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Chemotherapies administered at normal therapeutic dosages can cause significant side-effects and may result in early treatment discontinuation. Inter-individual variation in toxicity highlights the need for biomarkers to personalise treatment. We sought to identify such biomarkers by conducting 40 genome-wide association studies, together with gene and gene set analyses, for any toxicity and 10 individual toxicities in 1800 patients with advanced colorectal cancer treated with oxaliplatin and fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy ± cetuximab from the MRC COIN and COIN-B trials (385 patients received FOLFOX, 360 FOLFOX + cetuximab, 707 XELOX and 348 XELOX + cetuximab). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genes and gene sets that reached genome-wide or suggestive significance were validated in independent patient groups. We found that MROH5 was significantly associated with neutropenia in MAGMA gene analyses in patients treated with XELOX (P = 6.6 × 10-7 ) and was independently validated in those receiving XELOX + cetuximab; pooled P = 3.7 × 10-7 . rs13260246 at 8q21.13 was significantly associated with vomiting in patients treated with XELOX (odds ratio = 5.0, 95% confidence interval = 3.0-8.3, P = 9.8 × 10-10 ) but was not independently replicated. SNPs at 139 loci had suggestive associations for toxicities and lead SNPs at five of these were independently validated (rs6030266 with diarrhoea, rs1546161 with hand-foot syndrome, rs9601722 with neutropenia, rs13413764 with lethargy and rs4600090 with nausea; all with pooled P's 

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Cancer

Publication Date



GWAS, chemotherapy, colorectal cancer, toxicity