Current Scope and Challenges in Phenome-Wide Association Studies.
ABSTRACT: Purpose of Review:Over many decades, researchers have been designing studies to investigate the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes to gain an understanding about the effect of genetics on disease. Recently, a high-throughput approach called phenome-wide associations studies (PheWAS) have been extensively used to identify associations between genetic variants and many diseases and traits simultaneously. In this review, we describe the value of PheWAS along with methodological issues and challenges in interpretation for current applications of PheWAS. Recent findings:PheWAS have uncovered a paradigm to identify new associations for genetic loci across many diseases. The application of PheWAS have been effective with phenotype data from electronic health records, epidemiological studies, and clinical trials data. Summary:The key strength of a PheWAS is to identify the association of one or more genetic variants with multiple phenotypes, which can showcase interconnections among the phenotypes due to shared genetic associations. While the PheWAS approach appears promising, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed to provide additional robustness to PheWAS findings.
Project description:The genome-wide association study (GWAS) is a powerful approach for studying the genetic complexities of human disease. Unfortunately, GWASs often fail to identify clinically significant associations and describing function can be a challenge. GWAS is a phenotype-to-genotype approach. It is now possible to conduct a converse genotype-to-phenotype approach using extensive electronic medical records to define a phenome. This approach associates a single genetic variant with many phenotypes across the phenome and is called a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS). The majority of PheWASs conducted have focused on variants identified previously by GWASs. This approach has been efficient for rediscovering gene-disease associations while also identifying pleiotropic effects for some single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). However, the use of SNPs identified by GWAS in a PheWAS is limited by the inherent properties of the GWAS SNPs, including weak effect sizes and difficulty when translating discoveries to function. To address these challenges, we conducted a PheWAS on 105 presumed functional stop-gain and stop-loss variants genotyped on 4235 Marshfield Clinic patients. Associations were validated on an additional 10?640 Marshfield Clinic patients. PheWAS results indicate that a nonsense variant in ARMS2 (rs2736911) is associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). These results demonstrate that focusing on functional variants may be an effective approach when conducting a PheWAS.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Over 160 disease phenotypes have been mapped to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on chromosome 6 by genome-wide association study (GWAS), suggesting that the MHC region as a whole may be involved in the aetiology of many phenotypes, including unstudied diseases. The phenome-wide association study (PheWAS), a powerful and complementary approach to GWAS, has demonstrated its ability to discover and rediscover genetic associations. The objective of this study is to comprehensively investigate the MHC region by PheWAS to identify new phenotypes mapped to this genetically important region. METHODS:In the current study, we systematically explored the MHC region using PheWAS to associate 2692 MHC-linked variants (minor allele frequency ?0.01) with 6221 phenotypes in a cohort of 7481 subjects from the Marshfield Clinic Personalized Medicine Research Project. RESULTS:Findings showed that expected associations previously identified by GWAS could be identified by PheWAS (eg, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, type I diabetes and coeliac disease) with some having strong cross-phenotype associations potentially driven by pleiotropic effects. Importantly, novel associations with eight diseases not previously assessed by GWAS (eg, lichen planus) were also identified and replicated in an independent population. Many of these associated diseases appear to be immune-related disorders. Further assessment of these diseases in 16?484 Marshfield Clinic twins suggests that some of these diseases, including lichen planus, may have genetic aetiologies. CONCLUSIONS:These results demonstrate that the PheWAS approach is a powerful and novel method to discover SNP-disease associations, and is ideal when characterising cross-phenotype associations, and further emphasise the importance of the MHC region in human health and disease.
Project description:Over the last decade, significant technological breakthroughs have revolutionized human genomic research in the form of genome-wide association studies (GWASs). GWASs have identified thousands of statistically significant genetic variants associated with hundreds of human conditions including many with immunological aetiologies (e.g. multiple sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis). Unfortunately, most GWASs fail to identify clinically significant associations. Identifying biologically significant variants by GWAS also presents a challenge. The GWAS is a phenotype-to-genotype approach. As a complementary/alternative approach to the GWAS, investigators have begun to exploit extensive electronic medical record systems to conduct a genotype-to-phenotype approach when studying human disease - specifically, the phenome-wide association study (PheWAS). Although the PheWAS approach is in its infancy, this method has already demonstrated its capacity to rediscover important genetic associations related to immunological diseases/conditions. Furthermore, PheWAS has the advantage of identifying genetic variants with pleiotropic properties. This is particularly relevant for HLA variants. For example, PheWAS results have demonstrated that the HLA-DRB1 variant associated with multiple sclerosis may also be associated with erythematous conditions including rosacea. Likewise, PheWAS has demonstrated that the HLA-B genotype is not only associated with spondylopathies, uveitis, and variability in platelet count, but may also play an important role in other conditions, such as mastoiditis. This review will discuss and compare general PheWAS methodologies, describe both the challenges and advantages of the PheWAS, and provide insight into the potential directions in which PheWAS may lead.
Project description:Beginning in the early 2000s, the accumulation of biospecimens linked to electronic health records (EHRs) made possible genome-phenome studies (i.e., comparative analyses of genetic variants and phenotypes) using only data collected as a by-product of typical health care. In addition to disease and trait genetics, EHRs proved a valuable resource for analyzing pharmacogenetic traits and developing reverse genetics approaches such as phenome-wide association studies (PheWASs). PheWASs are designed to survey which of many phenotypes may be associated with a given genetic variant. PheWAS methods have been validated through replication of hundreds of known genotype-phenotype associations, and their use has differentiated between true pleiotropy and clinical comorbidity, added context to genetic discoveries, and helped define disease subtypes, and may also help repurpose medications. PheWAS methods have also proven to be useful with research-collected data. Future efforts that integrate broad, robust collection of phenotype data (e.g., EHR data) with purpose-collected research data in combination with a greater understanding of EHR data will create a rich resource for increasingly more efficient and detailed genome-phenome analysis to usher in new discoveries in precision medicine.
Project description:Background. ?Phenome-Wide Association Studies (PheWAS) identify genetic associations across multiple phenotypes. Clinical trials offer opportunities for PheWAS to identify pharmacogenomic associations. We describe the first PheWAS to use genome-wide genotypic data and to utilize human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinical trials data. As proof-of-concept, we focused on baseline laboratory phenotypes from antiretroviral therapy-naive individuals. Methods. ?Data from 4 AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) studies were split into 2 datasets: Dataset I (1181 individuals from protocol A5202) and Dataset II (1366 from protocols A5095, ACTG 384, and A5142). Final analyses involved 2547 individuals and 5 954 294 imputed polymorphisms. We calculated comprehensive associations between these polymorphisms and 27 baseline laboratory phenotypes. Results. ?A total of 10 584 (0.17%) polymorphisms had associations with P < .01 in both datasets and with the same direction of association. Twenty polymorphisms replicated associations with identical or related phenotypes reported in the Catalog of Published Genome-Wide Association Studies, including several not previously reported in HIV-positive cohorts. We also identified several possibly novel associations. Conclusions. ?These analyses define PheWAS properties and principles with baseline laboratory data from HIV clinical trials. This approach may be useful for evaluating on-treatment HIV clinical trials data for associations with various clinical phenotypes.
Project description:Candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic variants that modulate risk for human disease; many of these associations require further study to replicate the results. Here we report the first large-scale application of the phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) paradigm within electronic medical records (EMRs), an unbiased approach to replication and discovery that interrogates relationships between targeted genotypes and multiple phenotypes. We scanned for associations between 3,144 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (previously implicated by GWAS as mediators of human traits) and 1,358 EMR-derived phenotypes in 13,835 individuals of European ancestry. This PheWAS replicated 66% (51/77) of sufficiently powered prior GWAS associations and revealed 63 potentially pleiotropic associations with P < 4.6 × 10?? (false discovery rate < 0.1); the strongest of these novel associations were replicated in an independent cohort (n = 7,406). These findings validate PheWAS as a tool to allow unbiased interrogation across multiple phenotypes in EMR-based cohorts and to enhance analysis of the genomic basis of human disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Phenome-wide association studies (PheWAS) are a high-throughput approach to evaluate comprehensive associations between genetic variants and a wide range of phenotypic measures. PheWAS has varying sample sizes for quantitative traits, and variable numbers of cases and controls for binary traits across the many phenotypes of interest, which can affect the statistical power to detect associations. The motivation of this study is to investigate the various parameters which affect the estimation of statistical power in PheWAS, including sample size, case-control ratio, minor allele frequency, and disease penetrance. RESULTS:We performed a PheWAS simulation study, where we investigated variations in statistical power based on different parameters, such as overall sample size, number of cases, case-control ratio, minor allele frequency, and disease penetrance. The simulation was performed on both binary and quantitative phenotypic measures. Our simulation on binary traits suggests that the number of cases has more impact on statistical power than the case to control ratio; also, we found that a sample size of 200 cases or more maintains the statistical power to identify associations for common variants. For quantitative traits, a sample size of 1000 or more individuals performed best in the power calculations. We focused on common genetic variants (MAF?>?0.01) in this study; however, in future studies, we will be extending this effort to perform similar simulations on rare variants. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides a series of PheWAS simulation analyses that can be used to estimate statistical power for some potential scenarios. These results can be used to provide guidelines for appropriate study design for future PheWAS analyses.
Project description:Using a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) approach, we comprehensively tested genetic variants for association with phenotypes available for 70,061 study participants in the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) network. Our aim was to better characterize the genetic architecture of complex traits and identify novel pleiotropic relationships. This PheWAS drew on five population-based studies representing four major racial/ethnic groups (European Americans (EA), African Americans (AA), Hispanics/Mexican-Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders) in PAGE, each site with measurements for multiple traits, associated laboratory measures, and intermediate biomarkers. A total of 83 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were genotyped across two or more PAGE study sites. Comprehensive tests of association, stratified by race/ethnicity, were performed, encompassing 4,706 phenotypes mapped to 105 phenotype-classes, and association results were compared across study sites. A total of 111 PheWAS results had significant associations for two or more PAGE study sites with consistent direction of effect with a significance threshold of p<0.01 for the same racial/ethnic group, SNP, and phenotype-class. Among results identified for SNPs previously associated with phenotypes such as lipid traits, type 2 diabetes, and body mass index, 52 replicated previously published genotype-phenotype associations, 26 represented phenotypes closely related to previously known genotype-phenotype associations, and 33 represented potentially novel genotype-phenotype associations with pleiotropic effects. The majority of the potentially novel results were for single PheWAS phenotype-classes, for example, for CDKN2A/B rs1333049 (previously associated with type 2 diabetes in EA) a PheWAS association was identified for hemoglobin levels in AA. Of note, however, GALNT2 rs2144300 (previously associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in EA) had multiple potentially novel PheWAS associations, with hypertension related phenotypes in AA and with serum calcium levels and coronary artery disease phenotypes in EA. PheWAS identifies associations for hypothesis generation and exploration of the genetic architecture of complex traits.
Project description:Phenome-wide association studies (PheWAS) have been used to replicate known genetic associations and discover new phenotype associations for genetic variants. This PheWAS implementation allows users to translate ICD-9 codes to PheWAS case and control groups, perform analyses using these and/or other phenotypes with covariate adjustments and plot the results. We demonstrate the methods by replicating a PheWAS on rs3135388 (near HLA-DRB, associated with multiple sclerosis) and performing a novel PheWAS using an individual's maximum white blood cell count (WBC) as a continuous measure. Our results for rs3135388 replicate known associations with more significant results than the original study on the same dataset. Our PheWAS of WBC found expected results, including associations with infections, myeloproliferative diseases and associated conditions, such as anemia. These results demonstrate the performance of the improved classification scheme and the flexibility of PheWAS encapsulated in this package.This R package is freely available under the Gnu Public License (GPL-3) from http://phewascatalog.org. It is implemented in native R and is platform independent.
Project description:Health systems are stewards of patient electronic health record (EHR) data with extraordinarily rich depth and breadth, reflecting thousands of diagnoses and exposures. Measures of genomic variation integrated with EHRs offer a potential strategy to accurately stratify patients for risk profiling and discover new relationships between diagnoses and genomes. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for common cancers are associated with multiple phenotypes in a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) conducted in 28,260 unrelated, genotyped patients of recent European ancestry who consented to participate in the Michigan Genomics Initiative, a longitudinal biorepository effort within Michigan Medicine. PRS for 12 cancer traits were calculated using summary statistics from the NHGRI-EBI catalog. A total of 1,711 synthetic case-control studies was used for PheWAS analyses. There were 13,490 (47.7%) patients with at least one cancer diagnosis in this study sample. PRS exhibited strong association for several cancer traits they were designed for, including female breast cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and thyroid cancer. Phenome-wide significant associations were observed between PRS and many non-cancer diagnoses. To differentiate PRS associations driven by the primary trait from associations arising through shared genetic risk profiles, the idea of "exclusion PRS PheWAS" was introduced. Further analysis of temporal order of the diagnoses improved our understanding of these secondary associations. This comprehensive PheWAS used PRS instead of a single variant.