Genetic variations in the transforming growth factor Beta pathway as predictors of bladder cancer risk
Wei H, Kamat AM, Aldousari S, Ye Y, Huang M, Dinney CP, Wu X. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51758. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051758. Epub 2012 Dec 12.


Departments of Epidemiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States of America.


Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the United States, and identifying genetic markers that may predict susceptibility in high-risk population is always needed. The purpose of our study is to determine whether genetic variations in the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) pathway are associated with bladder cancer risk. We identified 356 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 37 key genes from this pathway and evaluated their association with cancer risk in 801 cases and 801 controls. Forty-one SNPs were significantly associated with cancer risk, and after adjusting for multiple comparisons, 9 remained significant (Q-value ≤0.1). Haplotype analysis further revealed three haplotypes within VEGFC and two haplotypes in EGFR were significantly associated with increased bladder cancer risk compared to the most common haplotype. Classification and regression tree analysis further revealed potential high-order gene-gene interactions, with VEGFC: rs3775194 being the initial split, which suggests that this variant is responsible for the most variation in risk. Individuals carrying the common genotype for VEGFC: rs3775194 and EGFR: rs7799627 and the variant genotype for VEGFR: rs4557213 had a 4.22-fold increase in risk, a much larger effect magnitude than that conferred by common genotype for VEGFR: rs4557213. Our study provides the first epidemiological evidence supporting a connection between TGF-β pathway variants and bladder cancer risk.