Molecular epidemiological studies on genetic predispositions to squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Yu-Jing Huang, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Two molecular epidemiological studies were conducted to examine associations between genetic variation and risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). In the first study, we hypothesized that genetic variation in p53 response elements (REs) may play roles in the etiology of SCCHN. We selected and genotyped five polymorphic p53 REs as well as a most frequently studied p53 codon 72 (Arg72Pro, rs1042522) polymorphism in 1,100 non-Hispanic White SCCHN patients and 1,122 age-and sex-matched cancer-free controls recruited at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. In multivariate logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age, sex, smoking and drinking status, marital status and education level, we observed that the EOMES rs3806624 CC genotype had a significant effect of protection against SCCHN risk (adjusted odds ratio= 0.79, 95% confidence interval =0.64–0.98), compared with the -838TT+CT genotypes. Moreover, a significantly increased risk associated with the combined genotypes of p53 codon 72CC and EOMES -838TT+CT was observed, especially in the subgroup of non-oropharyneal cancer patients. The values of false-positive report probability were also calculated for significant findings. In the second study, we assessed the association between SCCHN risk and four potential regulatory single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of DEC1 (deleted in esophageal cancer 1) gene, a candidate tumor suppressor gene for esophageal cancer. After adjustment for age, sex, and smoking and drinking status, the variant -606CC (i.e., -249CC) homozygotes had a significantly reduced SCCHN risk (adjusted odds ratio = 0.71, 95% confidence interval = 0.52–0.99), compared with the -606TT homozygotes. Stratification analyses showed that a reduced risk associated with the -606CC genotype was more pronounced in subgroups of non-smokers, non-drinkers, younger subjects (defined as ≤ 57 years), carriers of TP53 Arg/Arg (rs1042522) genotype, patients with oropharyngeal cancer or late-stage SCCHN. Further in silico analysis revealed that the -249 T-to-C change led to a gain of a transcription factor binding site. Additional functional analysis showed that the -249T-to-C change significantly enhanced transcriptional activity of the DEC1 promoter and the DNA-protein binding activity. We conclude that the DEC1 promoter -249 T>C (rs2012775) polymorphism is functional, modulating susceptibility to SCCHN among non-Hispanic Whites. Additional large-scale, preferably population-based studies are needed to validate our findings.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Huang, Yu-Jing, "Molecular epidemiological studies on genetic predispositions to squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3464852.