Genetic variants of BIRC3 and NRG1 in the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway are associated with non-small cell lung cancer survival

Lung Cancer

Am J Cancer Res. 2020 Aug 1;10(8):2582-2595. eCollection 2020.


The nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) is one of the most characterized inflammasomes, and its genetic variation and functional dysregulation are involved in pathogenesis of several cancers. To systematically evaluate the role of NLRP3 in predicting outcomes of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we performed a two-phase analysis for associations between genetic variants in NLRP3 inflammasome pathway genes and NSCLC survival by using a published genome-wide association study

(GWAS) dataset from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. We used multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis with Bayesian false discovery probability (≤0.80) for multiple testing correction to evaluate associations between 20,730 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 176 genes and overall survival of 1,185 NSCLC patients from the PLCO trial. We further validated the identified significant SNPs in another GWAS dataset with survival data from 984 NSCLC patients of the Harvard Lung Cancer Susceptibility (HLCS) study. The results showed that two independent SNPs in two different genes (i.e., BIRC3 rs11225211 and NRG1 rs4733124) were significantly associated with the NSCLC overall survival, with a combined hazards ratio (HR) of 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.74-0.93 and P = 0.0009] and 1.18 (95% CI = 1.06-1.31) and P = 0.002], respectively. However, further expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis showed no evidence for correlations between the two SNPs and mRNA expression levels of corresponding genes. These results indicated that genetic variants in the NLRP3 imflammasome pathway gene-sets might be predictors of NSCLC survival, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the observed associations warrant further investigations.