BACKGROUND: Genetic variants in 15q25 have been identified as potential risk markers for lung cancer (LC), but controversy exists as to whether this is a direct association, or whether the 15q variant is simply a proxy for increased exposure to tobacco carcinogens.
METHODS: We performed a detailed analysis of one 15q single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs16969968) with smoking behaviour and cancer risk in a total of 17 300 subjects from five LC studies and four upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) cancer studies.
RESULTS: Subjects with one minor allele smoked on average 0.3 cigarettes per day (CPD) more, whereas subjects with the homozygous minor AA genotype smoked on average 1.2 CPD more than subjects with a GG genotype (P < 0.001). The variant was associated with heavy smoking (>20 CPD) [odds ratio (OR) = 1.13, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96-1.34, P = 0.13 for heterozygotes and 1.81, 95% CI 1.39-2.35 for homozygotes, P < 0.0001]. The strong association between the variant and LC risk (OR = 1.30, 95% CI 1.23-1.38, P = 1 x 10(-18)), was virtually unchanged after adjusting for this smoking association (smoking adjusted OR = 1.27, 95% CI 1.19-1.35, P = 5 x 10(-13)). Furthermore, we found an association between the variant allele and an earlier age of LC onset (P = 0.02). The association was also noted in UADT cancers (OR = 1.08, 95% CI 1.01-1.15, P = 0.02). Genome wide association (GWA) analysis of over 300 000 SNPs on 11 219 subjects did not identify any additional variants related to smoking behaviour.
CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the strong association between 15q gene variants and LC and shows an independent association with smoking quantity, as well as an association with UADT cancers.
- Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15/genetics
- Genome-Wide Association Study
- Lung Neoplasms/genetics
- Middle Aged
- Odds Ratio
- Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
- Receptors, Nicotinic/genetics
- Smoking/adverse effects
- Tobacco Use Disorder/genetics