Hypomethylation of smoking-related genes is associated with future lung cancer in four prospective cohorts

Francesca Fasanelli, Laura Baglietto, Erica Ponzi, Florence Guida, Gianluca Campanella, Mattias Johansson, Kjell Grankvist, Mikael Johansson, Manuela Bianca Assumma, Alessio Naccarati, Marc Chadeau-Hyam, Ugo Ala, Christian Faltus, Rudolf Kaaks, Angela Risch, Bianca De Stavola, Allison Hodge, Graham G. Giles, Melissa C. Southey, Caroline L. ReltonPhilip C. Haycock, Eiliv Lund, Silvia Polidoro, Torkjel M. Sandanger, Gianluca Severi, Paolo Vineis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

DNA hypomethylation in certain genes is associated with tobacco exposure but it is unknown whether these methylation changes translate into increased lung cancer risk. In an epigenome-wide study of DNA from pre-diagnostic blood samples from 132 case-control pairs in the NOWAC cohort, we observe that the most significant associations with lung cancer risk are for cg05575921 in AHRR (OR for 1 s.d.=0.37, 95% CI: 0.31-0.54, P-value=3.3 × 10 -11) and cg03636183 in F2RL3 (OR for 1 s.d.=0.40, 95% CI: 0.31-0.56, P-value=3.9 × 10 -10), previously shown to be strongly hypomethylated in smokers. These associations remain significant after adjustment for smoking and are confirmed in additional 664 case-control pairs tightly matched for smoking from the MCCS, NSHDS and EPIC HD cohorts. The replication and mediation analyses suggest that residual confounding is unlikely to explain the observed associations and that hypomethylation of these CpG sites may mediate the effect of tobacco on lung cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10192
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 16/11/2015

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