Approaches to Identify Environmental and Epigenomic Components or Covariates of Cancer and Disease Susceptibility

  • Alok DeorajEmail author
  • Deodutta Roy


A complex disease such as cancer is one of the major public health burdens for the United States and developing societies. A combination of variations in multiple genes and environmental factors contribute to the susceptibility and progression of different diseases. Comprehensive understanding of the interactions between multiple genetic and environmental factors will more accurately predict a risk of contracting a disease or a particular cancer and treatment response to explain the etiology than any single genetic or environmental factor. Although advances in the knowledge of measuring genetic variants and the amount of data available has steadily been increasing, a major barrier to further the success of molecular epidemiology studies, especially those with a environment-gene interactions, is to determine an appropriate methodological strategy for analysis and interpretation of results. Here we describe approaches to measure genome wide genetic variation and suggest resources to conduct gene × environment (G×E) interaction analysis. We also describe epigenomics that how it may play an important role in enhancing the risk for complex diseases such as cancer. Study of G×E interactions aim to describe how genetic and environmental factors jointly influence the risk of developing a disease. Analysis of G×E interactions take into account the various ways in which genetic effects are modified due to environmental exposures. The number of levels of these exposures and the model on which the genetic effects can be based are also discussed in this chapter. Choice of study design, sample size and genotyping technology influence the analysis and interpretation of observed G×E interactions. Current systems for reporting epidemiological studies make it difficult to assess whether the observed interactions are reproducible. Suggestions are made for improvements in this area.


Biomarkers of environmental and epigenomic components or covariates of cancer Disease susceptibility Interactions between multiple genetic and environmental factors Genome wide genetic variation 


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© Springer Science+ Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthRobert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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