Background: Tobacco-induced lung cancer is characterized by a deregulated inflammatory microenvironment. Variants in multiple genes in inflammation pathways may contribute to risk of lung cancer.
Methods: We therefore conducted a three-stage comprehensive pathway analysis (discovery, replication, and meta-analysis) of inflammation gene variants in ever-smoking lung cancer cases and controls. A discovery set (1,096 cases and 727 controls) and an independent and nonoverlapping internal replication set (1,154 cases and 1,137 controls) were derived from an ongoing case-control study. For discovery, we used an iSelect BeadChip to interrogate a comprehensive panel of 11,737 inflammation pathway single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and selected nominally significant (P < 0.05) SNPs for internal replication.
Results: There were six SNPs that achieved statistical significance (P < 0.05) in the internal replication data set with concordant risk estimates for former smokers and five concordant and replicated SNPs in current smokers. Replicated hits were further tested in a subsequent meta-analysis using external data derived from two published genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and a case-control study. Two of these variants (a BCL2L14 SNP in former smokers and an SNP in IL2RB in current smokers) were further validated. In risk score analyses, there was a 26% increase in risk with each additional adverse allele when we combined the genotyped SNP and the most significant imputed SNP in IL2RB in current smokers and a 36% similar increase in risk for former smokers associated with genotyped and imputed BCL2L14 SNPs. CONCLUSIONS/IMPACT: Before they can be applied for risk prediction efforts, these SNPs should be subject to further external replication and more extensive fine mapping studies.