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Anthracyclines are the cornerstone for many oncologic treatments, but their cardiotoxicity has been recognized for several decades. Female subjects, especially before puberty and adolescence, or after menopause, seem to be more at increased risk, with the prognostic impact of this sex issue being less consistent compared to other cardiovascular risk factors. Several studies imply that sex differences could depend on the lack of the protective effect of sex hormones against the anthracycline-initiated damage in cardiac cells, or on differential mitochondria-related oxidative gene expression. This is also reflected by the results obtained with different diagnostic methods, such as cardiovascular biomarkers and imaging techniques (echocardiography, magnetic resonance, and nuclear medicine) in the diagnosis and monitoring of cardiotoxicity, confirming that sex differences exist. The same is true about protective strategies from anthracycline cardiotoxicity. Indeed, first studied to withstand oxidative damage in response to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, cardioprotection has different outcomes in men and women. A number of studies assessed the differences in I/R response between male and female hearts, with oxidative stress and apoptosis being shared mechanisms between the I/R and anthracyclines heart damage. Sex hormones can modulate these mechanisms, thus confirming their importance in the pathophysiology in cardioprotection not only from the ischemia/reperfusion damage, but also from anthracyclines, fueling further cardio-oncologic research on the topic.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and fatal disease for which there is an ever-expanding body of genetic and related pathophysiological information on disease pathogenesis. Many germline gene mutations have now been described, including mutations in the gene coding bone morphogenic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) and related genes. Recent advanced gene-sequencing methods have facilitated the discovery of additional genes with mutations among those with and those without familial forms of PAH (CAV1, KCNK3, EIF2AK4). The reduced penetrance, variable expressivity, and female predominance of PAH suggest that genetic, genomic, and other factors modify disease expression. These multi-faceted variations are an active area of investigation in the field, including but not limited to common genetic variants and epigenetic processes, and may provide novel opportunities for pharmacological intervention in the near future. They also highlight the need for a systems-oriented multi-level approach to incorporate the multitude of biological variations now associated with PAH. Ultimately, an in-depth understanding of the genetic factors relevant to PAH provides the opportunity for improved patient and family counseling about this devastating disease.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein responsible for the transport and biologic availability of sex steroid hormones, primarily testosterone and estradiol. SHBG has been associated with chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2D) and with hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 21,791 individuals from 10 epidemiologic studies and validated these findings in 7,046 individuals in an additional six studies. We identified twelve genomic regions (SNPs) associated with circulating SHBG concentrations. Loci near the identified SNPs included SHBG (rs12150660, 17p13.1, p = 1.8 × 10(-106)), PRMT6 (rs17496332, 1p13.3, p = 1.4 × 10(-11)), GCKR (rs780093, 2p23.3, p = 2.2 × 10(-16)), ZBTB10 (rs440837, 8q21.13, p = 3.4 × 10(-09)), JMJD1C (rs7910927, 10q21.3, p = 6.1 × 10(-35)), SLCO1B1 (rs4149056, 12p12.1, p = 1.9 × 10(-08)), NR2F2 (rs8023580, 15q26.2, p = 8.3 × 10(-12)), ZNF652 (rs2411984, 17q21.32, p = 3.5 × 10(-14)), TDGF3 (rs1573036, Xq22.3, p = 4.1 × 10(-14)), LHCGR (rs10454142, 2p16.3, p = 1.3 × 10(-07)), BAIAP2L1 (rs3779195, 7q21.3, p = 2.7 × 10(-08)), and UGT2B15 (rs293428, 4q13.2, p = 5.5 × 10(-06)). These genes encompass multiple biologic pathways, including hepatic function, lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism and T2D, androgen and estrogen receptor function, epigenetic effects, and the biology of sex steroid hormone-responsive cancers including breast and prostate cancer. We found evidence of sex-differentiated genetic influences on SHBG. In a sex-specific GWAS, the loci 4q13.2-UGT2B15 was significant in men only (men p = 2.5 × 10(-08), women p = 0.66, heterogeneity p = 0.003). Additionally, three loci showed strong sex-differentiated effects: 17p13.1-SHBG and Xq22.3-TDGF3 were stronger in men, whereas 8q21.12-ZBTB10 was stronger in women. Conditional analyses identified additional signals at the SHBG gene that together almost double the proportion of variance explained at the locus. Using an independent study of 1,129 individuals, all SNPs identified in the overall or sex-differentiated or conditional analyses explained ~15.6% and ~8.4% of the genetic variation of SHBG concentrations in men and women, respectively. The evidence for sex-differentiated effects and allelic heterogeneity highlight the importance of considering these features when estimating complex trait variance.
Estrogens may influence gastric cancer risk, but published studies are inconclusive. We therefore carried out a meta-analysis addressing the associations of gastric cancer in women with menstrual and reproductive factors and with use of estrogen- and antiestrogen-related therapies. Searches of PubMed up to June, 2011 and review of citations yielded a total of 28 independent studies, including at least one exposure of interest. Random effects pooled estimates of relative risk (RR) and corresponding 95% CIs were calculated for eight exposures reported in at least five studies, including: age at menarche, age at menopause, years of fertility, parity, age at first birth, oral contraceptive use, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and tamoxifen treatment. Longer years of fertility (RR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.63-0.86) and HRT (RR = 0.77; 95% CI: 0.64-0.92) were each associated with decreased gastric cancer risk. Conversely, tamoxifen treatment was associated with increased risk (RR = 1.82; 95% CI: 1.39-2.38). The other five exposures were not significantly associated. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that longer exposure to estrogen effects of either ovarian or exogenous origin may decrease risk of gastric cancer. Additional studies are warranted to extend this finding and to identify the underlying mechanisms.
BACKGROUND - Breast cancer is less common in China than in the United States and perinatal characteristics predict breast cancer risk in the offspring. We determined levels of pregnancy hormones in Boston and Shanghai to identify those possibly involved in the intrauterine origin of breast cancer.
PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS - We compared maternal and cord blood levels of estradiol, estriol, testosterone, progesterone, prolactin, insulin-like growth factors (IGF) 1 and 2, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3, adiponectin and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in 241 Caucasian and 295 Chinese women.
RESULTS - In both centers, hormone levels at the 16th were predictive of those at the 27th gestational week, but there was little correlation between maternal and cord blood levels. In cord blood, we found significantly (P < 0.01) higher levels of estradiol (44.2%), testosterone (54.5%), IGF-2 (22.7%) and strikingly SHBG (104.6%) in Shanghai women, whereas the opposite was true for IGF-1 (-36.8%).
CONCLUSIONS - Taking into account the current understanding of the plausible biological role of the examined endocrine factors, those likely to be involved in the intrauterine origin of breast cancer are SHBG and IGF-2, with higher cord blood levels among Chinese, and IGF-1, with higher cord blood levels among Caucasian women.
Researchers studying fibromyalgia strive to identify objective, measurable biomarkers that may identify susceptible individuals, may facilitate diagnosis, or that parallel activity of the disease. Candidate objective measures range from sophisticated functional neuroimaging to office-ready measures of the pressure pain threshold. A systematic literature review was completed to assess highly investigated, objective measures used in fibromyalgia studies. To date, only experimental pain testing has been shown to coincide with improvements in clinical status in a longitudinal study. Concerted efforts to systematically evaluate additional objective measures in research trials will be vital for ongoing progress in outcome research and translation into clinical practice.
OBJECTIVE - Circulating estrogen levels have been related to the risk of several female cancers. Blood levels of estrogen are controlled by estrogen synthesis enzymes. Genetic variation of estrogen genes thus may influence circulating estrogen levels. We investigated the associations of genetic polymorphisms in CYP19A1, a critical gene involved in estrogen synthesis, with plasma levels of sex hormones among postmenopausal Chinese women.
METHODS - Included in this study were 345 postmenopausal community controls from a population-based case-control study conducted in Shanghai. Fasting blood samples from those women were measured for blood estradiol, estrone, estrone sulfate, and testosterone. A total of 19 genetic polymorphisms in CYP19A1 were genotyped using ABI7900 or PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism methods. Differences in plasma levels of hormones by genotype were examined using variance analysis.
RESULT - The geometric means of plasma levels of estradiol, estrone, estrone sulfate, and testosterone were 10.1, 16.8, 969.0, and 202.9 pg/ml, respectively, for this study population. We found that plasma levels of estrone were associated with rs28566535 (P=0.0180), rs730154 (P=0.0141), and rs936306 (P=0.0274) in block 2. In the same block, the haplotype CGCTA was related to level of estrone (P=0.0064). Single nucleotide polymorphism rs1902584 in block 1 was associated with estradiol only in overweight postmenopausal women. No clear association with sex hormones was noted for the other genetic polymorphisms evaluated in the study.
CONCLUSION - Single nucleotide polymorphisms in blocks 1 and 2 of the CYP19A1 gene are related to plasma levels of estrogen among postmenopausal Chinese women and may therefore play an important role in the etiology of hormone-related cancers.
Gonadal steroid effects during puberty are often hypothesized to account for the male advantage seen in certain spatial tasks. One spatial task where males consistently show better performance than females is the Morris Water Task in which subjects must navigate to a goal location in a pool. We examined whether sex differences exist in pre-pubertal children completing a Virtual Morris Water Task, which has previously shown strong sex differences in adults. Pre-pubertal boys show superior performance to similar-aged girls, as evidenced by shorter latencies to find the platform and stronger preferences for the platform location during a probe trial. These results suggest that sex differences in spatial learning and memory exist prior to puberty and do not appear to require the effects of sex hormones at puberty. Rather, these differences may reflect early-life hormonal effects on hippocampal-dependent processes and may suggest different preferential learning strategies by boys and girls.
Sulfotransferase (SULT) 1A1 is involved in the inactivation and elimination of estrogens and catechol estrogens. A common functional polymorphism (Arg213His) has been linked in our previous study of postmenopausal Caucasian women to an elevated risk of breast cancer and the association appeared to be modified by factors related to high endogenous estrogen exposures. We further evaluated this polymorphism and levels of BMI and steroid hormones in association with breast cancer risk in a population-based case-control study of Chinese women, involving 1102 incident cases aged 25-64 years and 1147 age-matched population controls. The SULT1A1 genotype was not associated with overall breast cancer risk in this population. A possible association was suggested for postmenopausal breast cancer (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.4, 95% CI = 0.9-2.1 for subject carrying the variant His allele). The SULT1A1 genotype was found to significantly modify postmenopausal breast cancer risk associated with a high BMI (>or=25 kg/m2) (p for interaction = 0.02), with an adjusted OR of 3.6 (95% CI = 1.5-8.7) for women with the Arg/His genotype compared with 1.1 (0.8-1.5) for women with the Arg/Arg genotype (no His/His genotype was identified in this study population). Similarly, the risk associated with a long duration (>or=30 years) of menstruation also substantially differed by the SULT1A1 genotype (p for interaction = 0.05), with an OR of 4.0 (95% CI = 1.3-12.8) for women with the Arg/His genotype and 1.4 (0.8-2.5) for women with the Arg/Arg genotype. Positive associations with blood levels of steroid hormones were also found generally to be more pronounced among women carrying the His allele. No similar effect modification was found for premenopausal breast cancer, however. These data suggest that the SULT1A1 Arg213His polymorphism may modify the effect of endogenous sex hormone exposures on postmenopausal breast cancer risk.