Recommendations and proposed guidelines for assessing the cumulative evidence on joint effects of genes and environments on cancer occurrence in humans

Paolo Boffetta, Deborah M. Winn, John P. Ioannidis, Duncan C. Thomas, Julian Little, George Davey Smith, Vincent J. Cogliano, Stephen S. Hecht, Daniela Seminara, Paolo Vineis, Muin J. Khoury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

We propose guidelines to evaluate the cumulative evidence of gene-environment (G × E) interactions in the causation of human cancer. Our approach has its roots in the HuGENet and IARC Monographs evaluation processes for genetic and environmental risk factors, respectively, and can be applied to common chronic diseases other than cancer. We first review issues of definitions of G × E interactions, discovery and modelling methods for G × E interactions, and issues in systematic reviews of evidence for G × E interactions, since these form the foundation for appraising the credibility of evidence in this contentious field. We then propose guidelines that include four steps: (i) score the strength of the evidence for main effects of the (a) environmental exposure and (b) genetic variant; (ii) establish a prior score category and decide on the pattern of interaction to be expected; (iii) score the strength of the evidence for interaction between the environmental exposure and the genetic variant; and (iv) examine the overall plausibility of interaction by combining the prior score and the strength of the evidence and interpret results. We finally apply the scheme to the interaction between NAT2 polymorphism and tobacco smoking in determining bladder cancer risk. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdys010
Pages (from-to)686-704
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Environment
  • Evaluations
  • Genetics
  • Interactions

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    Boffetta, P., Winn, D. M., Ioannidis, J. P., Thomas, D. C., Little, J., Smith, G. D., Cogliano, V. J., Hecht, S. S., Seminara, D., Vineis, P., & Khoury, M. J. (2012). Recommendations and proposed guidelines for assessing the cumulative evidence on joint effects of genes and environments on cancer occurrence in humans. International journal of epidemiology, 41(3), 686-704. [dys010]. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dys010