Research ArticleCANCER

Defined lifestyle and germline factors predispose Asian populations to gastric cancer

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Science Advances  06 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 19, eaav9778
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav9778


Germline and environmental effects on the development of gastric cancers (GC) and their ethnic differences have been poorly understood. Here, we performed genomic-scale trans-ethnic analysis of 531 GCs (319 Asian and 212 non-Asians). There was one distinct GC subclass with clear alcohol-associated mutation signature and strong Asian specificity, almost all of which were attributable to alcohol intake behavior, smoking habit, and Asian-specific defective ALDH2 allele. Alcohol-related GCs have low mutation burden and characteristic immunological profiles. In addition, we found frequent (7.4%) germline CDH1 variants among Japanese GCs, most of which were attributed to a few recurrent single-nucleotide variants shared by Japanese and Koreans, suggesting the existence of common ancestral events among East Asians. Specifically, approximately one-fifth of diffuse-type GCs were attributable to the combination of alcohol intake and defective ALDH2 allele or to CDH1 variants. These results revealed uncharacterized impacts of germline variants and lifestyles in the high incidence areas.

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