Genetic variants of <i>DOCK2</i>, <i>EPHB1</i> and <i>VAV2</i> in the natural killer cell-related pathway are associated with non-small cell lung cancer survival.


Although natural killer (NK) cells are a known major player in anti-tumor immunity, the effect of genetic variation in NK-associated genes on survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains unknown. Here, in 1,185 with NSCLC cases of a discovery dataset, we evaluated associations of 28,219 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 276 NK-associated genes with their survival. These patients were from the reported genome-wide association study (GWAS) from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. We further validated the findings in an additional 984 cases from the Harvard Lung Cancer Susceptibility (HLCS) Study. We identified three SNPs (i.e., DOCK2 rs261083 G>C, VAV2 rs2519996 C>T and EPHB1 rs36215 A>G) to be independently associated with overall survival (OS) in NSCLC cases with adjusted hazards ratios (HRs) of 1.16 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.07-1.26, P = 3.34×10-4), 1.28 (1.12-1.47, P = 4.57×10-4) and 0.75 (0.67-0.83, P = 1.50×10-7), respectively. Additional joint assessment of the unfavorable genotypes of the three SNPs showed significant associations with OS and disease-specific survival of NSCLC cases in the PLCO dataset (P trend<0.0001 and <0.0001, respectively). Moreover, the survival-associated DOCK2 rs261083 C allele had a significant correlation with reduced DOCK2 transcript levels in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), while the rs36215 G allele was significantly correlated with reduced EPHB1 transcript levels in lymphoblastoid cell lines in the 1000 Genomes Project. These results revealed that DOCK2 and EPHB1 genetic variants may be prognostic biomarkers of NSCLC survival, likely via transcription regulation of respective genes.







Sheng Luo

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Edward F. Patz

James and Alice Chen Distinguished Professor of Radiology

There are numerous ongoing clinical studies primarily focused on the early detection of cancer.

The basic science investigations in our laboratory concentration on three fundamental translational areas,

1) Development of molecular imaging probes - We have used several different approaches to develop novel imaging probes that characterize and phenotype tumors.

2) Discovery of novel lung cancer biomarkers - We explored the use of proteomics, autoantibodies, and genomics to discover blood and tissue biomarkers for early cancer detection and phenotyping of cancer.

3) Host response to cancer - We study the native immune response to tumors as this may provide cues to relevant diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Most recently we have focused on intratumoral lymphocytes and their specific tumor antigens.



Carolyn Glass

Associate Professor of Pathology

Cardiothoracic Pathologist and Physician-Scientist
Division Chief, Cardiovascular Pathology 
Co-Director, Division of Artificial Intelligence and Computational Pathology
Director, Duke University Hospital Autopsy Service 
Associate Director, Residency Program  

Dr. Glass completed medical residency in Anatomic Pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School followed by fellowships in Cardiothoracic Pathology also at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Pulmonary/Cardiac Transplant Pathology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Glass initially trained as a vascular surgeon with a focus on endovascular/interventional procedures through the 0+5 Integrated Vascular Surgery Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center from 2007-2011.  As a recipient of the NIH National Lung Blood Institute T32 Ruth Kirschstein National Service Research Award, she completed a Ph.D with a concentration in Genomics and Epigenetics in 2014.

Dr. Glass was awarded a five-year $3.2 million NIH grant to serve as P.I. of the Pathology Core as part of a larger U54 NIH grant ($13.5 million along with Duke Department of Medicine) to establish a Senescent Cell Human Tissue Mapping Center as part of the NIH Cellular Senescence Network. As a thoracic pathologist, Dr. Glass also has a special interest in identifying new epigenetic biomarkers that may predict response or resistance to conventional, targeted and immune therapy using computational techniques. She works closely with the Duke Thoracic Oncology Group, DCI Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, Duke Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Cardiothoracic Surgery and Pratt School of Biomedical Engineering. 

Dr. Glass is the recipient of the Society of Cardiovascular Pathology (SCVP) Young Investigator’s Award, the William von Liebig Vascular Biology Research Fellowship at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine, the Duke Pathology Salvatore V. Pizzo Faculty Research Mentor Award, the Duke Department of Pathology Early Career Research Achievement Award and is author of over 90 publications (including book chapters in the recent W.H.O. Classification Tumours of the Lung, Pleura, Thymus and Heart) and 50 national presentations in cardiovascular disease, thoracic malignancies, surgery and machine learning. 

In addition to her clinical and research activities, Dr. Glass serves on the Executive/National Committees for the Society of Cardiovascular Pathology, College of American Pathology Artificial Intelligence Committee and the Duke School of Medicine Executive Admissions Committee. 

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