Publications by authors named "Steven Gallinger"

463 Publications

The value of GATA6 immunohistochemistry and computer-assisted diagnosis to predict clinical outcome in advanced pancreatic cancer.

Sci Rep 2021 Jul 22;11(1):14951. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4, Canada.

Combination chemotherapy, either modified FOLFIRINOX (mFFX) or gemcitabine-nabpaclitaxel, are used in the treatment of most patients with advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), yet robust biomarkers of outcome are currently lacking to guide regimen selection. Here, we tested GATA6 immunohistochemistry (IHC) as a putative biomarker in advanced PDAC. GATA6 is a transcription factor in normal pancreas development. Two pathologists, blinded to clinical and molecular data, independently assessed GATA6 IHC in biopsy specimens of 130 patients with advanced PDAC, in 2 distinct phases (without and with computer assistance using the open source software QuPath). Low GATA6 IHC expression was associated with shorter overall survival [median OS 6.2 months for patients with GATA6 low tumors vs. 11.5 months for patients with GATA6 high tumors, HR 1.66 (95% CI 1.15-2.40), P = 0.007]. Progression appears to be higher in GATA6-low tumors compared to GATA6-high tumors in patients treated with mFFX (P = 0.024) but not in patients treated with gemcitabine regimens. GATA6 IHC expression was significantly associated with molecular subtypes (P = 0.0003). Digital assistance markedly improved interrater concordance (Cohen's kappa scores of 0.32 vs. 0.95). Our results provide strong evidence that GATA6 IHC can be used as a single biomarker in the clinic to predict clinical outcome in advanced PDAC, warranting further investigation in prospective clinical trials. These results provide the basis for an improved classification of PDAC and future biomarker design using digital pathology workflow.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94544-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8298486PMC
July 2021

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

No Difference in Penetrance between Truncating and Missense/Aberrant Splicing Pathogenic Variants in and : A Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database Study.

J Clin Med 2021 Jun 28;10(13). Epub 2021 Jun 28.

Medical Genetics, Institute for Medical Genetics and Pathology, University Hospital Basel, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Lynch syndrome is the most common genetic predisposition for hereditary cancer. Carriers of pathogenic changes in mismatch repair (MMR) genes have an increased risk of developing colorectal (CRC), endometrial, ovarian, urinary tract, prostate, and other cancers, depending on which gene is malfunctioning. In Lynch syndrome, differences in cancer incidence (penetrance) according to the gene involved have led to the stratification of cancer surveillance. By contrast, any differences in penetrance determined by the type of pathogenic variant remain unknown.

Objective: To determine cumulative incidences of cancer in carriers of truncating and missense or aberrant splicing pathogenic variants of the and genes.

Methods: Carriers of pathogenic variants of () and () genes filed in the Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database (PLSD) were categorized as truncating or missense/aberrant splicing according to the InSiGHT criteria for pathogenicity.

Results: Among 5199 carriers, 1045 had missense or aberrant splicing variants, and 3930 had truncating variants. Prospective observation years for the two groups were 8205 and 34,141 years, respectively, after which there were no significant differences in incidences for cancer overall or for colorectal cancer or endometrial cancers separately.

Conclusion: Truncating and missense or aberrant splicing pathogenic variants were associated with similar average cumulative incidences of cancer in carriers of and .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10132856DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8269121PMC
June 2021

Can preoperative liver MRI with gadoxetic acid help reduce open-close laparotomies for curative intent pancreatic cancer surgery?

Cancer Imaging 2021 Jun 30;21(1):45. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Department of Surgery, Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Surgical Oncology, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5G 2N2, Canada.

Objectives: To evaluate gadoxetic acid-enhanced liver MRI (EOB-MRI) versus contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) for preoperative detection of liver metastasis (LM) and reduction of open-close laparotomies for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Methods: Sixty-six patients with PDAC had undergone preoperative EOB-MRI and CECT. LM detection by EOB-MRI and CECT and their impact on surgical planning, open-close laparotomies were compared by clinical and radiology reports and retrospective analysis of imaging by two blinded independent readers. Histopathology or imaging follow-up was the reference standard. Statistical analysis was performed at patient and lesion levels with two-sided McNemar tests.

Results: EOB-MRI showed higher sensitivity versus CECT (71.7% [62.1-80.0] vs. 34% [25.0-43.8]; p = 0.009), comparable specificity (98.6%, [96.9-99.5] vs. 100%, [99.1-100], and higher AUROC (85.1%, [80.4-89.9] vs. 66.9%, [60.9-73.1]) for LM detection. An incremental 7.6% of patients were excluded from surgery with a potential reduction of up to 13.6% in futile open-close laparotomies due to LM detected on EOB-MRI only.

Conclusions: Preoperative EOB-MRI has superior diagnostic performance in detecting LM from PDAC. This better informs surgical eligibility with potential reduction of futile open-close laparotomies from attempted curative intent pancreatic cancer surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40644-021-00416-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243548PMC
June 2021

PATCH-DP: a single-arm phase II trial of intra-operative application of HEMOPATCH™ to the pancreatic stump to prevent post-operative pancreatic fistula following distal pancreatectomy.

HPB (Oxford) 2021 Jun 9. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Division of General Surgery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada; Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Post-operative pancreatic fistula (POPF) is the most significant cause of morbidity following distal pancreatectomy. Hemopatch™ is a thin, bovine collagen-based hemostatic sealant. We hypothesized that application of Hemopatch™ to the pancreatic stump following distal pancreatectomy would decrease the incidence of clinically-significant POPF.

Methods: We conducted a prospective, single-arm, multicentre phase II study of application of Hemopatch™ to the pancreatic stump following distal pancreatectomy. The primary outcome was clinically-significant POPF within 90 days of surgery. A sample size of 52 patients was required to demonstrate a 50% relative reduction in Grade B/C POPF from a baseline incidence of 20%, with a type I error of 0.2 and power of 0.75. Secondary outcomes included incidence of POPF (all grades), 90-day mortality, 90-day morbidity, re-interventions, and length of stay.

Results: Adequate fixation Hemopatch™ to the pancreatic stump was successful in all cases. The rate of grade B/C POPF was 25% (95%CI: 14.0-39.0%). There was no significant difference in the incidence of grade B/C POPF compared to the historical baseline (p = 0.46). The 90-day incidence of Clavien-Dindo grade ≥3 complications was 26.9% (95%CI: 15.6-41.0%).

Conclusion: The use of Hemopatch™ was not associated with a decreased incidence of clinically-significant POPF compared to historical rates. (NCT03410914).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hpb.2021.05.007DOI Listing
June 2021

Advances in the management of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

CMAJ 2021 Jun;193(23):E844-E851

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (O'Kane, Gallinger), University Health Network, Toronto, Toronto, Ont.; University of Alberta (Ladak), Edmonton, Alta.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.201450DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8203253PMC
June 2021

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

Patient-derived tumor xenograft and organoid models established from resected pancreatic, duodenal and biliary cancers.

Sci Rep 2021 May 19;11(1):10619. Epub 2021 May 19.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) and their xenograft-derived organoid (XDO) models that recapitulate the genotypic and phenotypic landscape of patient cancers could help to advance research and lead to improved clinical management. PDX models were established from 276 pancreato-duodenal and biliary cancer resections. Initial, passage 0 (P0) engraftment rates were 59% (118/199) for pancreatic, 86% (25/29) for duodenal, and 35% (17/48) for biliary ductal tumors. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), had a P0 engraftment rate of 62% (105/169). KRAS mutant and wild-type PDAC models were molecularly profiled, and XDO models were generated to perform initial drug response evaluations. Subsets of PDAC PDX models showed global copy number variants and gene expression profiles that were retained with serial passaging, and they showed a spectrum of somatic mutations represented in patient tumors. PDAC XDO models were established, with a success rate of 71% (10/14). Pathway activation of KRAS-MAPK in PDXs was independent of KRAS mutational status. Four wild-type KRAS models were characterized by one with EGFR (L747-P753 del), two with BRAF alterations (N486_P490del or V600E), and one with triple negative KRAS/EGFR/BRAF. Model OCIP256, characterized by BRAF (N486-P490 del), had activated phospho-ERK. A combination treatment of a pan-RAF inhibitor (LY3009120) and a MEK inhibitor (trametinib) effectively suppressed phospho-ERK and inhibited growth of OCIP256 XDO and PDX models. PDAC/duodenal adenocarcinoma have high success rates forming PDX/organoid and retaining their phenotypic and genotypic features. These models may be effective tools to evaluate novel drug combination therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90049-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8134568PMC
May 2021

Maximizing cancer prevention through genetic navigation for Lynch syndrome detection in women with newly diagnosed endometrial and nonserous/nonmucinous epithelial ovarian cancer.

Cancer 2021 May 13. Epub 2021 May 13.

Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/University Health Network/Sinai Health Systems, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Despite recommendations for reflex immunohistochemistry (IHC) for mismatch repair (MMR) proteins to identify Lynch syndrome (LS), the uptake of genetic assessment by those who meet referral criteria is low. The authors implemented a comprehensive genetic navigation program to increase the uptake of genetic testing for LS in patients with endometrial cancer (EC) or nonserous/nonmucinous ovarian cancer (OC).

Methods: Participants with newly diagnosed EC or OC were prospectively recruited from 3 cancer centers in Ontario, Canada. Family history questionnaires were used to assess LS-specific family history. Reflex IHC for MMR proteins was performed with the inclusion of clinical directives in pathology reports. A trained genetic navigator initiated a genetic referral on behalf of the treating physician and facilitated genetic referrals to the closest genetics center.

Results: A total of 841 participants (642 with EC, 172 with OC, and 27 with synchronous EC/OC) consented to the study; 194 (23%) were MMR-deficient by IHC. Overall, 170 women (20%) were eligible for a genetic assessment for LS: 35 on the basis of their family history alone, 24 on the basis of their family history and IHC, 82 on the basis of IHC alone, and 29 on the basis of clinical discretion. After adjustments for participants who died (n = 6), 149 of 164 patients (91%) completed a genetic assessment, and 111 were offered and completed genetic testing. Thirty-four women (4.0% of the total cohort and 30.6% of those with genetic testing) were diagnosed with LS: 5 with mutL homolog 1 (MLH1), 9 with mutS homolog 2 (MSH2), 15 with mutS homolog 6 (MSH6), and 5 with PMS2.

Conclusions: The introduction of a navigated genetic program resulted in a high rate of genetic assessment (>90%) in patients with gynecologic cancer at risk for LS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33625DOI 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

Prognostic value of early changes in CT-measured body composition in patients receiving chemotherapy for unresectable pancreatic cancer.

Eur Radiol 2021 May 2. Epub 2021 May 2.

Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Objectives: Skeletal muscle mass is a prognostic factor in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, it remains unclear whether changes in body composition provide an incremental prognostic value to established risk factors, especially the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 (RECISTv1.1). The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic value of CT-quantified body composition changes in patients with unresectable PDAC starting chemotherapy.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 105 patients with unresectable (locally advanced or metastatic) PDAC treated with FOLFIRINOX (n = 64) or gemcitabine-based (n = 41) first-line chemotherapy within a multicenter prospective trial. Changes (Δ) in skeletal muscle index (SMI), subcutaneous (SATI), and visceral adipose tissue index (VATI) between pre-chemotherapy and first follow-up CT were assessed. Cox regression models and covariate-adjusted survival curves were used to identify predictors of overall survival (OS).

Results: At multivariable analysis, adjusting for RECISTv1.1-response at first follow-up, ΔSMI was prognostic for OS with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.2 (95% CI: 1.08-1.33, p = 0.001). No significant association with OS was observed for ΔSATI (HR: 1, 95% CI: 0.97-1.04, p = 0.88) and ΔVATI (HR: 1.01, 95% CI: 0.99-1.04, p = 0.33). At an optimal cutoff of 2.8 cm/m per 30 days, the median survival of patients with high versus low ΔSMI was 143 versus 233 days (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Patients with a lower rate of skeletal muscle loss at first follow-up demonstrated improved survival for unresectable PDAC, regardless of their RECISTv1.1-category. Assessing ΔSMI at the first follow-up CT may be useful for prognostication, in addition to routine radiological assessment.

Key Points: • In patients with unresectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, change of skeletal muscle index (ΔSMI) in the early phase of chemotherapy is prognostic for overall survival, even after adjusting for Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 (RECISTv1.1) assessment at first follow-up. • Changes in adipose tissue compartments at first follow-up demonstrated no significant association with overall survival. • Integrating ΔSMI into routine radiological assessment may improve prognostic stratification and impact treatment decision-making at the first follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00330-021-07899-6DOI Listing
May 2021

Assessment of a Polygenic Risk Score for Colorectal Cancer to Predict Risk of Lynch Syndrome Colorectal Cancer.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Apr 8;5(2):pkab022. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

It was not known whether the polygenic risk scores (PRSs) that predict colorectal cancer could predict colorectal cancer for people with inherited pathogenic variants in DNA mismatch repair genes-people with Lynch syndrome. We tested a PRS comprising 107 established single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with colorectal cancer in European populations for 826 European-descent carriers of pathogenic variants in DNA mismatch repair genes (293 , 314 , 126 , 71 , and 22 ) from the Colon Cancer Family Registry, of whom 504 had colorectal cancer. There was no evidence of an association between the PRS and colorectal cancer risk, irrespective of which DNA mismatch repair gene was mutated, or sex (all 2-sided >.05). The hazard ratio per standard deviation of the PRS for colorectal cancer was 0.97 (95% confidence interval = 0.88 to 1.06; 2-sided =.51). Whereas PRSs are predictive of colorectal cancer in the general population, they do not predict Lynch syndrome colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkab022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062848PMC
April 2021

Uptake of hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in carriers of pathogenic mismatch repair variants: a Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database report.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 17;148:124-133. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Campus Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany; MGZ- Medical Genetics Center, Munich, Germany; The International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours (InSiGHT), The Polyposis Registry, St Mark's Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3UJ, UK; European Hereditary Tumour Group (EHTG), C/o Lindsays, Caledonian Exchange, 19A Canning Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8HE, United Kingdom.

Purpose: This study aimed to report the uptake of hysterectomy and/or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) to prevent gynaecological cancers (risk-reducing surgery [RRS]) in carriers of pathogenic MMR (path_MMR) variants.

Methods: The Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database (PLSD) was used to investigate RRS by a cross-sectional study in 2292 female path_MMR carriers aged 30-69 years.

Results: Overall, 144, 79, and 517 carriers underwent risk-reducing hysterectomy, BSO, or both combined, respectively. Two-thirds of procedures before 50 years of age were combined hysterectomy and BSO, and 81% of all procedures included BSO. Risk-reducing hysterectomy was performed before age 50 years in 28%, 25%, 15%, and 9%, and BSO in 26%, 25%, 14% and 13% of path_MLH1, path_MSH2, path_MSH6, and path_PMS2 carriers, respectively. Before 50 years of age, 107 of 188 (57%) BSO and 126 of 204 (62%) hysterectomies were performed in women without any prior cancer, and only 5% (20/392) were performed simultaneously with colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery.

Conclusion: Uptake of RRS before 50 years of age was low, and RRS was rarely undertaken in association with surgical treatment of CRC. Uptake of RRS aligned poorly with gene- and age-associated risk estimates for endometrial or ovarian cancer that were published recently from PLSD and did not correspond well with current clinical guidelines. The reasons should be clarified. Decision-making on opting for or against RRS and its timing should be better aligned with predicted risk and mortality for endometrial and ovarian cancer in Lynch syndrome to improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.022DOI Listing
May 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

Prognostic Value of Transfer Learning Based Features in Resectable Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Front Artif Intell 2020 5;3:550890. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Department of Medical Imaging, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive cancers with an extremely poor prognosis. Radiomics has shown prognostic ability in multiple types of cancer including PDAC. However, the prognostic value of traditional radiomics pipelines, which are based on hand-crafted radiomic features alone is limited. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been shown to outperform radiomics models in computer vision tasks. However, training a CNN from scratch requires a large sample size which is not feasible in most medical imaging studies. As an alternative solution, CNN-based transfer learning models have shown the potential for achieving reasonable performance using small datasets. In this work, we developed and validated a CNN-based transfer learning model for prognostication of overall survival in PDAC patients using two independent resectable PDAC cohorts. The proposed transfer learning-based prognostication model for overall survival achieved the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.81 on the test cohort, which was significantly higher than that of the traditional radiomics model (0.54). To further assess the prognostic value of the models, the predicted probabilities of death generated from the two models were used as risk scores in a univariate Cox Proportional Hazard model and while the risk score from the traditional radiomics model was not associated with overall survival, the proposed transfer learning-based risk score had significant prognostic value with hazard ratio of 1.86 (95% Confidence Interval: 1.15-3.53, -value: 0.04). This result suggests that transfer learning-based models may significantly improve prognostic performance in typical small sample size medical imaging studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/frai.2020.550890DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7861273PMC
October 2020

Germline sequence analysis of RABL3 in a large series of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients reveals no evidence of deleterious variants.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2021 Aug 1;60(8):559-564. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal disease with a 5-year survival rate of less than 10%. Individuals with a pathogenic germline variant in a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene are at an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Understanding the inherited genetic basis of pancreatic tumor development provides a unique opportunity to improve patient care and outcomes. For example, relatives of a patients with PDAC who have a pathogenic germline variant in a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene are eligible for disease surveillance where cancers may be detected early, and 5-year survival greatly improved. Furthermore, for some patients with PDAC and a pathogenic germline variant in a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene, their tumors may be susceptible to specific anti-cancer therapies. Recently, RABL3 was identified as a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene. To validate these findings and inform clinical translation, we determined the prevalence of deleterious RABL3 variants in a large cohort of 1037 patients with PDAC that had undergone either whole genome or whole exome germline sequencing. We identified two synonymous variants and four missense variants classified as variants of unknown significance. We found no pathogenic RABL3 variants, indicating that the maximum prevalence of such variants in patients with PDAC is less than 0.36% (minor allele frequency 0, 97.5% one-sided confidence interval: 0-0.0036). This finding has important implications for germline genetic testing of patients with PDAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22947DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8251898PMC
August 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

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

Genomic Features and Classification of Homologous Recombination Deficient Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Gastroenterology 2021 May 30;160(6):2119-2132.e9. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

PanCuRx Translational Research Initiative, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Hepatobiliary/Pancreatic Surgical Oncology Program, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background And Aims: Homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), remains poorly defined beyond germline (g) alterations in BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2.

Methods: We interrogated whole genome sequencing (WGS) data on 391 patients, including 49 carriers of pathogenic variants (PVs) in gBRCA and PALB2. HRD classifiers were applied to the dataset and included (1) the genomic instability score (GIS) used by Myriad's MyChoice HRD assay; (2) substitution base signature 3 (SBS3); (3) HRDetect; and (4) structural variant (SV) burden. Clinical outcomes and responses to chemotherapy were correlated with HRD status.

Results: Biallelic tumor inactivation of gBRCA or PALB2 was evident in 43 of 49 germline carriers identifying HRD-PDAC. HRDetect (score ≥0.7) predicted gBRCA1/PALB2 deficiency with highest sensitivity (98%) and specificity (100%). HRD genomic tumor classifiers suggested that 7% to 10% of PDACs that do not harbor gBRCA/PALB2 have features of HRD. Of the somatic HRDetect cases, 69% were attributed to alterations in BRCA1/2, PALB2, RAD51C/D, and XRCC2, and a tandem duplicator phenotype. TP53 loss was more common in BRCA1- compared with BRCA2-associated HRD-PDAC. HRD status was not prognostic in resected PDAC; however in advanced disease the GIS (P = .02), SBS3 (P = .03), and HRDetect score (P = .005) were predictive of platinum response and superior survival. PVs in gATM (n = 6) or gCHEK2 (n = 2) did not result in HRD-PDAC by any of the classifiers. In 4 patients, BRCA2 reversion mutations associated with platinum resistance.

Conclusions: Germline and parallel somatic profiling of PDAC outperforms germline testing alone in identifying HRD-PDAC. An additional 7% to 10% of patients without gBRCA/PALB2 mutations may benefit from DNA damage response agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2021.01.220DOI Listing
May 2021

Understanding the clinical implication of mismatch repair deficiency in endometrioid endometrial cancer through a prospective study.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 Apr 19;161(1):221-227. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network/Sinai Health Systems, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive Diseases, Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Objectives: Findings on impact of mismatch repair deficiency (MMRd) on patient outcomes in endometrial cancer (EC) have been inconsistent to date. The objective of this study was to compare the oncologic outcomes and recurrence patterns between MMRd and MMR-intact (MMRi) endometrioid EC (EEC).

Methods: Between 2015 and 2018, we prospectively recruited 492 EEC cases from three cancer centers in Ontario, Canada. Tumors were reflexively assessed for MMR protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Clinicopathological, survival and recurrence patterns were compared between MMRd and MMRi cases.

Results: Of 492 EEC, 348 were MMRi (71%) and 144 were MMRd (29%) with median follow-up of 16.8 months (0-69.6). MMRd tumors tended to be grade 2 or 3 (56% vs. 29%, p < 0.001), with propensity for lymphovascular space invasion (28% vs. 18%, p = 0.024), lymph node involvement (7% vs. 5%, p < 0.001) and received more adjuvant treatment (46% vs. 33%, p = 0.027). This group also had significantly lower 3-year recurrence-free survival (78% vs. 90%, p = 0.014) although there was no difference in OS (p = 0.603). MMRd cases were more likely to recur in retroperitoneal lymph nodes (p = 0.045). Upon subgroup analysis, MLH1 methylated tumors had the worst prognostic features and survival outcomes.

Conclusions: MLH1 methylated EECs exhibit more aggressive features compared to other MMRd and MMRi EECs. This may indicate an inherent difference in tumor biology, suggesting the importance of individualized management based on EC molecular phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.01.002DOI Listing
April 2021

Microsatellite instability/mismatch repair deficiency in pancreatic cancers: the same or different?

Gut 2021 Jan 19. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323805DOI Listing
January 2021

Improving prognostic performance in resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma using radiomics and deep learning features fusion in CT images.

Sci Rep 2021 01 14;11(1):1378. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Medical Imaging, University of Toronto, 686 Bay Street, Toronto, ON, M5G 0A4, Canada.

As an analytic pipeline for quantitative imaging feature extraction and analysis, radiomics has grown rapidly in the past decade. On the other hand, recent advances in deep learning and transfer learning have shown significant potential in the quantitative medical imaging field, raising the research question of whether deep transfer learning features have predictive information in addition to radiomics features. In this study, using CT images from Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients recruited in two independent hospitals, we discovered most transfer learning features have weak linear relationships with radiomics features, suggesting a potential complementary relationship between these two feature sets. We also tested the prognostic performance for overall survival using four feature fusion and reduction methods for combining radiomics and transfer learning features and compared the results with our proposed risk score-based feature fusion method. It was shown that the risk score-based feature fusion method significantly improves the prognosis performance for predicting overall survival in PDAC patients compared to other traditional feature reduction methods used in previous radiomics studies (40% increase in area under ROC curve (AUC) yielding AUC of 0.84).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-80998-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7809062PMC
January 2021

Positron Emission Tomography Combined With Computed Tomography vs. No Positron Emission Tomography Combined With Computed Tomography for the Management of Patients With Resectable Colorectal Cancer Liver Metastases and Synchronous Extrahepatic Disease.

Am Surg 2020 Dec 20:3134820954834. Epub 2020 Dec 20.

30133University Health Network, Canada.

Introduction: Selected patients with colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRLM) and synchronous extrahepatic disease (EHD) are considered for surgery.

Objectives: To evaluate the change in surgical management and long-term survival (disease-free survival [DFS] and overall survival [OS]) for patients with CRLM and EHD who undergo positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (PET-CT) vs no PET-CT.

Methods: Patients with CRLM were enrolled in a trial evaluating the effect of PET-CT (vs no PET-CT) on surgical management, DFS, and OS. This is a sub-study of the trial, including only patients with synchronous EHD. Cox proportional hazard models were used to calculate risks for recurrence and death. Survival were described by Kaplan-Meier method and compared with log-rank test.

Results: Of 25 patients with EHD (PET-CT arm: 14/270 (5%) and no PET-CT arm: 11/134 (8%)), PET-CT changed surgical management in 14%, all of which avoided liver resection due to more extensive disease. Complete metastasectomy was achieved in 36% (5/14) and 72% (8/11), respectively. Respectively, PET-CT vs no PET-CT had statistically similar median DFS, 5.6 months (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.6-18) vs 7.6 months (95% CI 2.9-15) and median OS, 42 months (95% CI 25-48) vs 29 months (95% CI 17-41). EHD was associated with worse DFS (hazard ratio HR = 1.89, 95% CI 1.41-2.52) and OS (HR = 2.47, 95% CI 1.6-3.83).

Conclusions: Preoperative PET-CT for the management of resectable CRLM did not improve long-term outcomes among patients who had synchronous EHD; however, it changed surgical management in a relatively significant proportion of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0003134820954834DOI Listing
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

Investigating a novel multiplex proteomics technology for detection of changes in serum protein concentrations that may correlate to tumor burden.

F1000Res 2020 20;9:732. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

To account for cancer heterogeneity, we previously introduced the concept of "personalized" tumor markers, which are biomarkers that are informative in subsets of patients or even a single patient. Recent developments in various multiplex protein technologies create excitement for the discovery of markers of tumor burden in individual patients, but the reliability of the technologies remains to be tested for this purpose. Here, we sought to explore the potential of a novel proteomics platform, which utilizes a multiplexed antibody microarray, to detect changes in serum protein concentration that may correlate to tumor burden in pancreatic cancer. We applied the Quantibody® Human Kiloplex Array to simultaneously measure 1,000 proteins in sera obtained pre- and post-surgically from five pancreatic cancer patients. We expected that proteins which decreased post-surgery may correlate to tumor burden. Sera from two healthy individuals, split into two aliquots each, were used as controls. To validate the multiplexed results, we used single-target ELISA assays to measure the proteins with the largest serum concentration changes after surgery in sera collected pre- and post-surgically from the previous five patients and 10 additional patients. The multiplexed array revealed nine proteins with more than two-fold post-surgical decrease in at least two of five patients. However, validation using single ELISAs showed that only two proteins tested displayed more than two-fold post-surgical decrease in one of the five original patients. In the independent cohort, six of the proteins tested showed at least a two-fold decrease post-surgery in at least one patient. Our study found that the Quantibody® Human Kiloplex Array results could not be reliably replicated with individual ELISA assays and most hits would likely represent false positives if applied to biomarker discovery. These findings suggest that data from novel, high-throughput proteomic platforms need stringent validation to avoid false discoveries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.24654.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682495PMC
April 2021

An Integrative DNA Sequencing and Methylation Panel to Assess Mismatch Repair Deficiency.

J Mol Diagn 2021 02 28;23(2):242-252. Epub 2020 Nov 28.

Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Clinical testing for mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency often entails serial testing of tumor and constitutional DNA using multiple assays. To minimize cost and specimen requirements of MMR testing, we developed an integrated targeted sequencing protocol (termed MultiMMR) that tests for promoter methylation, mutations, copy number alterations, copy neutral loss of heterozygosity, and microsatellite instability from a single aliquot of DNA. Hybrid capture of DNA-sequencing libraries constructed with methylated adapters was performed on 142 samples (60 tumors and 82 constitutional samples) from 82 patients with MMR-associated colorectal, endometrial, and brain cancers as well as a synthetic DNA mix with 11 known mutations. The captured material was split to enable parallel bisulfite and conventional sequence analysis. The panel targeted microsatellite regions and 13 genes associated with MMR, hypermutation, and hereditary colorectal cancer. MultiMMR recapitulated clinical testing results in 23 of 24 cases, was able to explain MMR loss in an additional 29 of 48 patients with incomplete or inconclusive testing, and identified all 11 MMR variants within the synthetic DNA mix. Promoter methylation and microsatellite instability analysis found 95% and 97% concordance with clinical testing, respectively. We report the feasibility for amalgamation of the current stepwise and complex clinical testing workflow into an integrated test for hereditary and somatic causes of MMR deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2020.11.006DOI Listing
February 2021

Risk-reducing hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in female heterozygotes of pathogenic mismatch repair variants: a Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database report.

Genet Med 2021 04 1;23(4):705-712. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Campus Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany.

Purpose: To determine impact of risk-reducing hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) on gynecological cancer incidence and death in heterozygotes of pathogenic MMR (path_MMR) variants.

Methods: The Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database was used to investigate the effects of gynecological risk-reducing surgery (RRS) at different ages.

Results: Risk-reducing hysterectomy at 25 years of age prevents endometrial cancer before 50 years in 15%, 18%, 13%, and 0% of path_MLH1, path_MSH2, path_MSH6, and path_PMS2 heterozygotes and death in 2%, 2%, 1%, and 0%, respectively. Risk-reducing BSO at 25 years of age prevents ovarian cancer before 50 years in 6%, 11%, 2%, and 0% and death in 1%, 2%, 0%, and 0%, respectively. Risk-reducing hysterectomy at 40 years prevents endometrial cancer by 50 years in 13%, 16%, 11%, and 0% and death in 1%, 2%, 1%, and 0%, respectively. BSO at 40 years prevents ovarian cancer before 50 years in 4%, 8%, 0%, and 0%, and death in 1%, 1%, 0%, and 0%, respectively.

Conclusion: Little benefit is gained by performing RRS before 40 years of age and premenopausal BSO in path_MSH6 and path_PMS2 heterozygotes has no measurable benefit for mortality. These findings may aid decision making for women with LS who are considering RRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-01029-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026395PMC
April 2021

Validation of Prognostic Radiomic Features From Resectable Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma in Patients With Advanced Disease Undergoing Chemotherapy.

Can Assoc Radiol J 2020 Nov 5:846537120968782. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System, Mount Sinai Hospital, Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Health Complex, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Radiomic features in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) often lack validation in independent test sets or are limited to early or late stage disease. Given the lethal nature of PDAC it is possible that there are similarities in radiomic features of both early and advanced disease reflective of aggressive biology.

Purpose: To assess the performance of prognostic radiomic features previously published in patients with resectable PDAC in a test set of patients with unresectable PDAC undergoing chemotherapy.

Methods: The pre-treatment CT of 108 patients enrolled in a prospective chemotherapy trial were used as a test cohort for 2 previously published prognostic radiomic features in resectable PDAC (Sum Entropy and Cluster Tendency with square-root filter[Sqrt]). We assessed the performance of these 2 radiomic features for the prediction of overall survival (OS) and time to progression (TTP) using Cox proportional-hazard models.

Results: Sqrt Cluster Tendency was significantly associated with outcome with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.27(for primary pancreatic tumor plus local nodes), (Confidence Interval(CI):1.01 -1.6, -value = 0.039) for OS and a HR of 1.25(CI:1.00 -1.55, -value = 0.047) for TTP. Sum entropy was not associated with outcomes. Sqrt Cluster Tendency remained significant in multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: The CT radiomic feature Sqrt Cluster Tendency, previously demonstrated to be prognostic in resectable PDAC, remained a significant prognostic factor for OS and TTP in a test set of unresectable PDAC patients. This radiomic feature warrants further investigation to understand its biologic correlates and CT applicability in PDAC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0846537120968782DOI Listing
November 2020
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