BACKGROUND: Common variants have been associated with prostate cancer risk. Unfortunately, few are reproducibly linked to aggressive disease, the phenotype of greatest clinical relevance. One possible explanation is that rare genetic variants underlie a significant proportion of the risk for aggressive disease.
To identify such variants, we performed a two staged approach using whole exome sequencing followed by targeted sequencing of 800 genes in 652 aggressive prostate cancer patients and 752 disease-free controls in both African and European Americans. In each population, we tested rare variants for association using two gene-based aggregation tests. We established a study-wide significance threshold of 3.125 x 10-5 to correct for multiple testing.
TET2 in African-Americans was associated with aggressive disease with 24.4% of cases harboring a rare deleterious variant compared to 9.6% of controls (FET p = 1.84x10-5, OR=3.0; SKAT-O p= 2.74x10-5). We report 8 additional genes with suggestive evidence of association, including the DNA repair genes PARP2 and MSH6. Finally, we observed an excess of rare truncation variants in 5 genes including the DNA repair genes MSH6, BRCA1 and BRCA2. This adds to the growing body of evidence that DNA repair pathway defects may influence susceptibility to aggressive prostate cancer.
Our findings suggest that rare variants influence risk of clinically relevant prostate cancer and if validated could serve to identify men for screening, prophylaxis and treatment. IMPACT:
This study provides evidence that rare variants in TET2 may help identify African-American men at increased risk for clinically relevant prostate cancer.