due to potential residual confounding. Using a Mendelian randomisation (MR) approach, we aimed to examine the potential causal association between breast cancer-specific survival and nine established risk factors for breast cancer: alcohol consumption, body mass index, height, physical activity, mammographic density, age at menarche or menopause, smoking, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Methods: We conducted a two-sample MR analysis on data from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) and risk factor summary estimates from the GWAS Catalog. The BCAC data included 86,627 female patients of European ancestry with 7054 breast cancer-specific deaths during 15 years of follow-up. Of these, 59,378 were estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and 13,692 were ER-negative breast cancer patients. For the significant association, we used sensitivity analyses and a multivariable MR model. All risk factor associations were also examined in a model adjusted by other prognostic factors.

Results: Increased genetic liability to T2DM was significantly associated with worse breast cancer-specific survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03-1.17, P value [P] = 0.003). There were no significant associations after multiple testing correction for any of the risk factors in the ER-status subtypes. For the reported significant association with T2DM, the sensitivity analyses did not show evidence for violation of the MR assumptions nor that the association was due to increased BMI. The association remained significant when adjusting by other prognostic factors.

Conclusions: This extensive MR analysis suggests that T2DM may be causally associated with worse breast cancer-specific survival and therefore that treating T2DM may improve prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01797-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670589PMC
November 2020

Vaginal microbiota diversity and paucity of Lactobacillus species are associated with persistent hrHPV infection in HIV negative but not in HIV positive women.

Sci Rep 2020 11 5;10(1):19095. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria.

The vaginal microbiota is thought to play a role in modulating risk of high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection. We examined the relationship between the vaginal microbiota and persistent hrHPV infection in HIV-negative and HIV-positive women. We used 16S-rRNA sequencing to characterize the vaginal microbiota of two serial samples taken six months apart from 211 Nigerian women (67%, 142/211 HIV-positive and 33%, 69/211 HIV-negative) and evaluated the association between the vaginal microbiota and persistent hrHPV infection using generalized estimating equation logistic regression models and linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) algorithm to identify phylotypic biomarkers of persistent hrHPV infection. The high diversity microbiota, Community State Type IV-B, was the most prevalent in both HIV-negative (38% at baseline, 30% at the follow-up visit) and HIV-positive (27% at baseline, 35% at the follow-up visit) women. The relationship between the vaginal microbiota and persistent hrHPV was modified by HIV status. In HIV-negative women, women with Lactobacillus dominant microbiota had lower odds (OR: 0.35, 95% CI 0.14-0.89, p = 0.03) of persistent hrHPV compared to women with Lactobacillus deficient microbiota. While among HIV-positive women, the odds of being persistently infected with hrHPV was higher in women with Lactobacillus dominant microbiota (OR: 1.25, 95% CI 0.73-2.14 p = 0.41). This difference in effect estimates by HIV was statistically significant (p = 0.02). A high diversity vaginal microbial community with paucity of Lactobacillus species was associated with persistent hrHPV infection in HIV-negative women but not in HIV-positive women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76003-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7644686PMC
November 2020

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

Rare Germline Genetic Variants and the Risks of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 19;12(10). Epub 2020 Oct 19.

School of Women's and Children's Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

A family history of ovarian or breast cancer is the strongest risk factor for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Germline deleterious variants in the and genes confer EOC risks by age 80, of 44% and 17% respectively. The mismatch repair genes, particularly and , are also EOC susceptibility genes. Several other DNA repair genes, , , , and , have been identified as moderate risk EOC genes. EOC has five main histotypes; high-grade serous (HGS), low-grade serous (LGS), clear cell (CCC), endometrioid (END), and mucinous (MUC). This review examines the current understanding of the contribution of rare genetic variants to EOC, focussing on providing frequency data for each histotype. We provide an overview of frequency and risk for pathogenic variants in the known susceptibility genes as well as other proposed genes. We also describe the progress to-date to understand the role of missense variants and the different breast and ovarian cancer risks for each gene. Identification of susceptibility genes have clinical impact by reducing disease-associated mortality through improving risk prediction, with the possibility of prevention strategies, and developing new targeted treatments and these clinical implications are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12103046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589980PMC
October 2020

Identifying Novel Susceptibility Genes for Colorectal Cancer Risk From a Transcriptome-Wide Association Study of 125,478 Subjects.

Gastroenterology 2021 Mar 12;160(4):1164-1178.e6. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Background And Aims: Susceptibility genes and the underlying mechanisms for the majority of risk loci identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for colorectal cancer (CRC) risk remain largely unknown. We conducted a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) to identify putative susceptibility genes.

Methods: Gene-expression prediction models were built using transcriptome and genetic data from the 284 normal transverse colon tissues of European descendants from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx), and model performance was evaluated using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 355). We applied the gene-expression prediction models and GWAS data to evaluate associations of genetically predicted gene-expression with CRC risk in 58,131 CRC cases and 67,347 controls of European ancestry. Dual-luciferase reporter assays and knockdown experiments in CRC cells and tumor xenografts were conducted.

Results: We identified 25 genes associated with CRC risk at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P < 9.1 × 10, including genes in 4 novel loci, PYGL (14q22.1), RPL28 (19q13.42), CAPN12 (19q13.2), MYH7B (20q11.22), and MAP1L3CA (20q11.22). In 9 known GWAS-identified loci, we uncovered 9 genes that have not been reported previously, whereas 4 genes remained statistically significant after adjusting for the lead risk variant of the locus. Through colocalization analysis in GWAS loci, we additionally identified 12 putative susceptibility genes that were supported by TWAS analysis at P < .01. We showed that risk allele of the lead risk variant rs1741640 affected the promoter activity of CABLES2. Knockdown experiments confirmed that CABLES2 plays a vital role in colorectal carcinogenesis.

Conclusions: Our study reveals new putative susceptibility genes and provides new insight into the biological mechanisms underlying CRC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.08.062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7956223PMC
March 2021

Breast Cancer Polygenic Risk Score and Contralateral Breast Cancer Risk.

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

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

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

Evaluating the role of alcohol consumption in breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility using population-based cohort studies and two-sample Mendelian randomization analyses.

Int J Cancer 2021 03 13;148(6):1338-1350. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Alcohol consumption is correlated positively with risk for breast cancer in observational studies, but observational studies are subject to reverse causation and confounding. The association with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is unclear. We performed both observational Cox regression and two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses using data from various European cohort studies (observational) and publicly available cancer consortia (MR). These estimates were compared to World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) findings. In our observational analyses, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) for a one standard drink/day increase was 1.06 (95% confidence interval [CI]; 1.04, 1.08) for breast cancer and 1.00 (0.92, 1.08) for EOC, both of which were consistent with previous WCRF findings. MR ORs per genetically predicted one standard drink/day increase estimated via 34 SNPs using MR-PRESSO were 1.00 (0.93, 1.08) for breast cancer and 0.95 (0.85, 1.06) for EOC. Stratification by EOC subtype or estrogen receptor status in breast cancers made no meaningful difference to the results. For breast cancer, the CIs for the genetically derived estimates include the point-estimate from observational studies so are not inconsistent with a small increase in risk. Our data provide additional evidence that alcohol intake is unlikely to have anything other than a very small effect on risk of EOC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33308DOI Listing
March 2021

Sociodemographic and lifestyle predictors of incident hospital admissions with multimorbidity in a general population, 1999-2019: the EPIC-Norfolk cohort.

BMJ Open 2020 09 22;10(9):e042115. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.

Background: The ageing population and prevalence of long-term disorders with multimorbidity are a major health challenge worldwide. The associations between comorbid conditions and mortality risk are well established; however, few prospective community-based studies have reported on prior risk factors for incident hospital admissions with multimorbidity. We aimed to explore the independent associations for a range of demographic, lifestyle and physiological determinants and the likelihood of subsequent hospital incident multimorbidity.

Methods: We examined incident hospital admissions with multimorbidity in 25 014 men and women aged 40-79 in a British prospective population-based study recruited in 1993-1997 and followed up until 2019. The determinants of incident multimorbidity, defined as Charlson Comorbidity Index ≥3, were investigated using multivariable logistic regression models for the 10-year period 1999-2009 and repeated with independent measurements in a second 10-year period 2009-2019.

Results: Between 1999 and 2009, 18 179 participants (73% of the population) had a hospital admission. Baseline 5-year and 10-year incident multimorbidities were observed in 6% and 12% of participants, respectively. Age per 10-year increase (OR 2.19, 95% CI 2.06 to 2.33) and male sex (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.47) predicted incident multimorbidity over 10 years. In the subset free of the most serious diseases at baseline, current smoking (OR 1.86, 95% CI 1.60 to 2.15), body mass index >30 kg/m² (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.30 to 1.70) and physical inactivity (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.29) were positively associated and plasma vitamin C (a biomarker of plant food intake) per SD increase (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.91) inversely associated with incident 10-year multimorbidity after multivariable adjustment for age, sex, social class, education, alcohol consumption, systolic blood pressure and cholesterol. Results were similar when re-examined for a further time period in 2009-2019.

Conclusion: Age, male sex and potentially modifiable lifestyle behaviours including smoking, body mass index, physical inactivity and low fruit and vegetable intake were associated with increased risk of future incident hospital admissions with multimorbidity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7509968PMC
September 2020