Secondary primary cancers (SPCs), a major cause of morbidity and mortality in head and neck cancers (HNCs), are commonly associated with field cancerization. We comprehensively evaluated 23 germline sequence variants (from published literature) in 17 genes from 7 biological pathways associated with the HNC survival. Because cancer prognosis correlates with disease aggressiveness, the factors that determine aggressive disease may influence field cancerization process to favor SPC development. We thus hypothesized that the same sequence variants associated with HNC survival can also be associated with SPC.METHODS:
Germline DNA from 531 stage I-II radiation-treated HNC patients (originally recruited for an alpha-tocopherol/beta-carotene placebo-controlled secondary prevention clinical trial) were genotyped, and analyzed using Cox proportional hazards models, stratified by treatment arm, adjusting for clinical prognostic factors.RESULTS:
The majority of SPCs were of lung and HNCs. Median follow-up time was 5 years. SPCs were diagnosed in 21% of patients. The 5-year SPC-free survival was 79%. All but 1 evaluated sequence variant were not associated with SPC. There was a strong association of the DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 3 beta (DNMT3B) sequence variant, DNMT3B:C149T (rs2424913) with SPC: the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) for TT versus CC was 2.23 (1.32-3.78; P = .003), whereas each variant T allele was associated with an aHR of 1.49 (1.15-1.95; P = .003).CONCLUSIONS:
A functional sequence variant in DNMT3B is associated with the development of SPCs in HNC early stage patients treated with radiation. Aberrant DNA methylation may be an important modulator of SPC development in at-risk individuals with HNCs. Cancer 2011;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.
A functional sequence variant in the DNMT3B gene is associated with the development of secondary primary cancers (SPCs) in head and neck cancer (HNC) early-stage patients treated with radiation. Abberant DNA methylation may be an important modulator of SPC development in at-risk individuals with HNCs.