Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit

Cambridge, United Kingdom
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Surtees P.G.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | Wainwright N.W.J.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | Pooley K.A.,Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit | Luben R.N.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity | Year: 2012

Background: Telomere length has been postulated as a marker of biological aging. Recent evidence has suggested that educational attainment but not social class is associated with telemore length. Methods: We investigated the associations between educational attainment, social class and relative mean telomere length in an ethnically homogeneous population of 4441 women, aged 41-80. years. Mean telomere length was measured using high-throughput quantitative Real Time PCR. Results: Educational attainment (p= 0.015) but not social class (p= 0.61) was associated with mean telomere length in these data. This association was independent of social class and of systolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, cigarette smoking, body mass index, glycated hemoglobin, plasma vitamin C and physical activity (p= 0.014), and was not attenuated through additional adjustment for measures of social adversity, including those experienced during childhood (p= 0.006). Conclusions: Our results, at least for women, provide support for the findings previously reported in this journal that lower educational attainment, but not social class, is associated with shorter telomere length. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Hackett A.,Genetics of Learning Disability Service | Tarpey P.S.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Licata A.,JC Self Research Institute | Cox J.,Cambridge Institute of Medical Research | And 19 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2010

Mutations of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK) gene have recently been associated with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) with microcephaly, optic atrophy and brainstem and cerebellar hypoplasia, as well as with an X-linked syndrome having some FG-like features. Our group has recently identified four male probands from 358 probable XLMR families with missense mutations (p.Y268H, p.P396S, p.D710G and p.W919R) in the CASK gene. Congenital nystagmus, a rare and striking feature, was present in two of these families. We screened a further 45 probands with either nystagmus or microcephaly and mental retardation (MR), and identified two further mutations, a missense mutation (p.Y728C) and a splice mutation (c.2521-2A > T) in two small families with nystagmus and MR. Detailed clinical examinations of all six families, including an ophthalmological review in four families, were undertaken to further characterise the phenotype. We report on the clinical features of 24 individuals, mostly male, from six families with CASK mutations. The phenotype was variable, ranging from non-syndromic mild MR to severe MR associated with microcephaly and dysmorphic facial features. Carrier females were variably affected. Congenital nystagmus was found in members of four of the families. Our findings reinforce the CASK gene as a relatively frequent cause of XLMR in females and males. We further define the phenotypic spectrum and demonstrate that affected males with missense mutations or in-frame deletions in CASK are frequently associated with congenital nystagmus and XLMR, a striking feature not previously reported. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Lose F.,Queensland Institute of Medical Research | Lose F.,Queensland University of Technology | Batra J.,Queensland Institute of Medical Research | Batra J.,Queensland University of Technology | And 25 more authors.
Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations | Year: 2013

The human tissue Kallikrein family consists of 15 genes with the majority shown to be differentially expressed in cancers and/or indicators of cancer prognosis. We sought to elucidate the role of common genetic variation in four of the Kallikrein genes, KLK5, KLK6, KLK12, and KLK13, in prostate cancer risk and tumor aggressiveness. Genotyping of all 22 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNPs) in the KLK5, KLK6, KLK12, and KLK13 genes was performed in approximately 1,000 prostate cancer cases and 1,300 male controls from Australia. Data from any positive results were also accessed for 1,844 cases and 1,886 controls from a previously published prostate cancer genome-wide association study set from the United Kingdom. For one SNP in KLK12, rs3865443, there was evidence for association with prostate cancer risk of similar direction and magnitude in the replication set to that seen in the Australian cohort. We conducted genotyping of a further 309 prostate cancer cases, and combined analyses revealed an increased risk of prostate cancer for carriers of the rare homozygous genotype for rs3865443 (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.04-1.57; P = 0.018). No other tagSNPs in the KLK5, KLK6, and KLK13 genes were consistently associated with prostate cancer risk or tumor aggressiveness. Analysis of a combined sample of 3,153 cases and 3,199 controls revealed the KLK12 tagSNP rs3865443 to be marginally statistically significantly associated with risk of prostate cancer. Considering the total number of SNPs investigated in this study, this finding should be interpreted cautiously and requires additional validation from very large datasets such as those of the Prostate Cancer Association group to investigate cancer associated alterations (PRACTICAL) Consortium. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Batra J.,Queensland University of Technology | Batra J.,Queensland Institute of Medical Research | Lose F.,Queensland Institute of Medical Research | O'Mara T.,Queensland University of Technology | And 24 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: Kallikrein 15 (KLK15)/Prostinogen is a plausible candidate for prostate cancer susceptibility. Elevated KLK15 expression has been reported in prostate cancer and it has been described as an unfavorable prognostic marker for the disease. Objectives: We performed a comprehensive analysis of association of variants in the KLK15 gene with prostate cancer risk and aggressiveness by genotyping tagSNPs, as well as putative functional SNPs identified by extensive bioinformatics analysis. Methods and Data Sources: Twelve out of 22 SNPs, selected on the basis of linkage disequilibrium pattern, were analyzed in an Australian sample of 1,011 histologically verified prostate cancer cases and 1,405 ethnically matched controls. Replication was sought from two existing genome wide association studies (GWAS): the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) project and a UK GWAS study. Results: Two KLK15 SNPs, rs2659053 and rs3745522, showed evidence of association (p<0.05) but were not present on the GWAS platforms. KLK15 SNP rs2659056 was found to be associated with prostate cancer aggressiveness and showed evidence of association in a replication cohort of 5,051 patients from the UK, Australia, and the CGEMS dataset of US samples. A highly significant association with Gleason score was observed when the data was combined from these three studies with an Odds Ratio (OR) of 0.85 (95% CI = 0.77-0.93; p = 2.7×10 -4). The rs2659056 SNP is predicted to alter binding of the RORalpha transcription factor, which has a role in the control of cell growth and differentiation and has been suggested to control the metastatic behavior of prostate cancer cells. Conclusions: Our findings suggest a role for KLK15 genetic variation in the etiology of prostate cancer among men of European ancestry, although further studies in very large sample sets are necessary to confirm effect sizes. © 2011 Batra et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Stevens K.N.,Mayo Medical School | Vachon C.M.,Mayo Medical School | Lee A.M.,Mayo Medical School | Slager S.,Mayo Medical School | And 85 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2011

Triple-negative breast cancers are an aggressive subtype of breast cancer with poor survival, but there remains little known about the etiologic factors that promote its initiation and development. Commonly inherited breast cancer risk factors identified through genome-wide association studies display heterogeneity of effect among breast cancer subtypes as defined by the status of estrogen and progesterone receptors. In the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC), 22 common breast cancer susceptibility variants were investigated in 2,980 Caucasian women with triple-negative breast cancer and 4,978 healthy controls. We identified six singlenucleotide polymorphisms, including rs2046210 (ESR1), rs12662670 (ESR1), rs3803662 (TOX3), rs999737 (RAD51L1), rs8170 (19p13.1), and rs8100241 (19p13.1), significantly associated with the risk of triple-negative breast cancer. Together, our results provide convincing evidence of genetic susceptibility for triple-negative breast cancer. ©2011 AACR.


Edwards S.M.,Institute of Cancer Research | Evans D.G.R.,St Marys Hospital | Hope Q.,Institute of Cancer Research | Norman A.R.,Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust | And 20 more authors.
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2010

Background:The germline BRCA2 mutation is associated with increased prostate cancer (PrCa) risk. We have assessed survival in young PrCa cases with a germline mutation in BRCA2 and investigated loss of heterozygosity at BRCA2 in their tumours.Methods:Two cohorts were compared: one was a group with young-onset PrCa, tested for germline BRCA2 mutations (6 of 263 cases had a germline BRAC2 mutation), and the second was a validation set consisting of a clinical set from Manchester of known BRCA2 mutuation carriers (15 cases) with PrCa. Survival data were compared with a control series of patients in a single clinic as determined by Kaplan-Meier estimates. Loss of heterozygosity was tested for in the DNA of tumour tissue of the young-onset group by typing four microsatellite markers that flanked the BRCA2 gene, followed by sequencing.Results:Median survival of all PrCa cases with a germline BRCA2 mutation was shorter at 4.8 years than was survival in controls at 8.5 years (P0.002). Loss of heterozygosity was found in the majority of tumours of BRCA2 mutation carriers. Multivariate analysis confirmed that the poorer survival of PrCa in BRCA2 mutation carriers is associated with the germline BRCA2 mutation per se.Conclusion:BRCA2 germline mutation is an independent prognostic factor for survival in PrCa. Such patients should not be managed with active surveillance as they have more aggressive disease. © 2010 Cancer Research UK All rights reserved.


Surtees P.G.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | Wainwright N.W.J.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | Pooley K.A.,Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit | Luben R.N.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences | Year: 2011

We investigated the association between psychological stress, emotional health, and relative mean telomere length in an ethnically homogeneous population of 4,441 women, aged 41-80 years. Mean telomere length was measured using high-throughput quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Social adversity exposure and emotional health were assessed through questionnaire and covariates through direct measurement and questionnaire. This study found evidence that adverse experiences during childhood may be associated with shorter telomere length. This finding remained after covariate adjustment and showed evidence of a dose-response relationship with increasing number of reported childhood difficulties associated with decreasing relative mean telomere length. No associations were observed for any of the other summary measures of social adversity and emotional health considered. These results extend and provide support for some previous findings concerning the association of adverse experience and emotional health histories with shorter telomere length in adulthood. Replication of these findings in longitudinal studies is now essential. © 2011 The Author.


Pooley K.A.,Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit | Tyrer J.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | Shah M.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | Driver K.E.,Strangeways Research Laboratory | And 8 more authors.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention | Year: 2010

Background: A recent study reported genetic variants in the TERT-CLPTM1L locus that were associated with mean telomere length, and with risk of multiple cancers. Methods: We evaluated the association between single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs401681 (C > T) and mean telomere length, using quantitative real-time PCR, in blood-extracted DNA collected from 11,314 cancer-free participants from the Sisters in Breast Screening study, the Melanoma and Pigmented Lesions Evaluative Study melanoma family study, and the SEARCH Breast, Colorectal, Melanoma studies. We also examined the relationship between rs401618 genotype and susceptibility to breast cancer (6,800 cases and 6,608 controls), colorectal cancer (2,259 cases and 2,181 controls), and melanoma (787 cases and 999 controls). Results: The "per T allele" change in mean telomere length (ΔCt), adjusted for age, study plate, gender, and family was 0.001 [95% confidence intervals (CI), 0.01-0.02; P trend = 0.61]. The "per T allele" odds ratio for each cancer was 1.01 for breast cancer (95% CI, 0.96-1.06; P trend = 0.64), 1.02 for colorectal cancer (95% CI, 0.94-1.11; P trend = 0.66), and 0.99 for melanoma (95% CI, 0.84-1.15; P trend = 0.87). Conclusions: We found no evidence that this SNP was associated with mean telomere length, or with risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or melanoma. Impact: Our results indicate that the observed associations between rs401681 and several cancer types might be weaker than previously described. The lack of an association in our study between this SNP and mean telomere length suggests that any association with cancer risk at this locus is not mediated through TERT. ©2010 AACR.


Mocellin S.,University of Padua | Verdi D.,University of Padua | Pooley K.A.,Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit | Landi M.T.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 7 more authors.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute | Year: 2012

Background Several recent studies have provided evidence that polymorphisms in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene sequence are associated with cancer development, but a comprehensive synopsis is not available. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available molecular epidemiology data regarding the association between TERT locus polymorphisms and predisposition to cancer.MethodsA systematic review of the English literature was conducted by searching PubMed, Embase, Cancerlit, Google Scholar, and ISI Web of Knowledge databases for studies on associations between TERT locus polymorphisms and cancer risk. Random-effects meta-analysis was performed to pool per-allele odds ratios for TERT locus polymorphisms and risk of cancer, and between-study heterogeneity and potential bias sources (eg, publication and chasing bias) were assessed. Because the TERT locus includes the cleft lip and palate transmembrane 1-like (CLPTM1L) gene, which is in linkage disequilibrium with TERT, CLPTM1L polymorphisms were also analyzed. Cumulative evidence for polymorphisms with statistically significant associations was graded as "strong," "moderate," and "weak" according to the Venice criteria. The joint population attributable risk was calculated for polymorphisms with strong evidence of association.ResultsEighty-five studies enrolling 490901 subjects and reporting on 494 allelic contrasts were retrieved. Data were available on 67 TERT locus polymorphisms and 24 tumor types, for a total of 221 unique combinations of polymorphisms and cancer types. Upon meta-analysis, a statistically significant association with the risk of any cancer type was found for 22 polymorphisms. Strong, moderate, and weak cumulative evidence for association with at least one tumor type was demonstrated for 11, 9, and 14 polymorphisms, respectively. For lung cancer, which was the most studied tumor type, the estimated joint population attributable risk for three polymorphisms (TERT rs2736100, intergenic rs4635969, and CLPTM1L rs402710) was 41%. Strong evidence for lack of association was identified for five polymorphisms in three tumor types.ConclusionsTo our knowledge, this is the largest collection of data for associations between TERT locus polymorphisms and cancer risk. Our findings support the hypothesis that genetic variability in this genomic region can modulate cancer susceptibility in humans. © 2012 The Author.


Mocellin S.,University of Padua | Pooley K.A.,Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit | Nitti D.,University of Padua
Trends in Molecular Medicine | Year: 2013

Many of the fundamental molecular mechanisms underlying tumor biology remain elusive and, thus, developing specific anticancer therapies remains a challenge. The recently discovered relationships identified among telomeres, telomerase, aging, and cancer have opened a new avenue in tumor biology research that may revolutionize anticancer therapy. This review summarizes the critical aspects of telomerase biology that underpin the development of novel telomerase-targeting therapies for malignant diseases, and special regard is given to the aspects of telomerase that make it such an appealing target, such as the widespread expression of telomerase in cancers. Despite significant progress, issues remain to be addressed before telomerase-based therapies are truly effective and we include critical discussion of the results obtained thus far. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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