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CYP2A6 associates with respiratory disease risk and younger age of diagnosis: a phenome-wide association Mendelian randomization study

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  • Haidy Giratallah
  • Meghan J Chenoweth
  • Jennie G Pouget
  • Ahmed El-Boraie
  • Alaa Alsaafin
  • Caryn Lerman
  • Jo Knight
  • Rachel F Tyndale
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Human Molecular Genetics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)198-210
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date6/10/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


CYP2A6, a genetically variable enzyme, inactivates nicotine, activates carcinogens, and metabolizes many pharmaceuticals. Variation in CYP2A6 influences smoking behaviors and tobacco-related disease risk. This phenome-wide association study examined associations between a reconstructed version of our weighted genetic risk score (wGRS) for CYP2A6 activity with diseases in the UK Biobank (N = 395 887). Causal effects of phenotypic CYP2A6 activity (measured as the nicotine metabolite ratio: 3′-hydroxycotinine/cotinine) on the phenome-wide significant (PWS) signals were then estimated in two-sample Mendelian Randomization using the wGRS as the instrument. Time-to-diagnosis age was compared between faster versus slower CYP2A6 metabolizers for the PWS signals in survival analyses. In the total sample, six PWS signals were identified: two lung cancers and four obstructive respiratory diseases PheCodes, where faster CYP2A6 activity was associated with greater disease risk (Ps &lt; 1 × 10−6). A significant CYP2A6-by-smoking status interaction was found (Psinteraction &lt; 0.05); in current smokers, the same six PWS signals were found as identified in the total group, whereas no PWS signals were found in former or never smokers. In the total sample and current smokers, CYP2A6 activity causal estimates on the six PWS signals were significant in Mendelian Randomization (Ps &lt; 5 × 10−5). Additionally, faster CYP2A6 metabolizer status was associated with younger age of disease diagnosis for the six PWS signals (Ps &lt; 5 × 10−4, in current smokers). These findings support a role for faster CYP2A6 activity as a causal risk factor for lung cancers and obstructive respiratory diseases among current smokers, and a younger onset of these diseases. This research utilized the UK Biobank Resource.