Background: Ewing sarcoma (EwS) is a rare, aggressive solid tumor of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood associated with pathognomonic EWSR1-ETS fusion oncoproteins altering transcriptional regulation. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 6 common germline susceptibility loci but have not investigated low-frequency inherited variants with minor allele frequencies below 5% due to limited genotyped cases of this rare tumor.
Methods: We investigated the contribution of rare and low-frequency variation to EwS susceptibility in the largest EwS genome-wide association study to date (733 EwS cases and 1,346 unaffected controls of European ancestry).
Results: We identified two low-frequency variants, rs112837127 and rs2296730, on chromosome 20 that were associated with EwS risk (OR = 0.186 and 2.038, respectively; P-value < 5×10-8) and located near previously reported common susceptibility loci. After adjusting for the most associated common variant at the locus, only rs112837127 remained a statistically significant independent signal (OR = 0.200, P-value = 5.84×10-8).
Conclusions: These findings suggest rare variation residing on common haplotypes are important contributors to EwS risk.
Impact: Motivate future targeted sequencing studies for a comprehensive evaluation of low-frequency and rare variation around common EwS susceptibility loci.