Replication and Genetic Risk Score Analysis for Pancreatic Cancer in a Diverse Multiethnic Population

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 Dec;29(12):2686-2692. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0963. Epub 2020 Sep 21.


Background: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several SNPs associated with pancreatic cancer. No studies yet have attempted to replicate these SNPs in US minority populations. We aimed to replicate the associations of 31 GWAS-identified SNPs with pancreatic cancer and build and test a polygenic risk score (PRS) for pancreatic cancer in an ethnically diverse population.

Methods: We evaluated 31 risk variants in the Multiethnic Cohort and the Southern Community Cohort Study. We included 691 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cases and 13,778 controls from African-American, Japanese-American, Latino, Native Hawaiian, and white participants. We tested the association between each SNP and PDAC, established a PRS using the 31 SNPs, and tested the association between the score and PDAC risk.

Results: Eleven of the 31 SNPs were replicated in the multiethnic sample. The PRS was associated with PDAC risk [OR top vs. middle quintile = 2.25 (95% confidence interval, 1.73-2.92)]. Notably, the PRS was associated with PDAC risk in all ethnic groups except Native Hawaiian (OR per risk allele ranged from 1.33 in Native Hawaiians to 1.91 in African Americans; P heterogeneity = 0.12).

Conclusions: This is the first study to replicate 11 of the 31 GWAS-identified risk variants for pancreatic cancer in multiethnic populations, including African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Latinos. Our results also suggest a potential utility of PRS with GWAS-identified risk variants for the identification of individuals at increased risk for PDAC across multiple ethnic groups.

Impact: PRS can potentially be used to stratify pancreatic cancer risk across multiple ethnic groups.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Risk Factors