Publications by authors named "Sonja I Berndt"

324 Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aspirin, ibuprofen, and reduced risk of advanced colorectal adenoma incidence and recurrence and colorectal cancer in the PLCO Cancer Screening Trial.

Cancer 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

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

Background: Studying the differential impact of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs across the stages of colorectal neoplasia from early adenoma to cancer is critical for understanding the benefits of these widely used drugs.

Methods: With 13 years of follow-up, the authors prospectively evaluated the association between aspirin and ibuprofen use and incident distal adenoma (1221 cases), recurrent adenoma (862 cases), and incident colorectal cancer (CRC; 2826 cases) among men and women in the population-based Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. With multivariable-adjusted models, odds ratio (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for adenoma incidence and recurrence and hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs for incident CRC were determined.

Results: The authors observed a significantly reduced risk of incident adenoma with ibuprofen use (≥30 vs <4 pills per month: OR, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.60-0.95]; P = .04), particularly advanced adenoma (OR, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.28-0.83]; P = .005). Among those with a previous adenoma detected through screening, aspirin use was associated with a decreased risk of advanced recurrent adenoma (≥30 vs <4 pills per month: OR, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.36-0.87]; P = 0.006). Both aspirin (HR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.81-0.96]; P <.0001) and ibuprofen use (HR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.70-0.93); P = 0.003) ≥30 versus <4 pills per month were significantly associated with reduced CRC risk.

Conclusions: In this large prospective study with long-term follow-up, a beneficial role for not only aspirin, but also ibuprofen, in preventing advanced adenoma and curbing progression to recurrence and cancer among older adults was observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33623DOI Listing
May 2021

Genetically Predicted Circulating C-Reactive Protein Concentration and Colorectal Cancer Survival: A Mendelian Randomization Consortium Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Jul 10;30(7):1349-1358. Epub 2021 May 10.

Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Background: A positive association between circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) and colorectal cancer survival was reported in observational studies, which are susceptible to unmeasured confounding and reverse causality. We used a Mendelian randomization approach to evaluate the association between genetically predicted CRP concentrations and colorectal cancer-specific survival.

Methods: We used individual-level data for 16,918 eligible colorectal cancer cases of European ancestry from 15 studies within the International Survival Analysis of Colorectal Cancer Consortium. We calculated a genetic-risk score based on 52 CRP-associated genetic variants identified from genome-wide association studies. Because of the non-collapsibility of hazard ratios from Cox proportional hazards models, we used the additive hazards model to calculate hazard differences (HD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between genetically predicted CRP concentrations and colorectal cancer-specific survival, overall and by stage at diagnosis and tumor location. Analyses were adjusted for age at diagnosis, sex, body mass index, genotyping platform, study, and principal components.

Results: Of the 5,395 (32%) deaths accrued over up to 10 years of follow-up, 3,808 (23%) were due to colorectal cancer. Genetically predicted CRP concentration was not associated with colorectal cancer-specific survival (HD, -1.15; 95% CI, -2.76 to 0.47 per 100,000 person-years; = 0.16). Similarly, no associations were observed in subgroup analyses by stage at diagnosis or tumor location.

Conclusions: Despite adequate power to detect moderate associations, our results did not support a causal effect of circulating CRP concentrations on colorectal cancer-specific survival.

Impact: Future research evaluating genetically determined levels of other circulating inflammatory biomarkers (i.e., IL6) with colorectal cancer survival outcomes is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1848DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8254760PMC
July 2021

A polymorphism in the promoter of FRAS1 is a candidate SNP associated with metastatic prostate cancer.

Prostate 2021 Jul 6;81(10):683-693. Epub 2021 May 6.

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Background: Inflammation and one of its mediators, NF-kappa B (NFκB), have been implicated in prostate cancer carcinogenesis. We assessed whether germline polymorphisms associated with NFκB are associated with the risk of developing lethal disease (metastases or death from prostate cancer).

Methods: Using a Bayesian approach leveraging NFκB biology with integration of publicly available datasets we used a previously defined genome-wide functional association network specific to NFκB and lethal prostate cancer. A dense-module-searching method identified modules enriched with significant genes from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) study in a discovery data set, Physicians' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (PHS/HPFS). The top 48 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the dense-module-searching method were then assessed in an independent prostate cancer cohort and the one SNP reproducibly associated with lethality was tested in a third cohort. Logistic regression models evaluated the association between each SNP and lethal prostate cancer. The candidate SNP was assessed for association with lethal prostate cancer in 6 of 28 studies in the prostate cancer association group to investigate cancer associated alterations in the genome (PRACTICAL) Consortium where there was some medical record review for death ascertainment which also had SNP data from the ONCOARRAY platform. All men self-identified as Caucasian.

Results: The rs1910301 SNP which was reproducibly associated with lethal disease was nominally associated with lethal disease (odds ratio [OR] = 1.40; p = .02) in the discovery cohort and the minor allele was also associated with lethal disease in two independent cohorts (OR = 1.35; p = .04 and OR = 1.35; p = .07). Fixed effects meta-analysis of all three cohorts found an association: OR = 1.37 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.15-1.62, p = .0003). This SNP is in the promoter region of FRAS1, a gene involved in epidermal-basement membrane adhesion and is present at a higher frequency in men with African ancestry. No association was found in the subset of studies from the PRACTICAL consortium studies which had a total of 106 deaths out total of 3263 patients and a median follow-up of 4.4 years.

Conclusions: Through its connection with the NFκB pathway, a candidate SNP with a higher frequency in men of African ancestry without cancer was found to be associated with lethal prostate cancer across three well-annotated independent cohorts of Caucasian men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pros.24148DOI Listing
July 2021

Epigenome-wide association study of kidney function identifies trans-ethnic and ethnic-specific loci.

Genome Med 2021 Apr 30;13(1):74. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.

Background: DNA methylation (DNAm) is associated with gene regulation and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function. Decreased eGFR is more common among US Hispanics and African Americans. The causes for this are poorly understood. We aimed to identify trans-ethnic and ethnic-specific differentially methylated positions (DMPs) associated with eGFR using an agnostic, genome-wide approach.

Methods: The study included up to 5428 participants from multi-ethnic studies for discovery and 8109 participants for replication. We tested the associations between whole blood DNAm and eGFR using beta values from Illumina 450K or EPIC arrays. Ethnicity-stratified analyses were performed using linear mixed models adjusting for age, sex, smoking, and study-specific and technical variables. Summary results were meta-analyzed within and across ethnicities. Findings were assessed using integrative epigenomics methods and pathway analyses.

Results: We identified 93 DMPs associated with eGFR at an FDR of 0.05 and replicated 13 and 1 DMPs across independent samples in trans-ethnic and African American meta-analyses, respectively. The study also validated 6 previously published DMPs. Identified DMPs showed significant overlap enrichment with DNase I hypersensitive sites in kidney tissue, sites associated with the expression of proximal genes, and transcription factor motifs and pathways associated with kidney tissue and kidney development.

Conclusions: We uncovered trans-ethnic and ethnic-specific DMPs associated with eGFR, including DMPs enriched in regulatory elements in kidney tissue and pathways related to kidney development. These findings shed light on epigenetic mechanisms associated with kidney function, bridging the gap between population-specific eGFR-associated DNAm and tissue-specific regulatory context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-021-00877-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8088054PMC
April 2021

Common genetic polymorphisms contribute to the association between chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Mar 22. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

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

Background: Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a positive association between chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). We hypothesized that shared genetic risk factors between CLL and NMSC could contribute to the association observed between these diseases.

Methods: We examined the association between (i) established NMSC susceptibility loci and CLL risk in a meta-analysis including 3100 CLL cases and 7667 controls and (ii) established CLL loci and NMSC risk in a study of 4242 basal cell carcinoma (BCC) cases, 825 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cases and 12802 controls. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) for CLL, BCC and SCC were constructed using established loci. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Higher CLL-PRS was associated with increased BCC risk (OR4th-quartile-vs-1st-quartile = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.02-1.24, Ptrend = 0.009), even after removing the shared 6p25.3 locus. No association was observed with BCC-PRS and CLL risk (Ptrend = 0.68). These findings support a contributory role for CLL in BCC risk, but not for BCC in CLL risk. Increased CLL risk was observed with higher SCC-PRS (OR4th-quartile-vs-1st-quartile = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.08-1.38, Ptrend = 1.36 × 10-5), which was driven by shared genetic susceptibility at the 6p25.3 locus.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the role of pleiotropy regarding the pathogenesis of CLL and NMSC and shows that a single pleiotropic locus, 6p25.3, drives the observed association between genetic susceptibility to SCC and increased CLL risk. The study also provides evidence that genetic susceptibility for CLL increases BCC risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab042DOI 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

Prediagnostic Antibody Responses to Proteins Are Not Associated with Risk of Colorectal Cancer in a Large U.S. Consortium.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Jun 18;30(6):1279-1282. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: The association between prediagnostic antibody responses to () and subsequent risk of colorectal cancer is not established.

Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study of 8,126 participants in a consortium of 10 prospective cohorts in the United States.

Results: Higher seroprevalence of any antibody was observed among non-White participants (51.1%) compared with White participants (31.2%). We did not find any statistically significant association between seropositivity to any of the eight proteins and colorectal cancer risk.

Conclusions: Prediagnostic antibody responses to proteins were not associated with the risk of colorectal cancer.

Impact: Future studies may consider a more specific detection of the immunoglobulin isotypes or focus on examining in stool or tissue samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1471DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172443PMC
June 2021

Discovery and fine-mapping of height loci via high-density imputation of GWASs in individuals of African ancestry.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 12;108(4):564-582. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Although many loci have been associated with height in European ancestry populations, very few have been identified in African ancestry individuals. Furthermore, many of the known loci have yet to be generalized to and fine-mapped within a large-scale African ancestry sample. We performed sex-combined and sex-stratified meta-analyses in up to 52,764 individuals with height and genome-wide genotyping data from the African Ancestry Anthropometry Genetics Consortium (AAAGC). We additionally combined our African ancestry meta-analysis results with published European genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. In the African ancestry analyses, we identified three novel loci (SLC4A3, NCOA2, ECD/FAM149B1) in sex-combined results and two loci (CRB1, KLF6) in women only. In the African plus European sex-combined GWAS, we identified an additional three novel loci (RCCD1, G6PC3, CEP95) which were equally driven by AAAGC and European results. Among 39 genome-wide significant signals at known loci, conditioning index SNPs from European studies identified 20 secondary signals. Two of the 20 new secondary signals and none of the 8 novel loci had minor allele frequencies (MAF) < 5%. Of 802 known European height signals, 643 displayed directionally consistent associations with height, of which 205 were nominally significant (p < 0.05) in the African ancestry sex-combined sample. Furthermore, 148 of 241 loci contained ≤20 variants in the credible sets that jointly account for 99% of the posterior probability of driving the associations. In summary, trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed novel signals and further improved fine-mapping of putative causal variants in loci shared between African and European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059339PMC
April 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

Polygenic hazard score is associated with prostate cancer in multi-ethnic populations.

Nat Commun 2021 02 23;12(1):1236. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Division of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Radiotherapy Related Research, The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

Genetic models for cancer have been evaluated using almost exclusively European data, which could exacerbate health disparities. A polygenic hazard score (PHS) is associated with age at prostate cancer diagnosis and improves screening accuracy in Europeans. Here, we evaluate performance of PHS (PHS, adapted for OncoArray) in a multi-ethnic dataset of 80,491 men (49,916 cases, 30,575 controls). PHS is associated with age at diagnosis of any and aggressive (Gleason score ≥ 7, stage T3-T4, PSA ≥ 10 ng/mL, or nodal/distant metastasis) cancer and prostate-cancer-specific death. Associations with cancer are significant within European (n = 71,856), Asian (n = 2,382), and African (n = 6,253) genetic ancestries (p < 10). Comparing the 80/20 PHS percentiles, hazard ratios for prostate cancer, aggressive cancer, and prostate-cancer-specific death are 5.32, 5.88, and 5.68, respectively. Within European, Asian, and African ancestries, hazard ratios for prostate cancer are: 5.54, 4.49, and 2.54, respectively. PHS risk-stratifies men for any, aggressive, and fatal prostate cancer in a multi-ethnic dataset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21287-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7902617PMC
February 2021

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

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

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

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

Additional SNPs improve risk stratification of a polygenic hazard score for prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 2021 Jun 8;24(2):532-541. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.

Background: Polygenic hazard scores (PHS) can identify individuals with increased risk of prostate cancer. We estimated the benefit of additional SNPs on performance of a previously validated PHS (PHS46).

Materials And Method: 180 SNPs, shown to be previously associated with prostate cancer, were used to develop a PHS model in men with European ancestry. A machine-learning approach, LASSO-regularized Cox regression, was used to select SNPs and to estimate their coefficients in the training set (75,596 men). Performance of the resulting model was evaluated in the testing/validation set (6,411 men) with two metrics: (1) hazard ratios (HRs) and (2) positive predictive value (PPV) of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. HRs were estimated between individuals with PHS in the top 5% to those in the middle 40% (HR95/50), top 20% to bottom 20% (HR80/20), and bottom 20% to middle 40% (HR20/50). PPV was calculated for the top 20% (PPV80) and top 5% (PPV95) of PHS as the fraction of individuals with elevated PSA that were diagnosed with clinically significant prostate cancer on biopsy.

Results: 166 SNPs had non-zero coefficients in the Cox model (PHS166). All HR metrics showed significant improvements for PHS166 compared to PHS46: HR95/50 increased from 3.72 to 5.09, HR80/20 increased from 6.12 to 9.45, and HR20/50 decreased from 0.41 to 0.34. By contrast, no significant differences were observed in PPV of PSA testing for clinically significant prostate cancer.

Conclusions: Incorporating 120 additional SNPs (PHS166 vs PHS46) significantly improved HRs for prostate cancer, while PPV of PSA testing remained the same.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41391-020-00311-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8157993PMC
June 2021

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

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

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

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

Sub-multiplicative interaction between polygenic risk score and household coal use in relation to lung adenocarcinoma among never-smoking women in Asia.

Environ Int 2021 02 29;147:105975. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, School of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

We previously identified 10 lung adenocarcinoma susceptibility loci in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) conducted in the Female Lung Cancer Consortium in Asia (FLCCA), the largest genomic study of lung cancer among never-smoking women to date. Furthermore, household coal use for cooking and heating has been linked to lung cancer in Asia, especially in Xuanwei, China. We investigated the potential interaction between genetic susceptibility and coal use in FLCCA. We analyzed GWAS-data from Taiwan, Shanghai, and Shenyang (1472 cases; 1497 controls), as well as a separate study conducted in Xuanwei (152 cases; 522 controls) for additional analyses. We summarized genetic susceptibility using a polygenic risk score (PRS), which was the weighted sum of the risk-alleles from the 10 previously identified loci. We estimated associations between a PRS, coal use (ever/never), and lung adenocarcinoma with multivariable logistic regression models, and evaluated potential gene-environment interactions using likelihood ratio tests. There was a strong association between continuous PRS and lung adenocarcinoma among never coal users (Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.69 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.53, 1.87), p=1 × 10). This effect was attenuated among ever coal users (OR = 1.24 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.50), p = 0.02, p-interaction = 6 × 10). We observed similar attenuation among coal users from Xuanwei. Our study provides evidence that genetic susceptibility to lung adenocarcinoma among never-smoking Asian women is weaker among coal users. These results suggest that lung cancer pathogenesis may differ, at least partially, depending on exposure to coal combustion products. Notably, these novel findings are among the few instances of sub-multiplicative gene-environment interactions in the cancer literature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105975DOI Listing
February 2021

DNA Methylation in Prostate Tumor Tissue Is Associated with Gleason Score.

Genes (Basel) 2020 12 24;12(1). Epub 2020 Dec 24.

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

Increasing evidence suggests a role of epigenetic mechanisms at chromosome 8q24, an important cancer genetic susceptibility region, in prostate cancer. We investigated whether DNA methylation at 8q24 (six CpG sites from exon 3 to the 3' UTR) in prostate tumor was associated with tumor aggressiveness (based on Gleason score, GS), and we incorporated RNA expression data to investigate the function. We accessed radical prostatectomy tissue for 50 Caucasian and 50 African American prostate cancer patients at the University of Maryland Medical Center, selecting an equal number of GS 6 and GS 7 cases per group. DNA methylation was lower in tumor than paired normal prostate tissue for all six CpG sites (median difference: -14.74 to -0.20 percentage points), and we observed similar results for two nearby sites in The Cancer Genome Atlas ( < 0.0001). We observed significantly lower methylation for more aggressive (GS 7) than less aggressive (GS 6) tumors for three exon 3 sites (for CpG 212 (chr8:128753145), GS 6 median = 89.7%; GS 7 median = 85.8%; -value = 9.4 × 10). DNA methylation was not associated with expression, but was inversely associated with expression after multiple comparison adjustment (-value = 0.04). Findings suggest that prostate tumor exon 3 hypomethylation is associated with increased aggressiveness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes12010012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823928PMC
December 2020

Adiposity, metabolites, and colorectal cancer risk: Mendelian randomization study.

BMC Med 2020 12 17;18(1):396. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

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

Background: Higher adiposity increases the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), but whether this relationship varies by anatomical sub-site or by sex is unclear. Further, the metabolic alterations mediating the effects of adiposity on CRC are not fully understood.

Methods: We examined sex- and site-specific associations of adiposity with CRC risk and whether adiposity-associated metabolites explain the associations of adiposity with CRC. Genetic variants from genome-wide association studies of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR, unadjusted for BMI; N = 806,810), and 123 metabolites from targeted nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics (N = 24,925), were used as instruments. Sex-combined and sex-specific Mendelian randomization (MR) was conducted for BMI and WHR with CRC risk (58,221 cases and 67,694 controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, Colorectal Cancer Transdisciplinary Study, and Colon Cancer Family Registry). Sex-combined MR was conducted for BMI and WHR with metabolites, for metabolites with CRC, and for BMI and WHR with CRC adjusted for metabolite classes in multivariable models.

Results: In sex-specific MR analyses, higher BMI (per 4.2 kg/m) was associated with 1.23 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08, 1.38) times higher CRC odds among men (inverse-variance-weighted (IVW) model); among women, higher BMI (per 5.2 kg/m) was associated with 1.09 (95% CI = 0.97, 1.22) times higher CRC odds. WHR (per 0.07 higher) was more strongly associated with CRC risk among women (IVW OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.08, 1.43) than men (IVW OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.81, 1.36). BMI or WHR was associated with 104/123 metabolites at false discovery rate-corrected P ≤ 0.05; several metabolites were associated with CRC, but not in directions that were consistent with the mediation of positive adiposity-CRC relations. In multivariable MR analyses, associations of BMI and WHR with CRC were not attenuated following adjustment for representative metabolite classes, e.g., the univariable IVW OR for BMI with CRC was 1.12 (95% CI = 1.00, 1.26), and this became 1.11 (95% CI = 0.99, 1.26) when adjusting for cholesterol in low-density lipoprotein particles.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that higher BMI more greatly raises CRC risk among men, whereas higher WHR more greatly raises CRC risk among women. Adiposity was associated with numerous metabolic alterations, but none of these explained associations between adiposity and CRC. More detailed metabolomic measures are likely needed to clarify the mechanistic pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01855-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745469PMC
December 2020

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

The Variant C.349A>G Is Associated with Prostate Cancer Risk and Carriers Share a Common Ancestor.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 4;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.

The identification of recurrent founder variants in cancer predisposing genes may have important implications for implementing cost-effective targeted genetic screening strategies. In this study, we evaluated the prevalence and relative risk of the recurrent variant c.349A>G in a series of 462 Portuguese patients with early-onset and/or familial/hereditary prostate cancer (PrCa), as well as in the large multicentre PRACTICAL case-control study comprising 55,162 prostate cancer cases and 36,147 controls. Additionally, we investigated the potential shared ancestry of the carriers by performing identity-by-descent, haplotype and age estimation analyses using high-density SNP data from 70 variant carriers belonging to 11 different populations included in the PRACTICAL consortium. The missense variant c.349A>G was found significantly associated with an increased risk for PrCa (OR 1.9; 95% CI: 1.1-3.2). A shared haplotype flanking the variant in all carriers was identified, strongly suggesting a common founder of European origin. Additionally, using two independent statistical algorithms, implemented by DMLE+2.3 and ESTIAGE, we were able to estimate the age of the variant between 2300 and 3125 years. By extending the haplotype analysis to 14 additional carrier families, a shared core haplotype was revealed among all carriers matching the conserved region previously identified in the high-density SNP analysis. These findings are consistent with c.349A>G being a founder variant associated with increased PrCa risk, suggesting its potential usefulness for cost-effective targeted genetic screening in PrCa families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113254DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7694218PMC
November 2020

Association of Combined Sero-Positivity to and with Risk of Colorectal Cancer.

Microorganisms 2020 Oct 30;8(11). Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Infections and Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Previously, we found that risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) is increased in individuals with serum antibody response to both (HP) Vacuolating Cytotoxin (VacA) toxin or (SGG) pilus protein Gallo2178. In the present analysis, we tested the hypothesis that combined seropositivity to both antigens is a better indicator of CRC risk than seropositivity to single antigens. We used multiplex serologic assays to analyze pre-diagnostic serum for antibody responses from 4063 incident CRC cases and 4063 matched controls from 10 US cohorts. To examine whether combined SGG Gallo2178 and HP VacA sero-status was associated with CRC risk, we used conditional logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Compared to dual sero-negative individuals, there was no increased risk for individuals sero-positive to SGG Gallo2178 only (OR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.66-1.31) or to HP VacA only (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 0.98-1.19). However, dual sero-positive individuals had a >50% increased odds of developing CRC (OR: 1.54; 95% CI: 1.16-2.04), suggesting an interaction between antibody responses to these two pathogens and CRC risk (p = 0.06). In conclusion, this study suggests that dual sero-positivity to HP VacA and SGG Gallo2178 is an indicator of increased risk of CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693002PMC
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

Recommended Definitions of Aggressive Prostate Cancer for Etiologic Epidemiologic Research.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jun;113(6):727-734

Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Background: In the era of widespread prostate-specific antigen testing, it is important to focus etiologic research on the outcome of aggressive prostate cancer, but studies have defined this outcome differently. We aimed to develop an evidence-based consensus definition of aggressive prostate cancer using clinical features at diagnosis for etiologic epidemiologic research.

Methods: Among prostate cancer cases diagnosed in 2007 in the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-18 database with follow-up through 2017, we compared the performance of categorizations of aggressive prostate cancer in discriminating fatal prostate cancer within 10 years of diagnosis, placing the most emphasis on sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV).

Results: In our case population (n = 55 900), 3073 men died of prostate cancer within 10 years. Among 12 definitions that included TNM staging and Gleason score, sensitivities ranged from 0.64 to 0.89 and PPVs ranged from 0.09 to 0.23. We propose defining aggressive prostate cancer as diagnosis of category T4 or N1 or M1 or Gleason score of 8 or greater prostate cancer, because this definition had one of the higher PPVs (0.23, 95% confidence interval = 0.22 to 0.24) and reasonable sensitivity (0.66, 95% confidence interval = 0.64 to 0.67) for prostate cancer death within 10 years. Results were similar across sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: We recommend that etiologic epidemiologic studies of prostate cancer report results for this definition of aggressive prostate cancer. We also recommend that studies separately report results for advanced category (T4 or N1 or M1), high-grade (Gleason score ≥8), and fatal prostate cancer. Use of this comprehensive set of endpoints will facilitate comparison of results from different studies and help elucidate prostate cancer etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa154DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8248961PMC
June 2021

Genetic Variants in the Regulatory T cell-Related Pathway and Colorectal Cancer Prognosis.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 12 2;29(12):2719-2728. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Colorectal Oncogenomics Group, Department of Clinical Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Background: High numbers of lymphocytes in tumor tissue, including T regulatory cells (Treg), have been associated with better colorectal cancer survival. Tregs, a subset of CD4 T lymphocytes, are mediators of immunosuppression in cancer, and therefore variants in genes related to Treg differentiation and function could be associated with colorectal cancer prognosis.

Methods: In a prospective German cohort of 3,593 colorectal cancer patients, we assessed the association of 771 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 58 Treg-related genes with overall and colorectal cancer-specific survival using Cox regression models. Effect modification by microsatellite instability (MSI) status was also investigated because tumors with MSI show greater lymphocytic infiltration and have been associated with better prognosis. Replication of significant results was attempted in 2,047 colorectal cancer patients of the International Survival Analysis in Colorectal Cancer Consortium (ISACC).

Results: A significant association of the SNP rs7524066 with more favorable colorectal cancer-specific survival [hazard ratio (HR) per minor allele: 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.74-0.94; value: 0.0033] was replicated in ISACC (HR: 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68-0.98; value: 0.03). Suggestive evidence for association was found with two SNPs, rs16906568 and rs7845577. Thirteen SNPs with differential associations with overall survival according to MSI in the discovery analysis were not confirmed.

Conclusions: Common genetic variation in the Treg pathway implicating genes such as and was shown to be associated with prognosis of colorectal cancer patients.

Impact: The implicated genes warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7976673PMC
December 2020

Auto-antibodies to p53 and the Subsequent Development of Colorectal Cancer in a U.S. Prospective Cohort Consortium.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 12 24;29(12):2729-2734. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program, Duke Cancer Institute, and Department of Population Health Sciences, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Auto-antibodies to tumor suppressor p53 are found in a subset of patients with colorectal cancer. A recent prospective study in the United States has reported a significant 1.8-fold increased odds for colorectal cancer development with prediagnostic seropositivity to p53. In this study, we sought to examine this association in a U.S. colorectal cancer cohort consortium to evaluate the potential utility of p53 auto-antibodies as an early biomarker for colorectal cancer.

Methods: Auto-antibodies to p53 were measured in prediagnostic blood samples of 3,702 incident colorectal cancer cases and 3,702 controls, matched by age, race, and sex, from 9 U.S. prospective cohorts. The association of seropositivity to p53 with colorectal cancer risk, overall and by time between blood draw and diagnosis, was determined by conditional logistic regression.

Results: Overall, 5% of controls and 7% of cases were seropositive to p53, resulting in a statistically significant 33% increased colorectal cancer risk [odds ratio (OR), 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09-1.61]. By follow-up time, the association was only significant with colorectal cancer diagnoses within 4 years after blood draw (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.62-3.19), but not thereafter (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.76-1.24).

Conclusions: In this large consortium of prospective cohorts, we found that prediagnostic seropositivity to tumor suppressor p53 was significantly associated with an over 2-fold increased odds of developing colorectal cancer within 4 years after blood draw.

Impact: Our finding suggests that p53 seropositivity may not be a useful predictor of long-term colorectal cancer risk; however, it might be considered as a marker to aid in the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0780DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7710535PMC
December 2020

Mendelian Randomization Analysis of n-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Levels and Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 12 23;29(12):2735-2739. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Whether circulating polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels are associated with pancreatic cancer risk is uncertain. Mendelian randomization (MR) represents a study design using genetic instruments to better characterize the relationship between exposure and outcome.

Methods: We utilized data from genome-wide association studies within the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium and Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium, involving approximately 9,269 cases and 12,530 controls of European descent, to evaluate associations between pancreatic cancer risk and genetically predicted plasma n-6 PUFA levels. Conventional MR analyses were performed using individual-level and summary-level data.

Results: Using genetic instruments, we did not find evidence of associations between genetically predicted plasma n-6 PUFA levels and pancreatic cancer risk [estimates per one SD increase in each PUFA-specific weighted genetic score using summary statistics: linoleic acid odds ratio (OR) = 1.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.98-1.02; arachidonic acid OR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.99-1.01; and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.87-1.02]. The OR estimates remained virtually unchanged after adjustment for covariates, using individual-level data or summary statistics, or stratification by age and sex.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that variations of genetically determined plasma n-6 PUFA levels are not associated with pancreatic cancer risk.

Impact: These results suggest that modifying n-6 PUFA levels through food sources or supplementation may not influence risk of pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7710600PMC
December 2020

Increased frequency of intentional weight loss associated with reduced mortality: a prospective cohort analysis.

BMC Med 2020 09 17;18(1):248. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

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

Background: Due to the high prevalence of obesity and the difficulty in maintaining weight loss, repeated bouts of weight loss are a common occurrence. However, there are inconsistencies in epidemiological studies regarding repetitive weight fluctuations being associated with increased risk of mortality. Therefore, the purpose of this prospective cohort analysis was to determine the long-term association of the frequency of weight loss attempts on mortality.

Methods: This prospective cohort study used data collected from adult AARP members living in 6 states (California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, or Pennsylvania) or 2 metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Georgia, or Detroit, Michigan) and participating in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study between 2004 and 2006. Self-reported data were analyzed for 161,738 middle-aged adults. During an average 7 years of follow-up, 21,194 deaths were recorded. Hazard ratios of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality were estimated adjusting for demographic, lifestyle, and behavioral risk factors.

Results: Increased frequency of weight loss attempts of at least five pounds was associated with lower mortality (p < 0.010). Multivariate hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for all-cause death among individuals who successfully attempted weight loss compared with those who did not make any attempts were 0.94 (0.90-0.98) for 1-2 attempts, 0.96 (0.91-1.01) for 3-4 attempts, 0.91 (0.85-0.96) for 5-6 attempts, 0.91 (0.85-0.98) for 7-8 attempts, 0.87 (0.80-0.95) for 9-10 attempts, and 0.88 (0.82-0.94) for 11+ attempts. Similar results were noted for men and women, participants with healthy weight and overweight/obesity, and even among those who gained weight over time. Protective associations were also observed for deaths due to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Conclusions: Increased frequency of intentionally losing at least five pounds in mid-life was associated with a lower risk of future death. Repeated attempts with moderate amounts of weight loss may provide benefit in terms of longevity.

Trial Registration Number: ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00340015.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01716-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7495833PMC
September 2020

Circulating bilirubin levels and risk of colorectal cancer: serological and Mendelian randomization analyses.

BMC Med 2020 09 3;18(1):229. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Public Health Directorate, Asturias, Spain.

Background: Bilirubin, a byproduct of hemoglobin breakdown and purported anti-oxidant, is thought to be cancer preventive. We conducted complementary serological and Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses to investigate whether alterations in circulating levels of bilirubin are associated with risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). We decided a priori to perform analyses separately in men and women based on suggestive evidence that associations may differ by sex.

Methods: In a case-control study nested in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), pre-diagnostic unconjugated bilirubin (UCB, the main component of total bilirubin) concentrations were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography in plasma samples of 1386 CRC cases and their individually matched controls. Additionally, 115 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) robustly associated (P < 5 × 10) with circulating total bilirubin were instrumented in a 2-sample MR to test for a potential causal effect of bilirubin on CRC risk in 52,775 CRC cases and 45,940 matched controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO), the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR), and the Colorectal Transdisciplinary (CORECT) study.

Results: The associations between circulating UCB levels and CRC risk differed by sex (P = 0.008). Among men, higher levels of UCB were positively associated with CRC risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04-1.36; per 1-SD increment of log-UCB). In women, an inverse association was observed (OR = 0.86 (0.76-0.97)). In the MR analysis of the main UGT1A1 SNP (rs6431625), genetically predicted higher levels of total bilirubin were associated with a 7% increase in CRC risk in men (OR = 1.07 (1.02-1.12); P = 0.006; per 1-SD increment of total bilirubin), while there was no association in women (OR = 1.01 (0.96-1.06); P = 0.73). Raised bilirubin levels, predicted by instrumental variables excluding rs6431625, were suggestive of an inverse association with CRC in men, but not in women. These differences by sex did not reach formal statistical significance (P ≥ 0.2).

Conclusions: Additional insight into the relationship between circulating bilirubin and CRC is needed in order to conclude on a potential causal role of bilirubin in CRC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01703-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7469292PMC
September 2020

Racial Differences in CagA Sero-prevalence in a Consortium of Adult Cohorts in the United States.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 10 20;29(10):2084-2092. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Cancer Control and Population Health Sciences Program, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Prevalence of () infection, the main risk factor for gastric cancer, has been decreasing in the United States; however, there remains a substantial racial disparity. Moreover, the time-trends for prevalence of CagA-positive infection, the most virulent form, are unknown in the U.S.

Population: We sought to assess prevalence of CagA-positive infection over time by race in the United States.

Methods: We utilized multiplex serology to quantify antibody responses to antigens in 4,476 participants across five cohorts that sampled adults from 1985 to 2009. Using log-binomial regression models, we calculated prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the association between -CagA sero-prevalence and birth year by race.

Results: African Americans were three times more likely to be -CagA sero-positive than Whites. After adjustment, -CagA sero-prevalence was lower with increasing birth year among Whites ( = 0.001), but remained stable for African Americans. When stratified by sex and education separately, the decline in -CagA sero-positivity among Whites remained only for females ( < 0.001) and was independent of educational attainment. Among African Americans, there was no difference by sex; furthermore, sero-prevalence increased with increasing birth year among those with a high school education or less ( = 0.006).

Conclusions: Among individuals in the United States born from the 1920s to 1960s, -CagA sero-prevalence has declined among Whites, but not among African Americans.

Impact: Our findings suggest a widening racial disparity in the prevalence of the most virulent form of , the main cause of gastric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7584346PMC
October 2020