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Keywords:

  • Ewing sarcoma;
  • EWSR1;
  • genetic epidemiology;
  • single nucleotide polymorphism

Abstract

Background

Ewing sarcoma is a malignant bone tumor characterized by a high frequency of somatic EWSR1 translocations. Ewing sarcoma is less common in people of African or African-American ancestry, suggesting a genetic etiology.

Procedure

Germline DNA from white patients with Ewing sarcoma (n = 135), white controls with Wilms tumor (n = 200), and African-American controls (n = 285) was genotyped at 21 SNPs in the EWSR1 gene. Intron 7 of EWSR1, the most common site of translocation, was also sequenced in all subjects. Genetic variation between groups was evaluated statistically using exact logistic regression and Fisher exact tests.

Results

One SNP in EWSR1 (rs2857461) showed a low level of statistical association with the diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma compared to Wilms tumor. The odds ratio for having Ewing sarcoma in people with at least one copy of the minor allele of rs2857461 was 3.57 (95% confidence interval 0.79–21.7; P = 0.07). No other SNPs or variations in intron 7 of EWSR1 were associated with Ewing sarcoma. The median relative difference in minor allele frequencies between white subjects with Ewing sarcoma and African-American controls at the evaluated EWSR1 SNPs was 45%.

Conclusions

Variations in EWSR1 at known SNPs or across intron 7 are not associated with the diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma. EWSR1 does not appear to be an Ewing sarcoma susceptibility gene. The genetic basis for this disease remains unknown. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2012; 59: 52–56. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.