Publications by authors named "Stephen B Gruber"

254 Publications

Nongenetic Determinants of Risk for Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Jun 20;5(3):pkab029. Epub 2021 May 20.

Section of Nutrition and Metabolism, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

Background: Incidence of early-onset (younger than 50 years of age) colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing in many countries. Thus, elucidating the role of traditional CRC risk factors in early-onset CRC is a high priority. We sought to determine whether risk factors associated with late-onset CRC were also linked to early-onset CRC and whether association patterns differed by anatomic subsite.

Methods: Using data pooled from 13 population-based studies, we studied 3767 CRC cases and 4049 controls aged younger than 50 years and 23 437 CRC cases and 35 311 controls aged 50 years and older. Using multivariable and multinomial logistic regression, we estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to assess the association between risk factors and early-onset CRC and by anatomic subsite.

Results: Early-onset CRC was associated with not regularly using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.21 to 1.68), greater red meat intake (OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.16), lower educational attainment (OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.16), alcohol abstinence (OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.08 to 1.39), and heavier alcohol use (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.50). No factors exhibited a greater excess in early-onset compared with late-onset CRC. Evaluating risks by anatomic subsite, we found that lower total fiber intake was linked more strongly to rectal (OR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.14 to 1.48) than colon cancer (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.27;  = .04).

Conclusion: In this large study, we identified several nongenetic risk factors associated with early-onset CRC, providing a basis for targeted identification of those most at risk, which is imperative in mitigating the rising burden of this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkab029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8134523PMC
June 2021

Tumor immune infiltration estimated from gene expression profiles predicts colorectal cancer relapse.

Oncoimmunology 2021 03 9;10(1):1862529. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Department of Cancer Epidemiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA.

A substantial fraction of patients with stage I-III colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRC) experience disease relapse after surgery with curative intent. However, biomarkers for predicting the likelihood of CRC relapse have not been fully explored. Therefore, we assessed the association between tumor infiltration by a broad array of innate and adaptive immune cell types and CRC relapse risk. We implemented a discovery-validation design including a discovery dataset from Moffitt Cancer Center (MCC; Tampa, FL) and three independent validation datasets: (1) GSE41258 (2) the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) study, and (3) GSE39582. Infiltration by 22 immune cell types was inferred from tumor gene expression data, and the association between immune infiltration by each cell type and relapse-free survival was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression. Within each of the four independent cohorts, CD4+ memory activated T cell (HR: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.90-0.96; FDR = 0.0001) infiltration was associated with longer time to disease relapse, independent of stage, microsatellite instability, and adjuvant therapy. Based on our meta-analysis across the four datasets, 10 innate and adaptive immune cell types associated with disease relapse of which 2 were internally validated using multiplex immunofluorescence. Moreover, immune cell type infiltration was a better predictors of disease relapse than Consensus Molecular Subtype (CMS) and other expression-based biomarkers (Immune-AIC:238.1-238.9; CMS-AIC: 241.0). These data suggest that transcriptome-derived immune profiles are prognostic indicators of CRC relapse and quantification of both innate and adaptive immune cell types may serve as candidate biomarkers for predicting prognosis and guiding frequency and modality of disease surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2020.1862529DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7951964PMC
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

Causal Effects of Lifetime Smoking on Breast and Colorectal Cancer Risk: Mendelian Randomization Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 05 2;30(5):953-964. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Section of Nutrition and Metabolism, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

Background: Observational evidence has shown that smoking is a risk factor for breast and colorectal cancer. We used Mendelian randomization (MR) to examine causal associations between smoking and risks of breast and colorectal cancer.

Methods: Genome-Wide Association Study summary data were used to identify genetic variants associated with lifetime amount of smoking ( = 126 variants) and ever having smoked regularly ( = 112 variants). Using two-sample MR, we examined these variants in relation to incident breast (122,977 cases/105,974 controls) and colorectal cancer (52,775 cases/45,940 controls).

Results: In inverse-variance weighted models, a genetic predisposition to higher lifetime amount of smoking was positively associated with breast cancer risk [OR per 1-SD increment: 1.13; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00-1.26; = 0.04]; although heterogeneity was observed. Similar associations were found for estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative tumors. Higher lifetime amount of smoking was positively associated with colorectal cancer (OR per 1-SD increment, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.40; = 0.01), colon cancer (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.11-1.55; < 0.01), and rectal cancer (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.07-1.73; = 0.01). Ever having smoked regularly was not associated with risks of breast (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.90-1.14; = 0.85) or colorectal cancer (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.86-1.10; = 0.68).

Conclusions: These findings are consistent with prior observational evidence and support a causal role of higher lifetime smoking amount in the development of breast and colorectal cancer.

Impact: The results from this comprehensive MR analysis indicate that lifetime smoking is a causal risk factor for these common malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1218DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611442PMC
May 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

Rare Variants in the DNA Repair Pathway and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 05 24;30(5):895-903. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida.

Background: Inherited susceptibility is an important contributor to colorectal cancer risk, and rare variants in key genes or pathways could account in part for the missing proportion of colorectal cancer heritability.

Methods: We conducted an exome-wide association study including 2,327 cases and 2,966 controls of European ancestry from three large epidemiologic studies. Single variant associations were tested using logistic regression models, adjusting for appropriate study-specific covariates. In addition, we examined the aggregate effects of rare coding variation at the gene and pathway levels using Bayesian model uncertainty techniques.

Results: In an exome-wide gene-level analysis, we identified as the top associated gene based on the Bayesian risk index (BRI) method [summary Bayes factor (BF) = 2604.23]. A rare coding variant in this gene, rs139401613, was the top associated variant ( = 1.01 × 10) in an exome-wide single variant analysis. Pathway-level association analyses based on the integrative BRI (iBRI) method found extreme evidence of association with the DNA repair pathway (BF = 17852.4), specifically with the nonhomologous end joining (BF = 437.95) and nucleotide excision repair (BF = 36.96) subpathways. The iBRI method also identified , and as the top associated DNA repair genes (summary BF ≥ 10), with rs28988897, rs8178232, rs141369732, and rs201642761 being the most likely associated variants in these genes, respectively.

Conclusions: We identified novel variants and genes associated with colorectal cancer risk and provided additional evidence for a role of DNA repair in colorectal cancer tumorigenesis.

Impact: This study provides new insights into the genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer, which has potential for translation into improved risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8102340PMC
May 2021

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

Psychosocial outcomes following germline multigene panel testing in an ethnically and economically diverse cohort of patients.

Cancer 2021 Apr 15;127(8):1275-1285. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Center for Precision Medicine, City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, California.

Background: Little is known about the psychological outcomes of germline multigene panel testing, particularly among diverse patients and those with moderate-risk pathogenic variants (PVs).

Methods: Study participants (N = 1264) were counseled and tested with a 25- or 28-gene panel and completed a 3-month postresult survey including the Multidimensional Impact of Cancer Risk Assessment (MICRA).

Results: The mean age was 52 years, 80% were female, and 70% had cancer; 45% were non-Hispanic White, 37% were Hispanic, 10% were Asian, 3% were Black, and 5% had another race/ethnicity. Approximately 28% had a high school education or less, and 23% were non-English-speaking. The genetic test results were as follows: 7% had a high-risk PV, 6% had a moderate-risk PV, 35% had a variant of uncertain significance (VUS), and 52% were negative. Most participants (92%) had a total MICRA score ≤ 38, which corresponded to a mean response of "never," "rarely," or only "sometimes" reacting negatively to results. A multivariate analysis found that mean total MICRA scores were significantly higher (more uncertainty/distress) among high- and moderate-risk PV carriers (29.7 and 24.8, respectively) than those with a VUS or negative results (17.4 and 16.1, respectively). Having cancer or less education was associated with a significantly higher total MICRA score; race/ethnicity was not associated with the total MICRA score. High- and moderate-risk PV carriers did not differ significantly from one another in the total MICRA score, uncertainty, distress, or positive experiences.

Conclusions: In a diverse population undergoing genetic counseling and multigene panel testing for hereditary cancer risk, the psychological response corresponded to test results and showed low distress and uncertainty. Further studies are needed to assess patient understanding and subsequent cancer screening among patients from diverse backgrounds.

Lay Summary: Multigene panel tests for hereditary cancer have become widespread despite concerns about adverse psychological reactions among carriers of moderate-risk pathogenic variants (mutations) and among carriers of variants of uncertain significance. This large study of an ethnically and economically diverse cohort of patients undergoing panel testing found that 92% "never," "rarely," or only "sometimes" reacted negatively to results. Somewhat higher uncertainty and distress were identified among carriers of high- and moderate-risk pathogenic variants, and lower levels were identified among those with a variant of uncertain significance or a negative result. Although the psychological response corresponded to risk, reactions to testing were favorable, regardless of results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33357DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8058169PMC
April 2021

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

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 03 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

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

Gastroenterology 2021 03 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

Inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase induces synthetic lethality in BRIP1 deficient ovarian epithelial cells.

Gynecol Oncol 2020 12 5;159(3):869-876. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope National Medical Center, and Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, CA, USA; Center for Precision Medicine, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, USA.

Objective: Pathogenic variations in the homologous recombination (HR) gene, BRCA1 interacting protein C-terminal helicase 1 (BRIP1) increase the risk for ovarian cancer. PARP inhibitors (PARPi) exert a synthetic lethal effect in BRCA-mutated ovarian cancers. Effective HR requires cooperation between BRCA1 and BRIP1; therefore, BRIP1-incompetancy may predict vulnerability to synthetic lethality. Here we investigated the response of ovarian epithelial cells with defective BRIP1 function to PARPi, and compared these cells to those lacking BRCA1 activity.

Methods: We engineered Chinese Hamster ovarian (CHO) epithelial cells to express deficient BRIP1 or BRCA1, and exposed them to olaparib with or without carboplatin or cisplatin. We assessed cellular proliferation and survival; we calculated inhibitory concentrations and combination and reduction drug indices.

Results: BRIP1 and BRCA1 inactivation impedes HR activity, decreases cellular proliferation and compromises DNA damage recovery. Platinum agent exposure impairs cellular survival. Olaparib exposure alone decreases cell viability in BRCA1-deficient cells, although has no effect on BRIP1-deficient cells. Combining carboplatin or cisplatin with olaparib synergistically attenuates cellular survival, consistent with synthetic lethality.

Conclusions: BRIP1-deficient ovarian epithelial cells exhibit defective HR, resulting in synthetic lethality when exposed to a platinum agent/PARPi combination. PARPi alone had no effect; this lack of effect may result from distinguishing molecular properties of BRIP1and/or consequences of genomic background. Our study identifies altered BRIP1 as a target for precision medicine-based therapies for ovarian cancers. This investigation supports consideration of the use of a platinum agent/PARPi combination in ovarian cancers depending upon genetic profile and genomic background.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.09.040DOI Listing
December 2020

Lymphocytic infiltration in stage II microsatellite stable colorectal tumors: A retrospective prognosis biomarker analysis.

PLoS Med 2020 09 24;17(9):e1003292. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Identifying stage II patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) at higher risk of progression is a clinical priority in order to optimize the advantages of adjuvant chemotherapy while avoiding unnecessary toxicity. Recently, the intensity and the quality of the host immune response in the tumor microenvironment have been reported to have an important role in tumorigenesis and an inverse association with tumor progression. This association is well established in microsatellite instable CRC. In this work, we aim to assess the usefulness of measures of T-cell infiltration as prognostic biomarkers in 640 stage II, CRC tumors, 582 of them confirmed microsatellite stable.

Methods And Findings: We measured both the quantity and clonality index of T cells by means of T-cell receptor (TCR) immunosequencing in a discovery dataset (95 patients with colon cancer diagnosed at stage II and microsatellite stable, median age 67, 30% women) and replicated the results in 3 additional series of stage II patients from 2 countries. Series 1 and 2 were recruited in Barcelona, Spain and included 112 fresh frozen (FF, median age 69, 44% women) and 163 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE, median age 67, 39% women) samples, respectively. Series 3 included 270 FFPE samples from patients recruited in Haifa, Northern Israel, as part of a large case-control study of CRC (median age 73, 46% women). Median follow-up time was 81.1 months. Cox regression models were fitted to evaluate the prognostic value of T-cell abundance and Simpson clonality of TCR variants adjusting by sex, age, tumor location, and stage (IIA and IIB). In the discovery dataset, higher TCR abundance was associated with better prognosis (hazard ratio [HR] for ≥Q1 = 0.25, 95% CI 0.10-0.63, P = 0.003). A functional analysis of gene expression on these tumors revealed enrichment in pathways related to immune response. Higher values of clonality index (lower diversity) were not associated with worse disease-free survival, though the HR for ≥Q3 was 2.32 (95% CI 0.90-5.97, P = 0.08). These results were replicated in an independent FF dataset (TCR abundance: HR = 0.30, 95% CI 0.12-0.72, P = 0.007; clonality: HR = 3.32, 95% CI 1.38-7.94, P = 0.007). Also, the association with prognosis was tested in 2 independent FFPE datasets. The same association was observed with TCR abundance (HR = 0.41, 95% CI 0.18-0.93, P = 0.03 and HR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.31-1, P = 0.042, respectively, for each FFPE dataset). However, the clonality index was associated with prognosis only in the FFPE dataset from Israel (HR = 2.45, 95% CI 1.39-4.32, P = 0.002). Finally, a combined analysis combining all microsatellite stable (MSS) samples demonstrated a clear prognosis value both for TCR abundance (HR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.26-0.57, P = 1.3e-06) and the clonality index (HR = 2.13, 95% CI 1.44-3.15, P = 0.0002). These associations were also observed when variables were considered continuous in the models (HR per log2 of TCR abundance = 0.85, 95% CI 0.78-0.93, P = 0.0002; HR per log2 or clonality index = 1.16, 95% CI 1.03-1.31, P = 0.016).

Limitations: This is a retrospective study, and samples had been preserved with different methods. Validation series lack complete information about microsatellite instability (MSI) status and pathology assessment. The Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) study had information about overall survival instead of progression-free survival.

Conclusion: Results from this study demonstrate that tumor lymphocytes, assessed by TCR repertoire quantification based on a sequencing method, are an independent prognostic factor in microsatellite stable stage II CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003292DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7514069PMC
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

Association of Known Melanoma Risk Factors with Primary Melanoma of the Scalp and Neck.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 11 20;29(11):2203-2210. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

Background: Scalp and neck (SN) melanoma confers a worse prognosis than melanoma of other sites but little is known about its determinants. We aimed to identify associations between SN melanoma and known risk genes, phenotypic traits, and sun exposure patterns.

Methods: Participants were cases from the Western Australian Melanoma Health Study ( = 1,200) and the Genes, Environment, and Melanoma Study ( = 3,280). Associations between risk factors and SN melanoma, compared with truncal and arm/leg melanoma, were investigated using binomial logistic regression. Facial melanoma was also compared with the trunk and extremities, to evaluate whether associations were subregion specific, or reflective of the whole head/neck region.

Results: Compared with other sites, increased odds of SN and facial melanoma were observed in older individuals [SN: OR = 1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.92-1.80, = 0.016; Face: OR = 4.57, 95% CI = 3.34-6.35, < 0.001] and those carrying -rs12203592*T (SN: OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.12-1.63, = 0.002; Face: OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.10-1.50, = 0.001). Decreased odds were observed for females (SN: OR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.37-0.64, < 0.001; Face: OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.53-0.82, < 0.001) and the presence of nevi (SN: OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.49-0.89, = 0.006; Face: OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.52-0.83, < 0.001).

Conclusions: Differences observed between SN melanoma and other sites were also observed for facial melanoma. Factors previously associated with the broader head and neck region, notably older age, may be driven by the facial subregion. A novel finding was the association of -rs12203592 with both SN and facial melanoma.

Impact: Understanding the epidemiology of site-specific melanoma will enable tailored strategies for risk factor reduction and site-specific screening campaigns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0595DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7641988PMC
November 2020

A general framework for functionally informed set-based analysis: Application to a large-scale colorectal cancer study.

PLoS Genet 2020 08 24;16(8):e1008947. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified tens of thousands of genetic variants associated with various phenotypes, but together they explain only a fraction of heritability, suggesting many variants have yet to be discovered. Recently it has been recognized that incorporating functional information of genetic variants can improve power for identifying novel loci. For example, S-PrediXcan and TWAS tested the association of predicted gene expression with phenotypes based on GWAS summary statistics by leveraging the information on genetic regulation of gene expression and found many novel loci. However, as genetic variants may have effects on more than one gene and through different mechanisms, these methods likely only capture part of the total effects of these variants. In this paper, we propose a summary statistics-based mixed effects score test (sMiST) that tests for the total effect of both the effect of the mediator by imputing genetically predicted gene expression, like S-PrediXcan and TWAS, and the direct effects of individual variants. It allows for multiple functional annotations and multiple genetically predicted mediators. It can also perform conditional association analysis while adjusting for other genetic variants (e.g., known loci for the phenotype). Extensive simulation and real data analyses demonstrate that sMiST yields p-values that agree well with those obtained from individual level data but with substantively improved computational speed. Importantly, a broad application of sMiST to GWAS is possible, as only summary statistics of genetic variant associations are required. We apply sMiST to a large-scale GWAS of colorectal cancer using summary statistics from ∼120, 000 study participants and gene expression data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project. We identify several novel and secondary independent genetic loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008947DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7470748PMC
August 2020

Genome-wide Modeling of Polygenic Risk Score in Colorectal Cancer Risk.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09 5;107(3):432-444. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

Accurate colorectal cancer (CRC) risk prediction models are critical for identifying individuals at low and high risk of developing CRC, as they can then be offered targeted screening and interventions to address their risks of developing disease (if they are in a high-risk group) and avoid unnecessary screening and interventions (if they are in a low-risk group). As it is likely that thousands of genetic variants contribute to CRC risk, it is clinically important to investigate whether these genetic variants can be used jointly for CRC risk prediction. In this paper, we derived and compared different approaches to generating predictive polygenic risk scores (PRS) from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) including 55,105 CRC-affected case subjects and 65,079 control subjects of European ancestry. We built the PRS in three ways, using (1) 140 previously identified and validated CRC loci; (2) SNP selection based on linkage disequilibrium (LD) clumping followed by machine-learning approaches; and (3) LDpred, a Bayesian approach for genome-wide risk prediction. We tested the PRS in an independent cohort of 101,987 individuals with 1,699 CRC-affected case subjects. The discriminatory accuracy, calculated by the age- and sex-adjusted area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC), was highest for the LDpred-derived PRS (AUC = 0.654) including nearly 1.2 M genetic variants (the proportion of causal genetic variants for CRC assumed to be 0.003), whereas the PRS of the 140 known variants identified from GWASs had the lowest AUC (AUC = 0.629). Based on the LDpred-derived PRS, we are able to identify 30% of individuals without a family history as having risk for CRC similar to those with a family history of CRC, whereas the PRS based on known GWAS variants identified only top 10% as having a similar relative risk. About 90% of these individuals have no family history and would have been considered average risk under current screening guidelines, but might benefit from earlier screening. The developed PRS offers a way for risk-stratified CRC screening and other targeted interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.07.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477007PMC
September 2020

Exploratory Genome-Wide Interaction Analysis of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Predicted Gene Expression on Colorectal Cancer Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 09 10;29(9):1800-1808. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

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

Background: Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer. Genome-wide interaction analysis on single variants (G × E) has identified several SNPs that may interact with NSAIDs to confer colorectal cancer risk, but variations in gene expression levels may also modify the effect of NSAID use. Therefore, we tested interactions between NSAID use and predicted gene expression levels in relation to colorectal cancer risk.

Methods: Genetically predicted gene expressions were tested for interaction with NSAID use on colorectal cancer risk among 19,258 colorectal cancer cases and 18,597 controls from 21 observational studies. A Mixed Score Test for Interactions (MiSTi) approach was used to jointly assess G × E effects which are modeled via fixed interaction effects of the weighted burden within each gene set (burden) and residual G × E effects (variance). A false discovery rate (FDR) at 0.2 was applied to correct for multiple testing.

Results: Among the 4,840 genes tested, genetically predicted expression levels of four genes modified the effect of any NSAID use on colorectal cancer risk, including (P = 1.96 × 10), (P = 2.3 × 10), (P = 9.38 × 10), and (P = 1.44 × 10). There was a significant interaction between expression level of and regular use of aspirin only on colorectal cancer risk (P = 3.23 × 10). No interactions were observed between predicted gene expression and nonaspirin NSAID use at FDR < 0.2.

Conclusions: By incorporating functional information, we discovered several novel genes that interacted with NSAID use.

Impact: These findings provide preliminary support that could help understand the chemopreventive mechanisms of NSAIDs on colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556991PMC
September 2020

Assessment of polygenic architecture and risk prediction based on common variants across fourteen cancers.

Nat Commun 2020 07 3;11(1):3353. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have led to the identification of hundreds of susceptibility loci across cancers, but the impact of further studies remains uncertain. Here we analyse summary-level data from GWAS of European ancestry across fourteen cancer sites to estimate the number of common susceptibility variants (polygenicity) and underlying effect-size distribution. All cancers show a high degree of polygenicity, involving at a minimum of thousands of loci. We project that sample sizes required to explain 80% of GWAS heritability vary from 60,000 cases for testicular to over 1,000,000 cases for lung cancer. The maximum relative risk achievable for subjects at the 99th risk percentile of underlying polygenic risk scores (PRS), compared to average risk, ranges from 12 for testicular to 2.5 for ovarian cancer. We show that PRS have potential for risk stratification for cancers of breast, colon and prostate, but less so for others because of modest heritability and lower incidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16483-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7335068PMC
July 2020

Use of metformin and risk of breast and colorectal cancer.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2020 Jul 22;165:108232. Epub 2020 May 22.

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, USC, Los Angeles, USA.

Background: Diabetes has been associated with increased risk of cancer, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Metformin, an oral hypoglycemic drug, but not other anti-diabetic drugs, has been associated with reduced risk of breast and of colon cancers in some, but not in other, studies.

Methods: Data from two large-scale, population-based, case-control studies of breast and colorectal cancers etiology, conducted in Northern Israel since 1998 were analyzed to evaluate the association between regular use (>3 times) of metformin prior to diagnosis and risk of developing cancer. The multivariate analyses for both cancer sites included age, family history of breast/colorectal cancer, history of diabetes, sports participation, fruits/vegetables consumption, aspirin and statins use, and for breast cancer, also included use of oral contraceptives and postmenopausal hormones and number of pregnancies. Use of metformin and diabetes status were determined based on valid electronic medical records of the participants.

Results: Metformin use prior to diagnosis of cancer was associated with a decrease in risk of both breast cancer (OR = 0.821, 0.726-0.928, p = 0.002) and colorectal cancer (OR = 0.754, 0.623-0.912, p = 0.004). An inverse association was not identified with use of other anti-diabetic medications. Diabetes was found to be associated with risk of colorectal cancer (OR = 1.204, 1.014-1.431, p = 0.034) but not of breast cancer. No dose response by years of use of metformin was found.

Conclusion: These analyses of large population-based studies provide evidence of a strong inverse association of metformin with breast and, even more so, with colorectal cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2020.108232DOI Listing
July 2020

Association of Body Mass Index With Colorectal Cancer Risk by Genome-Wide Variants.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 01;113(1):38-47

Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, Lady Davis Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.

Background: Body mass index (BMI) is a complex phenotype that may interact with genetic variants to influence colorectal cancer risk.

Methods: We tested multiplicative statistical interactions between BMI (per 5 kg/m2) and approximately 2.7 million single nucleotide polymorphisms with colorectal cancer risk among 14 059 colorectal cancer case (53.2% women) and 14 416 control (53.8% women) participants. All analyses were stratified by sex a priori. Statistical methods included 2-step (ie, Cocktail method) and single-step (ie, case-control logistic regression and a joint 2-degree of freedom test) procedures. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Each 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with higher risks of colorectal cancer, less so for women (odds ratio [OR] = 1.14, 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 1.11 to 1.18; P = 9.75 × 10-17) than for men (OR = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.20 to 1.32; P = 2.13 × 10-24). The 2-step Cocktail method identified an interaction for women, but not men, between BMI and a SMAD7 intronic variant at 18q21.1 (rs4939827; Pobserved = .0009; Pthreshold = .005). A joint 2-degree of freedom test was consistent with this finding for women (joint P = 2.43 × 10-10). Each 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI was more strongly associated with colorectal cancer risk for women with the rs4939827-CC genotype (OR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.16 to 1.32; P = 2.60 × 10-10) than for women with the CT (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.09 to 1.19; P = 1.04 × 10-8) or TT (OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.14; P = .02) genotypes.

Conclusion: These results provide novel insights on a potential mechanism through which a SMAD7 variant, previously identified as a susceptibility locus for colorectal cancer, and BMI may influence colorectal cancer risk for women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa058DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7781451PMC
January 2021

Functional informed genome-wide interaction analysis of body mass index, diabetes and colorectal cancer risk.

Cancer Med 2020 05 24;9(10):3563-3573. Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Department of Health Science Research, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

Background: Body mass index (BMI) and diabetes are established risk factors for colorectal cancer (CRC), likely through perturbations in metabolic traits (e.g. insulin resistance and glucose homeostasis). Identification of interactions between variation in genes and these metabolic risk factors may identify novel biologic insights into CRC etiology.

Methods: To improve statistical power and interpretation for gene-environment interaction (G × E) testing, we tested genetic variants that regulate expression of a gene together for interaction with BMI (kg/m ) and diabetes on CRC risk among 26 017 cases and 20 692 controls. Each variant was weighted based on PrediXcan analysis of gene expression data from colon tissue generated in the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project for all genes with heritability ≥1%. We used a mixed-effects model to jointly measure the G × E interaction in a gene by partitioning the interactions into the predicted gene expression levels (fixed effects), and residual G × E effects (random effects). G × BMI analyses were stratified by sex as BMI-CRC associations differ by sex. We used false discovery rates to account for multiple comparisons and reported all results with FDR <0.2.

Results: Among 4839 genes tested, genetically predicted expressions of FOXA1 (P = 3.15 × 10 ), PSMC5 (P = 4.51 × 10 ) and CD33 (P = 2.71 × 10 ) modified the association of BMI on CRC risk for men; KIAA0753 (P = 2.29 × 10 ) and SCN1B (P = 2.76 × 10 ) modified the association of BMI on CRC risk for women; and PTPN2 modified the association between diabetes and CRC risk in both sexes (P = 2.31 × 10 ).

Conclusions: Aggregating G × E interactions and incorporating functional information, we discovered novel genes that may interact with BMI and diabetes on CRC risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.2971DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7221445PMC
May 2020

Ovarian and Breast Cancer Risks Associated With Pathogenic Variants in RAD51C and RAD51D.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2020 12;112(12):1242-1250

Department of Clinical Genetics Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: The purpose of this study was to estimate precise age-specific tubo-ovarian carcinoma (TOC) and breast cancer (BC) risks for carriers of pathogenic variants in RAD51C and RAD51D.

Methods: We analyzed data from 6178 families, 125 with pathogenic variants in RAD51C, and 6690 families, 60 with pathogenic variants in RAD51D. TOC and BC relative and cumulative risks were estimated using complex segregation analysis to model the cancer inheritance patterns in families while adjusting for the mode of ascertainment of each family. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Pathogenic variants in both RAD51C and RAD51D were associated with TOC (RAD51C: relative risk [RR] = 7.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.60 to 10.19; P = 5 × 10-40; RAD51D: RR = 7.60, 95% CI = 5.61 to 10.30; P = 5 × 10-39) and BC (RAD51C: RR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.39 to 2.85; P = 1.55 × 10-4; RAD51D: RR = 1.83, 95% CI = 1.24 to 2.72; P = .002). For both RAD51C and RAD51D, there was a suggestion that the TOC relative risks increased with age until around age 60 years and decreased thereafter. The estimated cumulative risks of developing TOC to age 80 years were 11% (95% CI = 6% to 21%) for RAD51C and 13% (95% CI = 7% to 23%) for RAD51D pathogenic variant carriers. The estimated cumulative risks of developing BC to 80 years were 21% (95% CI = 15% to 29%) for RAD51C and 20% (95% CI = 14% to 28%) for RAD51D pathogenic variant carriers. Both TOC and BC risks for RAD51C and RAD51D pathogenic variant carriers varied by cancer family history and could be as high as 32-36% for TOC, for carriers with two first-degree relatives diagnosed with TOC, or 44-46% for BC, for carriers with two first-degree relatives diagnosed with BC.

Conclusions: These estimates will facilitate the genetic counseling of RAD51C and RAD51D pathogenic variant carriers and justify the incorporation of RAD51C and RAD51D into cancer risk prediction models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7735771PMC
December 2020

The Prognostic Implications of Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes in Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Sci Rep 2020 02 25;10(1):3360. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are an important histopathologic feature of colorectal cancer that confer prognostic information. Previous clinical and epidemiologic studies have found that the presence and quantification of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes are significantly associated with disease-specific and overall survival in colorectal cancer. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis, establishing pooled estimates for survival outcomes based on the presence of TILs in colon cancer. PubMed (Medline), Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched from inception to April 2017. Studies were included, in which the prognostic significance of intratumoral tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, as well as subsets of CD3, CD8, FOXP3, CD45R0 lymphocytes, were determined within the solid tumor center, the invasive margin, and tumor stroma. Random-effects models were calculated to estimated summary effects using hazard ratios. Forty-three relevant studies describing 21,015 patients were included in our meta-analysis. The results demonstrate that high levels of generalized TILS as compared to low levels had an improved overall survival (OS) with a HR of 0.65 (p = <0.01). In addition, histologically localized CD3+ T-cells at the tumor center were significantly associated with better disease-free survival (HR = 0.46, 95% CI 0.36-0.61, p = 0.05), and CD3 + cells at the invasive margin were associated with improved disease-free survival (HR = 0.57, 95% CI 0.38-0.86, p = 0.05). CD8+ T-cells at the tumor center had statistically significant prognostic value on cancer-specific survival and overall survival with HRs of 0.65 (p = 0.02) and 0.71 (p < 0.01), respectively. Lastly, FOXP3+ T-cells at the tumor center were associated with improved prognosis for cancer-specific survival (HR = 0.65, p < 0.01) and overall survival (HR = 0.70, p < 0.01). These findings suggest that TILs and specific TIL subsets serve as prognostic biomarkers for colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60255-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7042281PMC
February 2020

Mendelian Randomization of Circulating Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Colorectal Cancer Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 04 12;29(4):860-870. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Background: Results from epidemiologic studies examining polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and colorectal cancer risk are inconsistent. Mendelian randomization may strengthen causal inference from observational studies. Given their shared metabolic pathway, examining the combined effects of aspirin/NSAID use with PUFAs could help elucidate an association between PUFAs and colorectal cancer risk.

Methods: Information was leveraged from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) regarding PUFA-associated SNPs to create weighted genetic scores (wGS) representing genetically predicted circulating blood PUFAs for 11,016 non-Hispanic white colorectal cancer cases and 13,732 controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO). Associations per SD increase in the wGS were estimated using unconditional logistic regression. Interactions between PUFA wGSs and aspirin/NSAID use on colorectal cancer risk were also examined.

Results: Modest colorectal cancer risk reductions were observed per SD increase in circulating linoleic acid [OR = 0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.93-0.98; = 5.2 × 10] and α-linolenic acid (OR = 0.95; 95% CI = 0.92-0.97; = 5.4 × 10), whereas modest increased risks were observed for arachidonic (OR = 1.06; 95% CI = 1.03-1.08; = 3.3 × 10), eicosapentaenoic (OR = 1.04; 95% CI = 1.01-1.07; = 2.5 × 10), and docosapentaenoic acids (OR = 1.03; 95% CI = 1.01-1.06; = 1.2 × 10). Each of these effects was stronger among aspirin/NSAID nonusers in the stratified analyses.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that higher circulating shorter-chain PUFAs (i.e., LA and ALA) were associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk, whereas longer-chain PUFAs (i.e., AA, EPA, and DPA) were associated with an increased colorectal cancer risk.

Impact: The interaction of PUFAs with aspirin/NSAID use indicates a shared colorectal cancer inflammatory pathway. Future research should continue to improve PUFA genetic instruments to elucidate the independent effects of PUFAs on colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0891DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7125012PMC
April 2020

Physical activity and risks of breast and colorectal cancer: a Mendelian randomisation analysis.

Nat Commun 2020 01 30;11(1):597. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

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

Physical activity has been associated with lower risks of breast and colorectal cancer in epidemiological studies; however, it is unknown if these associations are causal or confounded. In two-sample Mendelian randomisation analyses, using summary genetic data from the UK Biobank and GWA consortia, we found that a one standard deviation increment in average acceleration was associated with lower risks of breast cancer (odds ratio [OR]: 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.27 to 0.98, P-value = 0.04) and colorectal cancer (OR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.48 to 0.90, P-value = 0.01). We found similar magnitude inverse associations for estrogen positive (ER) breast cancer and for colon cancer. Our results support a potentially causal relationship between higher physical activity levels and lower risks of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Based on these data, the promotion of physical activity is probably an effective strategy in the primary prevention of these commonly diagnosed cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14389-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992637PMC
January 2020

Circulating Levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 and Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 Associate With Risk of Colorectal Cancer Based on Serologic and Mendelian Randomization Analyses.

Gastroenterology 2020 04 27;158(5):1300-1312.e20. Epub 2019 Dec 27.

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

Background & Aims: Human studies examining associations between circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3) and colorectal cancer risk have reported inconsistent results. We conducted complementary serologic and Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses to determine whether alterations in circulating levels of IGF1 or IGFBP3 are associated with colorectal cancer development.

Methods: Serum levels of IGF1 were measured in blood samples collected from 397,380 participants from the UK Biobank, from 2006 through 2010. Incident cancer cases and cancer cases recorded first in death certificates were identified through linkage to national cancer and death registries. Complete follow-up was available through March 31, 2016. For the MR analyses, we identified genetic variants associated with circulating levels of IGF1 and IGFBP3. The association of these genetic variants with colorectal cancer was examined with 2-sample MR methods using genome-wide association study consortia data (52,865 cases with colorectal cancer and 46,287 individuals without [controls]) RESULTS: After a median follow-up period of 7.1 years, 2665 cases of colorectal cancer were recorded. In a multivariable-adjusted model, circulating level of IGF1 associated with colorectal cancer risk (hazard ratio per 1 standard deviation increment of IGF1, 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.17). Similar associations were found by sex, follow-up time, and tumor subsite. In the MR analyses, a 1 standard deviation increment in IGF1 level, predicted based on genetic factors, was associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer risk (odds ratio 1.08; 95% CI 1.03-1.12; P = 3.3 × 10). Level of IGFBP3, predicted based on genetic factors, was associated with colorectal cancer risk (odds ratio per 1 standard deviation increment, 1.12; 95% CI 1.06-1.18; P = 4.2 × 10). Colorectal cancer risk was associated with only 1 variant in the IGFBP3 gene region (rs11977526), which also associated with anthropometric traits and circulating level of IGF2.

Conclusions: In an analysis of blood samples from almost 400,000 participants in the UK Biobank, we found an association between circulating level of IGF1 and colorectal cancer. Using genetic data from 52,865 cases with colorectal cancer and 46,287 controls, a higher level of IGF1, determined by genetic factors, was associated with colorectal cancer. Further studies are needed to determine how this signaling pathway might contribute to colorectal carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.12.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152801PMC
April 2020

Cumulative Burden of Colorectal Cancer-Associated Genetic Variants Is More Strongly Associated With Early-Onset vs Late-Onset Cancer.

Gastroenterology 2020 04 19;158(5):1274-1286.e12. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington.

Background & Aims: Early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC, in persons younger than 50 years old) is increasing in incidence; yet, in the absence of a family history of CRC, this population lacks harmonized recommendations for prevention. We aimed to determine whether a polygenic risk score (PRS) developed from 95 CRC-associated common genetic risk variants was associated with risk for early-onset CRC.

Methods: We studied risk for CRC associated with a weighted PRS in 12,197 participants younger than 50 years old vs 95,865 participants 50 years or older. PRS was calculated based on single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CRC in a large-scale genome-wide association study as of January 2019. Participants were pooled from 3 large consortia that provided clinical and genotyping data: the Colon Cancer Family Registry, the Colorectal Transdisciplinary Study, and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium and were all of genetically defined European descent. Findings were replicated in an independent cohort of 72,573 participants.

Results: Overall associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS were significant for early-onset cancer, and were stronger compared with late-onset cancer (P for interaction = .01); when we compared the highest PRS quartile with the lowest, risk increased 3.7-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.28-4.24) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.80-3.04). This association was strongest for participants without a first-degree family history of CRC (P for interaction = 5.61 × 10). When we compared the highest with the lowest quartiles in this group, risk increased 4.3-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.61-5.01) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.70-3.00). Sensitivity analyses were consistent with these findings.

Conclusions: In an analysis of associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS, we found the cumulative burden of CRC-associated common genetic variants to associate with early-onset cancer, and to be more strongly associated with early-onset than late-onset cancer, particularly in the absence of CRC family history. Analyses of PRS, along with environmental and lifestyle risk factors, might identify younger individuals who would benefit from preventive measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.12.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7103489PMC
April 2020

Cancer Risks Associated With Germline Pathogenic Variants: An International Study of 524 Families.

J Clin Oncol 2020 03 16;38(7):674-685. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Biopathologie, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France.

Purpose: To estimate age-specific relative and absolute cancer risks of breast cancer and to estimate risks of ovarian, pancreatic, male breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers associated with germline pathogenic variants (PVs) because these risks have not been extensively characterized.

Methods: We analyzed data from 524 families with PVs from 21 countries. Complex segregation analysis was used to estimate relative risks (RRs; relative to country-specific population incidences) and absolute risks of cancers. The models allowed for residual familial aggregation of breast and ovarian cancer and were adjusted for the family-specific ascertainment schemes.

Results: We found associations between PVs and risk of female breast cancer (RR, 7.18; 95% CI, 5.82 to 8.85; = 6.5 × 10), ovarian cancer (RR, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.40 to 6.04; = 4.1 × 10), pancreatic cancer (RR, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.24 to 4.50; = 8.7 × 10), and male breast cancer (RR, 7.34; 95% CI, 1.28 to 42.18; = 2.6 × 10). There was no evidence for increased risks of prostate or colorectal cancer. The breast cancer RRs declined with age ( for trend = 2.0 × 10). After adjusting for family ascertainment, breast cancer risk estimates on the basis of multiple case families were similar to the estimates from families ascertained through population-based studies ( for difference = .41). On the basis of the combined data, the estimated risks to age 80 years were 53% (95% CI, 44% to 63%) for female breast cancer, 5% (95% CI, 2% to 10%) for ovarian cancer, 2%-3% (95% CI females, 1% to 4%; 95% CI males, 2% to 5%) for pancreatic cancer, and 1% (95% CI, 0.2% to 5%) for male breast cancer.

Conclusion: These results confirm as a major breast cancer susceptibility gene and establish substantial associations between germline PVs and ovarian, pancreatic, and male breast cancers. These findings will facilitate incorporation of into risk prediction models and optimize the clinical cancer risk management of PV carriers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.01907DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7049229PMC
March 2020
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