Publications by authors named "Tabitha A Harrison"

59 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

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

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 May 10. 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
May 2021

Association of with Specific T-cell Subsets in the Colorectal Carcinoma Microenvironment.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 May 25;27(10):2816-2826. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

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

Purpose: While evidence indicates that () may promote colorectal carcinogenesis through its suppressive effect on T-cell-mediated antitumor immunity, the specific T-cell subsets involved remain uncertain.

Experimental Design: We measured DNA within tumor tissue by quantitative PCR on 933 cases (including 128 -positive cases) among 4,465 incident colorectal carcinoma cases in two prospective cohorts. Multiplex immunofluorescence combined with digital image analysis and machine learning algorithms for CD3, CD4, CD8, CD45RO (PTPRC isoform), and FOXP3 measured various T-cell subsets. We leveraged data on , microsatellite instability (MSI), tumor whole-exome sequencing, and M1/M2-type tumor-associated macrophages [TAM; by CD68, CD86, IRF5, MAF, and MRC1 (CD206) multimarker assay]. Using the 4,465 cancer cases and inverse probability weighting method to control for selection bias due to tissue availability, multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analysis assessed the association between and T-cell subsets.

Results: The amount of was inversely associated with tumor stromal CD3 lymphocytes [multivariable OR, 0.47; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.28-0.79, for -high vs. -negative category; = 0.0004] and specifically stromal CD3CD4CD45RO cells (corresponding multivariable OR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.85; = 0.003). These relationships did not substantially differ by MSI status, neoantigen load, or exome-wide tumor mutational burden. was not significantly associated with tumor intraepithelial T cells or with M1 or M2 TAMs.

Conclusions: The amount of tissue is associated with lower density of stromal memory helper T cells. Our findings provide evidence for the interactive pathogenic roles of microbiota and specific immune cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8127352PMC
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
July 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

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

Genetic Predictors of Severe Skin Toxicity in Patients with Stage III Colon Cancer Treated with Cetuximab: NCCTG N0147 (Alliance).

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Feb 17;30(2):404-411. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

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

Background: Cetuximab, an EGFR inhibitor used to treat multiple cancer types, including colon cancer, causes severe skin toxicity in 5%-20% of patients, leading to decreased quality of life and treatment delays. Our understanding of which patients have an increased risk of severe toxicities is limited. We conducted a genome-wide association study to identify germline variants predictive of cetuximab-induced severe skin toxicity.

Methods: Our study included 1,209 patients with stage III colon cancer randomized to receive cetuximab plus 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin as part of the NCCTG N0147 (Alliance) clinical trial. Skin toxicity outcomes were collected using the Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0. We performed genotyping, evaluating approximately 10 million genetic variants. We used logistic regression to evaluate the association of each genetic variant and severe (grade ≥ 3) skin toxicity, adjusting for age, sex, and genetic ancestry. Genome-wide significance was defined as < 5 × 10.

Results: Participants were predominantly middle-aged white men; 20% ( = 243) experienced severe skin toxicity. Two genetic variants in the retinoic acid receptor alpha () gene were significantly associated with severe skin toxicity [OR, 3.93; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.47-6.25; < 7.8 × 10]. Functional annotations indicate these variants are in the promoter. Additional significantly associated variants were identified in chromosome 2 intergenic regions.

Conclusions: Identified variants could represent a potential target for risk stratification of patients with colon cancer receiving cetuximab.

Impact: Retinoids have shown promise in the treatment of cetuximab-induced skin toxicity, so follow-up work could evaluate whether individuals with the variant would benefit from retinoid therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1274DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7909617PMC
February 2021

Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy and Colorectal Cancer Risk by Molecularly Defined Subtypes and Tumor Location.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2020 Aug 19;4(5):pkaa042. Epub 2020 May 19.

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

Background: Postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) is associated with a decreased colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. As CRC is a heterogeneous disease, we evaluated whether the association of HT and CRC differs across etiologically relevant, molecularly defined tumor subtypes and tumor location.

Methods: We pooled data on tumor subtypes (microsatellite instability status, CpG island methylator phenotype status, and mutations, pathway: adenoma-carcinoma, alternate, serrated), tumor location (proximal colon, distal colon, rectum), and HT use among 8220 postmenopausal women (3898 CRC cases and 4322 controls) from 8 observational studies. We used multinomial logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of ever vs never HT use with each tumor subtype compared with controls. Models were adjusted for study, age, body mass index, smoking status, and CRC family history. All statistical tests were 2-sided.

Results: Among postmenopausal women, ever HT use was associated with a 38% reduction in overall CRC risk (OR =0.62, 95% CI = 0.56 to 0.69). This association was similar according to microsatellite instability, CpG island methylator phenotype and or status. However, the association was attenuated for tumors arising through the serrated pathway (OR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.66 to 1.01) compared with the adenoma-carcinoma pathway (OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.55 to 0.73; =.04) and alternate pathway (OR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.72). Additionally, proximal colon tumors had a weaker association (OR = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.62 to 0.80) compared with rectal (OR = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.46 to 0.63) and distal colon (OR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.49 to 0.66; =.01) tumors.

Conclusions: We observed a strong inverse association between HT use and overall CRC risk, which may predominantly reflect a benefit of HT use for tumors arising through the adenoma-carcinoma and alternate pathways as well as distal colon and rectal tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477374PMC
August 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

Intake of Dietary Fruit, Vegetables, and Fiber and Risk of Colorectal Cancer According to Molecular Subtypes: A Pooled Analysis of 9 Studies.

Cancer Res 2020 10 14;80(20):4578-4590. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Protective associations of fruits, vegetables, and fiber intake with colorectal cancer risk have been shown in many, but not all epidemiologic studies. One possible reason for study heterogeneity is that dietary factors may have distinct effects by colorectal cancer molecular subtypes. Here, we investigate the association of fruit, vegetables, and fiber intake with four well-established colorectal cancer molecular subtypes separately and in combination. Nine observational studies including 9,592 cases with molecular subtypes for microsatellite instability (MSI), CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), and somatic mutations in and genes, and 7,869 controls were analyzed. Both case-only logistic regression analyses and polytomous logistic regression analyses (with one control set and multiple case groups) were used. Higher fruit intake was associated with a trend toward decreased risk of -mutated tumors [OR 4th vs. 1st quartile = 0.82 (95% confidence interval, 0.65-1.04)] but not -wildtype tumors [1.09 (0.97-1.22); difference as shown in case-only analysis = 0.02]. This difference was observed in case-control studies and not in cohort studies. Compared with controls, higher fiber intake showed negative association with colorectal cancer risk for cases with microsatellite stable/MSI-low, CIMP-negative, -wildtype, and -wildtype tumors ( range from 0.03 to 3.4e-03), which is consistent with the traditional adenoma-colorectal cancer pathway. These negative associations were stronger compared with MSI-high, CIMP-positive, -mutated, or -mutated tumors, but the differences were not statistically significant. These inverse associations for fruit and fiber intake may explain, in part, inconsistent findings between fruit or fiber intake and colorectal cancer risk that have previously been reported. SIGNIFICANCE: These analyses by colorectal cancer molecular subtypes potentially explain the inconsistent findings between dietary fruit or fiber intake and overall colorectal cancer risk that have previously been reported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-0168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7572895PMC
October 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

Landscape of somatic single nucleotide variants and indels in colorectal cancer and impact on survival.

Nat Commun 2020 07 20;11(1):3644. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Department of Preventive Medicine, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90089, USA.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a biologically heterogeneous disease. To characterize its mutational profile, we conduct targeted sequencing of 205 genes for 2,105 CRC cases with survival data. Our data shows several findings in addition to enhancing the existing knowledge of CRC. We identify PRKCI, SPZ1, MUTYH, MAP2K4, FETUB, and TGFBR2 as additional genes significantly mutated in CRC. We find that among hypermutated tumors, an increased mutation burden is associated with improved CRC-specific survival (HR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.21-0.82). Mutations in TP53 are associated with poorer CRC-specific survival, which is most pronounced in cases carrying TP53 mutations with predicted 0% transcriptional activity (HR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.21-1.94). Furthermore, we observe differences in mutational frequency of several genes and pathways by tumor location, stage, and sex. Overall, this large study provides deep insights into somatic mutations in CRC, and their potential relationships with survival and tumor features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17386-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7371703PMC
July 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

Telomere Maintenance Variants and Survival after Colorectal Cancer: Smoking- and Sex-Specific Associations.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 09 25;29(9):1817-1824. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Background: Telomeres play an important role in colorectal cancer prognosis. Variation in telomere maintenance genes may be associated with survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis, but evidence is limited. In addition, possible interactions between telomere maintenance genes and prognostic factors, such as smoking and sex, also remain to be investigated.

Methods: We conducted gene-wide analyses of colorectal cancer prognosis in 4,896 invasive colorectal cancer cases from the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO); 1,871 common variants within 13 telomere maintenance genes were included. Cox models were fit to estimate associations of these variants individually with overall and colorectal cancer-specific survival. Likelihood ratio tests were used to test for interaction by smoking and sex. values were adjusted using Bonferroni correction.

Results: The association between minor allele of rs7200950 () with colorectal cancer-specific survival varied significantly by smoking pack-years (corrected = 0.049), but no significant trend was observed. By sex, minor alleles for rs2975843 (), rs75676021 (), and rs74429678 () were associated with decreased overall and/or colorectal cancer-specific survival in women but not in men.

Conclusions: Our study reported a gene-wide statistically significant interaction with sex (). Although significant interaction by smoking pack-years () was observed, there was no evidence of a dose response. Validation of these findings in other large studies and further functional annotation on these SNPs are warranted.

Impact: Our study found a gene-smoking and gene-sex interaction on survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis, providing new insights into the role of genetic polymorphisms in telomere maintenance on colorectal cancer prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1507DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7928192PMC
September 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

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

Combined effect of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer risk in a pooled analysis of 11 population-based studies.

BMJ Open Gastroenterol 2019 2;6(1):e000339. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.

Objective: 'Environmental' factors associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk include modifiable and non-modifiable variables. Whether those with different non-modifiable baseline risks will benefit similarly from reducing their modifiable CRC risks remains unclear.

Design: Using 7945 cases and 8893 controls from 11 population-based studies, we combined 17 risk factors to characterise the overall environmental predisposition to CRC (environmental risk score (E-score)). We estimated the absolute risks (ARs) of CRC of 10 and 30 years across E-score using incidence-rate data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results programme. We then combined the modifiable risk factors and estimated ARs across the modifiable risk score, stratified by non-modifiable risk profile based on genetic predisposition, family history and height.

Results: Higher E-score was associated with increased CRC risk (OR, 1.33; 95% CI 1.30 to 1.37). Across E-scores, 30-year ARs of CRC increased from 2.5% in the lowest quartile (Q1) to 5.9% in the highest (Q4) quartile for men, and from 2.1% to 4.5% for women. The modifiable risk score had a stronger association in those with high non-modifiable risk (relative excess risk due to interaction=1.2, 95% CI 0.5 to 1.9). For those in Q4 of non-modifiable risk, a decrease in modifiable risk reduced 30-year ARs from 8.9% to 3.4% for men and from 6.0% to 3.2% for women, a level lower or comparable to the average population risk.

Conclusions: Changes in modifiable risk factors may result in a substantial decline in CRC risk in both sexes. Those with high inherited risk may reap greater benefit from lifestyle modifications. Our results suggested comprehensive evaluation of environmental factors may facilitate CRC risk stratification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgast-2019-000339DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6904202PMC
December 2019

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

Identification of Novel Loci and New Risk Variant in Known Loci for Colorectal Cancer Risk in East Asians.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 02 11;29(2):477-486. Epub 2019 Dec 11.

Laboratory for Statistical Analysis, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Kanagawa, Japan.

Background: Risk variants identified so far for colorectal cancer explain only a small proportion of familial risk of this cancer, particularly in Asians.

Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of colorectal cancer in East Asians, including 23,572 colorectal cancer cases and 48,700 controls. To identify novel risk loci, we selected 60 promising risk variants for replication using data from 58,131 colorectal cancer cases and 67,347 controls of European descent. To identify additional risk variants in known colorectal cancer loci, we performed conditional analyses in East Asians.

Results: An indel variant, rs67052019 at 1p13.3, was found to be associated with colorectal cancer risk at × 10 in Asians ( per allele deletion = 1.13, 95% confidence interval = 1.08-1.18). This association was replicated in European descendants using a variant (rs2938616) in complete linkage disequilibrium with rs67052019 ( = 7.7 × 10). Of the remaining 59 variants, 12 showed an association at < 0.05 in the European-ancestry study, including rs11108175 and rs9634162 at < 5 × 10 and two variants with an association near the genome-wide significance level (rs60911071, = 5.8 × 10; rs62558833, = 7.5 × 10) in the combined analyses of Asian- and European-ancestry data. In addition, using data from East Asians, we identified 13 new risk variants at 11 loci reported from previous GWAS.

Conclusions: In this large GWAS, we identified three novel risk loci and two highly suggestive loci for colorectal cancer risk and provided evidence for potential roles of multiple genes and pathways in the etiology of colorectal cancer. In addition, we showed that additional risk variants exist in many colorectal cancer risk loci identified previously.

Impact: Our study provides novel data to improve the understanding of the genetic basis for colorectal cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0755DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571256PMC
February 2020

Genetic Variant Associated With Survival of Patients With Stage II-III Colon Cancer.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 11 4;18(12):2717-2723.e3. Epub 2019 Dec 4.

Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Many genetic variants have been associated with colorectal cancer risk, although few have been associated with survival times of patients. Identification of genetic variants associated with survival times might improve our understanding of disease progression and aid in outcome prediction. We performed a genome-wide association study to identify variants associated with colon cancer survival time.

Methods: We performed a post hoc analysis of data from NCCTG N0147 (Alliance), a randomized phase 3 trial of patients with resected stage III colon cancer, and from NSABP C-08 (NRG), a phase 3 trial that compared therapy regimens for patients with resected stage II or III colon cancer. Genotype analyses were performed on DNA from blood samples from 4974 patients. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to evaluate the association of each single nucleotide polymorphism with times of overall survival and disease-free survival, adjusting for age at diagnosis, sex, treatment group, and principal components of genetic ancestry. We performed the analysis for studies N0147 and C-08 separately, and results were combined in a fixed-effects meta-analysis.

Results: A locus on chromosome 7p15.2 was significantly associated with overall survival time (P ≤ 5x10). The most significant variant at this locus, rs76766811 (P = 1.6x10), is common among African Americans (minor allele frequency, approximately 18%) but rare in European Americans (minor allele frequency <0.1%). Within strata of self-reported ancestry, this variant was associated with times of overall survival and disease-free survival in only African Americans (hazard ratio for overall survival, 2.82; 95% CI, 1.88-4.23; P = 5.0x10 and hazard ratio for disease-free survival, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.62-3.18; P = 1.8x10).

Conclusions: In an analysis of data from 2 trials of patients with stage II or III colon cancer, we identified rs76766811 as a potential prognostic variant in African American patients. This finding should be confirmed in additional study populations. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifiers: NCT00096278 (NSABP C-08) and NCT00079274 (NCCTG N0147).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2019.11.046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269796PMC
November 2020

DNA repair and cancer in colon and rectum: Novel players in genetic susceptibility.

Int J Cancer 2020 01 4;146(2):363-372. Epub 2019 Jul 4.

Program in MPE Molecular Pathological Epidemiology, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Interindividual differences in DNA repair systems may play a role in modulating the individual risk of developing colorectal cancer. To better ascertain the role of DNA repair gene polymorphisms on colon and rectal cancer risk individually, we evaluated 15,419 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within 185 DNA repair genes using GWAS data from the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR) and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO), which included 8,178 colon cancer, 2,936 rectum cancer cases and 14,659 controls. Rs1800734 (in MLH1 gene) was associated with colon cancer risk (p-value = 3.5 × 10 ) and rs2189517 (in RAD51B) with rectal cancer risk (p-value = 5.7 × 10 ). The results had statistical significance close to the Bonferroni corrected p-value of 5.8 × 10 . Ninety-four SNPs were significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk after Binomial Sequential Goodness of Fit (BSGoF) procedure and confirmed the relevance of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) and homologous recombination pathways for colon and rectum cancer, respectively. Defects in MMR genes are known to be crucial for familial form of colorectal cancer but our findings suggest that specific genetic variations in MLH1 are important also in the individual predisposition to sporadic colon cancer. Other SNPs associated with the risk of colon cancer (e.g., rs16906252 in MGMT) were found to affect mRNA expression levels in colon transverse and therefore working as possible cis-eQTL suggesting possible mechanisms of carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32516DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7301215PMC
January 2020

Meta-analysis of 16 studies of the association of alcohol with colorectal cancer.

Int J Cancer 2020 02 7;146(3):861-873. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

Alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC). However, while studies have consistently reported elevated risk of CRC among heavy drinkers, associations at moderate levels of alcohol consumption are less clear. We conducted a combined analysis of 16 studies of CRC to examine the shape of the alcohol-CRC association, investigate potential effect modifiers of the association, and examine differential effects of alcohol consumption by cancer anatomic site and stage. We collected information on alcohol consumption for 14,276 CRC cases and 15,802 controls from 5 case-control and 11 nested case-control studies of CRC. We compared adjusted logistic regression models with linear and restricted cubic splines to select a model that best fit the association between alcohol consumption and CRC. Study-specific results were pooled using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Compared to non-/occasional drinking (≤1 g/day), light/moderate drinking (up to 2 drinks/day) was associated with a decreased risk of CRC (odds ratio [OR]: 0.92, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.88-0.98, p = 0.005), heavy drinking (2-3 drinks/day) was not significantly associated with CRC risk (OR: 1.11, 95% CI: 0.99-1.24, p = 0.08) and very heavy drinking (more than 3 drinks/day) was associated with a significant increased risk (OR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.11-1.40, p < 0.001). We observed no evidence of interactions with lifestyle risk factors or of differences by cancer site or stage. These results provide further evidence that there is a J-shaped association between alcohol consumption and CRC risk. This overall pattern was not significantly modified by other CRC risk factors and there was no effect heterogeneity by tumor site or stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32377DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6819207PMC
February 2020

Genetic variant predictors of gene expression provide new insight into risk of colorectal cancer.

Hum Genet 2019 Apr 28;138(4):307-326. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

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

Genome-wide association studies have reported 56 independently associated colorectal cancer (CRC) risk variants, most of which are non-coding and believed to exert their effects by modulating gene expression. The computational method PrediXcan uses cis-regulatory variant predictors to impute expression and perform gene-level association tests in GWAS without directly measured transcriptomes. In this study, we used reference datasets from colon (n = 169) and whole blood (n = 922) transcriptomes to test CRC association with genetically determined expression levels in a genome-wide analysis of 12,186 cases and 14,718 controls. Three novel associations were discovered from colon transverse models at FDR ≤ 0.2 and further evaluated in an independent replication including 32,825 cases and 39,933 controls. After adjusting for multiple comparisons, we found statistically significant associations using colon transcriptome models with TRIM4 (discovery P = 2.2 × 10, replication P = 0.01), and PYGL (discovery P = 2.3 × 10, replication P = 6.7 × 10). Interestingly, both genes encode proteins that influence redox homeostasis and are related to cellular metabolic reprogramming in tumors, implicating a novel CRC pathway linked to cell growth and proliferation. Defining CRC risk regions as one megabase up- and downstream of one of the 56 independent risk variants, we defined 44 non-overlapping CRC-risk regions. Among these risk regions, we identified genes associated with CRC (P < 0.05) in 34/44 CRC-risk regions. Importantly, CRC association was found for two genes in the previously reported 2q25 locus, CXCR1 and CXCR2, which are potential cancer therapeutic targets. These findings provide strong candidate genes to prioritize for subsequent laboratory follow-up of GWAS loci. This study is the first to implement PrediXcan in a large colorectal cancer study and findings highlight the utility of integrating transcriptome data in GWAS for discovery of, and biological insight into, risk loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-019-01989-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6483948PMC
April 2019

Discovery of common and rare genetic risk variants for colorectal cancer.

Nat Genet 2019 01 3;51(1):76-87. Epub 2018 Dec 3.

Department of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE), Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Germany.

To further dissect the genetic architecture of colorectal cancer (CRC), we performed whole-genome sequencing of 1,439 cases and 720 controls, imputed discovered sequence variants and Haplotype Reference Consortium panel variants into genome-wide association study data, and tested for association in 34,869 cases and 29,051 controls. Findings were followed up in an additional 23,262 cases and 38,296 controls. We discovered a strongly protective 0.3% frequency variant signal at CHD1. In a combined meta-analysis of 125,478 individuals, we identified 40 new independent signals at P < 5 × 10, bringing the number of known independent signals for CRC to ~100. New signals implicate lower-frequency variants, Krüppel-like factors, Hedgehog signaling, Hippo-YAP signaling, long noncoding RNAs and somatic drivers, and support a role for immune function. Heritability analyses suggest that CRC risk is highly polygenic, and larger, more comprehensive studies enabling rare variant analysis will improve understanding of biology underlying this risk and influence personalized screening strategies and drug development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0286-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6358437PMC
January 2019

Novel Common Genetic Susceptibility Loci for Colorectal Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 02;111(2):146-157

Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California, Oakland, CA.

Background: Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 42 loci (P < 5 × 10-8) associated with risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Expanded consortium efforts facilitating the discovery of additional susceptibility loci may capture unexplained familial risk.

Methods: We conducted a GWAS in European descent CRC cases and control subjects using a discovery-replication design, followed by examination of novel findings in a multiethnic sample (cumulative n = 163 315). In the discovery stage (36 948 case subjects/30 864 control subjects), we identified genetic variants with a minor allele frequency of 1% or greater associated with risk of CRC using logistic regression followed by a fixed-effects inverse variance weighted meta-analysis. All novel independent variants reaching genome-wide statistical significance (two-sided P < 5 × 10-8) were tested for replication in separate European ancestry samples (12 952 case subjects/48 383 control subjects). Next, we examined the generalizability of discovered variants in East Asians, African Americans, and Hispanics (12 085 case subjects/22 083 control subjects). Finally, we examined the contributions of novel risk variants to familial relative risk and examined the prediction capabilities of a polygenic risk score. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: The discovery GWAS identified 11 variants associated with CRC at P < 5 × 10-8, of which nine (at 4q22.2/5p15.33/5p13.1/6p21.31/6p12.1/10q11.23/12q24.21/16q24.1/20q13.13) independently replicated at a P value of less than .05. Multiethnic follow-up supported the generalizability of discovery findings. These results demonstrated a 14.7% increase in familial relative risk explained by common risk alleles from 10.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.9% to 13.7%; known variants) to 11.9% (95% CI = 9.2% to 15.5%; known and novel variants). A polygenic risk score identified 4.3% of the population at an odds ratio for developing CRC of at least 2.0.

Conclusions: This study provides insight into the architecture of common genetic variation contributing to CRC etiology and improves risk prediction for individualized screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy099DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6555904PMC
February 2019

Genetic susceptibility markers for a breast-colorectal cancer phenotype: Exploratory results from genome-wide association studies.

PLoS One 2018 26;13(4):e0196245. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, The University of Texas, MD, Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, United States of America.

Background: Clustering of breast and colorectal cancer has been observed within some families and cannot be explained by chance or known high-risk mutations in major susceptibility genes. Potential shared genetic susceptibility between breast and colorectal cancer, not explained by high-penetrance genes, has been postulated. We hypothesized that yet undiscovered genetic variants predispose to a breast-colorectal cancer phenotype.

Methods: To identify variants associated with a breast-colorectal cancer phenotype, we analyzed genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from cases and controls that met the following criteria: cases (n = 985) were women with breast cancer who had one or more first- or second-degree relatives with colorectal cancer, men/women with colorectal cancer who had one or more first- or second-degree relatives with breast cancer, and women diagnosed with both breast and colorectal cancer. Controls (n = 1769), were unrelated, breast and colorectal cancer-free, and age- and sex- frequency-matched to cases. After imputation, 6,220,060 variants were analyzed using the discovery set and variants associated with the breast-colorectal cancer phenotype at P<5.0E-04 (n = 549, at 60 loci) were analyzed for replication (n = 293 cases and 2,103 controls).

Results: Multiple correlated SNPs in intron 1 of the ROBO1 gene were suggestively associated with the breast-colorectal cancer phenotype in the discovery and replication data (most significant; rs7430339, Pdiscovery = 1.2E-04; rs7429100, Preplication = 2.8E-03). In meta-analysis of the discovery and replication data, the most significant association remained at rs7429100 (P = 1.84E-06).

Conclusion: The results of this exploratory analysis did not find clear evidence for a susceptibility locus with a pleiotropic effect on hereditary breast and colorectal cancer risk, although the suggestive association of genetic variation in the region of ROBO1, a potential tumor suppressor gene, merits further investigation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0196245PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5919670PMC
August 2018

Determining Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Starting Age of Screening Based on Lifestyle, Environmental, and Genetic Factors.

Gastroenterology 2018 06 17;154(8):2152-2164.e19. Epub 2018 Feb 17.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

Background & Aims: Guidelines for initiating colorectal cancer (CRC) screening are based on family history but do not consider lifestyle, environmental, or genetic risk factors. We developed models to determine risk of CRC, based on lifestyle and environmental factors and genetic variants, and to identify an optimal age to begin screening.

Methods: We collected data from 9748 CRC cases and 10,590 controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium and the Colorectal Transdisciplinary study, from 1992 through 2005. Half of the participants were used to develop the risk determination model and the other half were used to evaluate the discriminatory accuracy (validation set). Models of CRC risk were created based on family history, 19 lifestyle and environmental factors (E-score), and 63 CRC-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms identified in genome-wide association studies (G-score). We evaluated the discriminatory accuracy of the models by calculating area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values, adjusting for study, age, and endoscopy history for the validation set. We used the models to project the 10-year absolute risk of CRC for a given risk profile and recommend ages to begin screening in comparison to CRC risk for an average individual at 50 years of age, using external population incidence rates for non-Hispanic whites from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program registry.

Results: In our models, E-score and G-score each determined risk of CRC with greater accuracy than family history. A model that combined both scores and family history estimated CRC risk with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value of 0.63 (95% confidence interval, 0.62-0.64) for men and 0.62 (95% confidence interval, 0.61-0.63) for women; area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values based on only family history ranged from 0.53 to 0.54 and those based only E-score or G-score ranged from 0.59 to 0.60. Although screening is recommended to begin at age 50 years for individuals with no family history of CRC, starting ages calculated based on combined E-score and G-score differed by 12 years for men and 14 for women, for individuals with the highest vs the lowest 10% of risk.

Conclusions: We used data from 2 large international consortia to develop CRC risk calculation models that included genetic and environmental factors along with family history. These determine risk of CRC and starting ages for screening with greater accuracy than the family history only model, which is based on the current screening guideline. These scoring systems might serve as a first step toward developing individualized CRC prevention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2018.02.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985207PMC
June 2018