Background:

Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death globally. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include common genetic variants and potentially heavy alcohol consumption. We assessed if genetic variants modify the association between heavy alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer risk.

Methods:

We conducted a genome-wide interaction analysis of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) by heavy alcohol consumption (more than three drinks per day) for pancreatic cancer in European ancestry populations from genome-wide association studies. Our analysis included 3,707 cases and 4,167 controls from case–control studies and 1,098 cases and 1,162 controls from cohort studies. Fixed-effect meta-analyses were conducted.

Results:

A potential novel region of association on 10p11.22, lead SNP rs7898449 (interaction P value (Pinteraction) = 5.1 × 10−8 in the meta-analysis; Pinteraction = 2.1 × 10−9 in the case–control studies; Pinteraction = 0.91 in the cohort studies), was identified. An SNP correlated with this lead SNP is an expression quantitative trait locus for the neuropilin 1 gene. Of the 17 genomic regions with genome-wide significant evidence of association with pancreatic cancer in prior studies, we observed suggestive evidence that heavy alcohol consumption modified the association for one SNP near LINC00673, rs11655237 on 17q25.1 (Pinteraction = 0.004).

Conclusions:

We identified a novel genomic region that may be associated with pancreatic cancer risk in conjunction with heavy alcohol consumption located near an expression quantitative trait locus for neuropilin 1, a protein that plays an important role in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer.

Impact:

This work can provide insights into the etiology of pancreatic cancer, particularly in heavy drinkers.

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