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1.  Serum pepsinogens and risk of esophageal squamous dysplasia 
Pepsinogens are a class of endopeptidases that are secreted by the gastric epithelium and released into the circulation. Low serum pepsinogen I (PGI) and low serum pepsinogen I / pepsinogen II ratio (PGI/II ratio) are markers of gastric fundic atrophy, and have recently been shown to be associated with increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We conducted the current study to test whether these markers are also associated with esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of ESCC.
We measured serum PGI and PGII, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assays, in 125 case subjects (patients with moderate or severe ESD) and 250 sex-matched control subjects (no ESD) selected from an endoscopic screening study in Linxian, China. We used conditional logistic regression models adjusted for age, smoking, and place of residence to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).
Serum PGI showed no statistically significant association with ESD, whether analyzed as a dichotomous, ordinal (quartiles), or continuous variable. Lower serum PGI/II ratio, however, showed a dose-response association with increased risk of ESD, with an adjusted OR (95% CI) of 2.12 (1.08 − 4.18), comparing the lowest versus the highest quartile. The association between lower serum PGI/II ratio and log OR of ESD was nearly linear, and the p-value for the continuous association was 0.03.
Lower serum PGI/II ratio was linearly associated with higher risk of ESD. This result is consistent with recent findings that gastric atrophy may increase the risk of ESCC.
PMCID: PMC2605159  PMID: 18844222
Esophageal cancer; Squamous dysplasia; Pepsinogen; China
2.  Predicting esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and squamous dysplasia: risk modeling in a high risk area in Iran 
Archives of Iranian Medicine  2012;15(1):18-21.
Identifying people at higher risk of having squamous dysplasia, the precursor lesion for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), would allow targeted endoscopic screening.
We used multivariate logistic regression models to predict ESCC and dysplasia as outcomes. The ESCC model was based on data from the Golestan Case-Control Study (total n=871; cases=300), and the dysplasia model was based on data from a cohort of subjects from a GI clinic in Northeast Iran (total n=724; cases=26). In each of these analyses, we fit a model including all risk factors known in this region to be associated with ESCC. Individual risks were calculated using the linear combination of estimated regression coefficients and individual-specific values for covariates. We used cross-validation to determine the area under the curve (AUC) and to find the optimal cut points for each of the models.
The model had an area under the curve of 0.77 (95% CI: 0.74–0.80) to predict ESCC with 74% sensitivity and 70.4% specificity for the optimum cut point. The area under the curve was 0.71 (95% CI: 0.64–0.79) for dysplasia diagnosis, and the classification table optimized at 61.5% sensitivity and 69.5% specificity. In this population, the positive and negative predictive values for diagnosis of dysplasia were 6.8% and 97.8%, respectively.
Our models were able to discriminate between ESCC cases and controls in about 77%, and between individuals with and without squamous dysplasia in about 70% of the cases. Using risk factors to predict individual risk of ESCC or squamous dysplasia still has limited application in clinical practice, but such models may be suitable for selecting high risk individuals in research studies, or increasing the pretest probability for other screening strategies.
PMCID: PMC3294378  PMID: 22208438
3.  Serum thyroglobulin, a biomarker for iodine deficiency, is not associated with increased risk of upper gastrointestinal cancers in a large Chinese cohort 
Iodine concentrates in gastric tissue and may act as an antioxidant for the stomach. We previously showed that self-reported goiter was associated with significantly increased risk of gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA) and non-significantly increased risks of gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA) and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in a prospective case-cohort study in a high-risk population in China. Negatively correlated with iodine levels, serum thyroglobulin (Tg) is a more sensitive biomarker of iodine deficiency than goiter. This study aimed to determine whether baseline serum Tg was also associated with development of GNCA, GCA, and ESCC in the same cohort, the Linxian General Population Nutrition Intervention Trial. Sera from approximately 200 subjects of each case type and 400 non-cases were tested for serum Tg concentration using appropriate assays. Tg was modeled as sex- and assay-specific quartiles in Cox regression models adjusted for age, smoking, alcohol, Helicobacter pylori status, pepsinogens I/II ratio, family history, and commune of residence. In the final combined analysis, participants in the highest quartile of serum Tg, compared to those in the lowest quartile, had adjusted Hazard Ratios of 0.88 (95% confidence interval 0.50–1.52), 1.14 (0.63–2.05), and 0.78 (0.47–1.31) for GNCA, GCA, and ESCC, respectively. Using serum Tg, a sensitive biomarker of iodine deficiency, we found no association between serum Tg concentrations and risk of these upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancers in the study population. Our results do not support the hypothesis that iodine deficiency, as assessed by serum Tg, is associated with an increased risk of UGI cancers.
PMCID: PMC3075342  PMID: 21105043
iodine deficiency; esophageal cancer; gastric cancer; thyroglobulin; China
4.  Risk factors for oesophageal squamous dysplasia in adult inhabitants of a high risk region of China 
Gut  2005;54(6):759-763.
Background: Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a common cancer worldwide and has a very high mortality rate. Squamous dysplasia is the precursor lesion for OSCC and it can be seen during routine endoscopy with Lugol’s iodine staining. We aimed to examine the risk factors for squamous dysplasia and determine if a risk model could be constructed which would be useful in selecting apparently healthy subjects for endoscopic screening in a high risk population in Linzhou, People’s Republic of China.
Subjects and methods: In this cross sectional study, 724 adult volunteers aged 40–65 years were enrolled. All subjects completed a questionnaire regarding potential environmental exposures, received physical and dental examinations, and underwent upper endoscopy with Lugol’s iodine staining and biopsy. Subjects were categorised as having or not having histologically proven squamous dysplasia/early cancer. Risk factors for dysplasia were examined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression. The utility of the final multivariate model as a screening tool was assessed using a receiver operating characteristics curve.
Results: We found that 230 of 720 subjects (32%) with complete data had prevalent squamous dysplasia. In the final multivariate model, more household members (odds ratio (OR) 1.12/member (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.99, 1.25)), a family history of cancer (OR 1.57 (95% CI 1.13-2.18)), higher systolic blood pressure OR 1.11/10 mm Hg (95% CI 1.03-1.19)), heating the home without a chimney (OR 2.22 (95% CI 1.27–3.86)), and having lost more but not all of your teeth (OR 1.91 for 12–31 teeth lost (95% CI 1.17–3.15)) were associated with higher odds of having dysplasia. Higher household income (OR 0.96/100 RMB (95% CI 0.91–1.00)) was associated with a lower odds of having dysplasia. Although we found several statistically significant associations, the final model had little ability to accurately predict dysplasia status, with maximum simultaneous sensitivity and specificity values of 57% and 54%, respectively.
Conclusions: We found that risk factors for dysplasia were similar to those previously identified as risk factors for OSCC in this population. The final model did a poor job of identifying subjects who had squamous dysplasia. Other methods will need to be developed to triage individuals to endoscopy in this high risk population.
PMCID: PMC1774536  PMID: 15888779
oesophageal cancer; dysplasia; tooth loss; cancer screening; China
5.  Measuring telomere length for the early detection of precursor lesions of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:578.
Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide; current early detection screening tests are inadequate. Esophageal balloon cytology successfully retrieves exfoliated and scraped superficial esophageal epithelial cells, but cytologic reading of these cells has poor sensitivity and specificity for detecting esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Measuring telomere length, a marker for chromosomal instability, may improve the utility of balloon cytology for detecting ESD and early ESCC.
We examined balloon cytology specimens from 89 asymptomatic cases of ESD (37 low-grade and 52 high-grade) and 92 age- and sex-matched normal controls from an esophageal cancer early detection screening study. All subjects also underwent endoscopy and biopsy, and ESD was diagnosed histopathologically. DNA was extracted from the balloon cytology cells, and telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia.
Telomere lengths were comparable among the low- and high-grade dysplasia cases and controls, with means of 0.96, 0.96, and 0.92, respectively. The area under the ROC curve was 0.55 for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia. Further adjustment for subject characteristics, including sex, age, smoking, drinking, hypertension, and body mass index did not improve the use of telomere length as a marker for ESD.
Telomere length of esophageal balloon cytology cells was not associated with ESCC precursor lesions. Therefore, telomere length shows little promise as an early detection marker for ESCC in esophageal balloon samples.
PMCID: PMC3882883  PMID: 24308314
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Esophageal squamous dysplasia; Early detection; Screening; Balloon cytology; Telomeres
6.  Serum pepsinogens and risk of gastric and esophageal cancers in the General Population Nutrition Intervention Trial cohort 
Gut  2009;58(5):636-642.
Low serum pepsinogen I (PGI) and low pepsinogen I/pepsinogen II ratio (PGI/II ratio) are markers of gastric fundic atrophy. We aimed to prospectively test the association between serum PGI/II ratio and risks of gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma, gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Case-cohort study nested in a prospective cohort with over 15 years of follow-up.
Rural region of the People’s Republic of China.
Men and women aged 40-69 at study baseline.
Main outcome measures
Adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the association between serum PGI/II ratio and caner risk
Compared to subjects with PGI/II ratio of > 4, those with ≤4 had HRs (95%CIs) of 2.72 (1.77-4.20) and 2.12 (1.42-3.16) for noncardia and cardia gastric cancers, respectively. Risk of both cancers were also increased when other cut points ranging from 3 to 6, or when we used quartile models, or nonlinear continuous models. Risk of ESCC was marginally increased in those with PGI/II ratio ≤4, with HR (95% CI) of 1.56 (0.99-2.47), but quartile models and continuous models showed no increased risk. The nonlinear continuous models suggested that any single cut point collapsed subjects with dissimilar gastric cancer risks, and that using cut points was not an efficient use of data in evaluating these associations.
In this prospective study, we found similar and significantly increased risks of noncardia and cardia gastric adenocarcinomas in subjects with low PGI/II ratio, but little evidence for an association with ESCC risk.
PMCID: PMC2792746  PMID: 19136509
Gastric cancer; Esophageal cancer; Pepsinogen; Case-cohort
7.  Prospective study of serum 25(OH)-vitamin D concentration and risk of oesophageal and gastric cancers 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(1):123-128.
We prospectively examined the relation between pretrial serum vitamin D status and risk of oesophageal and gastric cancers among subjects who developed cancer over 5.25 years of follow-up, including 545 oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCC), 353 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas, 81 gastric noncardia adenocarcinomas, and an age- and sex-stratified random sample of 1105 subjects. The distribution of serum 25(OH)D was calculated using the known sampling weights. For the cohort as a whole, the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile concentrations of 25(OH)-vitamin D were 19.6, 31.9, and 48.7 nmol l−1, respectively, and we found that higher serum 25(OH)D concentrations were associated with monotonically increasing risk of ESCC in men, but not in women. Comparing men in the fourth quartile of serum 25(OH)D concentrations to those in the first, we found a hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval (CI)) of 1.77 (1.16–2.70), P trend=0.0033. The same comparison in women had a HR (95% CI) of 1.06 (0.71–1.59), P trend=0.70. We found no associations for gastric cardia or noncardia adenocarcinoma. Among subjects with low vitamin D status, higher serum 25(OH)D concentrations were associated with significantly increased risk of ESCC in men, but not in women. Further refinements of the analysis did not suggest any factors, which could explain this unexpected result.
PMCID: PMC2359654  PMID: 17551495
vitamin D; oesophageal cancer; gastric cancer; cohort study; China
8.  A case-control study of glycemic index, glycemic load and dietary fiber intake and risk of adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas of the esophagus: the Australian Cancer Study 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):877.
Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) have been investigated as etiologic factors for some cancers, but epidemiological data on possible associations between dietary carbohydrate intake and esophageal cancer are scant. This study examined the association between GI, GL, and other dietary carbohydrate components and risk of adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus accounting for established risk factors.
We analyzed data from a population-based Australian case-control study (2002-05) comprising 299 adenocarcinoma (EAC), 337 gastro-esophageal junction adenocarcinoma (EGJAC), 245 squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and 1507 controls sampled from a population registry. Dietary information was obtained using a 135-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ); GI and GL were derived from an Australian GI database. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to derive odds ratios (ORs).
All three case groups tended to have a lower intake of fiber, and significantly higher intake of fat, total energy, and alcohol (ESCC only) compared to controls. GI was unrelated to all histological types. Higher GL was not associated with risk of EAC and EGJAC, but was inversely associated with risk of ESCC (adjusted model, ptrend = 0.006), specifically among men where we observed a 58% reduced risk of ESCC in the highest versus the lowest quartile. Increased intake of total carbohydrates and starch was related to similarly large risk reductions of ESCC. Fiber intake was strongly and inversely associated with risk of EAC, EGJAC and ESCC (all ptrend ≤0.001), indicating risk reductions of 28%-37% per 10 g/day.
This study suggests a reduced risk of esophageal SCC with higher GL level particularly in men, but provides no evidence for the role of GI in the development of esophageal cancer. In addition, increased fiber intake appears to be associated with lower risk of all histological types of esophageal cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-877) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4255966  PMID: 25421419
Esophageal cancer; Glycemic index/load; Fiber intake
9.  Higher urine 1-hydroxy pyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG) is associated with tobacco smoke exposure and drinking maté in healthy subjects from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:139.
The highest rates of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in Brazil occur in Rio Grande do Sul, the most southern state, which has incidence rates of 20.4/100,000/year for men and 6.5/100,000/year for women. Exposure to carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) through tobacco smoke and other sources may increase the risk of ESCC. The aims of the current study were to investigate the degree and sources of PAH exposure of the inhabitants of this region of southern Brazil.
Two hundred healthy adults (half smokers, half non smokers, half male and half female) were recruited, given a standardized questionnaire, and asked to provide a urine sample for measurement of 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG), a PAH metabolite). Urine 1-OHPG concentrations were measured using immunoaffinity chromatography and synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy and urine cotinine was measured using a dipstick test. We examined factors associated with 1-OHPG concentration using Wilcoxon tests and multiple linear regression.
Urine 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG) was successfully measured on 199 subjects. The median (interquartile range) of urine 1-OHPG in the 199 participants was 2.09 pmol/mL (0.51, 5.84). Tobacco smoke exposure and maté drinking were statistically significantly associated with higher urine 1-OHPG concentrations in the multivariate linear regression model.
Tobacco smoke and maté both contribute to high levels of benzo[a]pyrene exposure in the people of southern Brazil. This high PAH exposure may contribute to the high rates of ESCC observed in this population. The increased urine 1-OHPG concentrations associated with maté suggest that contaminants, not just thermal injury, may help explain the increased risk of ESCC previously reported for maté consumption.
PMCID: PMC1539013  PMID: 16729889
10.  Serum cytokine analysis in a positive chemoprevention trial: Selenium, Interleukin-2 and an association with squamous preneoplastic disease 
This study represents a multiplex cytokine analysis of serum from a 10-month randomized, controlled trial of 238 subjects that investigated the effects of selenomethionine and/or celecoxib in subjects with mild or moderate esophageal squamous dysplasia. The original chemoprevention study found that among those with mild dysplasia, selenomethionine treatment favorably altered dysplasia grade. The current analysis found that selenomethionine down-regulated IL-2 by 9% (p=0.04), while celecoxib down-regulated IL-7 by 11% (p=0.006) and up-regulated IL-13 by 17% (p=0.008). In addition, an increase in IL-7 tertile from baseline to t10 was significantly associated with an increase in dysplasia grade, both overall (OR=1.47, p=0.03) and among those with mild dysplasia at t0 (OR=2.53 p=0.001). An increase in IL-2 tertile from baseline to t10 was also non-significantly associated with worsening dysplasia for all participants (OR=1.32 p=0.098), and significantly associated with worsening dysplasia among those with mild dysplasia at baseline (OR=2.0 p=0.01). The association of increased IL-2 with worsening dysplasia remained significant in those on selenomethionine treatment who began the trial with mild dysplasia (OR=2.52 p=0.03). The current study shows that selenomethionine supplementation decreased serum IL-2 levels, while celecoxib treatment decreased IL-7 levels and increased IL-13 levels during a 10 month randomized chemoprevention trial. An increase in IL-2 or IL-7 was associated with increased severity of dysplasia over the course of the trial, especially in those who began the trial with mild dysplasia. The favorable effect of selenomethionine on esophageal dysplasia in the original trial may have been mediated in part by its effect on reducing levels of IL-2.
PMCID: PMC2900463  PMID: 20587703
chemoprevention; interleukin-2; preneoplasia; gastrointestinal tract; selenium
11.  Anal Dysplasia Screening 
Executive Summary
This review considered the role of the anal Pap test as a screening test for anal dysplasia in patients at high risk of anal SCC. The screening process is now thought to be improved with the addition of testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV) in high-risk populations. High-resolution anoscopy (a method to view the rectal area, using an anoscope, a lighted instrument inserted into the rectum) rather than routine anoscopy-guided biopsy, is also now considered to be the diagnostic standard.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Anal cancer, like cervical cancer, is a member of a broader group of anogenital cancers known to be associated with sexually transmitted viral HPV infection. Human papillomavirus is extremely prevalent, particularly in young, sexually active populations. Sexual practices involving receptive anal intercourse lead to significantly elevated risk for anal dysplasia and cancer, particularly in those with immune dysfunctions.
Anal cancer is rare. It occurs at a rate of about 1 to 2 per 100,000 in the general population. It is the least common of the lower gastrointestinal cancers, representing about 4% of them, in contrast to colorectal cancers, which remain the third most commonly diagnosed malignancy. Certain segments of the population, however, such as HIV-positive men and women, other chronic immune-suppressed patients (e.g., after a transplant), injection drug users, and women with genital dysplasia /cancer, have a high susceptibility to anal cancer.
Those with the highest identified risk for anal cancer are HIV-positive homosexual and bisexual men, at a rate of 70 per 100,000 men. The risk for anal cancer is reported to be increasing dramatically in HIV-positive males and females, particularly since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s. The introduction of effective viral therapy has been said to have transformed the AIDS epidemic in developed countries into a chronic disease state of long-term immunosuppression. In Ontario, there are about 25,000 people living with HIV infection; more than 6,000 of these are women. About 28% of the newly diagnosed HIV infections are in women, a doubling since 1999. It has also been estimated that 1 of 3 people living with HIV do no know it.
Health Technology Description
Anal Pap test screening involves the blind insertion of a swab into the anal canal and fixing cells either on a slide or in fluid for cytological examination. Anal cytology classified by the standardized Bethesda System is the same classification used for cervical cytology. It has 4 categories: normal, atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance, or squamous intraepithelial lesions which are further classified into low- or high-grade lesions. Abnormal cytological findings are subjected to further evaluations by high-resolution anoscopy, a technique similar to cervical colposcopy, and biopsy. Several HPV deoxyribonucleic acid detection technologies such as the Hybrid 11 Capture and the polymerase chain reaction are available to detect and differentiate HPV viral strains.
Unlike cervical cancer, there are no universally accepted guidelines or standards of care for anal dysplasia. Moreover, there are no formal screening programs provincially, nationally, or internationally. The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute has recently recommended (March 2007) annual anal pap testing in high-risk groups. In Ontario, reimbursement exists only for Pap tests for cervical cancer screening. That is, there is no reimbursement for anal Pap testing in men or women, and HPV screening tests for cervical or anal cancer are also not reimbursed.
The scientific evidence base was evaluated through a systematic literature review. Assessments of current practices were obtained through consultations with various agencies and individuals including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care AIDS Bureau; Public Health Infectious Diseases Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Cancer Care Ontario; HIV/AIDS researchers; pathology experts; and HIV/AIDS clinical program directors. An Ontario-based budget impact was also done.
No direct evidence was found for the existence of controlled studies evaluating the effectiveness of anal Pap test screening programs for impact on anal cancer morbidity or mortality. In addition, no studies were found on the use of HPV DNA testing in the screening or diagnostic setting for anal dysplasia. The reported prevalence of HPV infection in high-risk groups, particularly HIV-positive males, however, was sufficiently high to preclude any utility of HPV testing as an adjunct to anal Pap testing.
Nine reports involving studies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada were identified that evaluated the performance characteristics of anal Pap test screening for anal dysplasia. All involved hospital-based specialty HIV/AIDS care clinics with mainly HIV-positive males. All studies involved experienced pathologists, so the results generally represent best-case scenarios. Estimates of anal Pap test sensitivity and specificity were highly variable, and depended on the varying prevalence of cytology abnormality and differential thresholds for abnormality for both cytology and histopathology.
In the largest study of HIV-positive males, sensitivity varied from 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36%–56%) to 69% (95% CI, 60%–78%). Specificity ranged from 59% (95% CI, 53%–65%) to 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%). In the only study of HIV-negative males, sensitivity ranged from 26% (95% CI, 5%-47%) to 47% (95% CI, 26%–68%). Specificity ranged from 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%) to 92% (95% CI, 89%–95%).
In comparison, cervical Pap testing has also been evaluated mainly in settings where there is a high prevalence of the disease, and estimates of sensitivitykij and specificity were also low and highly variable. In a systematic review involving cervical Pap testing, sensitivity ranged from 30% to 87% (mean, 47%) and specificity from 86% to 100% (mean, 95%).
No direct evidence exists to support the effectiveness of an anal Pap test screening program to reduce anal cancer mortality or morbidity. There are, however, strong parallels with cervical pap testing for cervical cancer. Sexually transmitted HPV viral infection is currently the acknowledged common causative agent for both anal and cervical cancer. Anal cancer rates in high-risk populations are approaching those of cervical cancer before the implementation of Pap testing.
The anal Pap test, although it has been mainly evaluated only in HIV-positive males, has similar operating characteristics of sensitivity and specificity as the cervical Pap test. In general, the treatment options for precancer dysplasia in the cervix and the anus are similar, but treatment involving a definitive surgical resection in the anus is more limited because of the higher risk of complications. A range of ablative therapies has been applied for anal dysplasia, but evidence on treatment effectiveness, tolerability and durability, particularly in the HIV-positive patient, is limited.
PMCID: PMC3377578  PMID: 23074504
12.  Histological precursors of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma: results from a 13 year prospective follow up study in a high risk population 
Gut  2005;54(2):187-192.
Background: Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) has a very poor prognosis, which is largely due to late diagnosis. Successful early detection strategies will require identification of clinically relevant precursor lesions that can be targets for screening and treatment.
Aims: To identify the clinically relevant histological precursors of OSCC.
Subjects: A cohort of 682 endoscoped patients from a high risk rural population in Linxian, China.
Methods: Subjects were endoscoped and biopsied at baseline and followed for 13.5 years. We estimated the relative risk of developing OSCC for each of the initial histological diagnoses using Cox proportional hazards regression models.
Results: A total of 114 (16.7%) patients developed OSCC during the follow up period. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, relative risks (95% confidence intervals) for incidence of this tumour, by initial histological diagnosis, were: normal 1.0 (reference), oesophagitis 0.8 (0.2–3.2), basal cell hyperplasia 1.9 (0.8–4.5), mild dysplasia 2.9 (1.6–5.2), moderate dysplasia 9.8 (5.3–18.3), severe dysplasia 28.3 (15.3–52.3), and carcinoma in situ 34.4 (16.6–71.4).
Conclusions: In this study, squamous dysplasia and carcinoma in situ were the only histological lesions associated with a significantly increased risk of developing OSCC within 13.5 years after endoscopy. There was no evidence that oesophagitis predisposed to this tumour. Increasing grades of dysplasia were strongly associated with increasing risk, indicating that the histological grading was clinically meaningful. The follow up experience of severe dysplasia and carcinoma in situ was equivalent, suggesting that this distinction is not clinically relevant. Documenting these precursor lesions of OSCC should assist in the development of effective prevention, early detection, and treatment strategies for this disease.
PMCID: PMC1774842  PMID: 15647178
oesophageal cancer; precursor lesions; squamous dysplasia; China; follow up study
13.  Multi-susceptibility genes associated with the risk of the development stages of esophageal squamous cell cancer in Feicheng County 
BMC Gastroenterology  2011;11:74.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of multi-genotype polymorphisms with the stepwise progression of esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC) and the possibility of predicting those at higher risk.
A total of 1,004 subjects were recruited from Feicheng County, China, between Jan. 2004 and Dec. 2007 and examined by endoscopy for esophageal lesions. These subjects included 270 patients with basal cell hyperplasia (BCH), 262 patients with esophageal squamous cell dysplasia (ESCD), 226 patients with ESCC, and 246 controls with Lugol-voiding area but diagnosed as having normal esophageal squamous epithelial cells by histopathology. The genotypes for CYP2E1 G1259C, hOGG1 C326G, MTHFR C677T, MPO G463A, and ALDH2 allele genes were identified in blood samples collected from all participants.
The alleles ALDH2 and MTHFR C677T were critical for determining individual susceptibility to esophageal cancer. Compared to the ALDH 1*1 genotype, the ALDH 2*2 genotype was significantly associated with increased risks of BCH, ESCD, and ESCC. However, the TT genotype of MTHFR C677T only increased the risk of ESCC. Further analysis revealed that the combination of the high-risk genotypes 2*2/1*2 of ALDH 2 and TT/TC of MTHFR C677T increased the risk of BCH by 4.0 fold, of ESCD by 3.7 fold, and ESSC by 8.72 fold. The generalized odds ratio (ORG) of the two combined genotypes was 1.83 (95%CI: 1.55-2.16), indicating a strong genetic association with the risk of carcinogenic progression in the esophagus.
The study demonstrated that the genotypes ALDH2*2 and MTHFR 677TT conferred elevated risk for developing esophageal carcinoma and that the two susceptibility genotypes combined to synergistically increase the risk.
PMCID: PMC3141752  PMID: 21672255
14.  Atrophic gastritis: Risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in a Latin-American population 
AIM: To study the association between atrophic gastritis (AG) and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in a Latin-America population.
METHODS: A case-control study was performed at two reference Brazilian hospitals including patients diagnosed with advanced ESCC and dyspeptic patients who had been subjected to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, with biopsies of the gastric antrum and body. All cases with ESCC were reviewed by a single pathologist, who applied standard criteria for the diagnosis of mucosal atrophy, intestinal metaplasia, and dysplasia, all classified as AG. The data on the patients’ age, sex, smoking status, and alcohol consumption were collected from clinical records, and any missing information was completed by telephone interview. The association between AG and ESCC was assessed by means of univariate and multiple conditional logistic regressions.
RESULTS: Most patients were male, and the median age was 59 years (range: 37-79 years) in both the ESCC and control groups. Univariate analysis showed that an intake of ethanol greater than 32 g/d was an independent risk factor that increased the odds of ESCC 7.57 times (P = 0.014); upon multiple analysis, alcohol intake of ethanol greater than 32 g/d exhibited a risk of 4.54 (P = 0.081), as adjusted for AG and smoking. Smoking was shown to be an independent risk factor that increased the odds of ESCC 14.55 times (P = 0.011) for individuals who smoked 0 to 51 packs/year and 21.40 times (P = 0.006) for those who smoked more than 51 packs/year. Upon multiple analyses, those who smoked up to 51 packs/year exhibited a risk of 7.85 (P = 0.058), and those who smoked more than 51 packs/ year had a risk 11.57 times higher (P = 0.04), as adjusted for AG and alcohol consumption. AG proved to be a risk factor that increased the odds of ESCC 5.33 times (95%CI: 1.55-18.30, P = 0.008) according to the results of univariate conditional logistic regression.
CONCLUSION: There was an association by univariate conditional logistic regression between AG and ECSS in this sample of Latin-American population.
PMCID: PMC3623983  PMID: 23599625
Atrophic gastritis; Esophagus; Squamous cell carcinoma; Risk factor; Alcohol; Tobacco
15.  Genetic variants in sex hormone metabolic pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(5):1062-1068.
In China, esophageal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death where essentially all cases are histologically esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), in contrast to esophageal adenocarcinoma in the West. Globally, ESCC is 2.4 times more common among men than women and recently it has been suggested that sex hormones may be associated with the risk of ESCC. We examined the association between genetic variants in sex hormone metabolic genes and ESCC risk in a population from north central China with high-incidence rates. A total of 1026 ESCC cases and 1452 controls were genotyped for 797 unique tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 51 sex hormone metabolic genes. SNP-, gene- and pathway-based associations with ESCC risk were evaluated using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for age, sex and geographical location and the adaptive rank truncated product (ARTP) method. Statistical significance was determined through use of permutation for pathway- and gene-based associations. No associations were observed for the overall sex hormone metabolic pathway (P = 0.14) or subpathways (androgen synthesis: P = 0.30, estrogen synthesis: P = 0.15 and estrogen removal: P = 0.19) with risk of ESCC. However, six individual genes (including SULT2B1, CYP1B1, CYP3A7, CYP3A5, SHBG and CYP11A1) were significantly associated with ESCC risk (P < 0.05). Our examination of genetic variation in the sex hormone metabolic pathway is consistent with a potential association with risk of ESCC. These positive findings warrant further evaluation in relation to ESCC risk and replication in other populations.
PMCID: PMC3643422  PMID: 23358850
16.  Aryl hydrocarbon receptor expression is associated with a family history of upper gastrointestinal cancer in a high risk population exposed to aromatic hydrocarbons 
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure is a risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and PAHs are ligands of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). This study measured the expression of AhR and related genes in frozen esophageal cell samples from patients exposed to different levels of indoor air pollution, who did or did not have high-grade squamous dysplasia (HGD), and who did or did not have a family history (FH) of upper gastrointestinal cancer (UGI Ca).
147 samples were evaluated, including 23 (16%) from patients with HGD and 48 (33%) from patients without DYS who heated their homes with coal, without a chimney (a “high” indoor air pollution group), and 27 (18%) from patients with HGD and 49 (33%) from patients without DYS who did not heat their homes at all (a “low” indoor air pollution group). Nearly half (64 (44%)) had a FH of UGI Ca. RNA was extracted and Quantitative-PCR analysis was performed.
AhR gene expression was detectable in 85 (58%) of the samples, and was more than 9-fold higher in those with a FH of UGI Ca (median expression (IQR) -1964 (-18000, -610) versus -18000 (-18000, -1036) Wilcoxon P = 0.02). Heating status, dysplasia category, age, gender, and smoking were not associated with AhR expression (linear regression, all P-values ≥0.1).
AhR expression was higher in patients with a FH of UGI Ca. Such individuals may be more susceptible to the deleterious effects of PAH exposure, including PAH-induced cancer.
PMCID: PMC2796959  PMID: 19690180
Gastrointestinal tract cancer; Esophagus; Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; family history of cancer; gene expression; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
17.  Palmoplantar keratoderma is associated with esophagus squamous cell cancer in Van region of Turkey: a case control study 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:90.
Esophagus squamous cell cancer (ESCC) is the most common cancer in women with 20.2% and second in men with 10.7% relative frequency among all cancer cases diagnosed in Van Region in the east of Turkey. Ninety percent of all esophageal cancer cases are ESCC and 20–30% of them have family history of esophageal cancer. The most clear defined hereditary predisposition associated with ESCC is palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK). To examine the relationship between ESCC and PPK, we have carried out this case control study.
The case group consisted of 48 subjects who had new diagnosis of ESCC and did not receive any chemo or radiotherapy. The control group consisted of 96 healthy individuals who were visitors of their relatives in the hospital. Two control persons who matched for age, gender, living place (urban /rural) and region were selected for each case. All subjects were evaluated for PPK by dermatologist. Evaluation was graded as none, mild, evident and severe. None and mild subjects were classified as negative for PPK; and others as positive. Relationship between ESCC and PPK was evaluated with odds ratios and confidence intervals for cases with or without family history of ESCC.
The PPK frequencies were 92.3% in ESCC cases with family history, 62.5% in ESCC cases without family history, 70.8% in all ESCC cases, and 28.1% in the control group. Odds ratios for cases with or without family history of esophageal cancer, and for the whole case group were found as 30.7 (95%CI = 3.8–247.4), 4.3 (95%CI = 1.9–9.8) and 6.2 (95%CI = 2.9–13.3) respectively.
Presence of PPK lesions represents genetic susceptibility for ESCC. This susceptibility for ESCC is the highest among those who have PPK lesions and a positive family history of esophageal cancer. Furthermore, a PPK sufferer has an increased risk of developing ESCC even if there is no family history of esophageal cancer.
PMCID: PMC1187881  PMID: 16048655
18.  Prospective Study of Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentration and Mortality in a Chinese Population 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;176(11):1043-1050.
Prospective epidemiologic data on the association between vitamin D and mortality are limited, particularly in Asian populations. Among subjects in Linxian, China, the authors aimed to test whether baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations in a prospective cohort were associated with all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality rates over 24 years of follow-up (1986–2010). Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured in 1,101 subjects using an immunoassay. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using Cox regression models that were adjusted for age, sex, tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, and hypertension. The 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile concentrations of 25(OH)D were 19.6, 31.9, and 48.4 nmol/L, respectively. During follow-up, 793 subjects died, including 279 who died of cerebrovascular accident, 217 who died of cancer, and 200 cardiovascular disease deaths. All-cause mortality was not associated with 25(OH)D concentrations using continuous models (for every 15 nmol/L, hazard ratio = 1.01, 95% confidence interval: 0.97, 1.05) or quartile models (fourth vs. first quartiles, hazard ratio = 1.06, 95% confidence interval: 0.87, 1.30; P for trend = 0.731). The authors also found no association with the cause-specific mortality outcomes. Results were similar for men and women. This study showed that prediagnostic serum 25(OH)D concentrations were not associated with all-cause or cause-specific mortality rates in this Chinese population who had low levels of vitamin D.
PMCID: PMC3571239  PMID: 23139250
cancer; cardiovascular diseases; China; mortality; vitamin D
19.  InterSCOPE Study: Associations Between Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Human Papillomavirus Serological Markers 
The role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the causation of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma is unclear. We examined the associations between esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and 28 centrally measured HPV serological markers in serum from six existing case–control studies conducted in regions with differing background risks of esophageal cancer.
We used centralized multiplex serology to test serum samples from 1561 case subjects and 2502 control subjects from six case–control studies for antibodies to the major HPV capsid protein (L1) and/or the early proteins E6 and/or E7 of eight high-risk, two low-risk, and four cutaneous HPV types. Study-specific odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using conditional logistic regression with adjustment for smoking, alcohol consumption, and other potential confounders. Pooled odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using either a linear mixed-effects approach or a joint fixed-effects approach. All statistical tests were two-sided.
We found statistically significant associations between esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and antibodies to E6 for HPV16 (OR = 1.89, 95% CI = 1.09 to 3.29, P = .023) and HPV6 (OR = 2.53, 95% CI = 1.51 to 4.25, P < .001) but not for other tested HPV types. There were no statistically significant associations between esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and antibodies to E7 for any of the tested HPV types. Simultaneous seropositivity for HPV16 E6 and E7 was rare (four case subjects, two control subjects; OR = 5.57, 95% CI = 0.90 to 34.35; P = .064). We also found statistically significant associations between esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and capsid antibodies for the high-risk mucosal type HPV33 L1 (OR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.69; P = .047) and the low-risk mucosal types HPV6 (OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.05 to 1.42; P = .010) and HPV11 (OR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.09 to 1.56, P = .0036).
We found limited serological evidence of an association between esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and HPV in the populations studied. Although HPV does not appear to be an important risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, we cannot exclude the possibility that certain HPV types may be involved in a small subset of cancers.
PMCID: PMC3260131  PMID: 22228147
20.  Vitamin E intake and Risk of Esophageal and Gastric Cancers in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study 
We investigated the association of dietary α-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol, and supplemental vitamin E intake with the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC; n = 158), esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC; n = 382), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA; n = 320), and gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA; n = 327) in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, a cohort of approximately 500,000 people. Data on dietary and supplemental vitamin E intake were collected using a validated questionnaire at baseline and were analyzed using Cox regression models. Intakes were analyzed as continuous variables and as quartiles.
For dietary α-tocopherol, we found some evidence of association with decreased ESCC and increased EAC risk in the continuous analyses, with adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of 0.90 (0.81 – 0.99) and 1.05 (1.00 – 1.11), respectively, per 1.17 mg (half the interquartile range) increased intake. However, in quartile analyses, the p-value for trend was non-significant for both of these cancers. There was no association between dietary α-tocopherol and GCA or GNCA. We observed no statistically significant associations with γ-tocopherol. For supplemental vitamin E, the results were mainly null, except for a significantly lower risk of GNCA with higher doses of supplemental vitamin E. An increase of 71 mg/day (half the interquartile range) in supplemental vitamin E had an HR (95% CI) of 0.92 (0.85–1.00) and the p-value for trend in the quartile analyses was 0.015.
PMCID: PMC2686122  PMID: 19326432
21.  Serum 25 HydroxyVitamin D Concentrations and the Risk of Hip Fractures: The Women's Health Initiative 
Annals of internal medicine  2008;149(4):242-250.
The association between and vitamin D levels and fractures is uncertain.
To test the hypothesis that serum 25-hydroxyVitamin D (25(OH) vitamin D) levels are associated with the risk of hip fracture in community dwelling women.
Nested case-control study.
40 US clinical centers.
We studied 400 cases of incident hip fractures and 400 controls matched on age, race/ethnicity and date of blood draw (average follow-up time, 7.1 years). Subjects were selected from 39,795 postmenopausal women without previous hip fractures, not using estrogens or other bone-active therapies.
Serum 25(OH) vitamin D was measured on baseline serum using radioimmunoassay with DiaSorin reagents and divided into quartiles. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Multivariable models included age, body mass index, parental and personal history of fractures, smoking, alcohol and calcium intake, geographic location and corticosteroid use.
The mean (standard deviation, SD) 25(OH) vitamin D (nM) was lower in cases, 56.2(20.3) compared to controls, 59.7(18), p=0.007. A 25 nM (10ng/ml) decrease in 25(OH) vitamin D was associated with a 33% increased risk of hip fracture (odds ratio=1.33; 95%CI,1.06, 1.68) in multivariable models. Compared to women with 25(OH) vitamin D ≥70.7 nM (Quartile 4), the odds ratio of hip fracture was 1.71 (1.05, 2.79), 1.09 (0.70, 1.71) and 0.82 (0.51, 1.31) in women with 25(OH) vitamin D <47.5 nM, 47.5 to 60 nM, 60 to <70 nM, respectively, p trend =0.015. This association was in part mediated by a marker of bone resorption but remained statistically significant. Adjustment for falls, physical function, frailty, renal function, or sex steroid hormones had no effect on this association.
No measure of bone density.
Low serum 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations are associated with a higher risk of hip fracture. Measurement of 25(OH) vitamin D may be useful in identifying women at high risk of hip fracture.
PMCID: PMC2743412  PMID: 18711154
22.  Establishment of using serum YKL-40 and SCCA in combination for the diagnosis of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:490.
Elevated serum YKL-40 levels have been observed in various cancers. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of serum YKL-40 alone or in combination with the CEA, CYFRA21-1 and SCCA tumor markers for patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
YKL-40 was detected in ESCC cell lines and tissues by real-time RT-PCR, Western blotting and ELISA. YKL-40 protein expression was determined in 20 ESCC tumor tissues using immunohistochemistry. Serum YKL-40 was measured by ELISA in 126 healthy donors, 59 patients with benign esophageal diseases and 150 patients with ESCC. Serum CEA, CYFRA21-1 and SCCA were determined by electrochemiluminescence.
YKL-40 mRNA and protein were observed in ESCC cancer cell lines, tissues and cell culture media, respectively. YKL-40 expression was observed in 17 of 20 ESCC samples (85%). Serum YKL-40 concentration was significantly elevated in patients with ESCC (Range: 6.95-502.10 ng/ml) compared with patients with benign diseases (Range: 1.21-429.30 ng/ml; P = 0.038) and healthy controls (Range: 2.56-132.26 ng/ml; P < 0.001). ROC curves demonstrated that serum YKL-40 has a sensitivity of 72.70%, a specificity of 84.13% and an AUC of 0.874 for the diagnosis of ESCC, which was superior to CEA (Sen: 8.00%; Spe: 96.80%, AUC = 0.652), CYFRA21-1 (Sen: 40.00%; Spe: 92.06%, AUC = 0.746) and SCCA (Sen: 32.67%; Spe: 94.44%, AUC = 0.789). The YKL-40 and SCCA combination was better for diagnosing ESCC (Sen: 82.00%, Spe: 79.37%, PPV: 82.55 and NPV: 78.74; AUC = 0.917) than the YKL-40 and CEA combination (Sen: 74.00%, Spe: 83.20%, PPV: 84.09 and NPV: 72.73; AUC = 0.877), the YKL-40 and CYFRA21-1 combination (Sen: 82.00%, Spe: 77.78%, PPV: 81.46% and NPV: 78.40%; AUC = 0.897) or the CEA, CYFRA21-1 and SCCA combination (Sen: 56.67%, Spe: 84.80%, PPV: 81.73 and NPV: 61.99; AUC = 0.831). Associations between serum YKL-40 levels and the clinic characteristics of ESCC were not significant, with the exception of age (p = 0.001).
ESCC tumor cells and tissues express YKL-40. Serum YKL-40 may be a potential biomarker for ESCC. Serum YKL-40 in combination with SCCA significantly increases the sensitivity of detecting ESCC.
PMCID: PMC4094903  PMID: 25001061
YKL-40; Esophageal cancer; ESCC
23.  Over-Expression of CDC25B and LAMC2 mRNA and Protein in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Pre-Malignant Lesions in Subjects from a High-Risk Population in China 
Molecular events associated with the initiation and progression of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remain poorly understood, but likely hold the key to effective early detection approaches for this almost invariably fatal cancer. CDC25B and LAMC2 are two promising early detection candidates emerging from new molecular studies of ESCC. To further elucidate the role of these two genes in esophageal carcinogenesis, we performed a series of studies to: (i) confirm RNA over-expression; (ii) establish the prevalence of protein over-expression; (iii) relate protein over-expression to survival; and (iv) explore their potential as early detection biomarkers. Results of these studies indicated that CDC25B mRNA was over-expressed (≥2-fold over-expression in tumor compared to normal) in 64% of the 73 ESCC cases evaluated, while LAMC2 mRNA was over-expressed in 89% of cases. CDC25B protein expression was categorized as positive in 59% (144/243) of ESCC cases on a tumor tissue microarray, and non-negative LAMC2 patterns of protein expression were observed in 82% (225/275) of cases. Multivariate-adjusted proportional hazard regression models showed no association between CDC25B protein expression score and risk of death (Hazard Ratio [HR] for each unit increase in expression score = 1.00, P=0.90), however, several of the LAMC2 protein expression patterns strongly predicted survival. Using the cytoplasmic pattern as the reference (the pattern with the lowest mortality), cases with a diffuse pattern had a 254% increased risk of death (HR=3.52, P=0.007), cases with no LAMC2 expression had a 169% increased risk of death (HR=2.69, P=0.009), and cases with a peripheral pattern had a 130% greater risk of death (HR=2.30, P=0.02). CDC25B protein expression scores in subjects with esophageal biopsies diagnosed as normal (n=35), dysplastic (n=23), or ESCC (n=32) increased significantly with morphologic progression. For LAMC2, all normal and dysplastic patients had a continuous pattern of protein expression, while all ESCCs showed alternative, non-continuous patterns. This series of studies showed that both CDC25B and LAMC2 over-express RNA and protein in a significant majority of ESCC cases. The strong relation of LAMC2 pattern of protein expression to survival suggests a role in prognosis, while CDC25B’s association with morphologic progression indicates a potential role as an early detection marker.
PMCID: PMC2729558  PMID: 18559558
esophageal cancer; quantitative RT-PCR; tissue microarray; survival; early detection; CDC25B; LAMC2
24.  Macronutrients, vitamins and minerals intake and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: a case-control study in Iran 
Nutrition Journal  2011;10:137.
Although Iran is a high-risk region for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), dietary factors that may contribute to this high incidence have not been thoroughly studied. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals on the risk of ESCC.
In this hospital-based case-control study, 47 cases with incident ESCC and 96 controls were interviewed and usual dietary intakes were collected using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Data were modeled through unconditional multiple logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), controlling for age, sex, gastrointestinal reflux, body mass index, smoking history (status, intensity and duration), physical activity, and education.
ESCC cases consumed significantly more hot foods and beverages and fried and barbecued meals, compared to the controls (p < 0.05). After adjusting for potential confounders, the risk of ESCC increased significantly in the highest tertiles of saturated fat [OR:2.88,95%CI:1.15-3.08], cholesterol [OR:1.53, 95%CI: 1.41-4.13], discretionary calorie [OR:1.51, 95%CI: 1.06-3.84], sodium [OR:1.49,95%CI:1.12-2.89] and total fat intakes [OR:1.48, 95%CI:1.09-3.04]. In contrast, being in the highest tertile of carbohydrate, dietary fiber and (n-3) fatty acid intake reduced the ESCC risk by 78%, 71% and 68%, respectively. The most cancer-protective effect was observed for the combination of high folate and vitamin E intakes (OR: 0.02, 95%CI: 0.00-0.87; p < 0.001). Controls consumed 623.5 times higher selenium, 5.48 times as much β-carotene and 1.98 times as much α-tocopherol as the amount ESCC cases consumed.
This study suggests that high intake of nutrients primarily found in plant-based foods is associated with a reduced esophageal cancer risk. Some nutrients such as folate, vitamin E and selenium might play major roles in the etiology of ESCC and their status may eventually be used as an epidemiological marker for esophageal cancer in Iran, and perhaps other high-risk regions.
PMCID: PMC3260093  PMID: 22185224
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; macronutrients; vitamins; minerals; Iran
The incidence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is very high in northern China. This cancer has a very poor prognosis, mostly because it is usually diagnosed at a late stage. Detection an earlier stage can dramatically improve prognosis. Microscopic evaluation of esophageal balloon cytology (EBC) specimens has been the most common method for early detection of ESCC, but this technique is limited by low sensitivity and specificity. The use of molecular markers may improve these screening characteristics. This study evaluates whether measurement of gene methylation in EBC specimens may have utility for the detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC. We evaluated the presence of methylation in eight genes shown to be methylated in ESCC in previous studies in EBC specimens from 147 patients with endoscopic biopsy diagnoses ranging from normal mucosa through severe squamous dysplasia. Methylation status was determined using quantitative methylation-specific PCR techniques. The sensitivity and specificity of methylation of each individual gene and combinations of these genes to detect biopsy-proven high-grade (moderate or severe) squamous dysplasia was determined. For individual genes, the sensitivities ranged from 9–34% and the specificities ranged from 77–99%. Using a panel of four genes (AHRR, p16INK4a, MT1G, and CLDN3) resulted in sensitivity and specificity of 50% and 68%, respectively. This study suggests that evaluation of gene methylation in EBC samples may have utility for early detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC, however, identification of more sensitive methylation markers will be required for development of a clinically useful screening test.
PMCID: PMC2615136  PMID: 19137073
gene methylation; early detection; cytology; esophageal squamous cell cancer

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