Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death, causing approximately five million premature deaths world-wide each year 1, 2 . Evidence for genetic influence on smoking behaviour and nicotine dependence (ND) 3-8 has prompted a search for susceptibility genes. Furthermore, assessing the impact of sequence variants on smoking-related diseases is important for public health reasons 9, 10 . Smoking is the major risk factor for lung cancer (LC)  , and one of the main risk factors for peripheral arterial disease (PAD)  . We have identified a common variant in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene cluster on chromosome 15q24 with an effect on smoking quantity, ND and the risk of two smoking-related diseases in populations of European descent. The variant has an effect on the number of cigarettes smoked per day in 15,771 smokers (P=6×10 −20 ). The same variant associated with ND in a previous genome-wide association study using low quantity smokers as controls (OR=1.3, P=1×10 −3 ) 18,19 , and with a similar approach we observe a highly significant association with ND (OR =1.40, P=7×10 −15 ). Comparison of LC (N=1,024) and PAD (N= 2,738) cases with about 30,000 population controls each showed that the variant confers risk of LC (OR=1.31, P=1.5×10 −8 ) and PAD (OR=1.19, P=1.4×10 −7 ). The findings highlight the role of nicotine addiction in the pathogenesis of other serious diseases and provide a case study of the role of active gene-environment correlation 20 in the pathogenesis of disease.To perform a genome-wide association (GWA) study of smoking quantity (SQ), we utilised questionnaire data limited to basic questions on smoking behaviour that were available for a large number of lifetime smokers. The GWA scan comprises 10,995 Icelandic smokers who Reprints and permissions information is available at www.nature.com/reprints.
The common sequence variants that have recently been associated with cancer risk are particular to a single, or at most two, cancer types. Following up on our genome-wide scan of basal cell carcinoma1, we identified rs401681(C) on chromosome 5p15.33 satisfying our threshold for genome-wide significance (OR=1.25, P=3.7×10−12). We tested rs401681 for association with sixteen additional cancer types in over 30,000 cancer cases and 45,000 controls and found association with lung cancer (OR=1.15, P=7.2×10−8) and urinary bladder, prostate and cervix cancer (ORs 1.07–1.31, all P<4×10−4). However, rs401681(C) appears to confer protection against cutaneous melanoma (OR=0.88, P=8.0×10−4). Interestingly, most of these cancer types have a strong environmental component to their risk. Investigation of the region led us to rs2736098(A), that showed stronger association with some cancer types. However, neither variant could fully account for the association of the other. Rs2736098 corresponds to A305A in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) protein while rs401681 is in an intron of the CLPTM1L gene.
Assessment of ERCC1 mRNA expression in patient tumor tissue is feasible in the clinical setting and predicts response to docetaxel and cisplatin. Additional studies are warranted to optimize methodologies for ERCC1 analysis in small tumor samples and to refine a multibiomarker profile predictive of patient outcome.
Purpose: Advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harboring epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations (deletion in exon 19 or L858R) show an impressive progression-free survival of 14 months when treated with erlotinib. However, the presence of EGFR mutations can only imperfectly predict outcome. We hypothesized that progression-free survival could be influenced both by the pretreatment EGFR T790M mutation and by components of DNA repair pathways.Experimental Design: We assessed the T790M mutation in pretreatment diagnostic specimens from 129 erlotinib-treated advanced NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations. The expression of eight genes and two proteins involved in DNA repair and four receptor tyrosine kinases was also examined.Results: The EGFR T790M mutation was observed in 45 of 129 patients (35%). Progression-free survival was 12 months in patients with and 18 months in patients without the T790M mutation (P ¼ 0.05). Progression-free survival was 27 months in patients with low BRCA1 mRNA levels, 18 months in those with intermediate levels, and 10 months in those with high levels (P ¼ 0.02). In the multivariate analysis, the presence of the T790M mutation (HR, 4.35; P ¼ 0.001), intermediate BRCA1 levels (HR, 8.19; P < 0.0001), and high BRCA1 levels (HR, 8.46; P < 0.0001) emerged as markers of shorter progression-free survival.Conclusions: Low BRCA1 levels neutralized the negative effect of the T790M mutation and were associated with longer progression-free survival to erlotinib. We advocate baseline assessment of the T790M mutation and BRCA1 expression to predict outcome and provide alternative individualized treatment to patients based on T790M mutations and BRCA1 expression.
Purpose: No chemotherapy regimen, including the widely used combination of gemcitabine/cisplatin, confers significantly improved survival over any other in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); however, the selection of patients according to key genetic characteristics can help to tailor chemotherapy. Ribonucleotide reductase subunit M1 (RRM1) is involved in DNA synthesis and repair and in gemcitabine metabolism, and the excision repair crosscomplementing group 1 (ERCC1) gene has been related to cisplatin activity.Experimental Design: Patients were part of a large randomized trial carried out from September 1998 to July 2000, comparing gemcitabine/cisplatin versus gemcitabine/cisplatin/vinorelbine versus gemcitabine/vinorelbine followed by vinorelbine/ifosfamide. We analyzed RRM1 and ERCC1 mRNA expression in paraffin-embedded samples obtained from bronchoscopy by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Results were correlated with survival using the Kaplan-Meier method.Results: A total of 100 patients were assessed. There was a strong correlation between RRM1 and ERCC1 mRNA expression levels (Spearman r ؍ 0.410; P < 0.001). In the gemcitabine/cisplatin arm, patients with low RRM1 mRNA expression levels had significantly longer median survival than those with high levels [13.7 versus 3.6 months; 95% confidence interval (CI), 9.6 -17.8 months; P ؍ 0.009]. Median survival was also significantly longer among patients with low mRNA expression levels of both RRM1 and ERCC1 (not reached), than among those with high levels of both genes (6.8 months; 95% CI, 2.6 -11.1 months; P ؍ 0.016).Conclusions: RRM1 mRNA expression is a crucial predictive marker of survival in gemcitabine/cisplatin-treated patients. Genetic testing of RRM1 mRNA expression levels can and should be used to personalize chemotherapy.
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