Gene Summary

Gene:CHRNB4; cholinergic receptor nicotinic beta 4 subunit
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:neuronal acetylcholine receptor subunit beta-4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (22)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Tobacco Use Disorder
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Haplotypes
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Phenotype
  • African Americans
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Risk Factors
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Texas
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Genotype
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Messenger RNA
  • Lung Cancer
  • Odds Ratio
  • Confounding Factors (Epidemiology)
  • Cohort Studies
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Promoter Regions
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • DNA Methylation
  • p53 Protein
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2A6
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Genetic Variation
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Multigene Family
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Alleles
  • Adolescents
  • Chromosome 15
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CHRNB4 (cancer-related)

Zhang Y, Jiang M, Li Q, et al.
Chromosome 15q25 (CHRNA3-CHRNB4) Variation Indirectly Impacts Lung Cancer Risk in Chinese Males.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0149946 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Recently, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Caucasian populations have identified an association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit gene cluster on chromosome 15q25, lung cancer risk and smoking behaviors. However, these SNPs are rare in Asians, and there is currently no consensus on whether SNPs in CHRNA5-A3-B4 have a direct or indirect carcinogenic effect through smoking behaviors on lung cancer risk. Though some studies confirmed rs6495308 polymorphisms to be associated with smoking behaviors and lung cancer, no research was conducted in China. Using a case-control study, we decided to investigate the associations between CHRNA3 rs6495308, CHRNB4 rs11072768, smoking behaviors and lung cancer risk, as well as explore whether the two SNPs have a direct or indirect carcinogenic effect on lung cancer.
METHODS: A total of 1025 males were interviewed using a structured questionnaire (204 male lung cancer patients and 821 healthy men) to acquire socio-demographic status and smoking behaviors. Venous blood samples were collected to measure rs6495308 and rs11072768 gene polymorphisms. All subjects were divided into 3 groups: non-smokers, light smokers (1-15 cigarettes per day) and heavy smokers (>15 cigarettes per day).
RESULTS: Compared to wild genotype, rs6495308 and rs11072768 variant genotypes reported smoking more cigarettes per day and a higher pack-years of smoking (P<0.05). More importantly, among smokers, both rs6495308 CT/TT and rs11072768 GT/GG had a higher risk of lung cancer compared to wild genotype without adjusting for potential confounding factors (OR = 1.36, 95%CI = 1.09-1.95; OR = 1.11, 95%CI = 1.07-1.58 respectively). Furthermore, heavy smokers with rs6495308 or rs11072768 variant genotypes have a positive interactive effect on lung cancer after adjustment for potential confounding factors (OR = 1.13, 95%CI = 1.01-3.09; OR = 1.09, 95%CI = 1.01-3.41 respectively). However, No significant associations were found between lung cancer risk and both rs6495308 and rs11072768 genotypes among non-smokers and smokers after adjusting for age, occupation, and education.
CONCLUSION: This study confirmed both rs6495308 and rs11072768 gene polymorphisms association with smoking behaviors and had an indirect link between gene polymorphisms and lung cancer risk.

Liu Y, Kheradmand F, Davis CF, et al.
Focused Analysis of Exome Sequencing Data for Rare Germline Mutations in Familial and Sporadic Lung Cancer.
J Thorac Oncol. 2016; 11(1):52-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The association between smoking-induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer (LC) is well documented. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 28 susceptibility loci for LC, 10 for COPD, 32 for smoking behavior, and 63 for pulmonary function, totaling 107 nonoverlapping loci. Given that common variants have been found to be associated with LC in genome-wide association studies, exome sequencing of these high-priority regions has great potential to identify novel rare causal variants.
METHODS: To search for disease-causing rare germline mutations, we used a variation of the extreme phenotype approach to select 48 patients with sporadic LC who reported histories of heavy smoking-37 of whom also exhibited carefully documented severe COPD (in whom smoking is considered the overwhelming determinant)-and 54 unique familial LC cases from families with at least three first-degree relatives with LC (who are likely enriched for genomic effects).
RESULTS: By focusing on exome profiles of the 107 target loci, we identified two key rare mutations. A heterozygous p.Arg696Cys variant in the coiled-coil domain containing 147 (CCDC147) gene at 10q25.1 was identified in one sporadic and two familial cases. The minor allele frequency (MAF) of this variant in the 1000 Genomes database is 0.0026. The p.Val26Met variant in the dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) gene at 9q34.2 was identified in two sporadic cases; the minor allele frequency of this mutation is 0.0034 according to the 1000 Genomes database. We also observed three suggestive rare mutations on 15q25.1: iron-responsive element binding protein neuronal 2 (IREB2); cholinergic receptor, nicotinic, alpha 5 (neuronal) (CHRNA5); and cholinergic receptor, nicotinic, beta 4 (CHRNB4).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated highly disruptive risk-conferring CCDC147 and DBH mutations.

Halldén S, Sjögren M, Hedblad B, et al.
Gene variance in the nicotinic receptor cluster (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4) predicts death from cardiopulmonary disease and cancer in smokers.
J Intern Med. 2016; 279(4):388-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genetic variation in the cluster on chromosome 15, encoding the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4), has shown strong associations with tobacco consumption and an additional risk increase in smoking-related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), peripheral artery disease and lung cancer.
OBJECTIVES: To test whether rs1051730 (C/T), a tag for multiple variants in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB3 cluster, is associated with a change in risk of smoking-related mortality and morbidity in the Malmö Diet and Cancer study, a population-based prospective cohort study.
METHODS: At baseline participants were classified as current (n = 6951), previous (n = 8426) or never (n = 9417) smokers. Cox-proportional hazards models were used to determine the correlation between rs1051730 and incidence of first COPD, tobacco-related cancer, other cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and total mortality due to these causes, during approximately 14 years of follow-up.
RESULTS: Amongst current smokers there were 480 first incident COPD events, 852 tobacco-related cancers, 810 other cancers and 1022 CVD events. A total of 1508 deaths occurred, including 500 due to CVD, 102 due to respiratory diseases and 677 due to cancer. In adjusted additive models, an increasing number of T alleles were associated with a gradual increase in total mortality, incident COPD and tobacco-related cancer, even after adjustment for smoking quantity. No significant associations were observed amongst never smokers.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that gene variance in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 cluster is associated with an increased risk of death, incidence of COPD and tobacco-related cancer in smokers. These findings indicate an individual susceptibility to tobacco use and its complications; this may be important when targeting and designing smoking cessation therapies.

Yoo SS, Lee SM, Do SK, et al.
Unmethylation of the CHRNB4 gene is an unfavorable prognostic factor in non-small cell lung cancer.
Lung Cancer. 2014; 86(1):85-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths and is currently a major health problem owing to difficulties in diagnosis at the early stage of the disease. Changes in DNA methylation status have now been identified as a critical component in the initiation of lung cancer, and the detection of DNA methylation is expected to be an important method for the early diagnosis of lung cancer. Nicotine, the principal tobacco alkaloid, directly contributes to lung carcinogenesis through the activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAchRs).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: To investigate the role of the CHRNB4 gene, which encodes the nAchR β4 subunit that is ubiquitously expressed on lung epithelial cells, we analyzed its methylation status in 266 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction and compared it with clinicopathological parameters.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The frequency of CHRNB4 unmethylation was 13.5% and 8.3% in malignant and nonmalignant tissues, respectively. CHRNB4 demethylation was associated with upregulation of its mRNA expression and was more frequent in squamous cell carcinoma and pathological stages II-IIIA disease than in adenocarcinoma and pathological stage I disease, respectively (P=0.003 and P=0.01, respectively). Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that CHRNB4 unmethylation was significantly associated with unfavorable overall survival in the entire patient group as well as in men and ever-smokers. These results suggest that epigenetic regulation of CHRNB4 may affect tumor progression and survival in patients with NSCLC. Further investigation into the molecular basis of the role of CHRNB4 in the progression of NSCLC is warranted.

Wang Y, Wu H, Liu Q, et al.
Association of CHRNA5-A3-B4 variation with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma risk and smoking behaviors in a Chinese population.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e67664 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: CHRNA5-A3-B4, the gene cluster encoding nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits, is associated with lung cancer risk and smoking behaviors in people of European descent. Because cigarette smoking is also a major risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), we investigated the associations between variants in CHRNA5-A3-B4 and ESCC risk, as well as smoking behaviors, in a Chinese population.
METHODS: A case-control study of 866 ESCC patients and 952 healthy controls was performed to study the association of polymorphisms (rs667282 and rs3743073) in CHRNA5-A3-B4 with cancer risk using logistic regression models. The relationships between CHRNA5-A3-B4 polymorphisms and smoking behaviors that can be quantified by cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and pack-years of smoking were separately estimated with Kruskal-Wallis tests among all 840 smokers.
RESULTS: CHRNA5-A3-B4 rs667282 TT/TG genotypes were associated with significantly increased risk of ESCC [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03 - 1.69, P = 0.029]. The increased ESCC risk was even higher among younger subjects (≤60 years) (OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.04 - 1.98, P = 0.024). These effects were not found in another polymorphism rs3743073. No evident association between the two polymorphisms and smoking behaviors was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: These results support the hypothesis that CHRNA5-A3-B4 is a susceptibility gene cluster for ESCC. The relationship between CHRNA5-A3-B4 and smoking behaviors in a Chinese population needs further investigation.

Wassenaar CA, Dong Q, Amos CI, et al.
Pilot study of CYP2B6 genetic variation to explore the contribution of nitrosamine activation to lung carcinogenesis.
Int J Mol Sci. 2013; 14(4):8381-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We explored the contribution of nitrosamine metabolism to lung cancer in a pilot investigation of genetic variation in CYP2B6, a high-affinity enzymatic activator of tobacco-specific nitrosamines with a negligible role in nicotine metabolism. Previously we found that variation in CYP2A6 and CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 combined to increase lung cancer risk in a case-control study in European American ever-smokers (n = 860). However, these genes are involved in the pharmacology of both nicotine, through which they alter smoking behaviours, and carcinogenic nitrosamines. Herein, we separated participants by CYP2B6 genotype into a high- vs. low-risk group (*1/*1 + *1/*6 vs. *6/*6). Odds ratios estimated through logistic regression modeling were 1.25 (95% CI 0.68-2.30), 1.27 (95% CI 0.89-1.79) and 1.56 (95% CI 1.04-2.31) for CYP2B6, CYP2A6 and CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4, respectively, with negligible differences when all genes were evaluated concurrently. Modeling the combined impact of high-risk genotypes yielded odds ratios that rose from 2.05 (95% CI 0.39-10.9) to 2.43 (95% CI 0.47-12.7) to 3.94 (95% CI 0.72-21.5) for those with 1, 2 and 3 vs. 0 high-risk genotypes, respectively. Findings from this pilot point to genetic variation in CYP2B6 as a lung cancer risk factor supporting a role for nitrosamine metabolic activation in the molecular mechanism of lung carcinogenesis.

Li Y, Huang J, Amos CI
Genetic association analysis of complex diseases incorporating intermediate phenotype information.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(10):e46612 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genetic researchers often collect disease related quantitative traits in addition to disease status because they are interested in understanding the pathophysiology of disease processes. In genome-wide association (GWA) studies, these quantitative phenotypes may be relevant to disease development and serve as intermediate phenotypes or they could be behavioral or other risk factors that predict disease risk. Statistical tests combining both disease status and quantitative risk factors should be more powerful than case-control studies, as the former incorporates more information about the disease. In this paper, we proposed a modified inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis method to combine disease status and quantitative intermediate phenotype information. The simulation results showed that when an intermediate phenotype was available, the inverse-variance weighted method had more power than did a case-control study of complex diseases, especially in identifying susceptibility loci having minor effects. We further applied this modified meta-analysis to a study of imputed lung cancer genotypes with smoking data in 1154 cases and 1137 matched controls. The most significant SNPs came from the CHRNA3-CHRNA5-CHRNB4 region on chromosome 15q24-25.1, which has been replicated in many other studies. Our results confirm that this CHRNA region is associated with both lung cancer development and smoking behavior. We also detected three significant SNPs--rs1800469, rs1982072, and rs2241714--in the promoter region of the TGFB1 gene on chromosome 19 (p = 1.46×10(-5), 1.18×10(-5), and 6.57×10(-6), respectively). The SNP rs1800469 is reported to be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer in cigarette smokers. The present study is the first GWA study to replicate this result. Signals in the 3q26 region were also identified in the meta-analysis. We demonstrate the intermediate phenotype can potentially enhance the power of complex disease association analysis and the modified meta-analysis method is robust to incorporate intermediate phenotype or other quantitative risk factor in the analysis.

Tekpli X, Landvik NE, Skaug V, et al.
Functional effect of polymorphisms in 15q25 locus on CHRNA5 mRNA, bulky DNA adducts and TP53 mutations.
Int J Cancer. 2013; 132(8):1811-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies have demonstrated that genetic polymorphisms influence the risk of developing lung cancer. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha3, alpha5 and beta4 genes (CHRNA3, CHRNA5 and CHRNB4) cluster at the 15q25.1 lung cancer susceptibility locus. We genotyped 310 patients with non-small cell lung cancer and a control group of 348 cancer-free individuals for seven sequence variants located in CHRNA3 and CHRNA5 genes. Two of the polymorphisms (rs3829787 and rs3841324) statistically influenced the risk of developing lung cancer. We found that four of the variants (rs3829787, rs3841324, rs588765 and rs3743073) were associated with differential levels of genetic alterations measured as the levels of hydrophobic DNA adducts in the adjacent histologically normal tissue of the lung cancer patients and as TP53 mutations in their lung tumors. The seven sequence variants formed three haplotypes with a frequency above 5%. The two most frequent haplotypes were associated with the risk of developing lung cancer and with smoking-related DNA alterations. We also found an association between CHRNA5 mRNA levels and the sequence variants or haplotypes. In conclusion, our results showed that several of the polymorphisms and their haplotypes in CHRNA5/CHRNA3 genes may have functional effects on (i) CHRNA5 mRNA levels, (ii) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adduct levels, (iii) TP53 mutations and (iv) susceptibility to lung cancer.

Scherf DB, Sarkisyan N, Jacobsson H, et al.
Epigenetic screen identifies genotype-specific promoter DNA methylation and oncogenic potential of CHRNB4.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(28):3329-38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies have highlighted three major lung cancer susceptibility regions at 15q25.1, 5p15.33 and 6p21.33. To gain insight into the possible mechanistic relevance of the genes in these regions, we investigated the regulation of candidate susceptibility gene expression by epigenetic alterations in healthy and lung tumor tissues. For genes up or downregulated in lung tumors, the influence of genetic variants on DNA methylation was investigated and in vitro studies were performed. We analyzed 394 CpG units within 19 CpG islands in the susceptibility regions in a screening set of 34 patients. Significant findings were validated in an independent patient set (n=50) with available DNA and RNA. The most consistent overall DNA methylation difference between tumor and adjacent normal tissue on 15q25 was tumor hypomethylation in the promoter region of CHRNB4 with a median difference of 8% (P<0.001), which resulted in overexpression of the transcript in tumors (P<0.001). Confirming previous studies, we also found hypermethylation in CHRNA3 and telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) with significant expression changes. Decitabine treatment of H1299 cells resulted in reduced methylation levels in gene promoters, elevated transcript levels of CHRNB4 and CHRNA3, and a slight downregulation of TERT demonstrating epigenetic regulation of lung cancer cells. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs421629 on 5p15.33 and rs1948, rs660652, rs8040868 and rs2036527 on 15q25.1, previously identified as lung cancer risk or nicotine-addiction modifiers, were associated with tumor DNA methylation levels in the promoters of TERT and CHRNB4 (P<0.001), respectively, in two independent sample sets (n=82; n=150). In addition, CHRNB4 knockdown in two different cell lines (A549 and H1299) resulted in reduced proliferation (PA549<0.05;PH1299<0.001) and propensity to form colonies in H1299 cells. These results suggest epigenetic deregulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit (nAChR) genes which in the case of CHRNB4 is strongly associated with genetic lung cancer susceptibility variants and a functional impact on tumorigenic potential.

Chen LS, Saccone NL, Culverhouse RC, et al.
Smoking and genetic risk variation across populations of European, Asian, and African American ancestry--a meta-analysis of chromosome 15q25.
Genet Epidemiol. 2012; 36(4):340-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent meta-analyses of European ancestry subjects show strong evidence for association between smoking quantity and multiple genetic variants on chromosome 15q25. This meta-analysis extends the examination of association between distinct genes in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 region and smoking quantity to Asian and African American populations to confirm and refine specific reported associations. Association results for a dichotomized cigarettes smoked per day phenotype in 27 datasets (European ancestry (N = 14,786), Asian (N = 6,889), and African American (N = 10,912) for a total of 32,587 smokers) were meta-analyzed by population and results were compared across all three populations. We demonstrate association between smoking quantity and markers in the chromosome 15q25 region across all three populations, and narrow the region of association. Of the variants tested, only rs16969968 is associated with smoking (P < 0.01) in each of these three populations (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.25-1.42, P = 1.1 × 10(-17) in meta-analysis across all population samples). Additional variants displayed a consistent signal in both European ancestry and Asian datasets, but not in African Americans. The observed consistent association of rs16969968 with heavy smoking across multiple populations, combined with its known biological significance, suggests rs16969968 is most likely a functional variant that alters risk for heavy smoking. We interpret additional association results that differ across populations as providing evidence for additional functional variants, but we are unable to further localize the source of this association. Using the cross-population study paradigm provides valuable insights to narrow regions of interest and inform future biological experiments.

Fehringer G, Liu G, Briollais L, et al.
Comparison of pathway analysis approaches using lung cancer GWAS data sets.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(2):e31816 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pathway analysis has been proposed as a complement to single SNP analyses in GWAS. This study compared pathway analysis methods using two lung cancer GWAS data sets based on four studies: one a combined data set from Central Europe and Toronto (CETO); the other a combined data set from Germany and MD Anderson (GRMD). We searched the literature for pathway analysis methods that were widely used, representative of other methods, and had available software for performing analysis. We selected the programs EASE, which uses a modified Fishers Exact calculation to test for pathway associations, GenGen (a version of Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA)), which uses a Kolmogorov-Smirnov-like running sum statistic as the test statistic, and SLAT, which uses a p-value combination approach. We also included a modified version of the SUMSTAT method (mSUMSTAT), which tests for association by averaging χ(2) statistics from genotype association tests. There were nearly 18000 genes available for analysis, following mapping of more than 300,000 SNPs from each data set. These were mapped to 421 GO level 4 gene sets for pathway analysis. Among the methods designed to be robust to biases related to gene size and pathway SNP correlation (GenGen, mSUMSTAT and SLAT), the mSUMSTAT approach identified the most significant pathways (8 in CETO and 1 in GRMD). This included a highly plausible association for the acetylcholine receptor activity pathway in both CETO (FDR≤0.001) and GRMD (FDR = 0.009), although two strong association signals at a single gene cluster (CHRNA3-CHRNA5-CHRNB4) drive this result, complicating its interpretation. Few other replicated associations were found using any of these methods. Difficulty in replicating associations hindered our comparison, but results suggest mSUMSTAT has advantages over the other approaches, and may be a useful pathway analysis tool to use alongside other methods such as the commonly used GSEA (GenGen) approach.

Chikova A, Bernard HU, Shchepotin IB, Grando SA
New associations of the genetic polymorphisms in nicotinic receptor genes with the risk of lung cancer.
Life Sci. 2012; 91(21-22):1103-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIMS: Previous studies revealed association of lung cancer risk with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in chromosome 15q25 region containing CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit gene cluster. The genetic variations in other lung nAChRs remained unknown. In this study, we perform case-control analysis of CHRNA9 and CHRNA3 genes using 340 non-small cell lung cancer cases and 435 controls.
MAIN METHODS: All exons, 3'UTR, intron 1 and parts of other introns surrounding exons 2-5 of CHRNA9 gene as well as exons 2, 3 of CHRNA3 gene and parts of surrounding intronic regions were sequenced. The study was controlled for gender, age and ethnicity related differences. Each SNP in analyzed groups was assessed by allele frequency, genotype distribution and haplotype analysis.
KEY FINDINGS: The case-control analysis revealed that an increased risk is associated with two SNPs in CHRNA9, rs56159866 and rs6819385, and one in CHRNA3, rs8040868. The risk was reduced for three SNPs in CHRNA9, rs55998310, rs56291234, and newly discovered rs182073550, and also in carriers of the haplotype NP_060051.2 containing ancestral N442 variant of α9.
SIGNIFICANCE: The nonsynonymous substitutions can produce receptors exhibiting unique ligand-binding and downstream signaling characteristics, synonymous as well all intronic SNPs may affect protein production at the transcriptional and/or translational levels, or just manifest association with cancer by genetic linkage to other alleles. Elucidation of the mechanisms by which individual genetic variations in α9 affect predisposition to lung cancer may lead to development of personalized approaches to cancer prevention and treatment as well as protection against tobacco consumption.

Ware JJ, van den Bree MB, Munafò MR
Association of the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster with heaviness of smoking: a meta-analysis.
Nicotine Tob Res. 2011; 13(12):1167-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Variation in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster is a promising candidate region for smoking behavior and has been linked to multiple smoking-related phenotypes (e.g., nicotine dependence) and diseases (e.g., lung cancer). Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs16969968 in CHRNA5 and rs1051730 in CHRNA3, have generated particular interest.
METHODS: We evaluated the published evidence for association between rs16969968 (k = 27 samples) and rs1051730 (k = 44 samples) SNPs with heaviness of smoking using meta-analytic techniques. We explored which SNP provided a stronger genetic signal and investigated study-level characteristics (i.e., ancestry, disease state) to establish whether the strength of association differed across populations. We additionally tested for small study bias and explored the impact of year of publication.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Meta-analysis indicated compelling evidence of an association between the rs1051730/rs16966968 variants and daily cigarette consumption (fixed effects: B = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.77, 1.06, p < .001; random effects: B = 1.01, 95% CI = 0.81, 1.22, p < .001), equivalent to a per-allele effect of approximately 1 cigarette/day. SNP rs1051730 was found to provide a stronger signal than rs16966968 in stratified analyses (p(diff) = .028), although this difference was only qualitatively observed in the subset of samples that provided data on both SNPs. While the functional relevance of rs1051730 is unknown, it may be a strong tagging SNP for functional haplotypes in this region.

Wassenaar CA, Dong Q, Wei Q, et al.
Relationship between CYP2A6 and CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 variation and smoking behaviors and lung cancer risk.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011; 103(17):1342-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genetic variations in the CYP2A6 nicotine metabolic gene and the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 (CHRNA5-A3-B4) nicotinic gene cluster have been independently associated with lung cancer. With genotype data from ever-smokers of European ancestry (417 lung cancer patients and 443 control subjects), we investigated the relative and combined associations of polymorphisms in these two genes with smoking behavior and lung cancer risk. Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare smoking variables among the different genotype groups, and odds ratios (ORs) for cancer risk were estimated using logistic regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided. Cigarette consumption (P < .001) and nicotine dependence (P = .036) were the highest in the combined CYP2A6 normal metabolizers and CHRNA5-A3-B4 AA (tag single-nucleotide polymorphism rs1051730 G>A) risk group. The combined risk group also exhibited the greatest lung cancer risk (OR = 2.03; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.21 to 3.40), which was even higher among those who smoked 20 or fewer cigarettes per day (OR = 3.03; 95% CI = 1.38 to 6.66). Variation in CYP2A6 and CHRNA5-A3-B4 was independently and additively associated with increased cigarette consumption, nicotine dependence, and lung cancer risk. CYP2A6 and CHRNA5-A3-B4 appear to be more strongly associated with smoking behaviors and lung cancer risk, respectively.

Kaur-Knudsen D, Bojesen SE, Tybjærg-Hansen A, Nordestgaard BG
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor polymorphism, smoking behavior, and tobacco-related cancer and lung and cardiovascular diseases: a cohort study.
J Clin Oncol. 2011; 29(21):2875-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We examined the associations between the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor polymorphism (rs1051730) on chromosome 15q25 marking the gene cluster CHRNA3-CHRNB4-CHRNA5, smoking behavior, and tobacco-related cancer and lung and cardiovascular diseases in the general population.
METHODS: Ten thousand three hundred thirty participants from the Copenhagen City Heart Study were genotyped and observed prospectively with up to 18 years of 100% complete follow-up. Smoking behavior was measured at baseline. End points were lung cancer, bladder cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, and ischemic stroke.
RESULTS: Multifactorially adjusted and genotype-adjusted subhazard ratios for a cumulative tobacco consumption above 40 pack-years versus 0 pack-years were 32.5 (95% CI, 12.0 to 87.7) for lung cancer, 2.2 (95% CI, 1.1 to 4.5) for bladder cancer, 9.4 (95% CI, 6.9 to 12.7) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 1.5 (95% CI, 1.3 to 1.8) for ischemic heart disease, and 1.1 (95% CI, 0.8 to 1.4) for ischemic stroke. Among smoking noncarriers and homozygotes, daily tobacco consumption was 16 and 18 g/d (P < .001), cumulative tobacco consumption was 28 and 31 pack-years (P = .003), and smoking inhalation was 71.9% and 78.1% (P < .001), respectively. Multifactorially adjusted and smoking behavior-adjusted subhazard ratios for homozygotes versus noncarriers were 1.6 (95% CI, 1.1 to 2.2) for lung cancer, 1.7 (95% CI, 1.0 to 3.0) for bladder cancer, 1.3 (95% CI, 1.1 to 1.6) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 0.9 (95% CI, 0.7 to 1.0) for ischemic heart disease, and 1.1 (95% CI, 0.8 to 1.4) for ischemic stroke.
CONCLUSION: Although smoking is associated with major tobacco-related diseases in the general population, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor polymorphism is associated with additional increased risk of lung cancer, bladder cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease after adjustment for smoking.

Sakoda LC, Loomis MM, Doherty JA, et al.
Chromosome 15q24-25.1 variants, diet, and lung cancer susceptibility in cigarette smokers.
Cancer Causes Control. 2011; 22(3):449-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Studying gene-environment interactions may provide insight about mechanisms underpinning the reported association between chromosome 15q24-25.1 variation and lung cancer susceptibility.
METHODS: In a nested case-control study comparing 746 lung cancer cases to 1,477 controls, all of whom were non-Hispanic white smokers in the β-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial, we examined whether lung cancer risk is associated with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging the AGPHD1, CHRNA5, CHRNA3, and CHRNB4 genes and whether such risk is modified by diet and other characteristics. Intake of fruits and vegetables, their botanical groups, and specific nutrients were ascertained generally at baseline by food-frequency questionnaire.
RESULTS: Several sets of SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium were found: one set associated with a 27-34% increase and two sets associated with a 13-19% decrease in risk per minor allele. Associations were most prominent for the set including the non-synonymous SNP rs16969968. The rs16969968-lung cancer association did not differ by intake level of most dietary factors examined, but was stronger for individuals diagnosed at < 70 years of age or having a baseline smoking history of <40 cigarette pack-years.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggests that diet has little influence on the relation between chromosome 15q24-25.1 variation and lung cancer risk.

Saccone NL, Culverhouse RC, Schwantes-An TH, et al.
Multiple independent loci at chromosome 15q25.1 affect smoking quantity: a meta-analysis and comparison with lung cancer and COPD.
PLoS Genet. 2010; 6(8) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recently, genetic association findings for nicotine dependence, smoking behavior, and smoking-related diseases converged to implicate the chromosome 15q25.1 region, which includes the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 cholinergic nicotinic receptor subunit genes. In particular, association with the nonsynonymous CHRNA5 SNP rs16969968 and correlates has been replicated in several independent studies. Extensive genotyping of this region has suggested additional statistically distinct signals for nicotine dependence, tagged by rs578776 and rs588765. One goal of the Consortium for the Genetic Analysis of Smoking Phenotypes (CGASP) is to elucidate the associations among these markers and dichotomous smoking quantity (heavy versus light smoking), lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We performed a meta-analysis across 34 datasets of European-ancestry subjects, including 38,617 smokers who were assessed for cigarettes-per-day, 7,700 lung cancer cases and 5,914 lung-cancer-free controls (all smokers), and 2,614 COPD cases and 3,568 COPD-free controls (all smokers). We demonstrate statistically independent associations of rs16969968 and rs588765 with smoking (mutually adjusted p-values<10(-35) and <10(-8) respectively). Because the risk alleles at these loci are negatively correlated, their association with smoking is stronger in the joint model than when each SNP is analyzed alone. Rs578776 also demonstrates association with smoking after adjustment for rs16969968 (p<10(-6)). In models adjusting for cigarettes-per-day, we confirm the association between rs16969968 and lung cancer (p<10(-20)) and observe a nominally significant association with COPD (p = 0.01); the other loci are not significantly associated with either lung cancer or COPD after adjusting for rs16969968. This study provides strong evidence that multiple statistically distinct loci in this region affect smoking behavior. This study is also the first report of association between rs588765 (and correlates) and smoking that achieves genome-wide significance; these SNPs have previously been associated with mRNA levels of CHRNA5 in brain and lung tissue.

Improgo MR, Scofield MD, Tapper AR, Gardner PD
The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster: dual role in nicotine addiction and lung cancer.
Prog Neurobiol. 2010; 92(2):212-26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
More than 1 billion people around the world smoke, with 10 million cigarettes sold every minute. Cigarettes contain thousands of harmful chemicals including the psychoactive compound, nicotine. Nicotine addiction is initiated by the binding of nicotine to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, ligand-gated cation channels activated by the endogenous neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. These receptors serve as prototypes for all ligand-gated ion channels and have been extensively studied in an attempt to elucidate their role in nicotine addiction. Many of these studies have focused on heteromeric nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing α4 and β2 subunits and homomeric nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing the α7 subunit, two of the most abundant subtypes expressed in the brain. Recently however, a series of linkage analyses, candidate-gene analyses and genome-wide association studies have brought attention to three other members of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor family: the α5, α3 and β4 subunits. The genes encoding these subunits lie in a genomic cluster that contains variants associated with increased risk for several diseases including nicotine dependence and lung cancer. The underlying mechanisms for these associations have not yet been elucidated but decades of research on the nicotinic receptor gene family as well as emerging data provide insight on how these receptors may function in pathological states. Here, we review this body of work, focusing on the clustered nicotinic acetylcholine receptor genes and evaluating their role in nicotine addiction and lung cancer.

Hansen HM, Xiao Y, Rice T, et al.
Fine mapping of chromosome 15q25.1 lung cancer susceptibility in African-Americans.
Hum Mol Genet. 2010; 19(18):3652-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Several genome-wide association studies identified the chr15q25.1 region, which includes three nicotinic cholinergic receptor genes (CHRNA5-B4) and the cell proliferation gene (PSMA4), for its association with lung cancer risk in Caucasians. A haplotype and its tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) encompassing six genes from IREB2 to CHRNB4 were most strongly associated with lung cancer risk (OR = 1.3; P < 10(-20)). In order to narrow the region of association and identify potential causal variations, we performed a fine-mapping study using 77 SNPs in a 194 kb segment of the 15q25.1 region in a sample of 448 African-American lung cancer cases and 611 controls. Four regions, two SNPs and two distinct haplotypes from sliding window analyses, were associated with lung cancer. CHRNA5 rs17486278 G had OR = 1.28, 95% CI 1.07-1.54 and P = 0.008, whereas CHRNB4 rs7178270 G had OR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.66-0.94 and P = 0.008 for lung cancer risk. Lung cancer associations remained significant after pack-year adjustment. Rs7178270 decreased lung cancer risk in women but not in men; gender interaction P = 0.009. For two SNPs (rs7168796 A/G and rs7164594 A/G) upstream of PSMA4, lung cancer risks for people with haplotypes GG and AA were reduced compared with those with AG (OR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.38-0.82; P = 0.003 and OR = 0.73, 95% CI 0.59-0.90, P = 0.004, respectively). A four-SNP haplotype spanning CHRNA5 (rs11637635 C, rs17408276 T, rs16969968 G) and CHRNA3 (rs578776 G) was associated with increased lung cancer risk (P = 0.002). The identified regions contain SNPs predicted to affect gene regulation. There are multiple lung cancer risk loci in the 15q25.1 region in African-Americans.

Amos CI, Gorlov IP, Dong Q, et al.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor region on chromosome 15q25 and lung cancer risk among African Americans: a case-control study.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010; 102(15):1199-205 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies of white persons with lung cancer have identified a region of extensive linkage disequilibrium on chromosome 15q25.1 that appears to be associated with both risk for lung cancer and smoking dependence. Because studying African American persons, who exhibit lower levels of linkage disequilibrium in this region, may identify additional loci that are associated with lung cancer, we genotyped 34 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this region (including LOC123688, PSMA4, CHRNA5, CHRNA3, and CHRNB4 genes) in 467 African American patients with lung cancer and 388 frequency-matched African American control subjects. Associations of SNPs in LOC123688 (rs10519203; odds ratio [OR] = 1.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.25 to 2.05, P = .00016), CHRNA5 (rs2036527; OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.26 to 2.21, P = .00031), and CHRNA3 (rs1051730; OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.26 to 2.59, P = .00137) genes with lung cancer risk reached Bonferroni-corrected levels of statistical significance (all statistical tests were two-sided). Joint logistic regression analysis showed that rs684513 (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.31 to 0.71, P = .0003) in CHRNA5 and rs8034191 (OR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.23 to 2.52, P = .002) in LOC123688 were also associated with risk. The functional A variant of rs1696698 in CHRNA5 had the strongest association with lung cancer (OR = 1.98, 95% CI = 1.25 to 3.11, P = .003). These SNPs were primarily associated with increased risk for lung adenocarcinoma histology and were only weakly associated with smoking phenotypes. Thus, among African American persons, multiple loci in the region of chromosome 15q25.1 appear to be strongly associated with lung cancer risk.

Paliwal A, Vaissière T, Krais A, et al.
Aberrant DNA methylation links cancer susceptibility locus 15q25.1 to apoptotic regulation and lung cancer.
Cancer Res. 2010; 70(7):2779-88 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) genes form a highly conserved gene cluster at the lung cancer susceptibility locus 15q25.1. In this study, we show that the CHRNalpha3 gene encoding the nAChRalpha3 subunit is a frequent target of aberrant DNA hypermethylation and silencing in lung cancer, whereas the adjacent CHRNbeta4 and CHRNalpha5 genes exhibit moderate and no methylation, respectively. Treatment of cancer cells exhibiting CHRNalpha3 hypermethylation with DNA methylation inhibitors caused demethylation of the CHRNalpha3 promoter and gene reactivation. Restoring CHRNalpha3 levels through ectopic expression induced apoptotic cell death. Small hairpin RNA-mediated depletion of nAChRalpha3 in CHRNalpha3-expressing lung cancer cells elicited a dramatic Ca(2+) influx response in the presence of nicotine, followed by activation of the Akt survival pathway. CHRNalpha3-depleted cells were resistant to apoptosis-inducing agents, underscoring the importance of epigenetic silencing of the CHRNalpha3 gene in human cancer. In defining a mechanism of epigenetic control of nAChR expression in nonneuronal tissues, our findings offer a functional link between susceptibility locus 15q25.1 and lung cancer, and suggest nAChRs to be theranostic targets for cancer detection and chemoprevention.

Improgo MR, Schlichting NA, Cortes RY, et al.
ASCL1 regulates the expression of the CHRNA5/A3/B4 lung cancer susceptibility locus.
Mol Cancer Res. 2010; 8(2):194-203 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tobacco contains a variety of carcinogens as well as the addictive compound nicotine. Nicotine addiction begins with the binding of nicotine to its cognate receptor, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). Genome-wide association studies have implicated the nAChR gene cluster, CHRNA5/A3/B4, in nicotine addiction and lung cancer susceptibility. To further delineate the role of this gene cluster in lung cancer, we examined the expression levels of these three genes as well as other members of the nAChR gene family in lung cancer cell lines and patient samples using quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Overexpression of the clustered nAChR genes was observed in small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), an aggressive form of lung cancer highly associated with cigarette smoking. The overexpression of the genomically clustered genes in SCLC suggests their coordinate regulation. In silico analysis of the promoter regions of these genes revealed putative binding sites in all three promoters for achaete-scute complex homolog 1 (ASCL1), a transcription factor implicated in the pathogenesis of SCLC, raising the possibility that this factor may regulate the expression of the clustered nAChR genes. Consistent with this idea, knockdown of ASCL1 in SCLC, but not in non-SCLC, led to a significant decrease in expression of the alpha 3 and beta 4 genes without having an effect on any other highly expressed nAChR gene. Our data indicate a specific role for ASCL1 in regulating the expression of the CHRNA5/A3/B4 lung cancer susceptibility locus. This regulation may contribute to the predicted role that ASCL1 plays in SCLC tumorigenesis.

Kheirelseid EA, Chang KH, Newell J, et al.
Identification of endogenous control genes for normalisation of real-time quantitative PCR data in colorectal cancer.
BMC Mol Biol. 2010; 11:12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gene expression analysis has many applications in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic care. Relative quantification is the most widely adopted approach whereby quantification of gene expression is normalised relative to an endogenously expressed control (EC) gene. Central to the reliable determination of gene expression is the choice of control gene. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a panel of candidate EC genes from which to identify the most stably expressed gene(s) to normalise RQ-PCR data derived from primary colorectal cancer tissue.
RESULTS: The expression of thirteen candidate EC genes: B2M, HPRT, GAPDH, ACTB, PPIA, HCRT, SLC25A23, DTX3, APOC4, RTDR1, KRTAP12-3, CHRNB4 and MRPL19 were analysed in a cohort of 64 colorectal tumours and tumour associated normal specimens. CXCL12, FABP1, MUC2 and PDCD4 genes were chosen as target genes against which a comparison of the effect of each EC gene on gene expression could be determined. Data analysis using descriptive statistics, geNorm, NormFinder and qBasePlus indicated significant difference in variances between candidate EC genes. We determined that two genes were required for optimal normalisation and identified B2M and PPIA as the most stably expressed and reliable EC genes.
CONCLUSION: This study identified that the combination of two EC genes (B2M and PPIA) more accurately normalised RQ-PCR data in colorectal tissue. Although these control genes might not be optimal for use in other cancer studies, the approach described herein could serve as a template for the identification of valid ECs in other cancer types.

Liu Y, Liu P, Wen W, et al.
Haplotype and cell proliferation analyses of candidate lung cancer susceptibility genes on chromosome 15q24-25.1.
Cancer Res. 2009; 69(19):7844-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent genome-wide association studies have linked the chromosome 15q24-25.1 locus to nicotine addiction and lung cancer susceptibility. To refine the 15q24-25.1 locus, we performed a haplotype-based association analysis of 194 familial lung cases and 219 cancer-free controls from the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium (GELCC) collection, and used proliferation and apoptosis analyses to determine which gene(s) in the 15q24-25.1 locus mediates effects on lung cancer cell growth in vitro. We identified two distinct subregions, hapL (P = 3.20 x 10(-6)) and hapN (P = 1.51 x 10(-6)), which were significantly associated with familial lung cancer. hapL encompasses IREB2, LOC123688, and PSMA4, and hapN encompasses the three nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes CHRNA5, CHRNA3, and CHRNB4. Examination of the genes around hapL revealed that PSMA4 plays a role in promoting cancer cell proliferation. PSMA4 mRNA levels were increased in lung tumors compared with normal lung tissues. Down-regulation of PSMA4 expression decreased proteasome activity and induced apoptosis. Proteasome dysfunction leads to many diseases including cancer, and drugs that inhibit proteasome activity show promise as a form of cancer treatment. Genes around hapN were also investigated, but did not show any direct effect on lung cancer cell proliferation. We concluded that PSMA4 is a strong candidate mediator of lung cancer cell growth, and may directly affect lung cancer susceptibility through its modulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis.

Wang JC, Cruchaga C, Saccone NL, et al.
Risk for nicotine dependence and lung cancer is conferred by mRNA expression levels and amino acid change in CHRNA5.
Hum Mol Genet. 2009; 18(16):3125-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Nicotine dependence risk and lung cancer risk are associated with variants in a region of chromosome 15 encompassing genes encoding the nicotinic receptor subunits CHRNA5, CHRNA3 and CHRNB4. To identify potential biological mechanisms that underlie this risk, we tested for cis-acting eQTLs for CHRNA5, CHRNA3 and CHRNB4 in human brain. Using gene expression and disease association studies, we provide evidence that both nicotine-dependence risk and lung cancer risk are influenced by functional variation in CHRNA5. We demonstrated that the risk allele of rs16969968 primarily occurs on the low mRNA expression allele of CHRNA5. The non-risk allele at rs16969968 occurs on both high and low expression alleles tagged by rs588765 within CHRNA5. When the non-risk allele occurs on the background of low mRNA expression of CHRNA5, the risk for nicotine dependence and lung cancer is significantly lower compared to those with the higher mRNA expression. Together, these variants identify three levels of risk associated with CHRNA5. We conclude that there are at least two distinct mechanisms conferring risk for nicotine dependence and lung cancer: altered receptor function caused by a D398N amino acid variant in CHRNA5 (rs16969968) and variability in CHRNA5 mRNA expression.

Falvella FS, Galvan A, Frullanti E, et al.
Transcription deregulation at the 15q25 locus in association with lung adenocarcinoma risk.
Clin Cancer Res. 2009; 15(5):1837-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We characterized the candidacy of the six candidate genes mapping in the chromosome 15q25 locus, which was previously reported as associated with lung cancer risk, and confirmed the locus association with lung cancer risk in an Italian population of lung adenocarcinoma patients and controls.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We did a quantitative analysis of mRNA levels of IREB2 (iron-responsive element-binding protein 2), LOC123688, PMSA4 [proteasome (prosome, macropain) subunit alpha type 4], CHRNB4 (cholinergic receptor nicotinic beta 4), CHRNA3 (cholinergic receptor nicotinic alpha 3), and CHRNA5 (cholinergic receptor nicotinic alpha 5) genes in paired normal lung and lung adenocarcinoma tissue, and an immunohistochemical localization of CHRNA3- and CHRNA5-encoded proteins. We also examined the association of CHRNA5 D398N polymorphism with lung cancer risk and with CHRNA5 mRNA levels in the normal lung.
RESULTS: Expression analysis of the six candidate genes mapping in the lung cancer risk-associated chromosome 15q25 locus revealed a 30-fold up-regulation of the gene encoding the CHRNA5 subunit and a 2-fold down-regulation of the CHRNA3 subunit in lung adenocarcinoma as compared with the normal lung. The expression of the four other candidate genes resulted either unchanged or absent. The carrier status of the 398N allele at the D398N polymorphism of the CHRNA5 gene was associated with lung adenocarcinoma risk (odds ratio, 1.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.0) in a population-based series of lung adenocarcinoma patients (n=467) and healthy controls (n=739). Analysis of a family-based series of nonsmoker lung cancer cases (n=80) and healthy sib controls (n=80) indicated a similar trend. In addition, the same D398N variation correlated with CHRNA5 mRNA levels in normal lung of adenocarcinoma patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results point to the candidacy of the CHRNA5 gene for the 15q25 locus.

Liu P, Vikis HG, Wang D, et al.
Familial aggregation of common sequence variants on 15q24-25.1 in lung cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008; 100(18):1326-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Three recent genome-wide association studies identified associations between markers in the chromosomal region 15q24-25.1 and the risk of lung cancer. We conducted a genome-wide association analysis to investigate associations between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the risk of lung cancer, in which we used blood DNA from 194 case patients with familial lung cancer and 219 cancer-free control subjects. We identified associations between common sequence variants at 15q24-25.1 (that spanned LOC123688 [a hypothetical gene], PSMA4, CHRNA3, CHRNA5, and CHRNB4) and lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer was more than fivefold higher among those subjects who had both a family history of lung cancer and two copies of high-risk alleles rs8034191 (odds ratio [OR] = 7.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.21 to 23.37) or rs1051730 (OR = 5.67, CI = 2.21 to 14.60, both of which were located in the 15q24-25.1 locus, than among control subjects. Thus, further research to elucidate causal variants in the 15q24-25.1 locus that are associated with lung cancer is warranted.

Hung RJ, McKay JD, Gaborieau V, et al.
A susceptibility locus for lung cancer maps to nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes on 15q25.
Nature. 2008; 452(7187):633-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide, with over one million cases annually. To identify genetic factors that modify disease risk, we conducted a genome-wide association study by analysing 317,139 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 1,989 lung cancer cases and 2,625 controls from six central European countries. We identified a locus in chromosome region 15q25 that was strongly associated with lung cancer (P = 9 x 10(-10)). This locus was replicated in five separate lung cancer studies comprising an additional 2,513 lung cancer cases and 4,752 controls (P = 5 x 10(-20) overall), and it was found to account for 14% (attributable risk) of lung cancer cases. Statistically similar risks were observed irrespective of smoking status or propensity to smoke tobacco. The association region contains several genes, including three that encode nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits (CHRNA5, CHRNA3 and CHRNB4). Such subunits are expressed in neurons and other tissues, in particular alveolar epithelial cells, pulmonary neuroendocrine cells and lung cancer cell lines, and they bind to N'-nitrosonornicotine and potential lung carcinogens. A non-synonymous variant of CHRNA5 that induces an amino acid substitution (D398N) at a highly conserved site in the second intracellular loop of the protein is among the markers with the strongest disease associations. Our results provide compelling evidence of a locus at 15q25 predisposing to lung cancer, and reinforce interest in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors as potential disease candidates and chemopreventative targets.

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