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Genome-wide association study of a nicotine metabolism biomarker in African American smokers: impact of chromosome 19 genetic influences.

  • Author(s): Chenoweth, Meghan J
  • Ware, Jennifer J
  • Zhu, Andy ZX
  • Cole, Christopher B
  • Cox, Lisa Sanderson
  • Nollen, Nikki
  • Ahluwalia, Jasjit S
  • Benowitz, Neal L
  • Schnoll, Robert A
  • Hawk, Larry W
  • Cinciripini, Paul M
  • George, Tony P
  • Lerman, Caryn
  • Knight, Joanne
  • Tyndale, Rachel F
  • PGRN-PNAT Research Group
  • et al.

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS:The activity of CYP2A6, the major nicotine-inactivating enzyme, is measurable in smokers using the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR; 3'hydroxycotinine/cotinine). Due to its role in nicotine clearance, the NMR is associated with smoking behaviours and response to pharmacotherapies. The NMR is highly heritable (~80%), and on average lower in African Americans (AA) versus whites. We previously identified several reduce and loss-of-function CYP2A6 variants common in individuals of African descent. Our current aim was to identify novel genetic influences on the NMR in AA smokers using genome-wide approaches. DESIGN:Genome-wide association study (GWAS). SETTING:Multiple sites within Canada and the United States. PARTICIPANTS:AA smokers from two clinical trials: Pharmacogenetics of Nicotine Addiction Treatment (PNAT)-2 (NCT01314001; n = 504) and Kick-it-at-Swope (KIS)-3 (NCT00666978; n = 450). MEASUREMENTS:Genome-wide SNP genotyping, the NMR (phenotype) and population substructure and NMR covariates. FINDINGS:Meta-analysis revealed three independent chromosome 19 signals (rs12459249, rs111645190 and rs185430475) associated with the NMR. The top overall hit, rs12459249 (P = 1.47e-39; beta = 0.59 per C (versus T) allele, SE = 0.045), located ~9.5 kb 3' of CYP2A6, remained genome-wide significant after controlling for the common (~10% in AA) non-functional CYP2A6*17 allele. In contrast, rs111645190 and rs185430475 were not genome-wide significant when controlling for CYP2A6*17. In total, 96 signals associated with the NMR were identified; many were not found in prior NMR GWASs in individuals of European descent. The top hits were also associated with the NMR in a third cohort of AA (KIS2; n = 480). None of the hits were in UGT or OCT2 genes. CONCLUSIONS:Three independent chromosome 19 signals account for ~20% of the variability in the nicotine metabolite ratio in African American smokers. The hits identified may contribute to inter-ethnic variability in nicotine metabolism, smoking behaviours and tobacco-related disease risk.

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