Publications by authors named "Simon S Cross"

165 Publications

Clinical classification and long-term outcomes of seronegative coeliac disease: a 20-year multicentre follow-up study.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2021 Nov 8;54(10):1278-1289. Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Academic Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK.

Background: Seronegative coeliac disease is poorly defined.

Aims: To study clinical phenotypes and long-term outcomes of seronegative coeliac disease in a multicentre cohort over 20 years.

Methods: Seronegative coeliac disease was diagnosed in HLA-DQ2/DQ8-positive patients with villous atrophy (VA), negative IgA endomysial (EmA), tissue transglutaminase (tTG) and deamidated-gliadin antibodies (DGP), clinical and histological response to a gluten-free diet (GFD), and no alternative causes for VA. In patients with IgA deficiency, coeliac disease was diagnosed through VA, positive IgG EmA/tTG/DGP and clinical/histological response to a GFD (coeliac disease+IgAd). Patients with seropositive coeliac disease served as controls.

Results: Of 227 patients previously diagnosed with seronegative coeliac disease, true seronegative coeliac disease was confirmed in 84, coeliac disease+IgAd in 48, and excluded in 55. Lack of follow-up duodenal biopsy precluded diagnosing seronegative coeliac disease in 40 patients. 2084 patients with seropositive coeliac disease served as controls. True seronegative coeliac disease had more severe symptoms at diagnosis and a higher risk of complications (HR 10.87, 95% CI 6.11-19.33, P < 0.001) and mortality (HR 2.18, 95% CI 1.12-4.26, P < 0.01) than seropositive coeliac disease. There were no differences between true seronegative coeliac disease and coeliac disease+IgAd. On multivariate analysis, age at diagnosis, lack of clinical response to a GFD, true seronegative coeliac disease, coeliac disease+IgAd, and classical presentation predicted complications. Age at diagnosis, complications and absence of clinical response to a GFD predicted mortality.

Conclusions: Seronegative coeliac disease has a more aggressive disease phenotype than seropositive coeliac disease. These data argue against over-reliance on serology for the diagnosis of coeliac disease and support a strict clinical and histologic follow-up in seronegative coeliac disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apt.16599DOI Listing
November 2021

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

Breast Cancer Res 2021 08 18;23(1):86. Epub 2021 Aug 18.

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

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

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

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

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

Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing.

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

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

Reproductive longevity is essential for fertility and influences healthy ageing in women, but insights into its underlying biological mechanisms and treatments to preserve it are limited. Here we identify 290 genetic determinants of ovarian ageing, assessed using normal variation in age at natural menopause (ANM) in about 200,000 women of European ancestry. These common alleles were associated with clinical extremes of ANM; women in the top 1% of genetic susceptibility have an equivalent risk of premature ovarian insufficiency to those carrying monogenic FMR1 premutations. The identified loci implicate a broad range of DNA damage response (DDR) processes and include loss-of-function variants in key DDR-associated genes. Integration with experimental models demonstrates that these DDR processes act across the life-course to shape the ovarian reserve and its rate of depletion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that experimental manipulation of DDR pathways highlighted by human genetics increases fertility and extends reproductive life in mice. Causal inference analyses using the identified genetic variants indicate that extending reproductive life in women improves bone health and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, but increases the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms that govern ovarian ageing, when they act, and how they might be targeted by therapeutic approaches to extend fertility and prevent disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03779-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611832PMC
August 2021

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

Br J Cancer 2021 Oct 2;125(8):1135-1145. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the Optimal Method Assessing for Persistent Villous Atrophy in Adult Coeliac Disease?

J Gastrointestin Liver Dis 2021 06 18;30(2):205-212. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Academic Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Background And Aims: Methods of assessing gluten-free diet (GFD) adherence in adults with coeliac disease (CD) include serological testing, dietitian evaluation, questionnaires and repeat duodenal biopsies. Persisting villous atrophy (VA) is associated with CD complications, however gastroscopy with biopsies is expensive and invasive. This study aimed to assess the abilities of a duodenal bulb (D1) biopsy and the Celiac Dietary Adherence Test (CDAT) to detect persisting VA in adults with CD.

Methods: A prospective observational study of adult CD patients referred for follow-up duodenal biopsies was performed. Quadrantic biopsies were taken from the second part of the duodenum (D2), in addition to a D1 biopsy. Patients underwent follow-up serological testing, and completed the CDAT and Biagi Score. These non-invasive adherence markers were compared against duodenal histology.

Results: 368 patients (mean age 51.0 years, 70.1% female) had D1 and D2 biopsies taken at follow-up gastroscopy. Compared to D2 biopsies alone, additional D1 biopsies increased detection of VA by 10.4% (p<0.0001). 201 patients (mean age 50.3 years, 67.7% female) completed adherence questionnaires and serology. When detecting VA, sensitivities and specificities of these markers were 39.7% and 94.2% for IgA- tTG, 38.1% and 96.4% for IgA-EMA, 55.6% and 52.2% for CDAT and 20.6% and 96.4% for the Biagi score.

Conclusions: Bulbar biopsies increase detection of persisting VA by 10.4%. Serology, CDAT and Biagi performed poorly when predicting VA. The gold standard for predicting persisting VA remains repeat biopsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15403/jgld-3370DOI Listing
June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accuracy of a no-biopsy approach for the diagnosis of coeliac disease across different adult cohorts.

Gut 2021 May 2;70(5):876-883. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Academic Unit of Gastroenterology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK

Objective: We aimed to determine the predictive capacity and diagnostic yield of a 10-fold increase in serum IgA antitissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibody levels for detecting small intestinal injury diagnostic of coeliac disease (CD) in adult patients.

Design: The study comprised three adult cohorts. Cohort 1: 740 patients assessed in the specialist CD clinic at a UK centre; cohort 2: 532 patients with low suspicion for CD referred for upper GI endoscopy at a UK centre; cohort 3: 145 patients with raised tTG titres from multiple international sites. Marsh 3 histology was used as a reference standard against which we determined the performance characteristics of an IgA tTG titre of ≥10×ULN for a diagnosis of CD.

Results: Cohort 1: the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for IgA tTG levels of ≥10×ULN at identifying individuals with Marsh 3 lesions were 54.0%, 90.0%, 98.7% and 12.5%, respectively. Cohort 2: the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV for IgA tTG levels of ≥10×ULN at identifying individuals with Marsh 3 lesions were 50.0%, 100.0%, 100.0% and 98.3%, respectively. Cohort 3: the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV for IgA tTG levels of ≥10×ULN at identifying individuals with Marsh 3 lesions were 30.0%, 83.0%, 95.2% and 9.5%, respectively.

Conclusion: Our results show that IgA tTG titres of ≥10×ULN have a strong predictive value at identifying adults with intestinal changes diagnostic of CD. This study supports the use of a no-biopsy approach for the diagnosis of adult CD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-320913DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040155PMC
May 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

Genome-wide association study identifies 32 novel breast cancer susceptibility loci from overall and subtype-specific analyses.

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

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

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

Combined Associations of a Polygenic Risk Score and Classical Risk Factors With Breast Cancer Risk.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 03;113(3):329-337

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

We evaluated the joint associations between a new 313-variant PRS (PRS313) and questionnaire-based breast cancer risk factors for women of European ancestry, using 72 284 cases and 80 354 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Interactions were evaluated using standard logistic regression and a newly developed case-only method for breast cancer risk overall and by estrogen receptor status. After accounting for multiple testing, we did not find evidence that per-standard deviation PRS313 odds ratio differed across strata defined by individual risk factors. Goodness-of-fit tests did not reject the assumption of a multiplicative model between PRS313 and each risk factor. Variation in projected absolute lifetime risk of breast cancer associated with classical risk factors was greater for women with higher genetic risk (PRS313 and family history) and, on average, 17.5% higher in the highest vs lowest deciles of genetic risk. These findings have implications for risk prevention for women at increased risk of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7936056PMC
March 2021

Clinical phenotype and mortality in patients with idiopathic small bowel villous atrophy: a dual-centre international study.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 08;32(8):938-949

Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, IRCCS, Gastroenterology Unit of Pavia Institute, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Objective: Causes of small-bowel villous atrophy (VA) include coeliac disease (CD), its complications and other rare non-coeliac enteropathies. However, forms of VA of unknown aetiology may also exist. We defined them as idiopathic VA (IVA). To retrospectively classify the largest cohort of IVA patients and compare their natural history with CD.

Methods: Notes of 76 IVA patients attending two tertiary centres between January 2000 and March 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. CD, its complications and all the known causes of VA were excluded in all of them. Persistence of VA during follow-up and lymphoproliferative features were used to retrospectively classify IVA, as follows. Group 1: IVA with spontaneous histological recovery (50 patients). Group 2: persistent IVA without lymphoproliferative features (14 patients). Group 3: persistent IVA with lymphoproliferative features (12 patients). Survival was compared between IVA groups and 1114 coeliac patients. HLA was compared between IVA patients, coeliac patients and appropriate controls.

Results: Five-year survival was 96% in IVA group 1, 100% in IVA group 2, 27% in IVA group 3 and 97% in CD. On a multivariate analysis hypoalbuminemia (P = 0.002) and age at diagnosis (P = 0.04) predicted mortality in IVA. Group 2 showed association with HLA DQB1*0301 and DQB1*06.

Conclusion: IVA consists of three groups of enteropathies with distinct clinical phenotypes and prognoses. Mortality in IVA is higher than in CD and mainly due to lymphoproliferative conditions necessitating more aggressive therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MEG.0000000000001726DOI Listing
August 2020

Transcriptome-wide association study of breast cancer risk by estrogen-receptor status.

Genet Epidemiol 2020 07 1;44(5):442-468. Epub 2020 Mar 1.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Previous transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS) have identified breast cancer risk genes by integrating data from expression quantitative loci and genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but analyses of breast cancer subtype-specific associations have been limited. In this study, we conducted a TWAS using gene expression data from GTEx and summary statistics from the hitherto largest GWAS meta-analysis conducted for breast cancer overall, and by estrogen receptor subtypes (ER+ and ER-). We further compared associations with ER+ and ER- subtypes, using a case-only TWAS approach. We also conducted multigene conditional analyses in regions with multiple TWAS associations. Two genes, STXBP4 and HIST2H2BA, were specifically associated with ER+ but not with ER- breast cancer. We further identified 30 TWAS-significant genes associated with overall breast cancer risk, including four that were not identified in previous studies. Conditional analyses identified single independent breast-cancer gene in three of six regions harboring multiple TWAS-significant genes. Our study provides new information on breast cancer genetics and biology, particularly about genomic differences between ER+ and ER- breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22288DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7987299PMC
July 2020

A network analysis to identify mediators of germline-driven differences in breast cancer prognosis.

Nat Commun 2020 01 16;11(1):312. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Identifying the underlying genetic drivers of the heritability of breast cancer prognosis remains elusive. We adapt a network-based approach to handle underpowered complex datasets to provide new insights into the potential function of germline variants in breast cancer prognosis. This network-based analysis studies ~7.3 million variants in 84,457 breast cancer patients in relation to breast cancer survival and confirms the results on 12,381 independent patients. Aggregating the prognostic effects of genetic variants across multiple genes, we identify four gene modules associated with survival in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and one in ER-positive disease. The modules show biological enrichment for cancer-related processes such as G-alpha signaling, circadian clock, angiogenesis, and Rho-GTPases in apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14100-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6965101PMC
January 2020

Fine-mapping of 150 breast cancer risk regions identifies 191 likely target genes.

Nat Genet 2020 01 7;52(1):56-73. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Milan, Italy.

Genome-wide association studies have identified breast cancer risk variants in over 150 genomic regions, but the mechanisms underlying risk remain largely unknown. These regions were explored by combining association analysis with in silico genomic feature annotations. We defined 205 independent risk-associated signals with the set of credible causal variants in each one. In parallel, we used a Bayesian approach (PAINTOR) that combines genetic association, linkage disequilibrium and enriched genomic features to determine variants with high posterior probabilities of being causal. Potentially causal variants were significantly over-represented in active gene regulatory regions and transcription factor binding sites. We applied our INQUSIT pipeline for prioritizing genes as targets of those potentially causal variants, using gene expression (expression quantitative trait loci), chromatin interaction and functional annotations. Known cancer drivers, transcription factors and genes in the developmental, apoptosis, immune system and DNA integrity checkpoint gene ontology pathways were over-represented among the highest-confidence target genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0537-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6974400PMC
January 2020

Genome-wide association and transcriptome studies identify target genes and risk loci for breast cancer.

Nat Commun 2019 04 15;10(1):1741. Epub 2019 Apr 15.

Molecular Oncology Laboratory, CIBERONC, Hospital Clinico San Carlos, IdISSC (Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos), 28040, Madrid, Spain.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 170 breast cancer susceptibility loci. Here we hypothesize that some risk-associated variants might act in non-breast tissues, specifically adipose tissue and immune cells from blood and spleen. Using expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) reported in these tissues, we identify 26 previously unreported, likely target genes of overall breast cancer risk variants, and 17 for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer, several with a known immune function. We determine the directional effect of gene expression on disease risk measured based on single and multiple eQTL. In addition, using a gene-based test of association that considers eQTL from multiple tissues, we identify seven (and four) regions with variants associated with overall (and ER-negative) breast cancer risk, which were not reported in previous GWAS. Further investigation of the function of the implicated genes in breast and immune cells may provide insights into the etiology of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08053-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465407PMC
April 2019

Capsule endoscopy in the management of refractory coeliac disease.

J Gastrointestin Liver Dis 2019 Mar;28(1):15-22

Academic Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield, UK.

Background And Aims: There is no literature on the role of repeat small bowel capsule endoscopy (SBCE) in patients with refractory coeliac disease (RCD) following treatment with steroids +/- immunosuppressants.

Methods: The findings on SBCEs from a group of patients with histologically proven RCD (n=23) were compared to the findings from patients with uncomplicated coeliac disease (n=48). All patients had concurrent duodenal histology and serology taken at the time of SBCE.

Results: Patients with RCD had a greater extent of mucosal involvement on SBCE than patients with uncomplicated CD (42.4+/-34.1% vs 9.7+/-21.7%, p=0.0001). Following treatment with steroids and / or immunosuppressants, patients with RCD had an improvement in the extent of affected small bowel mucosa (42.4+/-34.1% vs 26.4+/-28.9% p=0.012). There was no statistical difference in histology and serology taken at the time of the first and second SBCE in patients with RCD.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that SBCE is valuable in documenting the extent of mucosal involvement in patients with RCD. This is the first study that delineates the value of a second look SBCE to assess improvement in the extent of disease in the small bowel following treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15403/jgld.2014.1121.281.celDOI Listing
March 2019

Genome-wide association study of germline variants and breast cancer-specific mortality.

Br J Cancer 2019 03 21;120(6):647-657. Epub 2019 Feb 21.

Lund University, Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Clinical Sciences, Lund, Sweden.

Background: We examined the associations between germline variants and breast cancer mortality using a large meta-analysis of women of European ancestry.

Methods: Meta-analyses included summary estimates based on Cox models of twelve datasets using ~10.4 million variants for 96,661 women with breast cancer and 7697 events (breast cancer-specific deaths). Oestrogen receptor (ER)-specific analyses were based on 64,171 ER-positive (4116) and 16,172 ER-negative (2125) patients. We evaluated the probability of a signal to be a true positive using the Bayesian false discovery probability (BFDP).

Results: We did not find any variant associated with breast cancer-specific mortality at P < 5 × 10. For ER-positive disease, the most significantly associated variant was chr7:rs4717568 (BFDP = 7%, P = 1.28 × 10, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.88, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.84-0.92); the closest gene is AUTS2. For ER-negative disease, the most significant variant was chr7:rs67918676 (BFDP = 11%, P = 1.38 × 10, HR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.16-1.39); located within a long intergenic non-coding RNA gene (AC004009.3), close to the HOXA gene cluster.

Conclusions: We uncovered germline variants on chromosome 7 at BFDP < 15% close to genes for which there is biological evidence related to breast cancer outcome. However, the paucity of variants associated with mortality at genome-wide significance underpins the challenge in providing genetic-based individualised prognostic information for breast cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-019-0393-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6461853PMC
March 2019

Polygenic Risk Scores for Prediction of Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Subtypes.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 01 13;104(1):21-34. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

Department of Oncology, Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki 00290, Finland; Department of Oncology, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro 70185, Sweden.

Stratification of women according to their risk of breast cancer based on polygenic risk scores (PRSs) could improve screening and prevention strategies. Our aim was to develop PRSs, optimized for prediction of estrogen receptor (ER)-specific disease, from the largest available genome-wide association dataset and to empirically validate the PRSs in prospective studies. The development dataset comprised 94,075 case subjects and 75,017 control subjects of European ancestry from 69 studies, divided into training and validation sets. Samples were genotyped using genome-wide arrays, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected by stepwise regression or lasso penalized regression. The best performing PRSs were validated in an independent test set comprising 11,428 case subjects and 18,323 control subjects from 10 prospective studies and 190,040 women from UK Biobank (3,215 incident breast cancers). For the best PRSs (313 SNPs), the odds ratio for overall disease per 1 standard deviation in ten prospective studies was 1.61 (95%CI: 1.57-1.65) with area under receiver-operator curve (AUC) = 0.630 (95%CI: 0.628-0.651). The lifetime risk of overall breast cancer in the top centile of the PRSs was 32.6%. Compared with women in the middle quintile, those in the highest 1% of risk had 4.37- and 2.78-fold risks, and those in the lowest 1% of risk had 0.16- and 0.27-fold risks, of developing ER-positive and ER-negative disease, respectively. Goodness-of-fit tests indicated that this PRS was well calibrated and predicts disease risk accurately in the tails of the distribution. This PRS is a powerful and reliable predictor of breast cancer risk that may improve breast cancer prevention programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.11.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323553PMC
January 2019

A transcriptome-wide association study of 229,000 women identifies new candidate susceptibility genes for breast cancer.

Nat Genet 2018 07 18;50(7):968-978. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Department of Oncology, Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The breast cancer risk variants identified in genome-wide association studies explain only a small fraction of the familial relative risk, and the genes responsible for these associations remain largely unknown. To identify novel risk loci and likely causal genes, we performed a transcriptome-wide association study evaluating associations of genetically predicted gene expression with breast cancer risk in 122,977 cases and 105,974 controls of European ancestry. We used data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project to establish genetic models to predict gene expression in breast tissue and evaluated model performance using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Of the 8,597 genes evaluated, significant associations were identified for 48 at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P < 5.82 × 10, including 14 genes at loci not yet reported for breast cancer. We silenced 13 genes and showed an effect for 11 on cell proliferation and/or colony-forming efficiency. Our study provides new insights into breast cancer genetics and biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0132-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6314198PMC
July 2018

The BRCA2 c.68-7T > A variant is not pathogenic: A model for clinical calibration of spliceogenicity.

Hum Mutat 2018 05 6;39(5):729-741. Epub 2018 Apr 6.

Human Cancer Genetics Program, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, Spain.

Although the spliceogenic nature of the BRCA2 c.68-7T > A variant has been demonstrated, its association with cancer risk remains controversial. In this study, we accurately quantified by real-time PCR and digital PCR (dPCR), the BRCA2 isoforms retaining or missing exon 3. In addition, the combined odds ratio for causality of the variant was estimated using genetic and clinical data, and its associated cancer risk was estimated by case-control analysis in 83,636 individuals. Co-occurrence in trans with pathogenic BRCA2 variants was assessed in 5,382 families. Exon 3 exclusion rate was 4.5-fold higher in variant carriers (13%) than controls (3%), indicating an exclusion rate for the c.68-7T > A allele of approximately 20%. The posterior probability of pathogenicity was 7.44 × 10 . There was neither evidence for increased risk of breast cancer (OR 1.03; 95% CI 0.86-1.24) nor for a deleterious effect of the variant when co-occurring with pathogenic variants. Our data provide for the first time robust evidence of the nonpathogenicity of the BRCA2 c.68-7T > A. Genetic and quantitative transcript analyses together inform the threshold for the ratio between functional and altered BRCA2 isoforms compatible with normal cell function. These findings might be exploited to assess the relevance for cancer risk of other BRCA2 spliceogenic variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23411DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5947288PMC
May 2018

Joint associations of a polygenic risk score and environmental risk factors for breast cancer in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

Int J Epidemiol 2018 04;47(2):526-536

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.

Background: Polygenic risk scores (PRS) for breast cancer can be used to stratify the population into groups at substantially different levels of risk. Combining PRS and environmental risk factors will improve risk prediction; however, integrating PRS into risk prediction models requires evaluation of their joint association with known environmental risk factors.

Methods: Analyses were based on data from 20 studies; datasets analysed ranged from 3453 to 23 104 invasive breast cancer cases and similar numbers of controls, depending on the analysed environmental risk factor. We evaluated joint associations of a 77-single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) PRS with reproductive history, alcohol consumption, menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), height and body mass index (BMI). We tested the null hypothesis of multiplicative joint associations for PRS and each of the environmental factors, and performed global and tail-based goodness-of-fit tests in logistic regression models. The outcomes were breast cancer overall and by estrogen receptor (ER) status.

Results: The strongest evidence for a non-multiplicative joint associations with the 77-SNP PRS was for alcohol consumption (P-interaction = 0.009), adult height (P-interaction = 0.025) and current use of combined MHT (P-interaction = 0.038) in ER-positive disease. Risk associations for these factors by percentiles of PRS did not follow a clear dose-response. In addition, global and tail-based goodness of fit tests showed little evidence for departures from a multiplicative risk model, with alcohol consumption showing the strongest evidence for ER-positive disease (P = 0.013 for global and 0.18 for tail-based tests).

Conclusions: The combined effects of the 77-SNP PRS and environmental risk factors for breast cancer are generally well described by a multiplicative model. Larger studies are required to confirm possible departures from the multiplicative model for individual risk factors, and assess models specific for ER-negative disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyx242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5913605PMC
April 2018

- a novel candidate breast cancer susceptibility locus on 6q14.1.

Oncotarget 2017 Nov 12;8(61):102769-102782. Epub 2017 Oct 12.

VIB Center for Cancer Biology, VIB, Leuven, Belgium.

Most non- breast cancer families have no identified genetic cause. We used linkage and haplotype analyses in familial and sporadic breast cancer cases to identify a susceptibility locus on chromosome 6q. Two independent genome-wide linkage analysis studies suggested a 3 Mb locus on chromosome 6q and two unrelated Swedish families with a LOD >2 together seemed to share a haplotype in 6q14.1. We hypothesized that this region harbored a rare high-risk founder allele contributing to breast cancer in these two families. Sequencing of DNA and RNA from the two families did not detect any pathogenic mutations. Finally, 29 SNPs in the region were analyzed in 44,214 cases and 43,532 controls from BCAC, and the original haplotypes in the two families were suggested as low-risk alleles for European and Swedish women specifically. There was also some support for one additional independent moderate-risk allele in Swedish familial samples. The results were consistent with our previous findings in familial breast cancer and supported a breast cancer susceptibility locus at 6q14.1 around the gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21800DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5732689PMC
November 2017

Body mass index and breast cancer survival: a Mendelian randomization analysis.

Int J Epidemiol 2017 12;46(6):1814-1822

Academic Unit of Pathology, Department of Neuroscience, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.

Background: There is increasing evidence that elevated body mass index (BMI) is associated with reduced survival for women with breast cancer. However, the underlying reasons remain unclear. We conducted a Mendelian randomization analysis to investigate a possible causal role of BMI in survival from breast cancer.

Methods: We used individual-level data from six large breast cancer case-cohorts including a total of 36 210 individuals (2475 events) of European ancestry. We created a BMI genetic risk score (GRS) based on genotypes at 94 known BMI-associated genetic variants. Association between the BMI genetic score and breast cancer survival was analysed by Cox regression for each study separately. Study-specific hazard ratios were pooled using fixed-effect meta-analysis.

Results: BMI genetic score was found to be associated with reduced breast cancer-specific survival for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive cases [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.11, per one-unit increment of GRS, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-1.22, P = 0.03). We observed no association for ER-negative cases (HR = 1.00, per one-unit increment of GRS, 95% CI 0.89-1.13, P = 0.95).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest a causal effect of increased BMI on reduced breast cancer survival for ER-positive breast cancer. There is no evidence of a causal effect of higher BMI on survival for ER-negative breast cancer cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyx131DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5837506PMC
December 2017

Reproductive profiles and risk of breast cancer subtypes: a multi-center case-only study.

Breast Cancer Res 2017 Nov 7;19(1):119. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Human Cancer Genetics Program, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, Spain.

Background: Previous studies have shown that reproductive factors are differentially associated with breast cancer (BC) risk by subtypes. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between reproductive factors and BC subtypes, and whether these vary by age at diagnosis.

Methods: We used pooled data on tumor markers (estrogen and progesterone receptor, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2)) and reproductive risk factors (parity, age at first full-time pregnancy (FFTP) and age at menarche) from 28,095 patients with invasive BC from 34 studies participating in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). In a case-only analysis, we used logistic regression to assess associations between reproductive factors and BC subtype compared to luminal A tumors as a reference. The interaction between age and parity in BC subtype risk was also tested, across all ages and, because age was modeled non-linearly, specifically at ages 35, 55 and 75 years.

Results: Parous women were more likely to be diagnosed with triple negative BC (TNBC) than with luminal A BC, irrespective of age (OR for parity = 1.38, 95% CI 1.16-1.65, p = 0.0004; p for interaction with age = 0.076). Parous women were also more likely to be diagnosed with luminal and non-luminal HER2-like BCs and this effect was slightly more pronounced at an early age (p for interaction with age = 0.037 and 0.030, respectively). For instance, women diagnosed at age 35 were 1.48 (CI 1.01-2.16) more likely to have luminal HER2-like BC than luminal A BC, while this association was not significant at age 75 (OR = 0.72, CI 0.45-1.14). While age at menarche was not significantly associated with BC subtype, increasing age at FFTP was non-linearly associated with TNBC relative to luminal A BC. An age at FFTP of 25 versus 20 years lowered the risk for TNBC (OR = 0.78, CI 0.70-0.88, p < 0.0001), but this effect was not apparent at a later FFTP.

Conclusions: Our main findings suggest that parity is associated with TNBC across all ages at BC diagnosis, whereas the association with luminal HER2-like BC was present only for early onset BC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-017-0909-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5688822PMC
November 2017

Association analysis identifies 65 new breast cancer risk loci.

Nature 2017 11 23;551(7678):92-94. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

Department of Clinical Genetics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Breast cancer risk is influenced by rare coding variants in susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1, and many common, mostly non-coding variants. However, much of the genetic contribution to breast cancer risk remains unknown. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer in 122,977 cases and 105,974 controls of European ancestry and 14,068 cases and 13,104 controls of East Asian ancestry. We identified 65 new loci that are associated with overall breast cancer risk at P < 5 × 10. The majority of credible risk single-nucleotide polymorphisms in these loci fall in distal regulatory elements, and by integrating in silico data to predict target genes in breast cells at each locus, we demonstrate a strong overlap between candidate target genes and somatic driver genes in breast tumours. We also find that heritability of breast cancer due to all single-nucleotide polymorphisms in regulatory features was 2-5-fold enriched relative to the genome-wide average, with strong enrichment for particular transcription factor binding sites. These results provide further insight into genetic susceptibility to breast cancer and will improve the use of genetic risk scores for individualized screening and prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24284DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5798588PMC
November 2017

Identification of ten variants associated with risk of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer.

Nat Genet 2017 Dec 23;49(12):1767-1778. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, USA.

Most common breast cancer susceptibility variants have been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of predominantly estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease. We conducted a GWAS using 21,468 ER-negative cases and 100,594 controls combined with 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer), all of European origin. We identified independent associations at P < 5 × 10 with ten variants at nine new loci. At P < 0.05, we replicated associations with 10 of 11 variants previously reported in ER-negative disease or BRCA1 mutation carrier GWAS and observed consistent associations with ER-negative disease for 105 susceptibility variants identified by other studies. These 125 variants explain approximately 16% of the familial risk of this breast cancer subtype. There was high genetic correlation (0.72) between risk of ER-negative breast cancer and breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers. These findings may lead to improved risk prediction and inform further fine-mapping and functional work to better understand the biological basis of ER-negative breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5808456PMC
December 2017
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