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1.  A genome-wide association study of marginal zone lymphoma shows association to the HLA region 
Vijai, Joseph | Wang, Zhaoming | Berndt, Sonja I. | Skibola, Christine F. | Slager, Susan L. | de Sanjose, Silvia | Melbye, Mads | Glimelius, Bengt | Bracci, Paige M. | Conde, Lucia | Birmann, Brenda M. | Wang, Sophia S. | Brooks-Wilson, Angela R. | Lan, Qing | de Bakker, Paul I. W. | Vermeulen, Roel C. H. | Portlock, Carol | Ansell, Stephen M. | Link, Brian K. | Riby, Jacques | North, Kari E. | Gu, Jian | Hjalgrim, Henrik | Cozen, Wendy | Becker, Nikolaus | Teras, Lauren R. | Spinelli, John J. | Turner, Jenny | Zhang, Yawei | Purdue, Mark P. | Giles, Graham G. | Kelly, Rachel S. | Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Anne | Ennas, Maria Grazia | Monnereau, Alain | Bertrand, Kimberly A. | Albanes, Demetrius | Lightfoot, Tracy | Yeager, Meredith | Chung, Charles C. | Burdett, Laurie | Hutchinson, Amy | Lawrence, Charles | Montalvan, Rebecca | Liang, Liming | Huang, Jinyan | Ma, Baoshan | Villano, Danylo J. | Maria, Ann | Corines, Marina | Thomas, Tinu | Novak, Anne J. | Dogan, Ahmet | Liebow, Mark | Thompson, Carrie A. | Witzig, Thomas E. | Habermann, Thomas M. | Weiner, George J. | Smith, Martyn T. | Holly, Elizabeth A. | Jackson, Rebecca D. | Tinker, Lesley F. | Ye, Yuanqing | Adami, Hans-Olov | Smedby, Karin E. | De Roos, Anneclaire J. | Hartge, Patricia | Morton, Lindsay M. | Severson, Richard K. | Benavente, Yolanda | Boffetta, Paolo | Brennan, Paul | Foretova, Lenka | Maynadie, Marc | McKay, James | Staines, Anthony | Diver, W. Ryan | Vajdic, Claire M. | Armstrong, Bruce K. | Kricker, Anne | Zheng, Tongzhang | Holford, Theodore R. | Severi, Gianluca | Vineis, Paolo | Ferri, Giovanni M. | Ricco, Rosalia | Miligi, Lucia | Clavel, Jacqueline | Giovannucci, Edward | Kraft, Peter | Virtamo, Jarmo | Smith, Alex | Kane, Eleanor | Roman, Eve | Chiu, Brian C. H. | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Wu, Xifeng | Cerhan, James R. | Offit, Kenneth | Chanock, Stephen J. | Rothman, Nathaniel | Nieters, Alexandra
Nature Communications  2015;6:5751.
Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is the third most common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here we perform a two-stage GWAS of 1,281 MZL cases and 7,127 controls of European ancestry and identify two independent loci near BTNL2 (rs9461741, P=3.95 × 10−15) and HLA-B (rs2922994, P=2.43 × 10−9) in the HLA region significantly associated with MZL risk. This is the first evidence that genetic variation in the major histocompatibility complex influences MZL susceptibility.
Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is a common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here the authors carry out a two-stage genome-wide association study in over 8,000 Europeans and identify two new MZL risk loci at chromosome 6p, implicating the major histocompatibility complex in the disease for the first time.
PMCID: PMC4287989  PMID: 25569183
2.  Hysterectomy and Kidney Cancer Risk: a Meta-Analysis 
Recent cohort findings suggest that women who undergo a hysterectomy have an elevated relative risk of kidney cancer, although evidence from past studies has been inconsistent. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published cohort and case-control studies to summarize the epidemiologic evidence investigating hysterectomy and kidney cancer. Studies published from 1950 through 2012 were identified through a search of PubMed and of references from relevant publications. Meta-analyses were conducted using random-effects models to estimate summary relative risks (SRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for hysterectomy, age at hysterectomy (<45, 45+ years), and time since hysterectomy (<10, 10+ years). The SRR for hysterectomy and kidney cancer for all published studies (7 cohort, 6 case-control) was 1.29 (95% CI, 1.16 to 1.43), with no evidence of between-study heterogeneity or publication bias. The summary effect was slightly weaker, although still significant, for cohorts (SRR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.42) compared to case-control findings (1.37; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.73), and was observed irrespective of age at hysterectomy, time since the procedure, and model adjustment for body mass index, smoking status and hypertension. Women undergoing a hysterectomy have an approximate 30% increased relative risk of subsequent kidney cancer. Additional research is needed to elucidate the biological mechanisms underlying this association.
PMCID: PMC3834077  PMID: 23818138
hysterectomy; kidney cancer; meta-analysis
3.  A genome-wide association study of renal cell carcinoma among African Americans 
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in populations of European ancestry have identified four susceptibility loci. No GWAS has been conducted among African Americans (AAs), who experience a higher incidence of RCC. We conducted a GWAS in which we analyzed 1,136,723 common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among 255 cases and 375 controls of African ancestry, and further investigated 16 SNPs in a replication set (140 cases, 543 controls). The 12p11.23 variant rs10771279, located 77kb from the European-ancestry RCC marker rs718314, was associated with RCC risk in the GWAS (P=1.2 × 10−7) but did not replicate (P=0.99). Consistent with European-ancestry findings, the A allele of rs7105934 on 11q13.3 was associated with decreased risk [odds ratio (OR)=0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.64–0.91; P=0.0022]. The frequency of this allele was higher than that observed in the European-ancestry GWAS (0.56 and 0.07 respectively among controls). The rs7105934 association was stronger for clear cell RCC (ccRCC: OR=0.56; P=7.4 × 10−7) and absent for cases of other or unknown histology (OR=1.02; P=0.86). Analyses of rs7105934 by subtype among European-ancestry participants from these studies yielded similar findings (ORs 0.69 and 0.92 respectively). This study provides, to our knowledge, the first evidence that rs7105934 is an RCC susceptibility locus among AAs. Our finding that the association with this SNP may be specific to ccRCC is novel and requires additional investigation. Additional investigation of rs10771279 and other suggestive GWAS findings is also needed.
PMCID: PMC3901793  PMID: 24220910
4.  Personal history of diabetes, genetic susceptibility to diabetes, and risk of brain glioma: a pooled analysis of observational studies 
Brain glioma is a relatively rare and fatal malignancy in adulthood with few known risk factors. Some observational studies have reported inverse associations between diabetes and subsequent glioma risk, but possible mechanisms are unclear.
We conducted a pooled analysis of original data from five nested case-control studies and two case-control studies from the U.S. and China that included 962 glioma cases and 2,195 controls. We examined self-reported diabetes history in relation to glioma risk, as well as effect modification by seven glioma risk-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also examined the associations between 13 diabetes risk-associated SNPs, identified from genome-wide association studies, and glioma risk. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models.
We observed a 42% reduced risk of glioma for individuals with a history of diabetes (OR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.40–0.84). The association did not differ by sex, study design, or after restricting to glioblastoma, the most common histological sub-type. We did not observe any significant per-allele trends among the 13 diabetes-related SNPs examined in relation to glioma risk.
These results support an inverse association between diabetes history and glioma risk. The role of genetic susceptibility to diabetes cannot be excluded, and should be pursued in future studies together with other factors that might be responsible for the diabetes-glioma association.
These data suggest the need for studies that can evaluate, separately, the association between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and subsequent risk of adult glioma.
PMCID: PMC3947107  PMID: 24220915
diabetes mellitus; brain cancer; glioma; cancer; epidemiology
5.  Telomere Length and Risk of Glioma 
Cancer epidemiology  2013;37(6):935-938.
Telomere length in blood or buccal cell DNA has been associated with risk of various cancers. Glioma can be a highly malignant brain tumor and has few known risk factors. Genetic variants in or near RTEL1 and TERT, key components of telomere biology, are associated with glioma risk. Therefore, we evaluated the association between relative telomere length (RTL) and glioma in a prospective study.
Materials and Methods
We performed a nested case-control study within the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. RTL was determined by quantitative PCR on blood or buccal cell DNA obtained at least two years prior to diagnosis from 101 individuals with glioma cases. Healthy controls (n=198) were matched to cases (2:1) on age, gender, smoking status, calendar year, and DNA source. Conditional logistic regression was used to investigate the association between RTL and glioma.
As expected, RTL declined with increasing age in both cases and controls. There was no statistically significant association between RTL and glioma overall. An analysis stratified by gender suggested that short RTL (1st tertile) in males was associated with glioma (odds ratio, [OR] = 2.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-5.11); this association was not observed for females (OR=0.41, 95% CI 0.14-1.17).
This prospective study did not identify significant associations between RTL and glioma risk, but there may be gender-specific differences. Larger, prospective studies are needed to evaluate these findings.
PMCID: PMC3933265  PMID: 24231251
Telomere length; glioma; epidemiology; cancer risk
6.  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.
PMCID: PMC4241501  PMID: 23640160
NHL; DLBCL; Subtype; Asia; IL10; TNF
7.  The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial and Its Associated Research Resource 
The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial is a large-scale research effort conducted by the National Cancer Institute. PLCO offers an example of coordinated research by both the extramural and intramural communities of the National Institutes of Health. The purpose of this article is to describe the PLCO research resource and how it is managed and to assess the productivity and the costs associated with this resource. Such an in-depth analysis of a single large-scale project can shed light on questions such as how large-scale projects should be managed, what metrics should be used to assess productivity, and how costs can be compared with productivity metrics. A comprehensive publication analysis identified 335 primary research publications resulting from research using PLCO data and biospecimens from 2000 to 2012. By the end of 2012, a total of 9679 citations (excluding self-citations) have resulted from this body of research publications, with an average of 29.7 citations per article, and an h index of 45, which is comparable with other large-scale studies, such as the Nurses’ Health Study. In terms of impact on public health, PLCO trial results have been used by the US Preventive Services Task Force in making recommendations concerning prostate and ovarian cancer screening. The overall cost of PLCO was $454 million over 20 years, adjusted to 2011 dollars, with approximately $37 million for the collection, processing, and storage of biospecimens, including blood samples, buccal cells, and pathology tissues.
PMCID: PMC3888207  PMID: 24115361
8.  A Pooled Analysis of Body Mass Index and Mortality among African Americans 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111980.
Pooled analyses among whites and East Asians have demonstrated positive associations between all-cause mortality and body mass index (BMI), but studies of African Americans have yielded less consistent results. We examined the association between BMI and all-cause mortality in a sample of African Americans pooled from seven prospective cohort studies: NIH-AARP, 1995–2009; Adventist Health Study 2, 2002–2008; Black Women's Health Study, 1995–2009; Cancer Prevention Study II, 1982–2008; Multiethnic Cohort Study, 1993–2007; Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Screening Trial, 1993–2009; Southern Community Cohort Study, 2002–2009. 239,526 African Americans (including 100,175 never smokers without baseline heart disease, stroke, or cancer), age 30–104 (mean 52) and 71% female, were followed up to 26.5 years (mean 11.7). Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mortality were derived from multivariate Cox proportional hazards models. Among healthy, never smokers (11,386 deaths), HRs (CI) for BMI 25–27.4, 27.5–29.9, 30–34.9, 35–39.9, 40–49.9, and 50–60 kg/m2 were 1.02 (0.92–1.12), 1.06 (0.95–1.18), 1.32 (1.18–1.47), 1.54 (1.29–1.83), 1.93 (1.46–2.56), and 1.93 (0.80–4.69), respectively among men and 1.06 (0.99–1.15), 1.15 (1.06–1.25), 1.24 (1.15–1.34), 1.58 (1.43–1.74), 1.80 (1.60–2.02), and 2.31 (1.74–3.07) respectively among women (reference category 22.5–24.9). HRs were highest among those with the highest educational attainment, longest follow-up, and for cardiovascular disease mortality. Obesity was associated with a higher risk of mortality in African Americans, similar to that observed in pooled analyses of whites and East Asians. This study provides compelling evidence to support public health efforts to prevent excess weight gain and obesity in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC4234271  PMID: 25401742
9.  Cigarette, Cigar, and Pipe Smoking and the Risk of Head and Neck Cancers: Pooled Analysis in the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(5):679-690.
Cigar and pipe smoking are considered risk factors for head and neck cancers, but the magnitude of effect estimates for these products has been imprecisely estimated. By using pooled data from the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) Consortium (comprising 13,935 cases and 18,691 controls in 19 studies from 1981 to 2007), we applied hierarchical logistic regression to more precisely estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking separately, compared with reference groups of those who had never smoked each single product. Odds ratios for cigar and pipe smoking were stratified by ever cigarette smoking. We also considered effect estimates of smoking a single product exclusively versus never having smoked any product (reference group). Among never cigarette smokers, the odds ratio for ever cigar smoking was 2.54 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.93, 3.34), and the odds ratio for ever pipe smoking was 2.08 (95% CI: 1.55, 2.81). These odds ratios increased with increasing frequency and duration of smoking (Ptrend ≤ 0.0001). Odds ratios for cigar and pipe smoking were not elevated among ever cigarette smokers. Head and neck cancer risk was elevated for those who reported exclusive cigar smoking (odds ratio = 3.49, 95% CI: 2.58, 4.73) or exclusive pipe smoking (odds ratio = 3.71, 95% CI: 2.59, 5.33). These results suggest that cigar and pipe smoking are independently associated with increased risk of head and neck cancers.
PMCID: PMC3755640  PMID: 23817919
head and neck neoplasms; smoking
10.  A Pooled Analysis of Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Multiple Myeloma in the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium 
Recent findings suggest that alcohol consumption may reduce risk of multiple myeloma (MM).
To better understand this relationship, we conducted an analysis of six case-control studies participating in the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium (1,567 cases, 7,296 controls). Summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) relating different measures of alcohol consumption and MM risk were computed by unconditional logistic regression with adjustment for age, race, and study center.
Cases were significantly less likely than controls to report ever drinking alcohol (men: OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.59-0.89, women: OR 0.81, 0.68-0.95). The inverse association with MM was stronger when comparing current to never drinkers (men: OR=0.57, 95% CI 0.45-0.72, women: OR=0.55, 95% CI 0.45-0.68), but null among former drinkers. We did not observe an exposure-response relationship with increasing alcohol frequency, duration or cumulative lifetime consumption. Additional adjustment for body mass index, education, or smoking did not affect our results; and the patterns of association were similar for each type of alcohol beverage examined.
Our study is, to our knowledge, the largest of its kind to date, and our findings suggest that alcohol consumption may be associated with reduced risk of MM.
Prospective studies, especially those conducted as pooled analyses with large sample sizes, are needed to confirm our findings and further explore whether alcohol consumption provides true biologic protection against this rare, highly fatal malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3769449  PMID: 23964064
11.  Adult height and head and neck cancer: a pooled analysis within the INHANCE Consortium 
Several epidemiological studies have shown a positive association between adult height and cancer incidence. The only study conducted among women on mouth and pharynx cancer risk, however, reported an inverse association. This study aims to investigate the association between height and the risk of head and neck cancer (HNC) within a large international consortium of HNC.
We analyzed pooled individual-level data from 24 case-control studies participating in the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium. Odds Ratios (ORs) and 95% Confidence Intervals (CIs) were estimated separately for men and women for associations between height and HNC risk. Educational level, tobacco smoking, and alcohol consumption were included in all regression models. Stratified analyses by HNC subsites were performed.
This project included 17,666 cases and 28,198 controls. We found an inverse association between height and HNC (adjusted OR per 10 cm height =0.91, 95% CI 0.86–0.95 for men; adjusted OR=0.86, 95% CI 0.79–0.93 for women). In men, the estimated OR did vary by educational level, smoking status, geographic area, and control source. No differences by subsites were detected.
Adult height is inversely associated with HNC risk. As height can be considered a marker of childhood illness and low energy intake, the inverse association is consistent with prior studies showing that HNC occur more frequently among deprived individuals. Further studies designed to elucidate the mechanism of such association would be warranted.
PMCID: PMC4122122  PMID: 24271556
12.  Association between Class III Obesity (BMI of 40–59 kg/m2) and Mortality: A Pooled Analysis of 20 Prospective Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(7):e1001673.
In a pooled analysis of 20 prospective studies, Cari Kitahara and colleagues find that class III obesity (BMI of 40–59) is associated with excess rates of total mortality, particularly due to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
The prevalence of class III obesity (body mass index [BMI]≥40 kg/m2) has increased dramatically in several countries and currently affects 6% of adults in the US, with uncertain impact on the risks of illness and death. Using data from a large pooled study, we evaluated the risk of death, overall and due to a wide range of causes, and years of life expectancy lost associated with class III obesity.
Methods and Findings
In a pooled analysis of 20 prospective studies from the United States, Sweden, and Australia, we estimated sex- and age-adjusted total and cause-specific mortality rates (deaths per 100,000 persons per year) and multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for adults, aged 19–83 y at baseline, classified as obese class III (BMI 40.0–59.9 kg/m2) compared with those classified as normal weight (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2). Participants reporting ever smoking cigarettes or a history of chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, stroke, or emphysema) on baseline questionnaires were excluded. Among 9,564 class III obesity participants, mortality rates were 856.0 in men and 663.0 in women during the study period (1976–2009). Among 304,011 normal-weight participants, rates were 346.7 and 280.5 in men and women, respectively. Deaths from heart disease contributed largely to the excess rates in the class III obesity group (rate differences = 238.9 and 132.8 in men and women, respectively), followed by deaths from cancer (rate differences = 36.7 and 62.3 in men and women, respectively) and diabetes (rate differences = 51.2 and 29.2 in men and women, respectively). Within the class III obesity range, multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for total deaths and deaths due to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, nephritis/nephrotic syndrome/nephrosis, chronic lower respiratory disease, and influenza/pneumonia increased with increasing BMI. Compared with normal-weight BMI, a BMI of 40–44.9, 45–49.9, 50–54.9, and 55–59.9 kg/m2 was associated with an estimated 6.5 (95% CI: 5.7–7.3), 8.9 (95% CI: 7.4–10.4), 9.8 (95% CI: 7.4–12.2), and 13.7 (95% CI: 10.5–16.9) y of life lost. A limitation was that BMI was mainly ascertained by self-report.
Class III obesity is associated with substantially elevated rates of total mortality, with most of the excess deaths due to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and major reductions in life expectancy compared with normal weight.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The number of obese people (individuals with an excessive amount of body fat) is increasing rapidly in many countries. Worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, more than a third of all adults are now overweight or obese. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI, an indicator of body fat calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared) of more than 30 kg/m2 (a 183-cm [6-ft] tall man who weighs more than 100 kg [221 lbs] is obese). Compared to people with a healthy weight (a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2), overweight and obese individuals (who have a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 kg/m2 and a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more, respectively) have an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and tend to die younger. Because people become unhealthily fat by consuming food and drink that contains more energy (kilocalories) than they need for their daily activities, obesity can be prevented or treated by eating less food and by increasing physical activity.
Why Was This Study Done?
Class III obesity (extreme, or morbid, obesity), which is defined as a BMI of more than 40 kg/m2, is emerging as a major public health problem in several high-income countries. In the US, for example, 6% of adults are now morbidly obese. Because extreme obesity used to be relatively uncommon, little is known about the burden of disease, including total and cause-specific mortality (death) rates, among individuals with class III obesity. Before we can prevent and treat class III obesity effectively, we need a better understanding of the health risks associated with this condition. In this pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies, the researchers evaluate the risk of total and cause-specific death and the years of life lost associated with class III obesity. A pooled analysis analyzes the data from several studies as if the data came from one large study; prospective cohort studies record the characteristics of a group of participants at baseline and follow them to see which individuals develop a specific condition.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers included 20 prospective (mainly US) cohort studies from the National Cancer Institute Cohort Consortium (a partnership that studies cancer by undertaking large-scale collaborations) in their pooled analysis. After excluding individuals who had ever smoked and people with a history of chronic disease, the analysis included 9,564 adults who were classified as class III obese based on self-reported height and weight at baseline and 304,011 normal-weight adults. Among the participants with class III obesity, mortality rates (deaths per 100,000 persons per year) during the 30-year study period were 856.0 and 663.0 in men and women, respectively, whereas the mortality rates among normal-weight men and women were 346.7 and 280.5, respectively. Heart disease was the major contributor to the excess death rate among individuals with class III obesity, followed by cancer and diabetes. Statistical analyses of the pooled data indicate that the risk of all-cause death and death due to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and several other diseases increased with increasing BMI. Finally, compared with having a normal weight, having a BMI between 40 and 59 kg/m2 resulted in an estimated loss of 6.5 to 13.7 years of life.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that class III obesity is associated with a substantially increased rate of death. Notably, this death rate increase is similar to the increase associated with smoking among normal-weight people. The findings also suggest that heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are responsible for most of the excess deaths among people with class III obesity and that having class III obesity results in major reductions in life expectancy. Importantly, the number of years of life lost continues to increase for BMI values above 50 kg/m2, and beyond this point, the loss of life expectancy exceeds that associated with smoking among normal-weight people. The accuracy of these findings is limited by the use of self-reported height and weight measurements to calculate BMI and by the use of BMI as the sole measure of obesity. Moreover, these findings may not be generalizable to all populations. Nevertheless, these findings highlight the need to develop more effective interventions to combat the growing public health problem of class III obesity.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of overweight and obesity (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information on obesity (in several languages); Malri's story describes the health risks faced by an obese child
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about obesity, including a personal story about losing weight
The Global Burden of Disease Study website provides the latest details about global obesity trends
The US Department of Agriculture's website provides a personal healthy eating plan; the Weight-Control Information Network is an information service provided for the general public and health professionals by the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information on obesity (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4087039  PMID: 25003901
13.  Joint effects between five identified risk variants, allergy, and autoimmune conditions on glioma risk 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(10):1885-1891.
Common variants in two of the five genetic regions recently identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of risk of glioma were reported to interact with a history of allergic symptoms. In a pooled analysis of five epidemiologic studies, we evaluated the association between the five GWAS implicated gene variants and allergies and autoimmune conditions (AIC) on glioma risk (851 adult glioma cases and 3,977 controls). We further evaluated the joint effects between allergies and AIC and these gene variants on glioma risk. Risk estimates were calculated as odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI), adjusted for age, gender, and study. Joint effects were evaluated by conducting stratified analyses whereby the risk associations (OR and 95 % CI) with the allergy or autoimmune conditions for glioma were evaluated by the presence or absence of the ‘at-risk’ variant, and estimated p interaction by fitting models with the main effects of allergy or autoimmune conditions and genotype and an interaction (product) term between them. Four of the five SNPs previously reported by others were statistically significantly associated with increased risk of glioma in our study (rs2736100, rs4295627, rs4977756, and rs6010620); rs498872 was not associated with glioma in our study. Reporting any allergies or AIC was associated with reduced risks of glioma (allergy: adjusted OR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.55–0.91; AIC: adjusted OR = 0.65, 95 % CI 0.47–0.90). We did not observe differential association between allergic or autoimmune conditions and glioma by genotype, and there were no statistically significant p interactions. Stratified analysis by glioma grade (low and high grade) did not suggest risk differences by disease grade. Our results do not provide evidence that allergies or AIC modulate the association between the four GWAS-identified SNPs examined and risk of glioma.
PMCID: PMC4074857  PMID: 23903690
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms; Glioma; Allergies; Autoimmune conditions; Gene–environment interaction
14.  Trichloroethylene and Cancer 
PMCID: PMC3687372  PMID: 23723421
15.  Reproductive Factors and Kidney Cancer Risk in 2 US Cohort Studies, 1993–2010 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(12):1368-1377.
Clinical and experimental findings suggest that female hormonal and reproductive factors could influence kidney cancer development. To evaluate this association, we conducted analyses in 2 large prospective cohorts (the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study (NIH-AARP), 1995–2006, and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO), 1993–2010). Cohort-specific and aggregated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals relating reproductive factors and kidney cancer risk were computed by Cox regression. The analysis included 792 incident kidney cancer cases among 283,952 postmenopausal women. Women who had undergone a hysterectomy were at a significantly elevated kidney cancer risk in both NIH-AARP (hazard ratio = 1.28, 95% confidence interval: 1.09, 1.50) and PLCO (hazard ratio = 1.41, 95% confidence interval: 1.06, 1.88). Similar results were observed for both cohorts after analyses were restricted to women who had undergone a hysterectomy with or without an oophorectomy. For the NIH-AARP cohort, an inverse association was observed with increasing age at menarche (P for trend = 0.02) and increasing years of oral contraceptive use (P for trend = 0.02). No clear evidence of an association with parity or other reproductive factors was found. Our results suggest that hysterectomy is associated with increased risk of kidney cancer. The observed associations with age at menarche and oral contraceptive use warrant further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3676151  PMID: 23624999
hysterectomy; kidney cancer; parity; pooled analysis; reproductive factors
16.  An investigation of risk factors for renal cell carcinoma by histologic subtype in two case-control studies 
To investigate whether renal cell carcinoma (RCC) histologic subtypes possess different etiologies, we conducted analyses of established RCC risk factors by subtype (clear cell, papillary, chromophobe) in two case-control studies conducted in the United States (1,217 cases, 1,235 controls) and Europe (1,097 cases, 1,476 controls). Histology was ascertained for 706 U.S. cases (58% of total) and 917 European cases (84%) through a central slide review conducted by a single pathologist. For the remaining cases, histology was abstracted from the original diagnostic pathology report. Case-only analyses were performed to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) summarizing subtype differences by age, sex, and race. Case-control analyses were performed to compute subtype-specific ORs for other risk factors using polytomous regression. In case-only analyses, papillary cases (N=237) were older (OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.1–1.4 per 10-year increase), less likely to be female (OR=0.5, 95 % CI=0.4- 0.8) and more likely to be black (OR=2.6, 95% CI=1.8–3.9) compared to clear cell cases (N=1,524). In case-control analyses, BMI was associated with clear cell (OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.1–1.3 per 5kg/m2 increase) and chromophobe RCC (N=80; OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.1- 1.4), but not papillary RCC (OR=1.1, 95% CI=1.0–1.2; test vs. clear cell, P=0.006). No subtype differences were observed for associations with smoking, hypertension or family history of kidney cancer. Our findings support the existence of distinct age, sex and racial distributions for RCC subtypes, and suggest that the obesity-RCC association differs by histology.
PMCID: PMC3717609  PMID: 23150424
Renal cell carcinoma; histology; case-control studies; body mass index
17.  Serum Levels of Vitamin D Metabolites and Breast Cancer Risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial 
Experimental and epidemiologic studies suggest that vitamin D metabolites (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D] and its precursor 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]) may reduce breast cancer risk. We examined subsequent breast cancer risk related to serum levels of these metabolites. In a cohort of women ages 55 to 74 years, who donated blood at baseline (1993–2001) in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, we identified 1,005 incident breast cancer cases during follow-up through 2005 (mean time between blood draw and diagnosis, 3.9 years). Noncases (n = 1,005) were frequency matched to the cases based on age and year of entry. Sample weights that accounted for unequal probabilities of selecting cases and noncases were applied to make inferences that reflected the entire Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian cohort. Using Cox proportional hazards modeling, we computed breast cancer relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) by quintile for each metabolite. The RR of breast cancer for the highest quintile of 25(OH)D concentration versus the lowest was 1.04 (95% CI, 0.75–1.45; Ptrend = 0.81). Similarly, the breast cancer RR for the highest quintile of 1,25(OH)2D compared with the lowest was 1.23 (95% CI, 0.91–1.68; Ptrend = 0.14). Excluding the first 2 years of follow-up did not materially alter these estimates. There was also no evidence of inverse risk in older women (≥60 years) versus younger women (<60 years). In this prospective study of postmenopausal women, we did not observe an inverse association between circulating 25(OH)D or 1,25(OH)2D and breast cancer risk, although we cannot exclude an association in younger women or with long-term or earlier exposure.
PMCID: PMC4039037  PMID: 18381472
18.  A prospective study of leukocyte telomere length and risk of renal cell carcinoma 
It has been hypothesized that genomic instability related to telomere dysfunction may contribute to carcinogenesis. There is some evidence from case-control studies suggesting that short leukocyte telomere length (TL) may be associated with an increased risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC); however, this association has not been investigated prospectively.
We conducted a nested case-control study (209 cases, 410 controls) of RCC risk in relation to pre-diagnostic leukocyte TL in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using conditional logistic regression.
Leukocyte TL was not significantly associated with future risk of RCC (highest quartile vs. lowest: OR=0.8, 95% CI=0.5–1.5; Ptrend=0.6). Analyses stratified by sex, age, and time from blood collection to RCC diagnosis were similarly null.
The results of this study, to our knowledge the first prospective investigation of its kind, do not support an association between pre-diagnostic leukocyte TL and risk of RCC.
In contrast to some earlier reports, our findings add to the evidence that leukocyte TL is not a biomarker of risk related to the etiology of RCC.
PMCID: PMC3655903  PMID: 23513041
telomeres; telomere length; renal cell carcinoma; kidney cancer
19.  Body Mass Index and Physical Activity at Different Ages and Risk of Multiple Myeloma in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(8):776-786.
Several studies have reported an increased risk of multiple myeloma associated with excess body weight. We investigated the risk of multiple myeloma in relation to separate measures of adiposity and energy balance at different ages in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, a large prospective cohort study in the United States. Participants completed a baseline questionnaire (1995–1996; n = 485,049), and a subset of participants completed a second questionnaire (1996–1997; n = 305,618) in which we solicited more detailed exposure information. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated for the risk of multiple myeloma (overall, n = 813; subset, n = 489) in relation to several measures of obesity and leisure time physical activity. Multiple myeloma risk was associated with increasing body mass index (BMI) at cohort entry (per 5-kg/m2 increase, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00, 1.22); similar associations were observed for BMI at age 50 years (HR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.28), age 35 years (HR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.36), and age 18 years (HR = 1.13, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.32) without adjustment for baseline BMI. Risk of multiple myeloma was not associated with physical activity level at any age. These findings support the hypothesis that excess body weight, both in early adulthood and later in life, is a risk factor for multiple myeloma and suggest that maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life may reduce multiple myeloma risk.
PMCID: PMC3668425  PMID: 23543160
body mass index; multiple myeloma; obesity; overweight; physical activity
20.  Alterations in serum immunoglobulin levels in workers occupationally exposed to trichloroethylene 
Carcinogenesis  2012;34(4):799-802.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) has been associated with a variety of immunotoxic effects and may be associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Altered serum immunoglobulin (Ig) levels have been reported in NHL patients and in animals exposed to TCE. Recently, we reported that occupational exposure to TCE is associated with immunosuppressive effects and immune dysfunction, including suppression of B-cell counts and activation, even at relatively low levels. We hypothesized that TCE exposure would also affect Ig levels in humans. We measured serum levels of IgG, IgM and IgE, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in TCE-exposed workers (n = 80) and unexposed controls (n = 45), matched by age and gender, in a cross-sectional, molecular epidemiology study of occupational exposure to TCE in Guangdong, China. Exposed workers had about a 17.5% decline in serum levels of IgG compared with unexposed controls (P = 0.0002). Similarly, serum levels of IgM were reduced by about 38% in workers exposed to TCE compared with unexposed controls (P < 0.0001). Serum levels of both IgG and IgM were significantly decreased in workers exposed to TCE levels below 12 p.p.m., the median exposure level. Adjustment for B-cell counts had minimal impact on our findings. IgE levels were not significantly different between exposed and control subjects. These results provide further evidence that TCE is immunotoxic at relatively low exposure levels and provide additional biologic plausibility for the reported association of TCE with NHL.
PMCID: PMC3616671  PMID: 23276795
21.  Common genetic polymorphisms modify the effect of smoking on absolute risk of bladder cancer 
Cancer research  2013;73(7):2211-2220.
Bladder cancer results from the combined effects of environmental and genetic factors, smoking being the strongest risk factor. Evaluating absolute risks resulting from the joint effects of smoking and genetic factors is critical to evaluate the public health relevance of genetic information. Analyses included up to 3,942 cases and 5,680 controls of European background in seven studies. We tested for multiplicative and additive interactions between smoking and 12 susceptibility loci, individually and combined as a polygenic risk score (PRS). Thirty-year absolute risks and risk differences by levels of the PRS were estimated for US-males aged 50-years. Six out of 12 variants showed significant additive gene-environment interactions, most notably NAT2 (P=7×10-4) and UGT1A6 (P=8×10-4). The 30-year absolute risk of bladder cancer in US males was 6.2% for all current smokers. This risk ranged from 2.9% for current smokers in the lowest quartile of the PRS to 9.9% for current smokers in the upper quartile. Risk difference estimates indicated that 8,200 cases would be prevented if elimination of smoking occurred in 100,000 men in the upper PRS quartile, compared to 2,000 cases prevented by a similar effort in the lowest PRS quartile (P-additive =1×10-4). The impact of eliminating smoking the on number of bladder cancer cases prevented is larger for individuals at higher than lower genetic risk. Our findings could have implications for targeted prevention strategies. However, other smoking-related diseases, as well as practical and ethical considerations, need to be considered before any recommendations could be made.
PMCID: PMC3688270  PMID: 23536561
22.  Genome-wide Association Study Identifies Two Susceptibility Loci for Osteosarcoma 
Nature genetics  2013;45(7):799-803.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone malignancy of adolescents and young adults. In order to better understand the genetic etiology of osteosarcoma, we performed a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) consisting of 941 cases and 3,291 cancer-free adult controls of European ancestry. Two loci achieved genome-wide significance: rs1906953 at 6p21.3, in the glutamate receptor metabotropic 4 [GRM4] gene (P = 8.1 ×10-9), and rs7591996 and rs10208273 in a gene desert on 2p25.2 (P = 1.0 ×10-8 and 2.9 ×10-7). These two susceptibility loci warrant further exploration to uncover the biological mechanisms underlying susceptibility to osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3910497  PMID: 23727862
23.  Genome-wide Association Study Identifies Multiple Risk Loci for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia 
Berndt, Sonja I. | Skibola, Christine F. | Joseph, Vijai | Camp, Nicola J. | Nieters, Alexandra | Wang, Zhaoming | Cozen, Wendy | Monnereau, Alain | Wang, Sophia S. | Kelly, Rachel S. | Lan, Qing | Teras, Lauren R. | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Chung, Charles C. | Yeager, Meredith | Brooks-Wilson, Angela R. | Hartge, Patricia | Purdue, Mark P. | Birmann, Brenda M. | Armstrong, Bruce K. | Cocco, Pierluigi | Zhang, Yawei | Severi, Gianluca | Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Anne | Lawrence, Charles | Burdette, Laurie | Yuenger, Jeffrey | Hutchinson, Amy | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Call, Timothy G. | Shanafelt, Tait D. | Novak, Anne J. | Kay, Neil E. | Liebow, Mark | Wang, Alice H. | Smedby, Karin E | Adami, Hans-Olov | Melbye, Mads | Glimelius, Bengt | Chang, Ellen T. | Glenn, Martha | Curtin, Karen | Cannon-Albright, Lisa A. | Jones, Brandt | Diver, W. Ryan | Link, Brian K. | Weiner, George J. | Conde, Lucia | Bracci, Paige M. | Riby, Jacques | Holly, Elizabeth A. | Smith, Martyn T. | Jackson, Rebecca D. | Tinker, Lesley F. | Benavente, Yolanda | Becker, Nikolaus | Boffetta, Paolo | Brennan, Paul | Foretova, Lenka | Maynadie, Marc | McKay, James | Staines, Anthony | Rabe, Kari G. | Achenbach, Sara J. | Vachon, Celine M. | Goldin, Lynn R | Strom, Sara S. | Lanasa, Mark C. | Spector, Logan G. | Leis, Jose F. | Cunningham, Julie M. | Weinberg, J. Brice | Morrison, Vicki A. | Caporaso, Neil E. | Norman, Aaron D. | Linet, Martha S. | De Roos, Anneclaire J. | Morton, Lindsay M. | Severson, Richard K. | Riboli, Elio | Vineis, Paolo | Kaaks, Rudolph | Trichopoulos, Dimitrios | Masala, Giovanna | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Chirlaque, María-Dolores | Vermeulen, Roel C H | Travis, Ruth C. | Giles, Graham G. | Albanes, Demetrius | Virtamo, Jarmo | Weinstein, Stephanie | Clavel, Jacqueline | Zheng, Tongzhang | Holford, Theodore R | Offit, Kenneth | Zelenetz, Andrew | Klein, Robert J. | Spinelli, John J. | Bertrand, Kimberly A. | Laden, Francine | Giovannucci, Edward | Kraft, Peter | Kricker, Anne | Turner, Jenny | Vajdic, Claire M. | Ennas, Maria Grazia | Ferri, Giovanni M. | Miligi, Lucia | Liang, Liming | Sampson, Joshua | Crouch, Simon | Park, Ju-hyun | North, Kari E. | Cox, Angela | Snowden, John A. | Wright, Josh | Carracedo, Angel | Lopez-Otin, Carlos | Bea, Silvia | Salaverria, Itziar | Martin, David | Campo, Elias | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | de Sanjose, Silvia | Hjalgrim, Henrik | Cerhan, James R. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Rothman, Nathaniel | Slager, Susan L.
Nature genetics  2013;45(8):868-876.
PMCID: PMC3729927  PMID: 23770605
24.  Exploring the genetic architecture of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D 
Genetic epidemiology  2012;37(1):92-98.
The primary circulating form of vitamin D is 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25(OH)D), a modifiable trait linked with a growing number of chronic diseases. In addition to environmental determinants of 25(OH)D, including dietary sources and skin ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure, twin and family-based studies suggest that genetics contribute substantially to vitamin D variability with heritability estimates ranging from 43% to 80%. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified SNPs located in four gene regions associated with 25(OH)D. These SNPs collectively explain only a fraction of the heritability in 25(OH)D estimated by twin and family based studies. Using 25(OH)D concentrations and GWAS data on 5,575 subjects drawn from 5 cohorts, we hypothesized that genome-wide data, in the form of (1) a polygenic score comprised of hundreds or thousands of SNPs that do not individually reach GWAS significance, or (2) a linear-mixed-model for genome-wide complex trait analysis, would explain variance in measured circulating 25(OH)D beyond that explained by known genome-wide significant 25(OH)D associated SNPs. GWAS identified SNPs explained 5.2% of the variation in circulating 25(OH)D in these samples and there was little evidence additional markers significantly improved predictive ability. On average a polygenic score comprised of GWAS identified SNPs explained a larger proportion of variation in circulating 25(OH)D than scores comprised of thousands of SNPs which were on average, non-significant. Employing a linear-mixed-model for genome-wide complex trait analysis explained little additional variability (range 0-22%). The absence of a significant polygenic effect in this relatively large sample suggests an oligogenetic architecture for 25(OH)D.
PMCID: PMC3524394  PMID: 23135809
vitamin D; heritability; genome wide association; polygenic score
25.  The association between chronic renal failure and renal cell carcinoma may differ between black and white Americans 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2012;24(1):167-174.
In the United States, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) incidence is higher among blacks than among whites. Risk of RCC is elevated among end-stage renal disease patients, although no studies have looked at differences by race in the relationship between chronic renal failure and RCC.
We investigated RCC risk in relation to chronic renal failure in a population-based case-control study of blacks and whites in Chicago and Detroit. Data, including information on kidney disease, were collected from interviews with 1,217 RCC cases (361 blacks, 856 whites) and 1,235 controls (523 blacks, 712 whites). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression.
Risk of RCC was increased in relation to chronic renal failure (OR 4.7, 95% CI 2.2–10.1) and dialysis (OR 18.0, 95% CI 3.6–91). The association remained after defining exposure as those who had chronic renal failure ≥10 years prior to RCC diagnosis. Chronic renal failure was more strongly associated with RCC among blacks than among whites (OR 8.7, 95% CI 3.3–22.9 and 2.0, 0.7–5.6 respectively; Pinteraction=0.03) and among those without a history of diabetes relative to diabetic subjects (OR 8.3, 95% CI 3.1–22.7 and 1.9, 0.6–5.9 respectively; Pinteraction=0.03).
These results suggest that chronic renal failure is a strong risk factor for RCC, particularly among black and non-diabetic subjects. Our findings of differences in risk estimates by race, to our knowledge the first such report, require replication.
PMCID: PMC3531044  PMID: 23179659
renal cell carcinoma; kidney cancer; chronic renal failure; end-stage renal disease; racial disparities

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