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Articles by M. R Karagas
Total Records ( 4 ) for M. R Karagas
  E. A Houseman , B. C Christensen , M. R Karagas , M. R Wrensch , H. H Nelson , J. L Wiemels , S Zheng , J. K Wiencke , K. T Kelsey and C. J. Marsit

Motivation: Integration of various genome-scale measures of molecular alterations is of great interest to researchers aiming to better define disease processes or identify novel targets with clinical utility. Particularly important in cancer are measures of gene copy number DNA methylation. However, copy number variation may bias the measurement of DNA methylation. To investigate possible bias, we analyzed integrated data obtained from 19 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) tumors and 23 mesothelioma tumors.

Results: Statistical analysis of observational data produced results consistent with those anticipated from theoretical mathematical properties. Average beta value reported by Illumina GoldenGate (a bead-array platform) was significantly smaller than a similar measure constructed from the ratio of average dye intensities. Among CpGs that had only small variations in measured methylation across tumors (filtering out clearly biological methylation signatures), there were no systematic copy number effects on methylation for three and more than four copies; however, one copy led to small systematic negative effects, and no copies led to substantial significant negative effects.

Conclusions: Since mathematical considerations suggest little bias in methylation assayed using bead-arrays, the consistency of observational data with anticipated properties suggests little bias. However, further analysis of systematic copy number effects across CpGs suggest that though there may be little bias when there are copy number gains, small biases may result when one allele is lost, and substantial biases when both alleles are lost. These results suggest that further integration of these measures can be useful for characterizing the biological relationships between these somatic events.

  R. A Mason , E. V Morlock , M. R Karagas , K. T Kelsey , C. J Marsit , A. R Schned and A. S. Andrew

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway has recently been appreciated as a central mediator of tumorigenesis and an important drug target; however, the influence of genetic variation in this pathway on bladder cancer is not understood. Pathway activation leads to cell proliferation, angiogenesis and is antiapoptotic. We sought to test the hypothesis that bladder cancer susceptibility and survival are modified by inherited variations in the sequence of the EGFR and its pathway members. We tested associations using a population-based study of 857 bladder cancer cases and 1191 controls from New Hampshire. Multifactor dimensionality reduction software was used to predict gene–gene interactions. We detected an increased risk of bladder cancer associated with variant genotypes for the single nucleotide polymorphisms EGFR_03 [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0–2.8)] and EGFR_05 [adjusted OR 1.5 (95% CI 1.0–2.1)] compared with wild-type. EGFR variants experienced longer survival than those with wild-type alleles [e.g. adjusted hazard ratio EGFR_1808 0.3 (95% CI 0.1–0.9)]. In contrast, the variant form of the ligand, EGF_04, had worse survival [adjusted hazard ratio 1.5 (95% CI 1.0–2.3)] compared with wild-type. Our findings suggest modified bladder cancer risk and survival associated with genetic variation in the EGFR pathway. Understanding these genetic influences on increased bladder cancer susceptibility and survival may help in cancer prevention, drug development and choice of therapeutic regimen.

  C. S Wilhelm Benartzi , D. C Koestler , E. A Houseman , B. C Christensen , J. K Wiencke , A. R Schned , M. R Karagas , K. T Kelsey and C. J. Marsit

DNA methylation profiles can be used to define molecular cancer subtypes that may better inform disease etiology and clinical decision-making. This investigation aimed to create DNA methylation profiles of bladder cancer based on CpG methylation from almost 800 cancer-related genes and to then examine the relationship of those profiles with exposures related to risk and clinical characteristics. DNA, derived from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples obtained from incident cases involved in a population-based case-control study of bladder cancer in New Hampshire, was used for methylation profiling on the Illumina GoldenGate Methylation Bead Array. Unsupervised clustering of those loci with the greatest change in methylation between tumor and non-diseased tissue was performed to defined molecular subgroups of disease, and univariate tests of association followed by multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the association between these classes, bladder cancer risk factors and clinical phenotypes. Membership in the two most methylated classes was significantly associated with invasive disease (P < 0.001 for both class 3 and 4). Male gender (P = 0.04) and age >70 years (P = 0.05) was associated with membership in one of the most methylated classes. Finally, average water arsenic levels in the highest percentile predicted membership in an intermediately methylated class of tumors (P = 0.02 for both classes). Exposures and demographic associated with increased risk of bladder cancer specifically associate with particular subgroups of tumors defined by DNA methylation profiling and these subgroups may define more aggressive disease.

  D Baris , M. R Karagas , C Verrill , A Johnson , A. S Andrew , C. J Marsit , M Schwenn , J. S Colt , S Cherala , C Samanic , R Waddell , K. P Cantor , A Schned , N Rothman , J Lubin , J. F Fraumeni , R. N Hoover , K. T Kelsey and D. T. Silverman

Cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for bladder cancer. The effects of smoking duration, intensity (cigarettes per day), and total exposure (pack-years); smoking cessation; exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; and changes in the composition of tobacco and cigarette design over time on risk of bladder cancer are unclear.


We examined bladder cancer risk in relation to smoking practices based on interview data from a large, population-based case–control study conducted in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont from 2001 to 2004 (N = 1170 urothelial carcinoma case patients and 1413 control subjects). We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using unconditional logistic regression. To examine changes in smoking-induced bladder cancer risk over time, we compared odds ratios from New Hampshire residents in this study (305 case patients and 335 control subjects) with those from two case–control studies conducted in New Hampshire in 1994–1998 and in 1998–2001 (843 case patients and 1183 control subjects).


Regular and current cigarette smokers had higher risks of bladder cancer than never-smokers (for regular smokers, OR = 3.0, 95% CI = 2.4 to 3.6; for current smokers, OR = 5.2, 95% CI = 4.0 to 6.6). In New Hampshire, there was a statistically significant increasing trend in smoking-related bladder cancer risk over three consecutive periods (1994–1998, 1998–2001, and 2002–2004) among former smokers (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.0 to 2.0; OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.4 to 2.9; and OR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.7 to 4.0, respectively) and current smokers (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 2.0 to 4.2; OR = 4.2, 95% CI = 2.8 to 6.3; OR = 5.5, 95% CI = 3.5 to 8.9, respectively) (P for homogeneity of trends over time periods = .04). We also observed that within categories of intensity, odds ratios increased approximately linearly with increasing pack-years smoked, but the slope of the increasing trend declined with increasing intensity.


Smoking-related risks of bladder cancer appear to have increased in New Hampshire since the mid-1990s. Based on our modeling of pack-years and intensity, smoking fewer cigarettes over a long time appears more harmful than smoking more cigarettes over a shorter time, for equal total pack-years of cigarettes smoked.

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