MiRNA-Related SNPs and Risk of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma and Barrett’s Esophagus: Post Genome-Wide Association Analysis in the BEACON Consortium.
Buas MF, Onstad L, Levine DM, Risch HA, Chow WH, Liu G, Fitzgerald RC, Bernstein L, Ye W, Bird NC, Romero Y, Casson AG, Corley DA, Shaheen NJ, Wu AH, Gammon MD, Reid BJ, Hardie LJ, Peters U, Whiteman DC, Vaughan TL.
Incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) has increased substantially in recent decades. Multiple risk factors have been identified for EA and its precursor, Barrett’s esophagus (BE), such as reflux, European ancestry, male sex, obesity, and tobacco smoking, and several germline genetic variants were recently associated with disease risk. Using data from the Barrett’s and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON) genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 2,515 EA cases, 3,295 BE cases, and 3,207 controls, we examined single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that potentially affect the biogenesis or biological activity of microRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs implicated in post-transcriptional gene regulation, and deregulated in many cancers, including EA. Polymorphisms in three classes of genes were examined for association with risk of EA or BE: miRNA biogenesis genes (157 SNPs, 21 genes); miRNA gene loci (234 SNPs, 210 genes); and miRNA-targeted mRNAs (177 SNPs, 158 genes).
Nominal associations (P<0.05) of 29 SNPs with EA risk, and 25 SNPs with BE risk, were observed. None remained significant after correction for multiple comparisons (FDR q>0.50), and we did not find evidence for interactions between variants analyzed and two risk factors for EA/BE (smoking and obesity). This analysis provides the most extensive assessment to date of miRNA-related SNPs in relation to risk of EA and BE. While common genetic variants within components of the miRNA biogenesis core pathway appear unlikely to modulate susceptibility to EA or BE, further studies may be warranted to examine potential associations between unassessed variants in miRNA genes and targets with disease risk.