Huang Q, Whitington T, Gao P, Lindberg JF, Yang Y, Sun J, Väisänen MR, Szulkin R, Annala M, Yan J, Egevad LA, Zhang K, Lin R, Jolma A, Nykter M, Manninen A, Wiklund F, Vaarala MH, Visakorpi T, Xu J, Taipale J, Wei GH
Nat. Genet. 46 (2) 126-135 [2014-02-00; online 2014-01-07]
Genome-wide association studies have identified thousands of SNPs associated with predisposition to various diseases, including prostate cancer. However, the mechanistic roles of these SNPs remain poorly defined, particularly for noncoding polymorphisms. Here we find that the prostate cancer risk-associated SNP rs339331 at 6q22 lies within a functional HOXB13-binding site. The risk-associated T allele at rs339331 increases binding of HOXB13 to a transcriptional enhancer, conferring allele-specific upregulation of the rs339331-associated gene RFX6. Suppression of RFX6 diminishes prostate cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Clinical data indicate that RFX6 upregulation in human prostate cancers correlates with tumor progression, metastasis and risk of biochemical relapse. Finally, we observe a significant association between the risk-associated T allele at rs339331 and increased RFX6 mRNA levels in human prostate tumors. Together, our results suggest that rs339331 affects prostate cancer risk by altering RFX6 expression through a functional interaction with the prostate cancer susceptibility gene HOXB13.