Independent Replication of Published Germline Polymorphisms Associated with Urinary Bladder Cancer Prognosis and Treatment Response

Bladder Cancer. 2016 Jan 7;2(1):77-89. doi: 10.3233/BLC-150027.


Background: Many studies investigated the prognostic or predictive relevance of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in biologically plausible genes in urinary bladder cancer (UBC) patients. Most published SNP associations have never been replicated in independent patient series.

Objective: To independently replicate all previously reported associations between germline SNPs and disease prognosis or treatment response in UBC.

Methods: A Pubmed search was performed to identify studies published by July 1, 2014 reporting on germline SNP associations with UBC prognosis or treatment response. For the replication series, consisting of 1,284 non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and 275 muscle-invasive or metastatic bladder cancer (MIBC) patients recruited through the Netherlands Cancer Registry, detailed clinical data were retrieved from medical charts. Patients were genotyped using a genome-wide SNP array. SNP association with recurrence-free, progression-free, and overall survival (OS) within specific patient and treatment strata was tested using Cox regression analyses.

Results: For only six of the 114 evaluated SNPs, the association with either UBC prognosis or treatment response was replicated at the p < 0.05 level: rs1799793 (ERCC2) and rs187238 (IL18) for BCG recurrence; rs6678136 (RGS4) and rs11585883 (RGS5) for NMIBC progression; rs12035879 (RGS5) and rs2075786 (TERT) for MIBC OS.

Conclusions: Non-replicated genetic associations in the literature require cautious interpretation. This single replication does not provide definitive proof of association for the six SNPs, and non-replication of other SNPs may result from population-specific effects or the retrospective patient enrollment.

Keywords: Treatment outcome; genetic association studies; prognosis; reproducibility of results; single nucleotide polymorphisms; urinary bladder neoplasms.