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Discovery of common and rare genetic risk variants for colorectal cancer.

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Bien, Stephanie A 
Harrison, Tabitha A  ORCID logo
Kang, Hyun Min 


To further dissect the genetic architecture of colorectal cancer (CRC), we performed whole-genome sequencing of 1,439 cases and 720 controls, imputed discovered sequence variants and Haplotype Reference Consortium panel variants into genome-wide association study data, and tested for association in 34,869 cases and 29,051 controls. Findings were followed up in an additional 23,262 cases and 38,296 controls. We discovered a strongly protective 0.3% frequency variant signal at CHD1. In a combined meta-analysis of 125,478 individuals, we identified 40 new independent signals at P < 5 × 10-8, bringing the number of known independent signals for CRC to ~100. New signals implicate lower-frequency variants, Krüppel-like factors, Hedgehog signaling, Hippo-YAP signaling, long noncoding RNAs and somatic drivers, and support a role for immune function. Heritability analyses suggest that CRC risk is highly polygenic, and larger, more comprehensive studies enabling rare variant analysis will improve understanding of biology underlying this risk and influence personalized screening strategies and drug development.



Aged, Case-Control Studies, Colorectal Neoplasms, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genome-Wide Association Study, Genotype, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, RNA, Long Noncoding, Risk Factors, Signal Transduction

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Nat Genet

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Goncalo R Abecasis has received compensation from 23andMe and Helix. He is currently an employee of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Heather Hampel performs collaborative research with Ambry Genetics, InVitae Genetics, and Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc., is on the scientific advisory board for InVitae Genetics and Genome Medical, and has stock in Genome Medical. Rachel Pearlman has participated in collaborative funded research with Myriad Genetics Laboratories and Invitae Genetics but has no financial competitive interest.