<p>Genetic factors play an important role in the susceptibility to pancreatic cancer (PC). However, established loci explain a small proportion of genetic heritability for PC; therefore, more progress is needed to find the missing ones. We aimed at identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) affecting PC risk through effects on micro-RNA (miRNA) function. We searched in silico the genome for SNPs in miRNA seed sequences or 3 prime untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of miRNA target genes. Genome-wide association data of PC cases and controls from the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort (PanScan) Consortium and the Pancreatic Cancer Case–Control (PanC4) Consortium were re-analyzed for discovery, and genotyping data from two additional consortia (PanGenEU and PANDoRA) were used for replication, for a total of 14,062 cases and 11,261 controls. None of the SNPs reached genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis, but for three of them the associations were in the same direction in all the study populations and showed lower value of p in the meta-analyses than in the discovery phase. Specifically, rs7985480 was consistently associated with PC risk (OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.07–1.17, p = 3.03 × 10<sup>−6</sup> in the meta-analysis). This SNP is in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with rs2274048, which modulates binding of various miRNAs to the 3'UTR of UCHL3, a gene involved in PC progression. In conclusion, our results expand the knowledge of the genetic PC risk through miRNA-related SNPs and show the usefulness of functional prioritization to identify genetic polymorphisms associated with PC risk.</p>

doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.693933, hdl.handle.net/1765/136509
Frontiers in Genetics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam