Adult diffuse glioma GWAS by molecular subtype identifies variants in D2HGDH and FAM20C

Neuro Oncol. 2020 Nov 26;22(11):1602-1613. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noaa117.


Background: Twenty-five germline variants are associated with adult diffuse glioma, and some of these variants have been shown to be associated with particular subtypes of glioma. We hypothesized that additional germline variants could be identified if a genome-wide association study (GWAS) were performed by molecular subtype.

Methods: A total of 1320 glioma cases and 1889 controls were used in the discovery set and 799 glioma cases and 808 controls in the validation set. Glioma cases were classified into molecular subtypes based on combinations of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutation, telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutation, and 1p/19q codeletion. Logistic regression was applied to the discovery and validation sets to test for associations of variants with each of the subtypes. A meta-analysis was subsequently performed using a genome-wide P-value threshold of 5 × 10-8.

Results: Nine variants in or near D-2-hydroxyglutarate dehydrogenase (D2HGDH) on chromosome 2 were genome-wide significant in IDH-mutated glioma (most significant was rs5839764, meta P = 2.82 × 10-10). Further stratifying by 1p/19q codeletion status, one variant in D2HGDH was genome-wide significant in IDH-mutated non-codeleted glioma (rs1106639, meta P = 4.96 × 10-8). Further stratifying by TERT mutation, one variant near FAM20C (family with sequence similarity 20, member C) on chromosome 7 was genome-wide significant in gliomas that have IDH mutation, TERT mutation, and 1p/19q codeletion (rs111976262, meta P = 9.56 × 10-9). Thirty-six variants in or near GMEB2 on chromosome 20 near regulator of telomere elongation helicase 1 (RTEL1) were genome-wide significant in IDH wild-type glioma (most significant was rs4809313, meta P = 2.60 × 10-10).

Conclusions: Performing a GWAS by molecular subtype identified 2 new regions and a candidate independent region near RTEL1, which were associated with specific glioma molecular subtypes.

Keywords: GWAS glioma; allergy; glioblastoma; molecular subtype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Brain Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Casein Kinase I / genetics*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Glioma* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Telomerase / genetics


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase
  • D2HGDH protein, human
  • Casein Kinase I
  • FAM20C protein, human
  • Telomerase