Identification of Susceptibility Genes for Cancer in a Genome-wide Scan: Results from the Colon Neoplasia Sibling Study

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.
The American Journal of Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 10.93). 03/2008; 82(3):723-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2008.01.007
Source: PubMed


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Americans and is the second leading cause of cancer mortality. Only a minority (∼5%) of familial CRC can be explained by known genetic variants. To identify susceptibility genes for familial colorectal neoplasia, the colon neoplasia sibling study conducted a comprehensive, genome-wide linkage scan of 194 kindreds. Clinical information (histopathology, size and number of polyps, and other primary cancers) was used in conjunction with age at onset and family history for classification of the families into five phenotypic subgroups (severe histopathology, oligopolyposis, young, colon/breast, and multiple cancer) prior to analysis. By expanding the traditional affected-sib-pair design to include unaffected and discordant sib pairs, analytical power and robustness to type I error were increased. Sib-pair linkage statistics and Haseman-Elston regression identified 19 linkage peaks, with interesting results for chromosomes 1p31.1, 15q14-q22, 17p13.3, and 21. At marker D1S1665 (1p31.1), there was strong evidence for linkage in the multiple-cancer subgroup (p = 0.00007). For chromosome 15q14-q22, a linkage peak was identified in the full-sample (p = 0.018), oligopolyposis (p = 0.003), and young (p = 0.0009) phenotypes. This region includes the HMPS/CRAC1 locus associated with hereditary mixed polyposis syndrome (HMPS) in families of Ashkenazi descent. We provide compelling evidence linking this region in families of European descent with oligopolyposis and/or young age at onset (≤51) phenotypes. We found linkage to BRCA2 in the colon/breast phenotypic subgroup and identified a second locus in the region of D21S1437 segregating with, but distinct from, BRCA2. Linkage to 17p13.3 at marker D17S1308 in the breast/colon subgroup identified HIC1 as a candidate gene. We demonstrated that using clinical information, unaffected siblings, and family history can increase the analytical power of a linkage study.

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    • "We have previously reported linkage of the 7q31 locus in a cohort of sibling pairs affected with CRC [5]. Other CRC and polyp-affected relative pair studies have also reported linkage to this region of chromosome 7 [6,7]. One candidate gene in this region is the proto-oncogene and tyrosine kinase receptor, MET. "
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    ABSTRACT: In developed countries, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC) is 5%, and it is the second leading cause of death from cancer. The presence of family history is a well established risk factor with 25-35% of CRCs attributable to inherited and/or familial factors. The highly penetrant inherited colon cancer syndromes account for approximately 5%, leaving greater than 20% without clear genetic definition. Familial colorectal cancer has been linked to chromosome 7q31 by multiple affected relative pair studies. The MET proto-oncogene which resides in this chromosomal region is considered a candidate for genetic susceptibility. MET exons were amplified by PCR from germline DNA of 148 affected sibling pairs with colorectal cancer. Amplicons with altered sequence were detected with high-resolution melt-curve analysis using a LightScanner (Idaho Technologies). Samples demonstrating alternative melt curves were sequenced. A TaqMan assay for the specific c.2975C >T change was used to confirm this mutation in a cohort of 299 colorectal cancer cases and to look for allelic amplification in tumors. Here we report a germline non-synonymous change in the MET proto-oncogene at amino acid position T992I (also reported as MET p.T1010I) in 5.2% of a cohort of sibling pairs affected with CRC. This genetic variant was then confirmed in a second cohort of individuals diagnosed with CRC and having a first degree relative with CRC at prevalence of 4.1%. This mutation has been reported in cancer cells of multiple origins, including 2.5% of colon cancers, and in <1% in the general population. The threonine at amino acid position 992 lies in the tyrosine kinase domain of MET and a change to isoleucine at this position has been shown to promote metastatic behavior in cell-based models. The average age of CRC diagnosis in patients in this study is 63 years in mutation carriers, which is 8 years earlier than the general population average for CRC. Although the MET p.T992I genetic mutation is commonly found in somatic colorectal cancer tissues, this is the first report also implicating this MET genetic mutation as a germline inherited risk factor for familial colorectal cancer. Future studies on the cancer risks associated with this mutation and the prevalence in different at-risk populations will be an important extension of this work to define the clinical significance.
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