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The role of germline genetics in shaping the tumor immune landscape is largely unknown. Using genotypes from >9,000 individuals in The Cancer Genome Atlas, we investigated the association of common and rare variants with 139 well-defined immune traits. Our analysis of common variants identified 10 immune traits with significant heritability estimates, and an additional 23 with suggestive heritability, including estimates of T-cell subset abundance and interferon signaling. We performed genome-wide association on the 33 heritable traits and identified 23 genome-wide significant loci associated with at least one immune trait, including SNPs in the IFIH1 locus previously associated with several autoimmune diseases. We also found significant associations between immune traits and pathogenic or likely-pathogenic rare variants in BRCA1 and in genes functionally linked to telomere stabilization, and Wnt/Beta-catenin signaling. We conclude that germline genetic variants significantly impact the composition and functional orientation of the tumor immune microenvironment.

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