Associations between genetic variants of KIF5B, FMN1, and MGAT3 in the cadherin pathway and pancreatic cancer risk.


Because the cadherin-mediated signaling pathway promotes cancer progression, we assessed associations between genetic variants in 109 cadherin-related genes and risk of pancreatic cancer (PanC) by using genotyping data from publically available genome-wide association studies (GWAS) datasets comprising 15,423 individuals of European ancestry. After initial single-locus analyses and subsequent meta-analysis with multiple testing correction for 29,963 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 11 SNPs remained statistically significant (p < 0.05). In the stepwise logistic regression analysis, three independent PanC risk-associated SNPs (KIF5B rs211304 C > G, FMN1 rs117648907 C > T, and MGAT3 rs34943118 T > C) remained statistically significant (p < 0.05), with odds ratios of 0.89 (95% confidence interval = 0.82-0.95 and p = 6.93 × 10-4 ), 1.33 (1.13-1.56 and 2.11 × 10-4 ), and 1.11 (1.05-1.17 and 8.10 × 10-5 ), respectively. Combined analysis of unfavorable genotypes of these three independent SNPs showed an upward trend in the genotype-risk association (ptrend  < 0.001). Expression quantitative trait loci analyses indicated that the rs211304 G and rs34943118 C alleles were associated with increased mRNA expression levels of KIF5B and MGAT3, respectively (all p < 0.05). Additional bioinformatics prediction suggested that these three SNPs may affect enhancer histone marks that likely have an epigenetic effect on the genes. Our findings provide biological clues for these PanC risk-associated SNPs in cadherin-related genes in European ancestry populations, possibly by regulating the expression of the affected genes. However, our findings need to be validated in additional population, molecular and mechanistic investigations.





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Publication Info

Zhao, Lingling, Hongliang Liu, Sheng Luo, Patricia G Moorman, Kyle M Walsh, Wei Li and Qingyi Wei (2020). Associations between genetic variants of KIF5B, FMN1, and MGAT3 in the cadherin pathway and pancreatic cancer risk. Cancer medicine. 10.1002/cam4.3603 Retrieved from

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Sheng Luo

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Patricia Gripka Moorman

Professor Emeritus in Family Medicine and Community Health

Dr. Moorman's research focuses on the epidemiology of women's health issues. Her work includes research on ovarian cancer, breast cancer and hysterectomy. Areas of particular interest include disparities in cancer risk factors and outcomes and the effects of hysterectomy on ovarian function.  As part of the Duke Evidence Synthesis group, she has also been involved in systematic reviews and meta-analyses related to ovarian cancer, breast cancer and infertility.


Kyle Walsh

Associate Professor in Neurosurgery

Dr. Walsh is Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Pathology, Director of the Division of Neuro-epidemiology, and a Senior Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. He leads Duke’s Neuro-epidemiology Lab, which integrates bench science with statistical methods to study the neurobiology of glial senescence and gliomagenesis. This research interrogates human genomic and epigenomic profiles to identify both heritable and modifiable factors that contribute to neurologic and physical decline, applying these approaches to studying the shared neurobiology of cognition, glial senescence, and gliomagenesis. The lab has a long history studying telomere maintenance in pre-malignant cells and its role in the development of cancer, most notably glioblastoma.


Qingyi Wei

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Qingyi Wei, MD, PhD, Professor in the Department of Medicine, is Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Co-leader of CCPS and Co-leader of Epidemiology and Population Genomics (Focus Area 1). He is a professor of Medicine and an internationally recognized epidemiologist focused on the molecular and genetic epidemiology of head and neck cancers, lung cancer, and melanoma. His research focuses on biomarkers and genetic determinants for the DNA repair deficient phenotype and variations in cell death. He is Editor-in-Chief of the open access journal "Cancer Medicine" and Associate Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics.

Area of Expertise: Epidemiology

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