An Excess of Deleterious Variants in VEGF-A Pathway Genes in Down-Syndrome-Associated Atrioventricular Septal Defects
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS
Authors: Ackerman, Christine; Locke, Adam E.; Feingold, Eleanor; Reshey, Benjamin; Espana, Karma; Thusberg, Janita; Mooney, Sean; Bean, Lora J. H.; Dooley, Kenneth J.; Cua, Clifford L.; Reeves, Roger H.; Sherman, Stephanie L.; Maslen, Cheryl L.
About half of people with trisomy 21 have a congenital heart defect (CHD), whereas the remainder have a structurally normal heart, demonstrating that trisomy 21 is a significant risk factor but is not causal for abnormal heart development. Atrioventricular septal defects (AVSD) are the most commonly occurring heart defects in Down syndrome (DS), and similar to 65% of all AVSD is associated with DS. We used a candidate-gene approach among individuals with DS and complete AVSD (cases = 141) and DS with no CHD (controls = 141) to determine whether rare genetic variants in genes involved in atrioventricular valvuloseptal morphogenesis contribute to AVSD in this sensitized population. We found a significant excess (p < 0.0001) of variants predicted to be deleterious in cases compared to controls. At the most stringent level of filtering, we found potentially damaging variants in nearly 20% of cases but fewer than 3% of controls. The variants with the highest probability of being damaging in cases only were found in six genes: COL6A1, COL6A2, CRELD1, FBLN2, FRZB, and GATA5. Several of the case-specific variants were recurrent in unrelated individuals, occurring in 10% of cases studied. No variants with an equal probability of being damaging were found in controls, demonstrating a highly specific association with AVSD. Of note, all of these genes are in the VEGF-A pathway, even though the candidate genes analyzed in this study represented numerous biochemical and developmental pathways, suggesting that rare variants in the VEGF-A pathway might contribute to the genetic underpinnings of AVSD in humans.
Prognostic Utility of FBLN2 Expression in Patients With Urothelial Carcinoma
FRONTIERS IN ONCOLOGY
Authors: Li, Wei-Ming; Chan, Ti-Chun; Huang, Steven Kuan-Hua; Wu, Wen-Jeng; Ke, Hung-Lung; Liang, Peir-In; Wei, Yu-Ching; Shiue, Yow-Ling; Li, Chien-Feng
Background: Abnormal extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling plays an essential role in urothelial carcinoma (UC) invasiveness and metastasis. Focusing on the ECM structural constituent (GO: 0005201), we recognized a significant upregulation of the fibulin 2 gene (FBLN2) during UC progression in a published UC transcriptome (GSE31684). Thus, we aimed to investigate the roles of FBLN2 expression and its prognostic value in upper urinary tract UC (UTUC) and urinary bladder UC (UBUC) in our large, well-characterized cohort. Patients and Methods: Clinicopathological data and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded UC tissues were analyzed retrospectively. We determined FBLN2 expression using immunohistochemical staining assessed by H-scores. FBLN2 expression correlated with clinicopathological features and patient outcomes, including metastasis-free survival (MFS) and disease-specific survival (DSS). Statistical analyses were performed using Pearson's chi-square test, Kaplan-Meier estimates of DSS and MFS, and the Cox proportional hazards model. We used Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) to clarify the functional significance of dysregulated FBLN2 in UC. Results: Data from 295 UBUC and 340 UTUC patients were available for the final evaluation. Pearson's chi-square test showed that high FBLN2 immunoexpression significantly correlated with adverse pathologic variables, such as advanced pathologic tumor stage, high histological grade, perineural invasion, vascular invasion, lymph node metastasis, and increased mitotic rate (all p < 0.05). Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated associations of high FBLN2 expression with worse DSS (p < 0.001) and MFS (p < 0.001). Furthermore, multivariate analysis identified high FBLN2 expression as an independent predictive risk factor for DSS [hazard ratio (HR) in UBUC, 2.306, p = 0.014; in UTUC, 2.561, p = 0.012] and MFS (HR in UBUC, 2.493, p = 0.001; in UTUC, 2.837, p = 0.001). IPA demonstrated that multiple signaling pathways were enriched, including the oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and regulation of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition pathways. Conclusion: High FBLN2 expression was associated with adverse pathologic features and worse oncological outcomes and may serve as a prognostic biomarker for UC.