Most genetic variants for colorectal cancer (CRC) identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are located in intergenic regions, implying pathogenic dysregulations of gene expression. However, comprehensive assessments of target genes in CRC remain to be explored. We conducted a multi-omics analysis using transcriptome and/or DNA methylation data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression, The Cancer Genome Atlas and the Colonomics projects. We identified 116 putative target genes for 45 GWAS-identified variants. Using summary-data-based Mendelian randomization approach (SMR), we demonstrated that the CRC susceptibility for 29 out of the 45 CRC variants may be mediated by cis-effects on gene regulation. At a cutoff of the Bonferroni-corrected PSMR < 0.05, we determined 66 putative susceptibility genes, including 39 genes that have not been previously reported. We further performed in vitro assays for two selected genes, DIP2B and SFMBT1, and provide functional evidence that they play a vital role in colorectal carcinogenesis via disrupting cell behavior, including migration, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our study reveals a large number of putative novel susceptibility genes and provides additional insight into the underlying mechanisms for CRC genetic risk loci.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology