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1.  Role of One-carbon Metabolizing Pathway Genes and Gene-Nutrient Interaction in the Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(10):1875-1884.
Purpose
Genetic polymorphisms in one-carbon metabolizing pathway genes have been associated with risk of malignant lymphoma. However, the results have been inconsistent. The objectives of this study were to examine the potential relationship between gene-nutrient interactions and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
Methods
We examined 25 polymorphisms in 16 one-carbon metabolism genes for their main effect and gene-nutrient interactions in relation to NHL risk among 518 incident cases and 597 population-based controls of Connecticut women enrolled between 1996 and 2000.
Results
A significantly reduced risk of NHL was associated with the homozygous TT genotype in CBS (rs234706, Ex9+33C>T) (OR = 0.51, 95%CI, 0.31–0.84), the homozygous CC genotype in MBD2 (rs603097, −2176C>T) (OR = 0.37, 95%CI, 0.17–0.79), the heterozygote AG genotype in FTHFD (rs1127717, Ex21+31A>G) (OR = 0.73, 95%CI, 0.55–0.98), and a borderline significantly reduced risk of NHL was observed for the homozygous CC genotype in MTRR (rs161870, Ex5+136T>C) (OR = 0.23, 95%CI, 0.05–1.04). The reduced risk of NHL associated with these genotypes was predominately in those with higher dietary vitamin B6 and methionine intakes, as well as with higher dietary folate intake although results were less stable. A borderline significantly increased risk of NHL was also observed for CBS (rs1801181, Ex13+41C>T), FTHFD (rs2305230, Ex10-40G>T), SHMT1 (rs1979277, Ex12+138C>T), and SHMT1 (rs1979276, Ex12+236T>C), and these associations appeared to be contingent on dietary nutrient intakes.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that variation in several one-carbon metabolizing pathway genes may influence the risk of NHL through gene-nutrient interactions involving dietary nutrient intakes.
doi:10.1007/s10552-013-0264-3
PMCID: PMC3951097  PMID: 23913011
dietary nutrients; folate; one-carbon metabolizing genes; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; cancer
2.  Dietary intake of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, genetic polymorphism of related enzymes, and risk of breast cancer: a case-control study in Brazilian women 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:122.
Background
Several studies have determined that dietary intake of B vitamins may be associated with breast cancer risk as a result of interactions between 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and methionine synthase (MTR) in the one-carbon metabolism pathway. However, the association between B vitamin intake and breast cancer risk in Brazilian women in particular has not yet been investigated.
Methods
A case-control study was conducted in São Paulo, Brazil, with 458 age-matched pairs of Brazilian women. Energy-adjusted intakes of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 were derived from a validated Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Genotyping was completed for MTHFR A1298C and C677T, and MTR A2756G polymorphisms. A logistical regression model was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).
Results
Neither dietary intake of folate, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12 nor MTHFR polymorphisms were independently associated with breast cancer risk. Analysis stratified by menopausal status showed a significant association between placement in the highest tertile of folate intake and risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women (OR = 2.17, 95% CI: 1.23–3.83; Ptrend = 0.010). The MTR 2756GG genotype was associated with a higher risk of breast cancer than the 2756AA genotype (OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.01–3.92; Ptrend = 0.801), and statistically significant interactions with regard to risk were observed between the MTHFR A1298C polymorphism and folate (P = 0.024) or vitamin B6 (P = 0.043), and between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and folate (P = 0.043) or vitamin B12 (P = 0.022).
Conclusion
MTHFR polymorphisms and dietary intake of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 had no overall association with breast cancer risk. However, increased risk was observed in total women with the MTR 2756GG genotype and in premenopausal women with high folate intake. These findings, as well as significant interactions between MTHFR polymorphisms and B vitamins, warrant further investigation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-122
PMCID: PMC2684745  PMID: 19389261
3.  Intake of vitamins D and A, and calcium and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: San Francisco Bay Area population-based case-control study 
Nutrition and Cancer  2012;64(5):674-684.
Several nutrients identified as potentially cancer protective have been inconsistently associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk. Dietary history data, including use of vitamin supplements, were collected using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire administered during in-person interviews with 4,133 participants (2052 cases, 2081 controls) in a San Francisco Bay Area population-based case-control. Data were used to determine the association of intake levels of vitamins D, A and calcium with risk of NHL and NHL subtypes. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed as estimates of relative risk using adjusted unconditional logistic regression. Increasing vitamin D intake from food and supplements was positively associated with NHL risk in men (5th quintile: OR=1.6, 95% CI= 1.0-2.4, Ptrend=0.07) and with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in women and men (5th quintile: OR=1.6, 95% CI=1.0-2.5, Ptrend=0.02), that was largely due to the effect in men (Ptrend=0.03). These results do not support a strong role for vitamin D intake with NHL risk with the exception of a potential association for DLBCL risk in men. Our results should be interpreted conservatively until further investigation in larger pooled studies can be conducted to better assess the role of vitamin D intake in lymphomagenesis.
doi:10.1080/01635581.2012.689916
PMCID: PMC3403694  PMID: 22697504
lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; case-control studies; vitamin D; vitamin A; calcium
4.  MTHFR C677T and postmenopausal breast cancer risk by intakes of one-carbon metabolism nutrients: a nested case-control study 
Introduction
The C677T polymorphism of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene has been hypothesized to increase breast cancer risk. However, results have been inconsistent, and few studies have reported the association by menopausal status or by intakes of nutrients participating in one-carbon metabolism. Our aims were to investigate whether MTHFR C677T was associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk and whether this relation was modified by intakes of folate, methionine, vitamins B2, B6, and B12, and alcohol.
Methods
We studied 318 incident breast cancer cases and 647 age- and race-matched controls participating in a nested case-control study of postmenopausal women within the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort. Genotyping was conducted for MTHFR C677T and dietary and supplemental intakes were ascertained from a validated questionnaire. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using unconditional logistic regression.
Results
We observed a 62% increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women with the TT genotype (OR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.05 to 2.48). Women with a higher number of variant T alleles had higher risk of breast cancer (P for trend = 0.04). Evidence of effect-modification by intakes of some B vitamins was observed. The most pronounced MTHFR-breast cancer risks were observed among women with the lowest intakes of dietary folate (P for interaction = 0.02) and total (diet plus supplemental) vitamin B6 (P for interaction = 0.01), with no significant increased risks among women with higher intakes.
Conclusions
This study provides support that the MTHFR 677TT genotype is associated with a moderate increase in risk of postmenopausal breast cancer and that this risk may be attenuated with high intakes of some one-carbon associated nutrients.
doi:10.1186/bcr2462
PMCID: PMC2815555  PMID: 20030812
5.  Lymphoma in patients treated with anti-TNF: results of the 3-year prospective French RATIO registry 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2009;69(2):400-408.
Objective
To describe cases of lymphoma associated with anti-TNF therapy, identify risk factors, estimate the incidence and compare risks for different anti-TNF agents.
Methods
We designed a national prospective registry (RATIO) from 2004 to 2006, for collecting all cases of lymphoma in French patients receiving anti-TNF therapy, whatever the indication. We conducted a case-control analysis including two controls treated with anti-TNF per case and an incidence study of lymphoma with the French population used as reference..
Results
We collected 38 cases of lymphoma, 31 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) (26 B-cell and 5 T-cell), 5 Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) and 2 Hodgkin’s-like lymphoma. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was detected in 2 of 2 Hodgkin’s-like lymphoma, 3 of 5 HL and one NHL. Patients receiving adalimumab or infliximab had a higher risk than those treated with etanercept: SIR = 4.1 (2.3–7.1) and 3.6 (2.3–5.6) versus 0.9 (0.4– 1.8). The exposure to adalimumab or infliximab versus etanercept was an independent risk factor for lymphoma in the case-control study: odds ratio=4.7 (1.3– 17.7) and 4.1 (1.4–12.5), respectively. The sex and age- adjusted incidence rate of lymphoma was 42.1 per 100,000 patient-years. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) was 2.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7–3.2).
Conclusion
Some lymphomas associated with immunosuppression may occur in patients receiving anti TNF therapy, and the risk of lymphoma is higher with monoclonal-antibody therapy than with soluble-receptor therapy.
doi:10.1136/ard.2009.117762
PMCID: PMC2925048  PMID: 19828563
Aged; Antirheumatic Agents; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Arthritis; drug therapy; Epidemiologic Methods; Female; France; epidemiology; Humans; Immunocompromised Host; Immunosuppressive Agents; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Lymphoma; chemically induced; epidemiology; immunology; Male; Middle Aged; Registries; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; antagonists & inhibitors; Anti-TNF; Lymphoma; Safety; Rheumatoid arthritis; Spondylarthropathies
6.  Vegetables- and antioxidant-related nutrients, genetic susceptibility, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2008;19(5):491-503.
Genetic susceptibility to DNA oxidation, carcinogen metabolism, and altered DNA repair may increase non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk, whereas vegetables-and antioxidant-related nutrients may decrease risk. We evaluated the interaction of a priori-defined dietary factors with 28 polymorphisms in these metabolic pathways. Incident cases (n = 1,141) were identified during 1998–2000 from four cancer registries and frequency-matched to population-based controls (n = 949). We estimated diet-gene joint effects using two-phase semi-parametric maximum-likelihood methods, which utilized genotype data from all subjects as well as 371 cases and 311 controls with available diet information. Adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) were lower among common allele carriers with higher dietary intakes. For the GSTM3 3-base insertion and higher total vegetable intake, the risk was 0.56 (0.35–0.92, p interaction = 0.03); for GSTP1 A114V and higher cruciferous vegetable intake, the risk was 0.52 (0.34–0.81, p interaction = 0.02); for OGG1 S326C and higher daily zinc intake, the risk was 0.71 (0.47–1.08, p interaction = 0.04) and for XRCC3 T241M and higher green leafy vegetable intake, the risk was 0.63 (0.41–0.97, p interaction = 0.03). Calculation of the false positive report probability determined a high likelihood of falsely positive associations. Although most associations have not been examined previously with NHL, our results suggest the examined polymorphisms are not modifiers of the association between vegetable and zinc intakes and NHL risk.
doi:10.1007/s10552-008-9111-3
PMCID: PMC2804920  PMID: 18204928
Brassicaceae; Zinc; GST; OGG1; XRCC
7.  Folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, methionine and alcohol intake in relation to ovarian cancer risk 
Folate, methionine, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 may influence carcinogenesis due to their roles in the one-carbon metabolism pathway which is critical for DNA synthesis, methylation, and repair. Low intake of these nutrients has been associated with an increased risk of breast, colon, and endometrial cancers. Previous studies that have examined the relation between these nutrients and ovarian cancer risk have been inconsistent and have had limited power to examine the relation by histologic subtype. We investigated the association between folate, methionine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and alcohol among 1910 women with ovarian cancer and 1989 controls from a case-control study conducted in eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1992 to 2008. Diet was assessed via food frequency questionnaire. Participants were asked to recall diet one-year before diagnosis or interview. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). We also examined whether the associations varied by ovarian cancer histologies using polytomous logistic regression. We observed an inverse association between dietary vitamin B6 (covariate-adjusted OR=0.76, 95% CI 0.64–0.92; ptrend=0.002) and methionine intake (covariate-adjusted OR=0.72, 95% CI=0.60–0.87; ptrend<0.001) and ovarian cancer risk comparing the highest to lowest quartile. The association with dietary vitamin B6 was strongest for serous borderline (covariate-adjusted OR=0.49, 95% CI=0.32–0.77; ptrend=0.001) and serous invasive (covariate-adjusted OR=0.74, 95% CI=0.58–0.94; ptrend=0.012) subtypes. Overall, we observed no significant association between folate and ovarian cancer risk. One-carbon metabolism related nutrients, especially vitamin B6 and methionine, may lower ovarian cancer risk.
doi:10.1002/ijc.26455
PMCID: PMC3288483  PMID: 21953625
ovarian cancer; folate; alcohol; methionine; B-vitamins
8.  Gene Variants in the Folate-mediated One-carbon Metabolism (FOCM) Pathway as Risk Factors for Conotruncal Heart Defects 
We evaluated 35 variants among four folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism pathway genes, MTHFD1, SHMT1, MTHFR, and DHFR as risk factors for conotruncal heart defects. Cases with a diagnosis of single gene disorders or chromosomal aneusomies were excluded. Controls were randomly selected from area hospitals in proportion to their contribution to the total population of live-born infants. Odds Ratios (OR) and the 95% confidence intervals were computed for each genotype (homozygous variant or heterozygote, versus homozygous wildtype) and for increase of each less common allele (log-additive model). Interactions between each variant and three folate intake variables (maternal multivitamin use, maternal dietary folate intake, and combined maternal folate intake) were also evaluated under the log-additive model. In general, we did not identify notable associations. The A allele of MTHFD1 rs11627387 was associated with a 1.7-fold increase in conotruncal defects risk in both Hispanic mothers (OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.1∼2.5) and Hispanic infants (OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.2∼2.3). The T allele of MTHFR rs1801133 was associated with a 2.8-fold increase of risk among Hispanic women whose dietary folate intake was ≤ 25th centile. The C allele of MTHFR rs1801131 was associated with a two-fold increase of risk (OR=2.0, 95%CI=1.0∼3.9) only among those whose dietary folate intake was >25th centile. Our study suggested that MTHFD1 rs11627387 may be associated with risk of conotruncal defects through both maternal and offspring genotype effect among the Hispanics. Maternal functional variants in MTHFR gene may interact with dietary folate intake and modify the conotruncal defects risk in the offspring.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.35313
PMCID: PMC3331895  PMID: 22495907
conotruncal defects; one carbon metabolism; folate; MTHFR; MTHFD1; DHFR; SHMT1
9.  Clinical Utility of Vitamin D Testing 
Executive Summary
This report from the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) was intended to evaluate the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in average risk Canadians and in those with kidney disease. As a separate analysis, this report also includes a systematic literature review of the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in these two subgroups.
This evaluation did not set out to determine the serum vitamin D thresholds that might apply to non-bone health outcomes. For bone health outcomes, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found to support a target serum level above 50 nmol/L. Similarly, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found to support vitamin D’s effects in non-bone health outcomes, other than falls.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a lipid soluble vitamin that acts as a hormone. It stimulates intestinal calcium absorption and is important in maintaining adequate phosphate levels for bone mineralization, bone growth, and remodelling. It’s also believed to be involved in the regulation of cell growth proliferation and apoptosis (programmed cell death), as well as modulation of the immune system and other functions. Alone or in combination with calcium, Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the risk of fractures in elderly men (≥ 65 years), postmenopausal women, and the risk of falls in community-dwelling seniors. However, in a comprehensive systematic review, inconsistent results were found concerning the effects of vitamin D in conditions such as cancer, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found concerning the effects of vitamin D in such non-bone health outcomes. Given the uncertainties surrounding the effects of vitamin D in non-bone health related outcomes, it was decided that this evaluation should focus on falls and the effects of vitamin D in bone health and exclusively within average-risk individuals and patients with kidney disease.
Synthesis of vitamin D occurs naturally in the skin through exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from sunlight, but it can also be obtained from dietary sources including fortified foods, and supplements. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, fish liver oil, and some types of mushrooms. Since it is usually difficult to obtain sufficient vitamin D from non-fortified foods, either due to low content or infrequent use, most vitamin D is obtained from fortified foods, exposure to sunlight, and supplements.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Vitamin D deficiency may lead to rickets in infants and osteomalacia in adults. Factors believed to be associated with vitamin D deficiency include:
darker skin pigmentation,
winter season,
living at higher latitudes,
skin coverage,
kidney disease,
malabsorption syndromes such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and
genetic factors.
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to either renal losses or decreased synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.
Health Canada currently recommends that, until the daily recommended intakes (DRI) for vitamin D are updated, Canada’s Food Guide (Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide) should be followed with respect to vitamin D intake. Issued in 2007, the Guide recommends that Canadians consume two cups (500 ml) of fortified milk or fortified soy beverages daily in order to obtain a daily intake of 200 IU. In addition, men and women over the age of 50 should take 400 IU of vitamin D supplements daily. Additional recommendations were made for breastfed infants.
A Canadian survey evaluated the median vitamin D intake derived from diet alone (excluding supplements) among 35,000 Canadians, 10,900 of which were from Ontario. Among Ontarian males ages 9 and up, the median daily dietary vitamin D intake ranged between 196 IU and 272 IU per day. Among females, it varied from 152 IU to 196 IU per day. In boys and girls ages 1 to 3, the median daily dietary vitamin D intake was 248 IU, while among those 4 to 8 years it was 224 IU.
Vitamin D Testing
Two laboratory tests for vitamin D are available, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, referred to as 25(OH)D, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Vitamin D status is assessed by measuring the serum 25(OH)D levels, which can be assayed using radioimmunoassays, competitive protein-binding assays (CPBA), high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). These may yield different results with inter-assay variation reaching up to 25% (at lower serum levels) and intra-assay variation reaching 10%.
The optimal serum concentration of vitamin D has not been established and it may change across different stages of life. Similarly, there is currently no consensus on target serum vitamin D levels. There does, however, appear to be a consensus on the definition of vitamin D deficiency at 25(OH)D < 25 nmol/l, which is based on the risk of diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia. Higher target serum levels have also been proposed based on subclinical endpoints such as parathyroid hormone (PTH). Therefore, in this report, two conservative target serum levels have been adopted, 25 nmol/L (based on the risk of rickets and osteomalacia), and 40 to 50 nmol/L (based on vitamin D’s interaction with PTH).
Ontario Context
Volume & Cost
The volume of vitamin D tests done in Ontario has been increasing over the past 5 years with a steep increase of 169,000 tests in 2007 to more than 393,400 tests in 2008. The number of tests continues to rise with the projected number of tests for 2009 exceeding 731,000. According to the Ontario Schedule of Benefits, the billing cost of each test is $51.7 for 25(OH)D (L606, 100 LMS units, $0.517/unit) and $77.6 for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (L605, 150 LMS units, $0.517/unit). Province wide, the total annual cost of vitamin D testing has increased from approximately $1.7M in 2004 to over $21.0M in 2008. The projected annual cost for 2009 is approximately $38.8M.
Evidence-Based Analysis
The objective of this report is to evaluate the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in the average risk population and in those with kidney disease. As a separate analysis, the report also sought to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada. The specific research questions addressed were thus:
What is the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in the average risk population and in subjects with kidney disease?
What is the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the average risk population in Canada?
What is the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with kidney disease in Canada?
Clinical utility was defined as the ability to improve bone health outcomes with the focus on the average risk population (excluding those with osteoporosis) and patients with kidney disease.
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on July 17th, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1998 until July 17th, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Observational studies that evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada in the population of interest were included based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria listed below. The baseline values were used in this report in the case of interventional studies that evaluated the effect of vitamin D intake on serum levels. Studies published in grey literature were included if no studies published in the peer-reviewed literature were identified for specific outcomes or subgroups.
Considering that vitamin D status may be affected by factors such as latitude, sun exposure, food fortification, among others, the search focused on prevalence studies published in Canada. In cases where no Canadian prevalence studies were identified, the decision was made to include studies from the United States, given the similar policies in vitamin D food fortification and recommended daily intake.
Inclusion Criteria
Studies published in English
Publications that reported the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada
Studies that included subjects from the general population or with kidney disease
Studies in children or adults
Studies published between January 1998 and July 17th 2009
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that included subjects defined according to a specific disease other than kidney disease
Letters, comments, and editorials
Studies that measured the serum vitamin D levels but did not report the percentage of subjects with serum levels below a given threshold
Outcomes of Interest
Prevalence of serum vitamin D less than 25 nmol/L
Prevalence of serum vitamin D less than 40 to 50 nmol/L
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was the metabolite used to assess vitamin D status. Results from adult and children studies were reported separately. Subgroup analyses according to factors that affect serum vitamin D levels (e.g., seasonal effects, skin pigmentation, and vitamin D intake) were reported if enough information was provided in the studies
Quality of Evidence
The quality of the prevalence studies was based on the method of subject recruitment and sampling, possibility of selection bias, and generalizability to the source population. The overall quality of the trials was examined according to the GRADE Working Group criteria.
Summary of Findings
Fourteen prevalence studies examining Canadian adults and children met the eligibility criteria. With the exception of one longitudinal study, the studies had a cross-sectional design. Two studies were conducted among Canadian adults with renal disease but none studied Canadian children with renal disease (though three such US studies were included). No systematic reviews or health technology assessments that evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada were identified. Two studies were published in grey literature, consisting of a Canadian survey designed to measure serum vitamin D levels and a study in infants presented as an abstract at a conference. Also included were the results of vitamin D tests performed in community laboratories in Ontario between October 2008 and September 2009 (provided by the Ontario Association of Medical Laboratories).
Different threshold levels were used in the studies, thus we reported the percentage of subjects with serum levels of between 25 and 30 nmol/L and between 37.5 and 50 nmol/L. Some studies stratified the results according to factors affecting vitamin D status and two used multivariate models to investigate the effects of these characteristics (including age, season, BMI, vitamin D intake, skin pigmentation, and season) on serum 25(OH)D levels. It’s unclear, however, if these studies were adequately powered for these subgroup analyses.
Study participants generally consisted of healthy, community-dwelling subjects and most excluded individuals with conditions or medications that alter vitamin D or bone metabolism, such as kidney or liver disease. Although the studies were conducted in different parts of Canada, fewer were performed in Northern latitudes, i.e. above 53°N, which is equivalent to the city of Edmonton.
Adults
Serum vitamin D levels of < 25 to 30 nmol/L were observed in 0% to 25.5% of the subjects included in five studies; the weighted average was 3.8% (95% CI: 3.0, 4.6). The preliminary results of the Canadian survey showed that approximately 5% of the subjects had serum levels below 29.5 nmol/L. The results of over 600,000 vitamin D tests performed in Ontarian community laboratories between October 2008 and September 2009 showed that 2.6% of adults (> 18 years) had serum levels < 25 nmol/L.
The prevalence of serum vitamin D levels below 37.5-50 nmol/L reported among studies varied widely, ranging from 8% to 73.6% with a weighted average of 22.5%. The preliminary results of the CHMS survey showed that between 10% and 25% of subjects had serum levels below 37 to 48 nmol/L. The results of the vitamin D tests performed in community laboratories showed that 10% to 25% of the individuals had serum levels between 39 and 50 nmol/L.
In an attempt to explain this inter-study variation, the study results were stratified according to factors affecting serum vitamin D levels, as summarized below. These results should be interpreted with caution as none were adjusted for other potential confounders. Adequately powered multivariate analyses would be necessary to determine the contribution of risk factors to lower serum 25(OH)D levels.
Seasonal variation
Three adult studies evaluating serum vitamin D levels in different seasons observed a trend towards a higher prevalence of serum levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L during the winter and spring months, specifically 21% to 39%, compared to 8% to 14% in the summer. The weighted average was 23.6% over the winter/spring months and 9.6% over summer. The difference between the seasons was not statistically significant in one study and not reported in the other two studies.
Skin Pigmentation
Four studies observed a trend toward a higher prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L in subjects with darker skin pigmentation compared to those with lighter skin pigmentation, with weighted averages of 46.8% among adults with darker skin colour and 15.9% among those with fairer skin.
Vitamin D intake and serum levels
Four adult studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels according to vitamin D intake and showed an overall trend toward a lower prevalence of serum levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L with higher levels of vitamin D intake. One study observed a dose-response relationship between higher vitamin D intake from supplements, diet (milk), and sun exposure (results not adjusted for other variables). It was observed that subjects taking 50 to 400 IU or > 400 IU of vitamin D per day had a 6% and 3% prevalence of serum vitamin D level < 40 nmol/L, respectively, versus 29% in subjects not on vitamin D supplementation. Similarly, among subjects drinking one or two glasses of milk per day, the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 40 nmol/L was found to be 15%, versus 6% in those who drink more than two glasses of milk per day and 21% among those who do not drink milk. On the other hand, one study observed little variation in serum vitamin D levels during winter according to milk intake, with the proportion of subjects exhibiting vitamin D levels of < 40 nmol/L being 21% among those drinking 0-2 glasses per day, 26% among those drinking > 2 glasses, and 20% among non-milk drinkers.
The overall quality of evidence for the studies conducted among adults was deemed to be low, although it was considered moderate for the subgroups of skin pigmentation and seasonal variation.
Newborn, Children and Adolescents
Five Canadian studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels in newborns, children, and adolescents. In four of these, it was found that between 0 and 36% of children exhibited deficiency across age groups with a weighted average of 6.4%. The results of over 28,000 vitamin D tests performed in children 0 to 18 years old in Ontario laboratories (Oct. 2008 to Sept. 2009) showed that 4.4% had serum levels of < 25 nmol/L.
According to two studies, 32% of infants 24 to 30 months old and 35.3% of newborns had serum vitamin D levels of < 50 nmol/L. Two studies of children 2 to 16 years old reported that 24.5% and 34% had serum vitamin D levels below 37.5 to 40 nmol/L. In both studies, older children exhibited a higher prevalence than younger children, with weighted averages 34.4% and 10.3%, respectively. The overall weighted average of the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L among pediatric studies was 25.8%. The preliminary results of the Canadian survey showed that between 10% and 25% of subjects between 6 and 11 years (N= 435) had serum levels below 50 nmol/L, while for those 12 to 19 years, 25% to 50% exhibited serum vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L.
The effects of season, skin pigmentation, and vitamin D intake were not explored in Canadian pediatric studies. A Canadian surveillance study did, however, report 104 confirmed cases1 (2.9 cases per 100,000 children) of vitamin D-deficient rickets among Canadian children age 1 to 18 between 2002 and 2004, 57 (55%) of which from Ontario. The highest incidence occurred among children living in the North, i.e., the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. In 92 (89%) cases, skin pigmentation was categorized as intermediate to dark, 98 (94%) had been breastfed, and 25 (24%) were offspring of immigrants to Canada. There were no cases of rickets in children receiving ≥ 400 IU VD supplementation/day.
Overall, the quality of evidence of the studies of children was considered very low.
Kidney Disease
Adults
Two studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels in Canadian adults with kidney disease. The first included 128 patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3 to 5, 38% of which had serum vitamin D levels of < 37.5 nmol/L (measured between April and July). This is higher than what was reported in Canadian studies of the general population during the summer months (i.e. between 8% and 14%). In the second, which examined 419 subjects who had received a renal transplantation (mean time since transplantation: 7.2 ± 6.4 years), the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 40 nmol/L was 27.3%. The authors concluded that the prevalence observed in the study population was similar to what is expected in the general population.
Children
No studies evaluating serum vitamin D levels in Canadian pediatric patients with kidney disease could be identified, although three such US studies among children with chronic kidney disease stages 1 to 5 were. The mean age varied between 10.7 and 12.5 years in two studies but was not reported in the third. Across all three studies, the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels below the range of 37.5 to 50 nmol/L varied between 21% and 39%, which is not considerably different from what was observed in studies of healthy Canadian children (24% to 35%).
Overall, the quality of evidence in adults and children with kidney disease was considered very low.
Clinical Utility of Vitamin D Testing
A high quality comprehensive systematic review published in August 2007 evaluated the association between serum vitamin D levels and different bone health outcomes in different age groups. A total of 72 studies were included. The authors observed that there was a trend towards improvement in some bone health outcomes with higher serum vitamin D levels. Nevertheless, precise thresholds for improved bone health outcomes could not be defined across age groups. Further, no new studies on the association were identified during an updated systematic review on vitamin D published in July 2009.
With regards to non-bone health outcomes, there is no high or even moderate quality evidence that supports the effectiveness of vitamin D in outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular outcomes, and all-cause mortality. Even if there is any residual uncertainty, there is no evidence that testing vitamin D levels encourages adherence to Health Canada’s guidelines for vitamin D intake. A normal serum vitamin D threshold required to prevent non-bone health related conditions cannot be resolved until a causal effect or correlation has been demonstrated between vitamin D levels and these conditions. This is as an ongoing research issue around which there is currently too much uncertainty to base any conclusions that would support routine vitamin D testing.
For patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), there is again no high or moderate quality evidence supporting improved outcomes through the use of calcitriol or vitamin D analogs. In the absence of such data, the authors of the guidelines for CKD patients consider it best practice to maintain serum calcium and phosphate at normal levels, while supplementation with active vitamin D should be considered if serum PTH levels are elevated. As previously stated, the authors of guidelines for CKD patients believe that there is not enough evidence to support routine vitamin D [25(OH)D] testing. According to what is stated in the guidelines, decisions regarding the commencement or discontinuation of treatment with calcitriol or vitamin D analogs should be based on serum PTH, calcium, and phosphate levels.
Limitations associated with the evidence of vitamin D testing include ambiguities in the definition of an ‘adequate threshold level’ and both inter- and intra- assay variability. The MAS considers both the lack of a consensus on the target serum vitamin D levels and assay limitations directly affect and undermine the clinical utility of testing. The evidence supporting the clinical utility of vitamin D testing is thus considered to be of very low quality.
Daily vitamin D intake, either through diet or supplementation, should follow Health Canada’s recommendations for healthy individuals of different age groups. For those with medical conditions such as renal disease, liver disease, and malabsorption syndromes, and for those taking medications that may affect vitamin D absorption/metabolism, physician guidance should be followed with respect to both vitamin D testing and supplementation.
Conclusions
Studies indicate that vitamin D, alone or in combination with calcium, may decrease the risk of fractures and falls among older adults.
There is no high or moderate quality evidence to support the effectiveness of vitamin D in other outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular outcomes, and all-cause mortality.
Studies suggest that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canadian adults and children is relatively low (approximately 5%), and between 10% and 25% have serum levels below 40 to 50 nmol/L (based on very low to low grade evidence).
Given the limitations associated with serum vitamin D measurement, ambiguities in the definition of a ‘target serum level’, and the availability of clear guidelines on vitamin D supplementation from Health Canada, vitamin D testing is not warranted for the average risk population.
Health Canada has issued recommendations regarding the adequate daily intake of vitamin D, but current studies suggest that the mean dietary intake is below these recommendations. Accordingly, Health Canada’s guidelines and recommendations should be promoted.
Based on a moderate level of evidence, individuals with darker skin pigmentation appear to have a higher risk of low serum vitamin D levels than those with lighter skin pigmentation and therefore may need to be specially targeted with respect to optimum vitamin D intake. The cause-effect of this association is currently unclear.
Individuals with medical conditions such as renal and liver disease, osteoporosis, and malabsorption syndromes, as well as those taking medications that may affect vitamin D absorption/metabolism, should follow their physician’s guidance concerning both vitamin D testing and supplementation.
PMCID: PMC3377517  PMID: 23074397
10.  Polymorphic variation in NFKB1 and other aspirin-related genes and risk of Hodgkin lymphoma 
We found that regular use of aspirin may reduce the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), a common cancer of adolescents and young adults in the US. To explore possible biological mechanisms underlying this association, we investigated whether polymorphic variation in genes involved in nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation and inhibition, other inflammatory pathways, and aspirin metabolism influences HL risk. Twenty single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in seven genes were genotyped in DNA from 473 classical HL cases and 373 controls enrolled between 1997 and 2000 in a population-based case-control study in the Boston, Massachusetts, metropolitan area and the state of Connecticut. We selected target genes and SNPs primarily using a candidate-SNP approach and estimated haplotypes using the expectation-maximization algorithm. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for associations with HL risk. HL risk was significantly associated with rs1585215 in NFKB1 (AG vs. AA: OR=2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.5–2.9; GG vs. AA: OR=3.5, 95% CI=2.2–5.7, Ptrend=1.7×10−8) and with NFKB1 haplotypes (Pglobal=6.0×10−21). Similar associations were apparent across categories of age, sex, tumor Epstein-Barr virus status, tumor histology, and regular aspirin use, although statistical power was limited for stratified analyses. Nominally significant associations with HL risk were detected for SNPs in NFKBIA and CYP2C9. HL risk was not associated with SNPs in IKKA/CHUK, PTGS2/COX2, UDP1A6, or LTC4S. In conclusion, genetic variation in the NF-κB pathway appears to influence risk of HL. Pooled studies are needed to detect any heterogeneity in the association with NF-κB across HL subgroups, including aspirin users and non-users.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-1130
PMCID: PMC2720066  PMID: 19223558
Hodgkin lymphoma; genetic polymorphism; nuclear factor kappa B; NFKB1 protein; aspirin; case-control
11.  Antibodies against six human herpesviruses in relation to seven cancers in black South Africans: A case control study 
Background
Infections with certain human herpesviruses have been established as risk factors for some cancer types. For example, Epstein-Barr Virus is considered a cause of Burkitt's lymphoma and other immunosuppression related lymphomas, Hodgkin lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal cancer. Several other human herpesviruses have been linked to cancers but the totality of evidence is inconclusive.
Methods
We conducted a systematic sub-study from within an ongoing case control study of adult black South Africans to investigate the relationship between antibodies to six human herpesviruses and seven cancer groups that may be caused by infectious agents. Subjects had incident cancers of the oral cavity(n = 88), the cervix(n = 53), the prostate(n = 66), Hodgkin lymphoma(n = 83), non-Hodgkin lymphoma(n = 80), multiple myeloma(n = 94) or leukaemia(n = 203). For comparison, patients with other cancers(n = 95) or cardiovascular disease(n = 101) were randomly selected from within the study. Patients were interviewed and their blood was tested for IgG antibodies against HSV-1, HSV-2, VZV, EBV-EBNA, CMV and HHV-6 using enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. Because these viruses are highly prevalent in this population, optical density results from the assays were used as an indirect, quantitative measure of antibody level.
Results
There was significant variation in the mean log antibody measures for HSV-2, VZV, CMV and HHV-6 between the disease groups. However, none of the specific cancer groups had significantly higher mean log antibody measures for any of the viruses compared to either control group. In a more detailed examination of seven associations between cancers and herpesviruses for which there had been prior reports, two statistically significant associations were found: a decreasing risk of myeloid leukaemia and an increasing risk of oral cancer with increasing tertiles of antibodies against HHV-6 compared to all other patients (p-trend = 0.03 and 0.02, respectively). Odds ratios for the top tertile compared to the bottom tertile were 0.58 (95%CI 0.3 – 1.0) for myeloid leukaemia and 2.21 (95% CI 1.1 – 4.3) for oral cancer.
Conclusion
In this population, using these tests for IgG, neither mean antibody measure nor high antibody measure against human herpesviruses 1–6 was strongly associated with any of the seven cancer groups. However, we may not have had sufficient power to detect weak associations or associations with a sub-type of cancer if they were present.
doi:10.1186/1750-9378-1-2
PMCID: PMC1635002  PMID: 17150131
12.  Phytanic acid and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma 
Carcinogenesis  2012;34(1):170-175.
Greater consumption of red meat, processed meat and dairy products has been associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in several previous reports. Phytanic acid, a saturated fatty acid obtained primarily through the consumption of ruminant meat and dairy products, may offer a potential underlying mechanism for these associations. In a population-based case–control study of 336 cases and 460 controls conducted in Nebraska during 1999–2002, we examined whether phytanic acid-containing foods or total phytanic acid intake, estimated from a food frequency questionnaire and the published phytanic acid values of 151 food items, were associated with increased NHL risk. Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals for overall NHL and the common NHL histologic subtypes. In multivariable models, higher intakes of density-adjusted beef [ORT3 vs. T1 = 1.5 (1.1–2.2); Ptrend = 0.02], total dairy products [OR = 1.5 (1.1–2.2); Ptrend = 0.02) and milk [OR = 1.6 (1.1–2.3); Ptrend = 0.01] were associated with an increased risk of NHL. Intake of total phytanic acid was positively associated with NHL risk [OR = 1.5 (1.0–2.1); Ptrend = 0.04]. In analyses stratified by NHL subtype, greater consumption of beef was associated with an increased risk of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and greater consumption of milk was associated with an increased risk of follicular lymphoma (FL). Total phytanic acid intake was associated with an increased risk of FL and small lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Our results provide support that total phytanic acid and phytanic acid-containing foods may increase NHL risk.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgs315
PMCID: PMC3534193  PMID: 23042099
13.  Cytokine signaling pathway polymorphisms and AIDS-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(7):1025-1033.
Cytokine stimulation of B-cell proliferation may be an important etiologic mechanism for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The Epstein-Barr virus may be a co-factor, particularly for primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, which are uniformly EBV-positive in the setting of AIDS. Thus, we examined associations of genetic variation in IL10 and related cytokine signaling molecules (IL10RA, CXCL12, IL13, IL4, IL4R, CCL5 and BCL6) with AIDS-related NHL risk and evaluated differences between primary CNS and systemic tumors. We compared 160 Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) participants with incident lymphomas, of which 90 followed another AIDS diagnosis, to HIV-1-seropositive controls matched on duration of lymphoma-free survival post-HIV-1 infection (N=160) or post-AIDS diagnosis (N=90). We fit conditional logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95 percent confidence intervals (95%CIs). Carriage of at least one copy of the T allele for the IL10 rs1800871 (as compared to no copies) was associated with decreased AIDS-NHL risk specific to lymphomas arising from the CNS (CC vs. CT/TT: OR=0.3; 95%CI: 0.1, 0.7) but not systemically (CC vs. CT/TT: OR=1.0; 95%CI: 0.5, 1.9) (Pheterogeneity=0.03). Carriage of two copies of the “low IL10” haplotype rs1800896_A/rs1800871_T/rs1800872_A was associated with decreased lymphoma risk that varied by number of copies (Ptrend=0.02). None of the ORs for the other studied polymorphisms was significantly different from 1.0. Excessive IL10 response to HIV-1 infection may be associated with increased risk of NHL, particularly in the CNS. IL10 dysregulation may be an important etiologic pathway for EBV-related lymphomagenesis.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e328332d5b1
PMCID: PMC3950937  PMID: 20299965
cytokine; SNPs; AIDS-related lymphoma
14.  Investigating Multiple Candidate Genes and Nutrients in the Folate Metabolism Pathway to Detect Genetic and Nutritional Risk Factors for Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53475.
Purpose
Folate metabolism, with its importance to DNA repair, provides a promising region for genetic investigation of lung cancer risk. This project investigates genes (MTHFR, MTR, MTRR, CBS, SHMT1, TYMS), folate metabolism related nutrients (B vitamins, methionine, choline, and betaine) and their gene-nutrient interactions.
Methods
We analyzed 115 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 15 nutrients from 1239 and 1692 non-Hispanic white, histologically-confirmed lung cancer cases and controls, respectively, using stochastic search variable selection (a Bayesian model averaging approach). Analyses were stratified by current, former, and never smoking status.
Results
Rs6893114 in MTRR (odds ratio [OR] = 2.10; 95% credible interval [CI]: 1.20–3.48) and alcohol (drinkers vs. non-drinkers, OR = 0.48; 95% CI: 0.26–0.84) were associated with lung cancer risk in current smokers. Rs13170530 in MTRR (OR = 1.70; 95% CI: 1.10–2.87) and two SNP*nutrient interactions [betaine*rs2658161 (OR = 0.42; 95% CI: 0.19–0.88) and betaine*rs16948305 (OR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.30–0.91)] were associated with lung cancer risk in former smokers. SNPs in MTRR (rs13162612; OR = 0.25; 95% CI: 0.11–0.58; rs10512948; OR = 0.61; 95% CI: 0.41–0.90; rs2924471; OR = 3.31; 95% CI: 1.66–6.59), and MTHFR (rs9651118; OR = 0.63; 95% CI: 0.43–0.95) and three SNP*nutrient interactions (choline*rs10475407; OR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.11–2.42; choline*rs11134290; OR = 0.51; 95% CI: 0.27–0.92; and riboflavin*rs8767412; OR = 0.40; 95% CI: 0.15–0.95) were associated with lung cancer risk in never smokers.
Conclusions
This study identified possible nutrient and genetic factors related to folate metabolism associated with lung cancer risk, which could potentially lead to nutritional interventions tailored by smoking status to reduce lung cancer risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053475
PMCID: PMC3553105  PMID: 23372658
15.  Dietary Vitamin D and Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The Multiethnic Cohort 
The British journal of nutrition  2009;103(4):581-584.
This study explored the association between dietary vitamin D and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk. The Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) includes more than 215,000 Caucasians, African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, and Latinos, aged 45-75. After 10 years of follow-up, 939 incident NHL cases were identified. Risk was estimated using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for possible confounders. Vitamin D intake was not associated with NHL risk in the entire cohort (Ptrend=0.72 for men and Ptrend=0.83 for women), but significantly lowered disease risk in African American women (HR=0.50, 95% CI: 0.28-0.90, Ptrend=0.03) and was borderline protective in African American men (HR=0.68; 95% CI: 0.39-1.19; Ptrend=0.31) when the highest to the lowest tertile was compared. In NHL subtype analyses, a 19%, 36%, and 32% lowered risk, although not significant, was observed for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and small lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia in women, respectively. High dietary intake of vitamin D did not show a protective effect against NHL within the MEC except among African Americans, possibly because vitamin D production due to sun exposure is limited in this population.
doi:10.1017/S0007114509992029
PMCID: PMC2935689  PMID: 19781122
non-Hodgkin lymphoma; dietary vitamin D; prospective studies; ethnicity
16.  IL10 and TNF variants and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma among three Asian populations 
Genetic variation in immune-related genes, such as IL10 and TNF, have been associated with the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in Caucasian populations. To test the hypothesis that IL10 and TNF polymorphisms may be associated with NHL risk in Asian populations, we genotyped 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the IL10 and TNF/LTA loci in three independent case–control studies (2635 cases and 4234 controls). IL10 rs1800871, rs1800872, and rs1800896 were genotyped in all three studies, while 5 of the remaining SNPs were genotyped in two studies, and 12 in a single study. IL10 rs1800896 was associated with B cell lymphoma [per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.25, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.08–1.45; ptrend = 0.003], specifically diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) (per-allele OR = 1.29, 95 % CI 1.08–1.53; ptrend = 0.004), as well as T cell lymphoma (per-allele OR = 1.44, 95 % CI 1.13–1.82; ptrend = 0.003). TNF rs1800629, which was genotyped in only two of our studies, was also associated with B cell lymphoma (per-allele OR = 0.77, 95 % CI 0.64–0.91; ptrend = 0.003), specifically DLBCL (per-allele OR = 0.69, 95 % CI 0.55–0.86; ptrend = 0.001). Our findings suggest that genetic variation in IL10 and TNF may also play a role in lymphomagenesis in Asian populations.
doi:10.1007/s12185-013-1345-5
PMCID: PMC4241501  PMID: 23640160
NHL; DLBCL; Subtype; Asia; IL10; TNF
17.  Gene-diet-interactions in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism modify colon cancer risk 
Molecular nutrition & food research  2012;57(4):10.1002/mnfr.201200180.
Scope
The importance of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism (FOCM) in colorectal carcinogenesis is emphasized by observations that high dietary folate intake is associated with decreased risk of colon cancer (CC) and its precursors. Additionally, polymorphisms in FOCM-related genes have been repeatedly associated with risk, supporting a causal relationship between folate and colorectal carcinogenesis.
Methods and results
We investigated 10 candidate polymorphisms with defined or probable functional impact in eight FOCM-related genes (SHMT1, DHFR, DNMT1, MTHFD1, MTHFR, MTRR, TCN2 and TDG) in 1609 CC cases and 1974 controls for association with CC risk and for interaction with dietary factors. No polymorphism was statistically significantly associated with overall risk of CC. However, statistically significant interactions modifying CC risk were observed for DNMT1 I311V with dietary folate, methionine, vitamin B2, and vitamin B12 intake and for MTRR I22M with dietary folate, a pre-defined one-carbon dietary pattern, and vitamin B6 intake. We observed statistically significant gene-diet interactions with five additional polymorphisms.
Conclusion
Our results provide evidence that FOCM-related dietary intakes modify the association between CC risk and FOCM allelic variants. These findings add to observations showing that folate-related gene-nutrient interactions play an important role in modifying the risk of CC.
doi:10.1002/mnfr.201200180
PMCID: PMC3850763  PMID: 22961839
Folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism (FOCM); Polymorphisms; Diet; Colon cancer; Interaction
18.  Early life sun exposure, vitamin D-related gene variants, and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2012;23(7):1017-1029.
Purpose
It has been hypothesized that vitamin D mediates the inverse relationship between sun exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk reported in several recent studies. We evaluated the association of self-reported sun exposure at ages <13, 13–21, 22–40, and 41+ years and 19 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 4 candidate genes relevant to vitamin D metabolism (RXR, VDR, CYP24A1, CYP27B1) with NHL risk.
Methods
This analysis included 1,009 newly diagnosed NHL cases and 1,233 frequency-matched controls from an ongoing clinic-based study. Odds ratios (OR), 95 % confidence intervals (CI), and tests for trend were estimated using unconditional logistic regression.
Results
There was a significant decrease in NHL risk with increased sun exposure at ages 13–21 years (OR≥15 vs. ≤3 h/week = 0.68; 95 % CI, 0.43–1.08; ptrend = 0.0025), which attenuated for older ages at exposure. We observed significant main effect associations for 3 SNPs in VDR and 1 SNP in CYP24A1: rs886441 (ORper-allele = 0.82; 95 % CI, 0.70–0.96; p = 0.016), rs3819545 (ORper-allele = 1.24; 95 % CI, 1.10–1.40; p = 0.00043), and rs2239186 (ORper-allele = 1.22; 95 % CI, 1.05–1.41; p = 0.0095) for VDR and rs2762939 (ORper-allele = 0.85; 95 % CI, 0.75–0.98; p = 0.023) for CYP24A1. Moreover, the effect of sun exposure at age 13–21 years on overall NHL risk appears to be modified by germline variation in VDR (rs4516035; pinteraction = 0.0066). Exploratory analysis indicated potential heterogeneity of these associations by NHL subtype.
Conclusion
These results suggest that germline genetic variation in VDR, and therefore the vitamin D pathway, may mediate an association between early life sun exposure and NHL risk.
doi:10.1007/s10552-012-9967-0
PMCID: PMC3589750  PMID: 22544453
Ultraviolet radiation; Vitamin D; VDR; Molecular epidemiology; Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
19.  Homocysteine and Coronary Heart Disease: Meta-analysis of MTHFR Case-Control Studies, Avoiding Publication Bias 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(2):e1001177.
Robert Clarke and colleagues conduct a meta-analysis of unpublished datasets to examine the causal relationship between elevation of homocysteine levels in the blood and the risk of coronary heart disease. Their data suggest that an increase in homocysteine levels is not likely to result in an increase in risk of coronary heart disease.
Background
Moderately elevated blood levels of homocysteine are weakly correlated with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, but causality remains uncertain. When folate levels are low, the TT genotype of the common C677T polymorphism (rs1801133) of the methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) appreciably increases homocysteine levels, so “Mendelian randomization” studies using this variant as an instrumental variable could help test causality.
Methods and Findings
Nineteen unpublished datasets were obtained (total 48,175 CHD cases and 67,961 controls) in which multiple genetic variants had been measured, including MTHFR C677T. These datasets did not include measurements of blood homocysteine, but homocysteine levels would be expected to be about 20% higher with TT than with CC genotype in the populations studied. In meta-analyses of these unpublished datasets, the case-control CHD odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI comparing TT versus CC homozygotes was 1.02 (0.98–1.07; p = 0.28) overall, and 1.01 (0.95–1.07) in unsupplemented low-folate populations. By contrast, in a slightly updated meta-analysis of the 86 published studies (28,617 CHD cases and 41,857 controls), the OR was 1.15 (1.09–1.21), significantly discrepant (p = 0.001) with the OR in the unpublished datasets. Within the meta-analysis of published studies, the OR was 1.12 (1.04–1.21) in the 14 larger studies (those with variance of log OR<0.05; total 13,119 cases) and 1.18 (1.09–1.28) in the 72 smaller ones (total 15,498 cases).
Conclusions
The CI for the overall result from large unpublished datasets shows lifelong moderate homocysteine elevation has little or no effect on CHD. The discrepant overall result from previously published studies reflects publication bias or methodological problems.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. With age, fatty deposits (atherosclerotic plaques) coat the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. The resultant restriction of the heart's blood supply causes shortness of breath, angina (chest pains that are usually relieved by rest), and sometimes fatal heart attacks. Many established risk factors for CHD, including smoking, physical inactivity, being overweight, and eating a fat-rich diet, can be modified by lifestyle changes. Another possible modifiable risk factor for CHD is a high blood level of the amino acid homocysteine. Methylene tetrahydofolate reductase, which is encoded by the MTHFR gene, uses folate to break down and remove homocysteine so fortification of cereals with folate can reduce population homocysteine blood levels. Pooled results from prospective observational studies that have looked for an association between homocysteine levels and later development of CHD suggest that the reduction in homocysteine levels that can be achieved by folate supplementation is associated with an 11% lower CHD risk.
Why Was This Study Done?
Prospective observational studies cannot prove that high homocysteine levels cause CHD because of confounding, the potential presence of other unknown shared characteristics that really cause CHD. However, an approach called “Mendelian randomization” can test whether high blood homocysteine causes CHD. A common genetic variant of the MTHFR gene—the C677T polymorphism—reduces MTHFR efficiency so TT homozygotes (individuals in whom both copies of the MTHFR gene have the nucleotide thymine at position 677; the human genome contains two copies of most genes) have 25% higher blood homocysteine levels than CC homozygotes. In meta-analyses (statistical pooling of the results of several studies) of published Mendelian randomized studies, TT homozygotes have a higher CHD risk than CC homozygotes. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not subject to confounding, so this result suggests that high blood homocysteine causes CHD. But what if only Mendelian randomization studies that found an association have been published? Such publication bias would affect this aggregate result. Here, the researchers investigate the association of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism with CHD in unpublished datasets that have analyzed this polymorphism incidentally during other genetic studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained 19 unpublished datasets that contained data on the MTHFR C677T polymorphism in thousands of people with and without CHD. Meta-analysis of these datasets indicates that the excess CHD risk in TT homozygotes compared to CC homozygotes was 2% (much lower than predicted from the prospective observational studies), a nonsignificant difference (that is, it could have occurred by chance). When the probable folate status of the study populations (based on when national folic acid fortification legislation came into effect) was taken into account, there was still no evidence that TT homozygotes had an excess CHD risk. By contrast, in an updated meta-analysis of 86 published studies of the association of the polymorphism with CHD, the excess CHD risk in TT homozygotes compared to CC homozygotes was 15%. Finally, in a meta-analysis of randomized trials on the use of vitamin B supplements for homocysteine reduction, folate supplementation had no significant effect on the 5-year incidence of CHD.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These analyses of unpublished datasets are consistent with lifelong moderate elevation of homocysteine levels having no significant effect on CHD risk. In other words, these findings indicate that circulating homocysteine levels within the normal range are not causally related to CHD risk. The meta-analysis of the randomized trials of folate supplementation also supports this conclusion. So why is there a discrepancy between these findings and those of meta-analyses of published Mendelian randomization studies? The discrepancy is too large to be dismissed as a chance finding, suggest the researchers, but could be the result of publication bias—some studies might have been prioritized for publication because of the positive nature of their results whereas the unpublished datasets used in this study would not have been affected by any failure to publish null results. Overall, these findings reveal a serious example of publication bias and argue against the use of folate supplements as a means of reducing CHD risk.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001177.
The American Heart Association provides information about CHD and tips on keeping the heart healthy; it also provides information on homocysteine, folic acid, and CHD, general information on supplements and heart health, and personal stories about CHD
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about CHD, including personal stories about CHD
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and keeping the heart healthy
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute also provides information on CHD (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on CHD (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001177
PMCID: PMC3283559  PMID: 22363213
20.  Comprehensive Evaluation of One-Carbon Metabolism Pathway Gene Variants and Renal Cell Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26165.
Introduction
Folate and one-carbon metabolism are linked to cancer risk through their integral role in DNA synthesis and methylation. Variation in one-carbon metabolism genes, particularly MTHFR, has been associated with risk of a number of cancers in epidemiologic studies, but little is known regarding renal cancer.
Methods
Tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) selected to produce high genomic coverage of 13 gene regions of one-carbon metabolism (ALDH1L1, BHMT, CBS, FOLR1, MTHFR, MTR, MTRR, SHMT1, SLC19A1, TYMS) and the closely associated glutathione synthesis pathway (CTH, GGH, GSS) were genotyped for 777 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cases and 1,035 controls in the Central and Eastern European Renal Cancer case-control study. Associations of individual SNPs (n = 163) with RCC risk were calculated using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for age, sex and study center. Minimum p-value permutation (Min-P) tests were used to identify gene regions associated with risk, and haplotypes were evaluated within these genes.
Results
The strongest associations with RCC risk were observed for SLC19A1 (Pmin-P = 0.03) and MTHFR (Pmin-P = 0.13). A haplotype consisting of four SNPs in SLC19A1 (rs12483553, rs2838950, rs2838951, and rs17004785) was associated with a 37% increased risk (p = 0.02), and exploratory stratified analysis suggested the association was only significant among those in the lowest tertile of vegetable intake.
Conclusions
To our knowledge, this is the first study to comprehensively examine variation in one-carbon metabolism genes in relation to RCC risk. We identified a novel association with SLC19A1, which is important for transport of folate into cells. Replication in other populations is required to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026165
PMCID: PMC3198392  PMID: 22039442
21.  Predictors of Vitamin B6 and Folate Concentrations in Older Persons: The InCHIANTI Study 
Clinical chemistry  2006;52(7):1318-1324.
Background
Low dietary intake and low serum concentrations of vitamin B6 and/or folate are associated with increased risk of vascular events, possibly because of their association with inflammation, which plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases.
Methods
Using data from 1320 participants in the population-based InCHIANTI study (586 men and 734 women; median age, 69 years; range, 21–102 years) for whom complete data on folate, vitamin B6, inflammatory markers, 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T sequence variant, and important covariates were available, we evaluated the association of inflammatory markers with circulating concentrations of vitamin B6 and folate, independently of dietary vitamin intake, circulating vitamin concentrations, and MTHFR C677T sequence variant.
Results
According to multiple linear regression analysis, C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 receptor were strongly and negatively associated with circulating vitamin B6 but not with folate concentrations, independent of age, sex, serum creatinine, serum albumin, total energy intake, smoking history, dietary nutrient intake, and circulating homocysteine and vitamin concentrations. Serum folate concentrations were related to MTHFR 677 TT genotype in persons with folate intake in the lowest tertile (<221.2 μg/day). Vitamin C and retinol intakes were strongly and positively associated with serum folate concentrations independent of age, sex, serum creatinine, serum albumin, total energy intake, smoking history, homocysteine plasma concentrations, dietary nutrient intakes, serum vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 concentrations, and MTHFR C677T sequence variant.
Conclusions
Low serum vitamin B6, but not serum folate, concentrations are independent correlates of the proinflammatory state, and both are influenced by antioxidant reserves.
doi:10.1373/clinchem.2005.066217
PMCID: PMC2645619  PMID: 16690736
22.  Antioxidant Intake from Fruits, Vegetables and Other Sources and Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The Iowa Women's Health Study 
Antioxidant nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, and other foods are thought to inhibit carcinogenesis and to influence immune status. We evaluated the association of these factors with risk of NHL overall and for diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) and follicular lymphoma specifically in a prospective cohort of 35,159 Iowa women aged 55–69 years when enrolled at baseline in 1986. Diet was ascertained using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Through 2005, 415 cases of NHL (including 184 DLBCL and 90 follicular) were identified. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using Cox regression, adjusting for age and total energy. The strongest associations of antioxidants with risk of NHL (RR for highest versus lowest quartile; p for trend) were observed for dietary vitamin C (RR=0.78; p=0.044), α-carotene (RR=0.71; p=0.015), proanthocyanidins (RR=0.70; p=0.0024), and dietary manganese (RR=0.62; p=0.010). There were no associations with multivitamin use or supplemental intake of vitamins C, E, selenium, zinc, copper or manganese. From a food perspective, greater intake of total fruits and vegetables (RR=0.69; p=0.011), yellow/orange (RR=0.72; p=0.015) and cruciferous (RR=0.82; p=0.017) vegetables, broccoli (RR=0.72; p=0.018), and apple juice/cider (RR=0.65; p=0.026) were associated with lower NHL risk; there were no strong associations for other antioxidant-rich foods, including whole grains, chocolate, tea or nuts. Overall, these associations were mainly observed for follicular lymphoma, and were weaker or not apparent for DLBCL. In conclusion, these results support a role for vegetables and perhaps fruits, and associated antioxidants from food sources, as protective factors against the development of NHL and follicular lymphoma in particular.
doi:10.1002/ijc.24830
PMCID: PMC2798902  PMID: 19685491
antioxidants; cohort studies; fruits; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; vegetables
23.  Intake of dietary fat and vitamin in relation to breast cancer risk in Korean women: a case-control study. 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2003;18(4):534-540.
To investigate association between breast cancer risk and nutrients intake in Korean women, a case-control study was carried out, at Seoul, Korea. Incident cases (n=224) were identified through the cancer biopsy between February 1999 and December 2000 at two University hospitals in Seoul. Hospital-based controls (n=250) were selected from patients in the same hospitals, during the same periods. Food intake was investigated semiquantitative frequency questionnaire (98 items) by trained dietitian. Subjects were asked to indicate the average food intake and vitamin supplement for a 12 months period of 3-yr prior to the baseline phase. In investigation of vitamin supplement use, subjects were asked the average frequency of use, duration, dose and the brand name of vitamin supplement (multivitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E). And nutrients were calorie adjusted by the residuals method. In this study, higher breast cancer risk incidence was not observed with higher intake of total fat and saturated fatty acids, however statistically significant trends with breast cancer incidence for total saturated fatty acids were found (ptrend=0.0458). In analyses of vitamins, beta-carotene and vitamin C were significantly associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer. In analyses, results from dietary plus supplement of vitamin was not associated with breast cancer risk in this study. In conclusion, our findings suggest that antioxidant vitamins such as beta-carotene and vitamin C intake could lower the breast cancer risk in Korean women.
PMCID: PMC3055081  PMID: 12923330
24.  Polymorphisms in Methionine Synthase, Methionine Synthase Reductase and Serine Hydroxymethyltransferase, Folate and Alcohol Intake, and Colon Cancer Risk 
Background/Aims
We examined associations among folate and alcohol intake, SNPs in genes involved in one-carbon metabolism and colon cancer risk.
Methods
Colon cancer cases (294 African Americans and 349 whites) were frequency matched to population controls (437 African Americans and 611 whites) by age, race and sex from 33 North Carolina counties from 1996 to 2000. Folate and alcohol intakes were collected by dietary interview. Five SNPs were genotyped using DNA from whole blood: SHMT C1420T; MTRR A66G; MTR A2756G, and the previously-reported MTHFR C677T and MTHFR A1298C. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using logistic regression.
Results
An inverse association was observed for SHMT TT genotype as compared to CC genotype in whites (OR=0.6, 95%CI=0.4, 1.0), but not in African Americans. Inverse associations were observed for high folate intake in individuals carrying 0 or 1 variant allele [OR 0.2 (95%CI 0.06 – 0.8) for African Americans; OR 0.2 (95%CI 0.1– 0.6) for whites] compared to low folate intake. Modest interactions between these SNPs and alcohol or folate intakes were observed.
Conclusions
Our results are consistent with other findings and provide needed data on these associations among African Americans.
doi:10.1159/000136651
PMCID: PMC2758622  PMID: 19776626
Alcohol; case-control study; colon cancer; folate; polymorphism
25.  No association between cSHMT genotypes and risk of breast cancer in the Nurses’ Health Study 
Objective
Increased breast cancer risk has been observed with both low folate status and a functional polymorphism in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR 677C→T). Cytoplasmic serine hydroxymethyltransferase (cSHMT) affects the flow of one-carbon units through the folate metabolic network, but there is little research on a role for genetic variation in cSHMT in determining breast cancer risk.
Methods
A nested case-control study within the Nurses’ Health Study was used to investigate an association between cSHMT (1420C→T) and breast cancer risk.
Results
No evidence for an association of cSHMT genotype and breast cancer was 10 observed. There was also no evidence of a gene-gene interaction between cSHMT and MTHFR.
Conclusions
There was no evidence of an association between cSHMT genotype and breast cancer occurrence. Further research in populations with differing average folate intake may be needed to fully understand the interactions of folate nutrition, sequence variation in folate genes, and breast cancer risk.
doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.104
PMCID: PMC3033771  PMID: 19707223
breast cancer; cSHMT; MTHFR; folate

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