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1.  Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Relation to Esophageal and Gastric Cancers in the NIH-AARP Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84805.
Body mass index is known to be positively associated with an increased risk of adenocarcinomas of the esophagus, yet there is there limited evidence on whether physical activity or sedentary behavior affects risk of histology- and site-specific upper gastrointestinal cancers. We used the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study to assess these exposures in relation to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA), and gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA).
Self-administered questionnaires were used to elicit physical activity and sedentary behavior exposures at various age periods. Cohort members were followed via linkage to the US Postal Service National Change of Address database, the Social Security Administration Death Master File, and the National Death Index. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 percent confidence intervals (95%CI)
During 4.8 million person years, there were a total of 215 incident ESCCs, 631 EAs, 453 GCAs, and 501 GNCAs for analysis. Strenuous physical activity in the last 12 months (HR>5 times/week vs. never=0.58, 95%CI: 0.39, 0.88) and typical physical activity and sports during ages 15–18 years (p for trend=0.01) were each inversely associated with GNCA risk. Increased sedentary behavior was inversely associated with EA (HR5–6 hrs/day vs. <1 hr=0.57, 95%CI: 0.36, 0.92). There was no evidence that BMI was a confounder or effect modifier of any relationship. After adjustment for multiple testing, none of these results were deemed to be statistically significant at p<0.05.
We find evidence for an inverse association between physical activity and GNCA risk. Associations between body mass index and adenocarcinomas of the esophagus do not appear to be related to physical activity and sedentary behavior.
PMCID: PMC3868613  PMID: 24367697
2.  Index-Based Dietary Patterns and Risk of Esophageal and Gastric Cancer in a Large Cohort Study 
Background & Aims
Diet could affect risk for esophageal and gastric cancers, but associations have been inconsistent. The diet is complex, so studies of dietary patterns, rather than studies of individual foods, might be more likely to identify cancer risk factors. There is limited research on index-based dietary patterns and esophageal and gastric cancers. We prospectively evaluated associations between the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005) and alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMED) scores and risk of esophageal and gastric cancers.
We analyzed data from 494,968 participants in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health study, in which AARP members (51–70 y old) completed a self-administered baseline food frequency questionnaire between 1995 and 1996. Their answers were used to estimate scores for each index.
During the follow-up period (1995–2006), participants developed 215 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs), 633 esophageal adenocarcinomas (EACs), 453 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas, and 501 gastric non-cardia adenocarcinomas. Higher scores from the HEI-2005 were associated with a reduced risk of ESCC (comparing the highest quintile with the lowest: hazard ratio [HR], 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.31–0.86; Ptrend=.001) and EAC (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.57–0.98; Ptrend=.01). We observed an inverse association between ESCC, but not EAC, and higher aMED score (meaning a higher-quality diet). HEI-2005 and aMED scores were not significantly associated with gastric cardia or noncardia adenocarcinomas.
Using data collected from 1995 through 2006 from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, HEI-2005 and aMED scores were inversely associated with risk for esophageal cancers—particularly ESCC. Adherence to dietary recommendations might help prevent esophageal cancers.
PMCID: PMC3758458  PMID: 23591281
food habits; esophageal neoplasms; stomach neoplasms
3.  Risk factors for esophageal and gastric cancers in Shanxi Province, China: A case-control study 
Cancer epidemiology  2011;35(6):e91-e99.
Smoking and alcohol consumption explain little of the risk for upper-gastrointestinal (UGI) cancer in China, where over half of all cases in the world occur.
We evaluated questionnaire-based risk factors for UGI cancers in a case-control study from Shanxi Province, China, including 600 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCC), 599 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas (GCA), 316 gastric noncardia adenocarcinomas (GNCA), and 1514 age- and gender-matched controls.
Ever smoking and ever use of any alcohol were not associated with risk of UGI cancer; only modest associations were observed between ESCC risk and highest cumulative smoking exposure, as well as GNCA risk and beer drinking. While several associations were noted for socioeconomic and some dietary variables with one or two UGI cancers, the strongest and most consistent relations for all three individual UGI cancers were observed for consumption of scalding hot foods (risk increased 150% to 219% for daily vs never users) and fresh vegetables and fruits (risk decreased 48% to 70% for vegetables and 46% to 68% for fruits, respectively, for high vs low quartiles).
This study confirms the minor role of tobacco and alcohol in UGI cancers in this region, and highlights thermal damage as a leading etiologic factor.
PMCID: PMC3215853  PMID: 21846596
smoking; alcohol; socioeconomic status; diet
4.  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
5.  Association of dietary fat intakes with risk of esophageal and gastric cancer in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health study 
The aim of this study was to investigate whether intakes of total fat and fat subtypes were associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), gastric cardia or gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma. From 1995–1996, dietary intake data was reported by 494,978 participants of the NIH-AARP cohort. 630 EAC, 215 ESCC, 454 gastric cardia and 501 gastric non-cardia adenocarcinomas accrued to the cohort. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine the association between the dietary fat intakes, whilst adjusting for potential confounders. Though apparent associations were observed in energy-adjusted models, multivariate adjustment attenuated results to null (e.g. EAC energy adjusted hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.66 (1.27–2.18) P for trend <0.01; EAC multivariate adjusted HR (95%CI) 1.17 (0.84–1.64) P for trend=0.58). Similar patterns were also observed for fat subtypes (e.g. EAC saturated fat, energy adjusted HR (95%CI) 1.79 (1.37–2.33) P for trend <0.01; EAC saturated fat, multivariate adjusted HR (95%CI) 1.27 (0.91–1.78) P for trend=0.28). However, in multivariate models an inverse association for polyunsaturated fat (continuous) was seen for EAC in subjects with a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range (18.5–<25 kg/m2) (HR (95%CI) 0.76 (0.63–0.92)), that was not present in overweight subjects (HR (95%CI) 1.04 (0.96–1.14)), or in unstratified analysis (HR (95%CI) 0.97 (0.90–1.05)). P for interaction=0.02. Overall, we found null associations between the dietary fat intakes with esophageal or gastric cancer risk; though a protective effect of polyunsaturated fat intake was seen for EAC in subjects with a normal BMI.
PMCID: PMC3346853  PMID: 22116732
cohort; dietary fat; esophageal neoplasms; stomach neoplasms; prospective
6.  Jasmine tea consumption and upper gastrointestinal cancer in China 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2009;20(10):1997-2007.
Epidemiological data on green/jasmine tea and esophageal as well as gastric cancer are limited and inconclusive. In order to study the effect of jasmine tea in upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancers, we evaluated 600 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), 598 gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA), and 316 gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA) cases and 1514 age-, gender-, and neighborhood-matched controls. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated from logistic regression adjusted for matching factors and potential confounders. Among controls, 35% of males and 8% of females reported consumption of jasmine tea; other tea consumption was rare. Consumption of jasmine tea (ever vs. never) was not associated with risk of ESCC (OR=1.15, 95% CI 0.92–1.44), GCA (OR=1.14, 95% CI 0.88–1.37), or GNCA (OR=0.85, 95% CI 0.64–1.15) in males and females combined. Among males, cumulative lifetime consumption showed a significant positive dose-response relation with ESCC risk, but not for GCA and GNCA. In exploratory analyses, occupation affected the relation between tea and ESCC such that consumption in males was associated with increased risk only in non-office workers. Overall, we found no evidence for a protective effect of tea in esophageal or gastric cancer. Further studies of the potential effects of thermal damage, tea quality, and water quality on UGI cancers are suggested.
PMCID: PMC3236106  PMID: 19597950
jasmine tea; esophageal cancer; gastric cancer
7.  Prospective study of self-reported diabetes and risk of upper gastrointestinal cancers 
While gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA) incidence rates in the US have decreased, the rates of gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EADC) have increased. Obesity increases the risks of GCA and EADC, and the associations may be partially mediated by insulin resistance. A few case-control studies have shown an association between diabetes and an increased risk of EADC.
We prospectively examined the association between diabetes and upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancers in a cohort of 469,448 people in the US, ages 50-71 at baseline. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for diabetes and UGI cancers, controlling for multiple potential confounders, including body mass index (BMI).
We observed no association of self-reported diabetes with risk of EADC, HR (95%CI) = 0.98 (0.73-1.31), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), HR (95%CI) = 1.02 (0.60-1.74), or GNCA, HR (95%CI) = 0.98 (0.70-1.37). However, diabetes was significantly associated with an increased risk of GCA, HR (95%CI) = 1.89 (1.43-2.50). The significant association between diabetes and risk of GCA remained after adjustment for BMI, HR (95%CI) = 1.70 (1.28-2.26) and did not differ by BMI strata (pinteraction =0.83). The significant association was unchanged when restricting to only overweight subjects (BMI 25 - ≤30), HR (95%CI) = 1.83 (1.18-2.85).
We found a significant association between self-reported diabetes and increased risk of GCA.
Our results suggest that the metabolic and hormonal changes related to diabetes may play a role in the etiology of GCA independently from BMI.
PMCID: PMC3089699  PMID: 21415356
Esophageal adenocarcinoma; gastric adenocarcinoma; diabetes; BMI
8.  The Relationship Between Serum Ghrelin and the Risk of Gastric and Esophagogastric Junctional Adenocarcinomas 
Cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract remain a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the oxyntic glands of the stomach, and under conditions of chronic inflammation and atrophy, serum ghrelin concentrations decrease. However, the relationship between ghrelin and the risk of gastric and esophagogastric junctional cancers has not been investigated.
We conducted a nested case–control study within the Finnish Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study to examine the relationship between serum ghrelin concentration and the risk of gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA) and esophagogastric junctional adenocarcinoma (EGJA). Data from 261 GNCA patients, 98 EGJA patients, and 441 control subjects were analyzed. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using logistic regression with adjustment for potential confounders. Lag analysis was also performed to investigate the temporal nature of the associations between baseline serum pepsinogen I and ghrelin in GNCA and EGJA patients. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Lower concentrations of serum ghrelin were statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of both GNCA (adjusted OR = 1.75, 95% CI = 1.49 to 2.04; P < .001) and EGJA (adjusted OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.28 to 1.89, P < .001). A multivariable model found that the risk of both GNCA and EGJA were statistically significantly increased for those individuals in the lowest quartile of serum ghrelin levels compared with those in the highest quartile (OR of GNCA = 5.63, 95% CI = 3.16 to 10.03; OR of EGJA = 4.90, 95% CI = 2.11 to 11.35). The statistical significance of these associations remained even after restricting the analysis to those patients who developed cancer more than 10 years after baseline serum ghrelin measurements.
Low baseline concentrations of serum ghrelin were associated with a statistically significant increase in the risk of GNCA and EGJA, suggesting a potential role for gastric hormones in carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3139586  PMID: 21693726
9.  Dietary α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocopherols in lung cancer risk 
Studies of vitamin E and cancer have focused on the α-tocopherol form of the vitamin. However, other forms of vitamin E, in particular γ-tocopherol may have unique mechanistic characteristics relevant to lung cancer prevention. In an ongoing study of 1,088 incident lung cancer cases and 1,414 healthy matched controls, we studied the associations between 4 tocopherols (α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocopherol) in the diet and lung cancer risk. Using multiple logistic regression analysis, the adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of lung cancer for increasing quartiles of dietary α-tocopherol intake were 1.0, 0.63 (0.50–0.79), 0.58 (0.44–0.76) and 0.39 (0.28–0.53), respectively (p-trend < 0.0001). For dietary intake of β-tocopherol, the OR and 95% CI for all subjects were: 1.0, 0.79 (0.63–0.98), 0.59 (0.45–0.78) and 0.56 (0.42–0.74), respectively (p-trend < 0.0001). Similar results for dietary γ-tocopherol intake were observed: 1.0, 0.84 (0.67–1.06), 0.76 (0.59–0.97) and 0.56 (0.42–0.75), respectively (p- trend = 0.0002). No significant association between δ-tocopherol intake and lung cancer risk was detected. When the 4 tocopherols were summed as total tocopherol intake, a monotonic risk reduction was also observed. When we entered the other tocopherols in our model, only the association with dietary α-tocopherol intake remained significant; i.e., increasing intake of dietary α-tocopherol accounted for 34–53% reductions in lung cancer risk. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the independent associations of the 4 forms of dietary tocopherol (α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocohperol) on lung cancer risk. Given the limitations with case-control studies, these findings need to be confirmed in further investigations.
PMCID: PMC3380426  PMID: 18546288
dietary tocopherols; lung cancer risk; diet and lung cancer; vitamin E and lung cancer
10.  Principal component analysis of dietary and lifestyle patterns in relation to risk of subtypes of esophageal and gastric cancer 
Annals of epidemiology  2011;21(7):543-550.
To perform pattern analyses of dietary and lifestyle factors in relation to risk of esophageal and gastric cancers.
We evaluated risk factors for esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA), and other gastric cancers (OGA) using data from a population-based case-control study conducted in Connecticut, New Jersey, and western Washington state. Dietary/lifestyle patterns were created using principal component analysis (PCA). Impact of the resultant scores on cancer risk was estimated through logistic regression.
PCA identified six patterns: meat/nitrite, fruit/vegetable, smoking/alcohol, legume/meat alternate, GERD/BMI, and fish/vitamin C. Risk of each cancer under study increased with rising meat/nitrite score. Risk of EA increased with increasing GERD/BMI score, and risk of ESCC rose with increasing smoking/alcohol score and decreasing GERD/BMI score. Fruit/vegetable scores were inversely associated with EA, ESCC, and GCA.
PCA may provide a useful approach for summarizing extensive dietary/lifestyle data into fewer interpretable combinations that discriminate between cancer cases and controls. The analyses suggest that meat/nitrite intake is associated with elevated risk of each cancer under study, while fruit/vegetable intake reduces risk of EA, ESCC, and GCA. GERD/obesity were confirmed as risk factors for EA and smoking/alcohol as risk factors for ESCC.
PMCID: PMC3109225  PMID: 21435900
esophageal adenocarcinoma; gastric cardia adenocarcinoma; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; diet; principal components
11.  Vitamin E intake and the lung cancer risk among female nonsmokers: a report from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study 
Vitamin E includes several tocopherol isoforms which may reduce lung cancer risk, but past studies evaluating the association between vitamin E intake and lung cancer risk were inconsistent. We prospectively investigated the associations between tocopherol intake from diet and from supplements with lung cancer risk among 72,829 Chinese female nonsmokers aged 40-70 years and participating in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS). Dietary and supplement tocopherol exposure was assessed by a validated food-frequency questionnaire at baseline, and also reassessed for change in intake during follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models with time-dependent covariates were used to calculate multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence interval (CIs) for lung cancer. After 12.02 years of follow-up, 481 women were diagnosed with lung cancer. Total dietary tocopherol was inversely associated with lung cancer risk among women meeting dietary guidelines for adequate intake (AI) of tocopherol (14 mg/day or more: HR: 0.78; 95% CI 0.60-0.99; compared to the category less than AI). The protective association between dietary tocopherol intake and lung cancer was restricted to women exposed to side-stream smoke in the home and workplace (HR=0.53 (0.29-0.97), p-trend = 0.04). In contrast, vitamin E supplement use was associated with increased lung cancer risk (HR: 1.33; 95% CI 1.01-1.73), more so for lung adenocarcinoma risk (HR: 1.79; 95% CI 1.23-2.60). In summary, dietary tocopherol intake may reduce the risk of lung cancer among female non-smokers, however supplements may increase lung adenocarcinoma risk and requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4232456  PMID: 24916784
diet; dietary supplements; lung neoplasm; prospective study; tocopherols; women
12.  A Prospective Study of Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Use and the Risk of Upper Gastrointestinal Cancers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88774.
We examined the association of use of multivitamins or single vitamin/mineral supplements with risk of four upper gastrointestinal cancers in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort with 11 years of follow-up. After exclusions, 490,593 persons were included in our analytic cohort and 1780 upper gastrointestinal cancers were accrued. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Cox models with adjustment for potential confounders. We observed no significant associations between multivitamin use and risk for the four cancer outcomes in crude or adjusted models. Among individual vitamin or mineral supplements, use of iron supplements was associated with significantly lower risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (HR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.49 to 0.94) and a significantly increased risk of gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (HR = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.24 to 2.05). For gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma, we saw associations with zinc use (HR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.62) and vitamin C use (HR = 0.79 95% CI = 0.65 to 0.96). Calcium use, some of which was reported as antacids and used to treat reflux disease, was associated with higher risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (HR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.52) and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (HR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.56) cancers. We saw no evidence that multivitamin use was associated with reduced risk of four highly fatal upper gastrointestinal cancers, but there were some differences in risk with reported use of individual supplements.
PMCID: PMC3928299  PMID: 24558423
13.  Genetic variants in Fas signaling pathway genes and risk of gastric cancer 
Populations in north central China are at high risk for gastric cancers (GC), and altered FAS-mediated cell signaling and/or apoptosis may contribute to this risk. We examined the association of 554 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 53 Fas signaling-related genes using a pathway-based approach in 1758 GC cases (1126 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas (GCA) and 632 gastric noncardia adenocarcinomas (GNCA)), and 2111 controls from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of GC in ethnic Chinese. SNP associations with risk of overall GC, GCA and GNCA were evaluated using unconditional logistic regressions controlling for age, sex and study. Gene- and pathway-based associations were tested using the adaptive rank-truncated product (ARTP) method. Statistical significance was evaluated empirically by permutation. Significant pathway-based associations were observed for Fas signaling with risk of overall GC (P = 5.5E-04) and GCA (P = 6.3E-03), but not GNCA (P = 8.1E-02). Among examined genes in the Fas signaling pathway, MAP2K4, FAF1, MAPK8, CASP10, CASP8, CFLAR, MAP2K1, CAP8AP2, PAK2 and IKBKB were associated with risk of GC (nominal P < 0.05), and FAF1 and MAPK8 were significantly associated with risk of both GCA and GNCA (nominal P < 0.05). Our examination of genetic variation in the Fas signaling pathway is consistent with an association of altered Fas signaling and/or apoptosis with risk of GC. As one of the first attempts to investigate a pathway-level association, our results suggest that these genes and the Fas signaling pathway warrant further evaluation in relation to GC risk in other populations.
PMCID: PMC3858487  PMID: 23921907
Gastric cancer; gastric cardia; gastric noncardia; Fas signaling; genetic variants; GWAS; single nucleotide polymorphisms; pathway genes
14.  Plasma and dietary carotenoid, retinol and tocopherol levels and the risk of gastric adenocarcinomas in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;95(3):406-415.
Despite declining incidence rates, gastric cancer (GC) is a major cause of death worldwide. Its aetiology may involve dietary antioxidant micronutrients such as carotenoids and tocopherols. The objective of this study was to determine the association of plasma levels of seven common carotenoids, their total plasma concentration, retinol and α- and γ-tocopherol, with the risk of gastric adenocarcinoma in a case–control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a large cohort involving 10 countries. A secondary objective was to determine the association of total sum of carotenoids, retinol and α-tocopherol on GCs by anatomical subsite (cardia/noncardia) and histological subtype (diffuse/intestinal). Analytes were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography in prediagnostic plasma from 244 GC cases and 645 controls matched by age, gender, study centre and date of blood donation. Conditional logistic regression models adjusted by body mass index, total energy intake, smoking and Helicobacter pylori infection status were used to estimate relative cancer risks. After an average 3.2 years of follow-up, a negative association with GC risk was observed in the highest vs the lowest quartiles of plasma β-cryptoxanthin (odds ratio (OR)=0.53, 95% confidence intervals (CI)=0.30–0.94, Ptrend=0.006), zeaxanthin (OR=0.39, 95% CI=0.22–0.69, Ptrend=0.005), retinol (OR=0.55, 95% CI=0.33–0.93, Ptrend=0.005) and lipid-unadjusted α-tocopherol (OR=0.59, 95% CI=0.37–0.94, Ptrend=0.022). For all analytes, no heterogeneity of risk estimates or significant associations were observed by anatomical subsite. In the diffuse histological subtype, an inverse association was observed with the highest vs lowest quartile of lipid-unadjusted α-tocopherol (OR=0.26, 95% CI=0.11–0.65, Ptrend=0.003). These results show that higher plasma concentrations of some carotenoids, retinol and α-tocopherol are associated with reduced risk of GC.
PMCID: PMC2360629  PMID: 16832408
carotenoids; tocopherol; retinol; gastric cancer; diet; EPIC
15.  A Prospective Study of Red and Processed Meat Intake in Relation to Cancer Risk 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e325.
Red meat and processed meat have been associated with carcinogenesis at several anatomic sites, but no prospective study has examined meat intake in relation to a range of malignancies. We investigated whether red or processed meat intake increases cancer risk at a variety of sites.
Methods and Findings
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP (formerly the American Association for Retired Persons) Diet and Health Study is a cohort of approximately 500,000 people aged 50–71 y at baseline (1995–1996). Meat intake was estimated from a food frequency questionnaire administered at baseline. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals within quintiles of red and processed meat intake. During up to 8.2 y of follow-up, 53,396 incident cancers were ascertained. Statistically significant elevated risks (ranging from 20% to 60%) were evident for esophageal, colorectal, liver, and lung cancer, comparing individuals in the highest with those in the lowest quintile of red meat intake. Furthermore, individuals in the highest quintile of processed meat intake had a 20% elevated risk for colorectal and a 16% elevated risk for lung cancer.
Both red and processed meat intakes were positively associated with cancers of the colorectum and lung; furthermore, red meat intake was associated with an elevated risk for cancers of the esophagus and liver.
Using data from a large cohort study, Amanda Cross and colleagues found that both red and processed meat intakes were positively associated with cancers of the colorectum and lung.
Editors' Summary
Every year, there are more than 10 million new cases of cancer around the world. These cases are not spread evenly across the globe. The annual incidence of cancer (the number of new cases divided by the population size) and the type of cancer most commonly diagnosed varies widely among countries. Much of the global variation in cancer incidence and type is thought to be due to environmental influences. These include exposure to agents in the air or water that cause cancer, and lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet. Researchers identify environmental factors that affect cancer risk by measuring the exposure of a large number of individuals to a specific environmental factor and then monitoring these people for several years to see who develops cancer. The hope is that by identifying the environmental factors that cause or prevent cancer, the global burden of cancer can be reduced.
Why Was This Study Done?
Diet is thought to influence the incidence of several cancers but it is very difficult to unravel which aspects of diet are important. Being overweight, for example, is strongly associated with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, but the evidence that the intake of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) and of processed meat (for example, bacon, ham, and sausages) is linked to cancer risk is much weaker. Although several studies have linked a high intake of red meat and processed meat to an increased risk of colorectal cancer (the colon is the large bowel; the rectum is the final few inches of the large bowel before the anus), whether this aspect of diet affects the risk of other types of cancer is unclear. In this prospective study, the researchers have examined the association between meat intake and the incidence of a wide range of cancers.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In 1995–1996, nearly half a million US men and women aged 50–71 y joined the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. The participants in this study—none of whom had had cancer previously—completed a questionnaire about their dietary habits over the previous year and provided other personal information such as their age, weight, and smoking history. The researchers used these data and information from state cancer registries to look for associations between the intake of red and processed meat and the incidence of various cancers. They found that people whose red meat intake was in the top fifth of the range of intakes recorded in the study (the highest quintile of consumption) had an increased risk of developing colorectal, liver, lung, and esophageal cancer when compared with people in the lowest quintile of consumption. People in the highest quintile of processed meat intake had an increased risk of developing colorectal and lung cancer. The incidences of other cancers were largely unaffected by meat intake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide strong evidence that people who eat a lot of red and processed meats have greater risk of developing colorectal and lung cancer than do people who eat small quantities. They also indicate that a high red meat intake is associated with an increased risk of esophageal and liver cancer, and that one in ten colorectal and one in ten lung cancers could be avoided if people reduced their red and processed meat intake to the lowest quintile. However, although the researchers allowed for factors such as smoking history that might have affected cancer incidences, some of the effects they ascribe to meat intake might be caused by other lifestyle factors. Furthermore, because the study's definitions of red meat and processed meat overlapped—bacon and ham, for example, were included in both categories—exactly which type of meat is related to cancer remains unclear. Finally, most of the study participants were non-Hispanic white, so these findings may not apply to people with different genetic backgrounds. Nevertheless, they add to the evidence that suggests that decreased consumption of red and processed meats could reduce the incidence of several types of cancer.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The American Cancer Society provides answers to common questions about diet and cancer
Information is available from the charity Cancer Research UK about diet, healthy eating, and cancer
The American Institute for Cancer Research also provides information on diet and cancer.
The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study presents information on the impact of diet and lifestyle factors on risk of cancer
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about the kind of food questionnaire used in this study
PMCID: PMC2121107  PMID: 18076279
16.  A prospective cohort study of obesity and risk of esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health study 
Gut  2011;61(9):1261-1268.
Incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has increased rapidly over the past forty years and accumulating evidence suggests that obesity, as measured by body mass index (BMI), is a major risk factor. However, it remains unclear whether abdominal obesity is associated with esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma.
Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine associations between overall and abdominal obesity with EAC and gastric adenocarcinoma among 218,854 participants in the prospective NIH-AARP cohort.
253 incident EAC, 191 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas, and 125 gastric non-cardia adenocarcinomas accrued to the cohort. Overall obesity (BMI) was positively associated with EAC and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma risk (highest [≥35 kg/m2] versus referent [18.5–<25 kg/m2]; hazard ratio (HR) 95% confidence interval (95% CI); 2.11 (1.09–4.09) and 3.67 (2.00–6.71), respectively). Waist circumference was also positively associated with EAC and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma risk, (highest versus referent; HR (95% CI) 2.01 (1.35–3.00) and 2.22 (1.43–3.47), respectively), whereas waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) was positively associated with EAC risk only (highest versus referent; HR (95% CI) 1.81 (1.24–2.64)); persisted in patients with normal BMI (18.5–<25 kg/m2). Mutual adjustment of WHR and BMI attenuated both, but did not eliminate the positive associations for either with risk of EAC. In contrast, the majority of the anthropometric variables were not associated with adenocarcinomas of the gastric non-cardia.
Overall obesity was associated with a higher risk of EAC and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, whereas abdominal obesity was found to be associated with increased EAC risk; even in people with normal BMI.
PMCID: PMC3504700  PMID: 22174193
adenocarcinoma; epidemiology; esophageal cancer; gastric adenocarcinoma; obesity
17.  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
18.  Tea, coffee, carbonated soft drinks and upper gastrointestinal tract cancer risk in a large United States prospective cohort study 
The authors investigated the relationship between hot tea, iced tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks consumption and upper gastrointestinal tract cancers risk in the NIH-AARP Study. During 2,584,953 person-years of follow-up on 481,563 subjects, 392 oral cavity, 178 pharynx, 307 larynx, 231 gastric cardia, 224 gastric noncardia cancer, 123 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and 305 esophageal adenocarcinoma (EADC) cases were accrued. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% Confidence Intervals (95%CIs) were calculated by multivariate-adjusted Cox regression. Compared to non-drinking, the hazard ratio for hot tea intake of ≥1 cup/day was 0.37 (95%CI: 0.20, 0.70) for pharyngeal cancer. The authors also observed a significant association between coffee drinking and risk of gastric cardia cancer (compared to <1 cup/day, the hazard ratio for drinking >3 cups/day was 1.57 (95%CI: 1.03, 2.39)), and an inverse association between coffee drinking and EADC for the cases occurring in the last three years of follow-up (compared to <1 cup/day, the hazard ratio for drinking >3 cups/day was 0.54 (95%CI: 0.31, 0.92)), but no association in earlier follow-up. In summary, hot tea intake was inversely associated with pharyngeal cancer, and coffee was directly associated with gastric cardia cancer, but was inversely associated with EADC during some follow-up periods.
PMCID: PMC2891563  PMID: 20395127
tea; coffee; carbonated beverages; upper gastrointestinal tract; cancer
19.  Polymorphism of A133S and promoter hypermethylation in Ras association domain family 1A gene (RASSF1A) is associated with risk of esophageal and gastric cardia cancers in Chinese population from high incidence area in northern China 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:259.
The role of tumor suppressor gene RASSF1A in the esophageal and gastric cardia carcinogenesis is still inconclusive. In this study, the polymorphism, promoter methylation and gene expression of RASSF1A were characterized in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA).
We firstly analyzed the prevalence of RASSF1A A133S in a total of 228 cancer patients with ESCC (n=112) and GCA (n=116) and 235 normal controls by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction enzyme-digestion assay. Then, the promoter methylation status of the RASSF1A in ESCC (n=143), GCA (n=92) and corresponding adjacent normal tissues were further investigated using methylation-specific PCR (MSP) approach. Finally, the RASSF1A protein expression were determined in ESCC (n=27), GCA (n=24) and the matched adjacent normal tissues by immunohistochemical method.
The frequency of 133Ala/Se and Ser/Ser genotype was significantly higher in GCA patients than in normal controls (19.0% vs. 10.2%, P=0.02). Compared with Ala/Ala genotype, Ala/Se and Ser/Ser genotype significantly increased susceptibility to GCA (OR=2.06, 95% CI=1.09–3.97). However, this polymorphism had no association with ESCC (P=0.69). The promoter methylation of RASSF1A gene was significantly increased the risk to both ESCC (OR=5.90, 95% CI=2.78–12.52) and GCA (OR=7.50, 95% CI= 2.78–20.23). Promoter methylation of RASSF1A gene in ESCC was also associated with age and cancer cell differentiation (for age: OR=3.11, 95% CI=1.10–8.73; for differentiation: OR=0.29, 95% CI=0.12–0.69). RASSF1A positive expression was significantly decreased the risk of GCA (OR=0.16, 95% CI=0.03–0.83). In contrast, there was no statistical significance between RASSF1A positive expression and ESCC. The expression of RASSF1A protein trend to be positively related with older GCA patients (OR=16.20, 95% CI=1.57–167.74).
The present findings suggest that alterations of RASSF1A may play an important role in gastric cardia carcinogenesis in terms of polymorphism, promoter hypermethylation and protein expression. Whereas, RASSF1A hypermethylation may probably also be involved in esophageal squamous cell carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3668992  PMID: 23705663
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Gastric cardia adenocarcinoma; A133S in RASSF1A; Polymorphism; Methylation; Protein expression
20.  δ-Tocopherol Is More Active than α- or γ-Tocopherol in Inhibiting Lung Tumorigenesis In Vivo 
In contrast to strong epidemiologic, preclinical, and secondary clinical evidence for vitamin E (tocopherols) in reducing cancer risk, large-scale clinical cancer-prevention trials of α-tocopherol have been negative. This vexing contrast helped spur substantial preclinical efforts to better understand and improve the antineoplastic activity of tocopherol through, for example, the study of different tocopherol forms. We previously showed that the γ-tocopherol–rich mixture (γ-TmT) effectively inhibited colon and lung carcinogenesis and the growth of transplanted lung-cancer cells in mice. We designed the present study to determine the relative activities of different forms of tocopherol in a xenograft model, comparing the anticancer activities of δ-tocopherol with those of α- and γ-tocopherols. We subcutaneously injected human lung cancer H1299 cells into NCr nu/nu mice, which then received α-, γ-, or δ-tocopherol or γ-TmT in the diet (each at 0.17% and 0.3%) for 49 days. δ-Tocopherol inhibited tumor growth most strongly. γ-Tocopherol and γ-TmT (at 0.3%) also inhibited growth significantly, but α-tocopherol did not. δ-Tocopherol also effectively decreased oxidative DNA damage and nitrotyrosine formation and enhanced apoptosis in tumor cells; again, γ-tocopherol also was active in these regards but less so, and α-tocopherol was not. Each supplemented diet increased serum levels of its tocopherol—up to 45 µM for α-tocopherol, 9.7 µM for γ-tocopherol, and 1.2 µM for δ-tocopherol; dietary γ- or δ-tocopherol, however, decreased serum α-tocopherol levels, and dietary α-tocopherol decreased serum levels of γ-tocopherol. Each dietary tocopherol also increased its corresponding side-chain–degradation metabolites, with concentrations of δ-tocopherol metabolites greater than γ-tocopherol and far greater than α-tocopherol metabolites in serum and tumors. The present study is the first in vivo assessment of δ-tocopherol in tumorigenesis and demonstrates that δ-tocopherol is more active than α- or γ-tocopherol in inhibiting tumor growth, possibly through trapping reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and inducing apoptosis; δ-tocopherol metabolites could contribute significantly to these results.
PMCID: PMC3071153  PMID: 21372040
Tocopherols; lung cancer cells; xenograft; tocopherol metabolites
21.  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
22.  Selenomethionine and α-Tocopherol do not Inhibit Prostate Carcinogenesis in the Testosterone plus Estradiol-Treated NBL Rat Model 
Previous studies with selenium and/or vitamin E in prostate carcinogenesis animal models have been negative, but these models may not involve oxidative stress mechanisms. In this study, we examined the potential of selenomethionine and α-tocopherol to modulate prostate cancer development in the testosterone plus estradiol-treated NBL rat, a model that does involve sex-hormone induced oxidative stress mechanisms and prostatic inflammation. One week following implantation with hormone-filled Silastic implants, rats were fed diets containing L-selenomethionine (1. 5 or 3. 0 mg/kg), DL-α-tocopherol acetate (2,000 mg/kg or 4,000 mg/kg), or a natural ingredient control diet (NIH-07). Development of prostate carcinomas was not affected by dietary treatment with either agent. Food intake, body weight, and mortality were also not affected. The high dose of selenomethionine reduced the severity of epithelial dysplasia in the lateral prostate that was not associated with inflammation and α-tocopherol reduced in a dose-related fashion the incidence of marked inflammation and marked epithelial dysplasia in the lateral prostate, regardless of whether these lesions were associated with inflammation. α-Tocopherol significantly increased the incidence of adenocarcinomas of the mammary glands at both dietary concentrations. Collectively, our findings suggest that selenomethionine and α-tocopherol supplementation does not prevent prostate cancer in rats fed diets with nutritionally adequate levels of selenium and vitamin E. Importantly, the results of the current animal studies and those reported previously were fully predictive of the outcome of the SELECT trial.
PMCID: PMC2833232  PMID: 20179302
Selenium; Vitamin E; Selenomethionine; α-Tocopherol; Prostate Cancer; Hormonal Carcinogenesis; NBL Rat
23.  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
24.  Prediagnostic serum tocopherol levels and the risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The Multiethnic Cohort 
Compromised immunity and chronic inflammation are thought to contribute to the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Because tocopherols protect cells through antioxidant mechanisms, they may play a role in NHL etiology.
This nested case-control study within the Multiethnic Cohort examined the association of prediagnostic serum tocopherols levels measured in 271 NHL cases and 538 matched controls by high pressure liquid chromatography/photodiode-array detection with NHL risk. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
We observed U-shaped associations with NHL for total and α-tocopherols (Ptrend<0.01 for polynomial terms [3 df]). The ORs (95% CI) for total tocopherols, which consisted primarily of α-tocopherol, were 0.41 (0.25–0.68), 0.52 (0.32–0.85), 0.39 (0.23–0.65), and 0.78 (0.47–1.29) for the 2nd-5th quintiles as compared to the 1st. The risk estimates were similar for α-tocopherol but non-significant for β- and γ-tocopherol combined and for δ-tocopherol. Adjustment for serum lipids strengthened the non-linear associations for total and α-tocopherols. Serum total tocopherol levels were higher for vitamin E supplement users at cohort entry than non-users (21.32±9.04 vs 17.72±7.43 μg/mL; P <0.0001), but supplement use was not associated with NHL risk. No heterogeneity in risk estimates was detected by sex, ethnicity, vitamin E supplement use, or NHL subtype.
Circulating tocopherols, at levels likely reflecting adequate dietary intakes, may be protective against NHL, whereas higher intakes from supplementation may not be beneficial.
The association between serum tocopherol levels and NHL risk provides possible new insights into the etiology of NHL.
PMCID: PMC3819232  PMID: 24045922
non-Hodgkin lymphoma; tocopherols; ethnicity; prospective cohort; nested case-control study
25.  Vitamin E: maternal concentrations are associated with fetal growth2 
Few data exist on the effects of the 2 most abundant isomers of vitamin E (α- and γ-tocopherols) on fetal growth.
We measured maternal plasma concentrations of α- and γ-tocopherols and examined their relation with measures of fetal growth. We also examined the relation, controlled for associated maternal factors, of diet and supplement use to tocopherol concentrations at week 28 of gestation.
A cohort of 1231 gravid women from Camden, NJ, was studied from entry to care (16.0 ± 0.15 wk gestation); plasma tocopherol concentrations were measured at entry and at week 28.
Plasma concentrations of α-tocopherol at entry and at week 28 were positively related to increased fetal growth (birth weight for gestation), a decreased risk of small-for-gestational-age births, and an increased risk of large-for-gestational-age births. Concentration of α-tocopherol at week 28 was positively related to use of prenatal multivitamins and dietary intake of vitamin E; concentration of γ-tocopherol was related positively to dietary fat intake and negatively to multivitamin use.
Early and late circulating concentrations of α-tocopherol are positively associated with fetal growth.
PMCID: PMC1876684  PMID: 17158428
Birth weight; fetal growth; small for gestational age; large for gestational age; vitamin E; antioxidants; γ-tocopherol; α-tocopherol; multivitamins; maternal nutrition; pregnancy

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