Bi-directional Mendelian randomization of epithelial ovarian cancer and schizophrenia and uni-directional Mendelian randomization of schizophrenia on circulating glycerophosphocholine metabolites

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Most women with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) present with late-stage disease. As a result, globally, EOC is responsible for >150,000 deaths a year. Thus, a better understanding of risk factors for developing EOC is crucial for earlier screening and detection to improve survival. To that effort, there have been suggestions that there is an association of schizophrenia and cancer, possibly because metabolic changes are a hallmark of both cancer and schizophrenia (SZ). Perturbed choline metabolism has been documented in both diseases. Our objective was to use Mendelian randomization to evaluate whether SZ increased risk for developing EOC or the converse, and, whether SZ impacted 1- or 2-glycerophosphocholine (1- or 2-GPC) metabolites. We found that SZ conferred a weak but increased risk for EOC, but not the reverse (no evidence that EOC caused SZ). SZ was also causally associated with lower levels of two 1- or 2-GPC species and with suggestively lower levels in an additional three 1- or 2-GPCs. We postulate that perturbed choline metabolism in SZ may mimic or contribute to a "cholinic" phenotype, as observed in EOC cells.

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