Ava Kwong

Stanford Medicine, Stanford, California, United States

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Publications (177)

  • Article · Dec 2016 · Breast cancer research: BCR
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BRCA1 and, more commonly, BRCA2 mutations are associated with increased risk of male breast cancer (MBC). However, only a paucity of data exists on the pathology of breast cancers (BCs) in men with BRCA1/2 mutations. Using the largest available dataset, we determined whether MBCs arising in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers display specific pathologic features and whether these features differ from those of BRCA1/2 female BCs (FBCs). Methods: We characterised the pathologic features of 419 BRCA1/2 MBCs and, using logistic regression analysis, contrasted those with data from 9675 BRCA1/2 FBCs and with population-based data from 6351 MBCs in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Results: Among BRCA2 MBCs, grade significantly decreased with increasing age at diagnosis (P = 0.005). Compared with BRCA2 FBCs, BRCA2 MBCs were of significantly higher stage (P for trend = 2 × 10−5) and higher grade (P for trend = 0.005) and were more likely to be oestrogen receptor–positive [odds ratio (OR) 10.59; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 5.15–21.80] and progesterone receptor–positive (OR 5.04; 95 % CI 3.17–8.04). With the exception of grade, similar patterns of associations emerged when we compared BRCA1 MBCs and FBCs. BRCA2 MBCs also presented with higher grade than MBCs from the SEER database (P for trend = 4 × 10−12). Conclusions: On the basis of the largest series analysed to date, our results show that BRCA1/2 MBCs display distinct pathologic characteristics compared with BRCA1/2 FBCs, and we identified a specific BRCA2-associated MBC phenotype characterised by a variable suggesting greater biological aggressiveness (i.e., high histologic grade). These findings could lead to the development of gender-specific risk prediction models and guide clinical strategies appropriate for MBC management.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2016 · Breast cancer research: BCR
  • Ava Kwong · Vivian Y. Shin · Chun Hang Au · [...] · Tsun L. Chan
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutation in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes accounts for 20% of familial breast cancers, 5% to 10% of which may be due to other less penetrant genes which are still incompletely studied. Herein, a four-gene panel was used to examine the prevalence of BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, and PTEN in hereditary breast and ovarian cancers in Southern Chinese population. In this cohort, 948 high-risk breast and/or ovarian patients were recruited for genetic screening by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The performance of our NGS pipeline was evaluated with 80 Sanger-validated known mutations and eight negative cases. With appropriate bioinformatics analysis pipeline, the detection sensitivity of NGS is comparable with Sanger sequencing. The prevalence of BRCA1/BRCA2 germline mutations was 9.4% in our Chinese cohort, of which 48.8% of the mutations arose from hotspot mutations. With the use of a tailor-made algorithm, HomopolymerQZ, more mutations were detected compared with single mutation detection algorithm. The frequencies of PTEN and TP53 were 0.21% and 0.53%, respectively, in the Southern Chinese patients with breast and/or ovarian cancers. High-throughput NGS approach allows the incorporation of control cohort that provides an ethnicity-specific data for polymorphic variants. Our data suggest that hotspot mutations screening such as SNaPshot could be an effective preliminary screening alternative adopted in a standard clinical laboratory without NGS setup.
    Article · May 2016 · The Journal of molecular diagnostics: JMD
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, RECQL was reported as a new breast cancer susceptibility gene. RECQL belongs to the RECQ DNA helicase family which unwinds double strand DNA and involved in the DNA replication stress response, telomere maintenance and DNA repair. RECQL deficient mice cells are prone to spontaneous chromosomal instability and aneuploidy, suggesting a tumor-suppressive role of RECQL in cancer. In this study, RECQL gene mutation screening was performed on 1110 breast cancer patients who were negative for BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53 and PTEN gene mutations and recruited from March 2007 to June 2015 in the Hong Kong Hereditary and High Risk Breast Cancer Program. Four different RECQL pathogenic mutations were identified in six of the 1110 (0.54 %) tested breast cancer patients. The identified mutations include one frame-shift deletion (c.974_977delAAGA), two splicing site mutations (c.394+1G>A, c.867+1G>T) and one nonsense mutation (c.796C>T, p.Gln266Ter). Two of the mutations (c.867+1G>T and p.Gln266Ter) were seen in more than one patients. This study provides the basis for existing of pathogenic RECQL mutations in Southern Chinese breast cancer patients. The significance of rare variants in RECQL gene in the estimation of breast cancer risk warranted further investigation in larger cohort of patients and in other ethnic groups.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
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    Fergus J. Couch · Karoline B. Kuchenbaecker · Kyriaki Michailidou · [...] · Antonis C. Antoniou
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Common variants in 94 loci have been associated with breast cancer including 15 loci with genome-wide significant associations (P<5 × 10$^{−8}$) with oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer and BRCA1-associated breast cancer risk. In this study, to identify new ER-negative susceptibility loci, we performed a meta-analysis of 11 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) consisting of 4,939 ER-negative cases and 14,352 controls, combined with 7,333 ER-negative cases and 42,468 controls and 15,252 BRCA1 mutation carriers genotyped on the iCOGS array. We identify four previously unidentified loci including two loci at 13q22 near KLF5, a 2p23.2 locus near WDR43 and a 2q33 locus near PPIL3 that display genome-wide significant associations with ER-negative breast cancer. In addition, 19 known breast cancer risk loci have genome-wide significant associations and 40 had moderate associations (P<0.05) with ER-negative disease. Using functional and eQTL studies we implicate TRMT61B and WDR43 at 2p23.2 and PPIL3 at 2q33 in ER-negative breast cancer aetiology. All ER-negative loci combined account for ~11% of familial relative risk for ER-negative disease and may contribute to improved ER-negative and BRCA1 breast cancer risk prediction.
    Full-text Article · Apr 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Common variants in 94 loci have been associated with breast cancer including 15 loci with genome-wide significant associations (P<5 × 10(-8)) with oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer and BRCA1-associated breast cancer risk. In this study, to identify new ER-negative susceptibility loci, we performed a meta-analysis of 11 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) consisting of 4,939 ER-negative cases and 14,352 controls, combined with 7,333 ER-negative cases and 42,468 controls and 15,252 BRCA1 mutation carriers genotyped on the iCOGS array. We identify four previously unidentified loci including two loci at 13q22 near KLF5, a 2p23.2 locus near WDR43 and a 2q33 locus near PPIL3 that display genome-wide significant associations with ER-negative breast cancer. In addition, 19 known breast cancer risk loci have genome-wide significant associations and 40 had moderate associations (P<0.05) with ER-negative disease. Using functional and eQTL studies we implicate TRMT61B and WDR43 at 2p23.2 and PPIL3 at 2q33 in ER-negative breast cancer aetiology. All ER-negative loci combined account for ∼11% of familial relative risk for ER-negative disease and may contribute to improved ER-negative and BRCA1 breast cancer risk prediction.
    Full-text Article · Apr 2016 · Nature Communications
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Female BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers are at substantially increased risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer, and are offered enhanced surveillance including screening from a young age and risk-reducing surgery (RRS)-mastectomy (RRM) and/or salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO). While there are established guidelines for early detection of breast cancer in high-risk women who have not undergone RRM, there are less developed guidelines after RRM. We evaluated the schemes offered before and after RRS in internationally diverse high-risk clinics. An e-mailed survey was distributed to high-risk clinics affiliated with CIMBA. Overall, 22 centers from 16 countries responded. Pre RRS surveillance schemes overwhelmingly included breast imaging (primarily MRI) from 18 to 30 years and clinical breast exam (CBE) at 6-12 month intervals. For ovarian cancer, all but 6 centers offered semiannual/annual gynecological exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and CA 125 measurements. Post RRM, most centers offered only annual CBE while 4 centers offered annual MRI, primarily for substantial residual breast tissue. After RRSO only 4 centers offered specific gynecological surveillance. Existing guidelines for breast/ovarian cancer detection in BRCA carriers are being applied pre RRS but are not globally harmonized, and most centers offer no specific surveillance post RRS. From this comprehensive multinational study it is clear that evidence-based, long-term prospective data on the most effective scheme for BRCA carriers post RRS is needed.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Several studies have demonstrated that octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive provides an equivalent cosmetic outcome as standard suture for wound closure. This study aimed to compare octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive with standard suture for wound closure following breast surgery. Methods: A prospective randomised controlled trial was conducted in a public hospital in Hong Kong. A total of 70 female patients, who underwent elective excision of clinically benign breast lump between February 2009 and November 2011, were randomised to have wound closure using either octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive or standard wound suture following breast surgery. Wound complications and cosmetic outcome were measured. Results: Octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive achieved wound closure in significantly less time than standard suturing (mean, 80.6 seconds vs 344.6 seconds; P<0.001). There was no statistical difference in wound condition or cosmetic outcome although number of clinic visits, ease of self-showering, and comfort of dressing significantly favoured octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive. Conclusions: Octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive may be offered as an option for wound closure following breast surgery.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Hong Kong medical journal = Xianggang yi xue za zhi / Hong Kong Academy of Medicine
  • Vivian Y Shin · Ava Kwong
    Article · Apr 2016 · British Journal of Cancer
  • W W T Lam · S W Yoon · W K Sze · [...] · R Fielding
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Most women with advanced breast cancer (ABC) show little distress, but about one in ten show persistent distress over time. It remains unclear if meanings ascribed by patients to ABC differentiate these distress trajectories. Study aims: This qualitative study (a) compared illness meanings of ABC between women with persistent psychological distress and those with low/transient distress, and (b) examined how illness meanings might influence coping strategies. Methods: The sample was drawn from a prior quantitative study exploring psychological distress trajectories following ABC diagnosis. Overall, 42 Cantonese- or Mandarin-speaking Chinese women diagnosed with locally advanced or metastatic ABC were recruited based on their distress trajectory status (low-stable, transient, or persistent distress). Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed following grounded theory approach using simultaneous analysis. Results: Women with persistent distress viewed their diagnosis as another blow in life, the illness was global, permeating every aspect of their life. Maladaptive rumination and thought suppression were common responses to illness demands. These women had poor social support. A sense of demoralization stood out in their narratives. In contrast, women with transient/low-stable distress encapsulated the illness, with minimum impacts of their life. They did not evidence dysfunctional repetitive thoughts. Living in a supportive environment, they were able to accept and/or live in the present-moment. Conclusions: Rumination, thought suppression, social constraints, and pre-existing exposure to life stress may be potential risks for chronic distress in response to advanced breast cancer. Persistent and transient distress responses to cancer may have different underpinnings. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Psycho-Oncology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the susceptibility to develop breast and ovarian cancers as well as increase the risk of some other cancers. Primary objective was to estimate the risk of leukaemia in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
    Article · Mar 2016 · British Journal of Cancer
  • Ava Kwong · J W Chen · Vivian Y Shin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Genetic risk factors and family history play an important role in breast cancer development. This review aimed to summarise the current genetic testing approach to hereditary breast/ovarian cancer. Methods: A systematic literature review was performed by searching the PubMed database. Publications available online until January 2015 that addressed issues related to hereditary breast/ovarian cancer genetic counselling/testing were selected. The search terms used were "familial breast/ovarian cancer", "susceptibility genes", "genetic counselling", and "genetic testing". Results: The data extracted for this review were analysed by the authors, with a focus on genetic testing for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer. Although a greater proportion of inherited breast/ovarian cancers are due to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, a number of new genes have emerged as susceptibility candidates, including rare germline mutations in high penetrant genes, such as TP53 and PTEN, and more frequent mutations in moderate/low penetrant genes, such as PALB2, CHEK2 and ATM. Multi-gene testing, if used appropriately, is generally a more cost- and time-effective method than single-gene testing, and may increase the number of patients who can be offered personal surveillance, risk-reduction options, and testing of high-risk family members. Conclusions: Recent advances in molecular genetics testing have identified a number of susceptibility genes related to hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancers other than BRCA1 and BRCA2. The introduction of multi-gene testing for hereditary cancer has revolutionised the clinical management of high-risk patients and their families. Individuals with hereditary breast/ovarian cancer will benefit from genetic counselling/testing.
    Article · Mar 2016 · Hong Kong medical journal = Xianggang yi xue za zhi / Hong Kong Academy of Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed 3,872 common genetic variants across the ESR1 locus (encoding estrogen receptor α) in 118,816 subjects from three international consortia. We found evidence for at least five independent causal variants, each associated with different phenotype sets, including estrogen receptor (ER(+) or ER(-)) and human ERBB2 (HER2(+) or HER2(-)) tumor subtypes, mammographic density and tumor grade. The best candidate causal variants for ER(-) tumors lie in four separate enhancer elements, and their risk alleles reduce expression of ESR1, RMND1 and CCDC170, whereas the risk alleles of the strongest candidates for the remaining independent causal variant disrupt a silencer element and putatively increase ESR1 and RMND1 expression.
    Article · Feb 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed 3,872 common genetic variants across the ESR1 locus (encoding estrogen receptor α) in 118,816 subjects from three international consortia. We found evidence for at least five independent causal variants, each associated with different phenotype sets, including estrogen receptor (ER(+) or ER(-)) and human ERBB2 (HER2(+) or HER2(-)) tumor subtypes, mammographic density and tumor grade. The best candidate causal variants for ER(-) tumors lie in four separate enhancer elements, and their risk alleles reduce expression of ESR1, RMND1 and CCDC170, whereas the risk alleles of the strongest candidates for the remaining independent causal variant disrupt a silencer element and putatively increase ESR1 and RMND1 expression.
    Article · Feb 2016 · Nature Genetics
  • M Co · A Kwong
    Article · Feb 2016 · Cancer Research
  • A Kwong · MT Siu · I Cheuk · [...] · VY Shin
    Article · Feb 2016 · Cancer Research
  • A Kwong · VY Shin · CH Au · [...] · TL Chan
    Article · Feb 2016 · Cancer Research
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammographic density (MD) is a quantitative trait, measurable in all women, and is among the strongest markers of breast cancer risk. The population-based epidemiology of MD has revealed genetic, lifestyle and societal/environmental determinants, but studies have largely been conducted in women with similar westernized lifestyles living in countries with high breast cancer incidence rates. To benefit from the heterogeneity in risk factors and their combinations worldwide, we created an International Consortium on Mammographic Density (ICMD) to pool individual-level epidemiological and MD data from general population studies worldwide. ICMD aims to characterize determinants of MD more precisely, and to evaluate whether they are consistent across populations worldwide. We included 11755 women, from 27 studies in 22 countries, on whom individual-level risk factor data were pooled and original mammographic images were re-read for ICMD to obtain standardized comparable MD data. In the present article, we present (i) the rationale for this consortium; (ii) characteristics of the studies and women included; and (iii) study methodology to obtain comparable MD data from original re-read films. We also highlight the risk factor heterogeneity captured by such an effort and, thus, the unique insight the pooled study promises to offer through wider exposure ranges, different confounding structures and enhanced power for sub-group analyses.
    Full-text Article · Feb 2016
  • Isabella W Cheuk · Vivian Y Shin · Man T Siu · [...] · Ava Kwong
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Triple-negative breast cancer patients have higher metastatic rate than patients with other breast cancer subtypes. Distant metastasis is one of the causes leading to the high mortality rates. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) is associated with breast cancer metastasis and the downstream prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) exerted its effect through EP receptors (EP1-EP4). However, the exact molecular events of EP receptors in breast cancer metastasis remain undefined. Expressions of EP receptors were determined during cancer development in NOD-SCID mice inoculated with MB-231 and MB-231-EP2 clone. EP2 overexpressing stable clone was constructed to investigate the proliferation and invasion potentials in vivo and in vitro. Drug transporter array was used to identify EP2 receptor-associated drug transported genes in breast cancer metastasis. Localization of EP2 receptor in primary tissues and xenografts were examined by immunostaining. Stable EP2-expression cells formed larger tumors than parental cells in mice model and was highly expressed in both primary and metastatic tissues. Silencing of EP2 receptor by siRNA and antagonist (AH 6809) significantly decreased cell proliferation and invasion, concomitant with reduced MMP-2 and MMP-9 expressions. Results from array data showed that expression of SLC19A3 was markedly increased in EP2 siRNA transfected cells. Ectopic expression of SLC19A3 retarded cell proliferation, invasion and MMPs expressions. Notably, SLC19A3 had a lower expression in primary tissues and was negatively correlated with EP2 receptor expression. Our novel finding revealed that EP2 receptor regulated metastasis through downregulation of SLC19A3. Thus, targeting EP2-SLC19A3 signaling is a potential therapeutic therapy for treating metastatic breast cancer.
    Article · Jan 2016 · American Journal of Cancer Research
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    Full-text Dataset · Jan 2016