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1.  Prediagnostic serum levels of inflammatory biomarkers are correlated with future development of lung and esophageal cancer 
Cancer science  2014;105(9):1205-1211.
This study tests the hypothesis that pre-diagnostic serum levels of twenty cancer-associated inflammatory biomarkers correlate directly with future development of head & neck, esophageal, and lung cancers in a high-risk prospective cohort.
This is a nested case-control pilot study of subjects enrolled in the Golestan Cohort Study, an ongoing epidemiologic project assessing cancer trends in Golestan, Iran. We measured a panel of 20 cytokines, chemokines, and inflammatory molecules using Luminex® technology in serum samples collected two or more years before cancer diagnosis in 78 aerodigestive cancer cases and 81 controls. Data was analyzed using Wilcoxon rank-sum test, odds ratios (OR), ROC areas of discrimination, and multivariate analysis.
Biomarkers were profoundly and globally elevated in future esophageal and lung cancer patients compared to controls. Odds ratios were significant for association between several biomarkers and future development of esophageal cancer, including IL-1Rα (35.88), IFNα2 (34), FGF-2 (17.43), GM-CSF (17.43), et al. The same trend was observed among future lung cancer cases for G-CSF (27.68), GM-CSF (13.33), TNF-α (8.55), et al. By contrast, the majority of biomarkers studied showed no significant correlation with future head and neck cancer development.
This study provides the first direct evidence that multiple inflammatory biomarkers are coordinately elevated in future lung and esophageal cancer patients two or more years before cancer diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4304770  PMID: 25040886
Serum Inflammatory Biomarker; Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma; Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma; Lung Cancer; Aerodigestive Cancer
2.  Reduced Impact of Nodal Metastases as a Prognostic Factor for Tonsil Cancer in the HPV Era 
Metastatic lymph nodes (LN) are an adverse prognostic factor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In this study, we tested the hypothesis that nodal metastases have reduced impact on survival in tonsil cancer in the HPV-predominant era.
Incidence and mortality data of tonsil and oral cavity SCC between 1988 and 2007 was obtained from the SEER database. Based on published literature, we considered cases of tonsil cancer from 1988–1997 the pre-HPV cohort (N=752), and 1998–2007 as the HPV-predominant cohort (N=2,755).
Comparing the two cohorts, Kaplan-Meier five-year overall survival (OS) for tonsil SCC improved from 54.0% to 74.3% (p<0.0001), and cancer-specific survival (CSS) improved from 66.0 to 82.9% (p<0.0001). Stratifying by LN involvement showed improved OS in the HPV-predominant cohort with one (63.6 vs. 79.7%, p<0.0001), two to three (54.2 vs. 75.9%, P<0.0001), four to eight (40.3 vs. 68.9%, p<0.0001), and greater than eight positive nodes (25.5 vs. 41.9%, p<0.0001).
While metastatic LNs still negatively affect prognosis, their impact on OPC survival has diminished in the HPV-predominant era. This finding provides a rationale for additional studies of the prognostic significance of LN metastases in OPC cohorts of defined HPV status, and supports the concept that HPV-related OPC is a disease distinct from “classical” OPC, with unique prognostic features.
PMCID: PMC4010562  PMID: 24190760
head and neck neoplasms; oropharyngeal neoplasms; oropharynx; papillomavirus infections; squamous cell cancer; human papillomavirus (HPV)
3.  A review of the application of inflammatory biomarkers in epidemiologic cancer research 
Inflammation is a facilitating process for multiple cancer types. It is believed to affect cancer development and progression through several etiologic pathways including increased levels of DNA adduct formation, increased angiogenesis and altered anti-apoptotic signaling. This review highlights the application of inflammatory biomarkers in epidemiologic studies and discusses the various cellular mediators of inflammation characterizing the innate immune system response to infection and chronic insult from environmental factors. Included is a review of six classes of inflammation-related biomarkers: cytokines/chemokines, immune-related effectors, acute phase proteins, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, prostaglandins and cyclooxygenase-related factors, and mediators such as transcription factors and growth factors. For each of these biomarkers we provide a brief overview of the etiologic role in the inflammation response and how they have been related to cancer etiology and progression within the literature. We provide a discussion of the common techniques available for quantification of each marker including strengths, weaknesses and potential pitfalls. Subsequently, we highlight a few under-studied measures to characterize the inflammatory response and their potential utility in epidemiologic studies of cancer. Finally, we suggest integrative methods for future studies to apply multi-faceted approaches to examine the relationship between inflammatory markers and their roles in cancer development.
PMCID: PMC4155060  PMID: 24962838
Inflammation; biomarkers; neoplasm; cancer epidemiology
4.  Is Previous Respiratory Disease a Risk Factor for Lung Cancer? 
Rationale: Previous respiratory diseases have been associated with increased risk of lung cancer. Respiratory conditions often co-occur and few studies have investigated multiple conditions simultaneously.
Objectives: Investigate lung cancer risk associated with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and asthma.
Methods: The SYNERGY project pooled information on previous respiratory diseases from 12,739 case subjects and 14,945 control subjects from 7 case–control studies conducted in Europe and Canada. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to investigate the relationship between individual diseases adjusting for co-occurring conditions, and patterns of respiratory disease diagnoses and lung cancer. Analyses were stratified by sex, and adjusted for age, center, ever-employed in a high-risk occupation, education, smoking status, cigarette pack-years, and time since quitting smoking.
Measurements and Main Results: Chronic bronchitis and emphysema were positively associated with lung cancer, after accounting for other respiratory diseases and smoking (e.g., in men: odds ratio [OR], 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20–1.48 and OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.21–1.87, respectively). A positive relationship was observed between lung cancer and pneumonia diagnosed 2 years or less before lung cancer (OR, 3.31; 95% CI, 2.33–4.70 for men), but not longer. Co-occurrence of chronic bronchitis and emphysema and/or pneumonia had a stronger positive association with lung cancer than chronic bronchitis “only.” Asthma had an inverse association with lung cancer, the association being stronger with an asthma diagnosis 5 years or more before lung cancer compared with shorter.
Conclusions: Findings from this large international case–control consortium indicate that after accounting for co-occurring respiratory diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema continue to have a positive association with lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC4214084  PMID: 25054566
epidemiologic study; lung neoplasm; pulmonary disease; data pooling; case–control study
5.  Rationale and Design of the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph) Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes Project 
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the most common hematologic malignancy, consists of numerous subtypes. The etiology of NHL is incompletely understood, and increasing evidence suggests that risk factors may vary by NHL subtype. However, small numbers of cases have made investigation of subtype-specific risks challenging. The International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium therefore undertook the NHL Subtypes Project, an international collaborative effort to investigate the etiologies of NHL subtypes. This article describes in detail the project rationale and design.
We pooled individual-level data from 20 case-control studies (17471 NHL cases, 23096 controls) from North America, Europe, and Australia. Centralized data harmonization and analysis ensured standardized definitions and approaches, with rigorous quality control.
The pooled study population included 11 specified NHL subtypes with more than 100 cases: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (N = 4667), follicular lymphoma (N = 3530), chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (N = 2440), marginal zone lymphoma (N = 1052), peripheral T-cell lymphoma (N = 584), mantle cell lymphoma (N = 557), lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/Waldenström macroglobulinemia (N = 374), mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome (N = 324), Burkitt/Burkitt-like lymphoma/leukemia (N = 295), hairy cell leukemia (N = 154), and acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (N = 152). Associations with medical history, family history, lifestyle factors, and occupation for each of these 11 subtypes are presented in separate articles in this issue, with a final article quantitatively comparing risk factor patterns among subtypes.
The International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium NHL Subtypes Project provides the largest and most comprehensive investigation of potential risk factors for a broad range of common and rare NHL subtypes to date. The analyses contribute to our understanding of the multifactorial nature of NHL subtype etiologies, motivate hypothesis-driven prospective investigations, provide clues for prevention, and exemplify the benefits of international consortial collaboration in cancer epidemiology.
PMCID: PMC4155460  PMID: 25174022
6.  Medical History, Lifestyle, Family History, and Occupational Risk Factors for Follicular Lymphoma: The InterLymph Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes Project 
Follicular lymphoma (FL) has been linked with cigarette smoking and, inconsistently, with other risk factors.
We assessed associations of medical, hormonal, family history, lifestyle, and occupational factors with FL risk in 3530 cases and 22639 controls from 19 case–control studies in the InterLymph consortium. Age-, race/ethnicity-, sex- and study-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using logistic regression.
Most risk factors that were evaluated showed no association, except for a few modest or sex-specific relationships. FL risk was increased in persons: with a first-degree relative with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (OR = 1.99; 95% CI = 1.55 to 2.54); with greater body mass index as a young adult (OR = 1.15; 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.27 per 5kg/m2 increase); who worked as spray painters (OR = 2.66; 95% CI = 1.36 to 5.24); and among women with Sjögren syndrome (OR = 3.37; 95% CI = 1.23 to 9.19). Lower FL risks were observed in persons: with asthma, hay fever, and food allergy (ORs = 0.79–0.85); blood transfusions (OR = 0.78; 95% CI = 0.68 to 0.89); high recreational sun exposure (OR = 0.74; 95% CI = 0.65 to 0.86, fourth vs first quartile); who worked as bakers or millers (OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.28 to 0.93) or university/higher education teachers (OR = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.41 to 0.83). Elevated risks specific to women included current and longer duration of cigarette use, whereas reduced risks included current alcohol use, hay fever, and food allergies. Other factors, including other autoimmune diseases, eczema, hepatitis C virus seropositivity, hormonal drugs, hair dye use, sun exposure, and farming, were not associated with FL risk.
The few relationships observed provide clues suggesting a multifactorial etiology of FL but are limited in the extent to which they explain FL occurrence.
PMCID: PMC4155461  PMID: 25174024
7.  Medical History, Lifestyle, Family History, and Occupational Risk Factors for Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas: The InterLymph Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes Project 
Accounting for 10%–15% of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas in Western populations, peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL) are the most common T-cell lymphoma but little is known about their etiology. Our aim was to identify etiologic risk factors for PTCL overall, and for specific PTCL subtypes, by analyzing data from 15 epidemiologic studies participating in the InterLymph Consortium.
A pooled analysis of individual-level data for 584 histologically confirmed PTCL cases and 15912 controls from 15 case–control studies conducted in Europe, North America, and Australia was undertaken. Data collected from questionnaires were harmonized to permit evaluation of a broad range of potential risk factors. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using logistic regression.
Risk factors associated with increased overall PTCL risk with a P value less than .05 included: a family history of hematologic malignancies (OR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.30 to 2.84); celiac disease (OR = 17.8, 95% CI = 8.61 to 36.79); eczema (OR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.07 to 1.85); psoriasis (OR = 1.97, 95% CI = 1.17 to 3.32); smoking 40 or more years (OR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.41 to 2.62); and employment as a textile worker (ever) (OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.05 to 2.38) and electrical fitter (ever) (OR = 2.89, 95% CI = 1.41 to 5.95). Exposures associated with reduced overall PTCL risk included a personal history of allergies (OR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.54 to 0.87), alcohol consumption (ever) (OR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.49 to 0.82), and having ever lived or worked on a farm (OR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.55% to 0.95%). We also observed the well-established risk elevation for enteropathy-type PTCL among those with celiac disease in our data.
Conclusions Our pooled analyses identified a number of new potential risk factors for PTCL and require further validation in independent series.
PMCID: PMC4155466  PMID: 25174027
8.  Etiologic Heterogeneity Among Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes: The InterLymph Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes Project 
Morton, Lindsay M. | Slager, Susan L. | Cerhan, James R. | Wang, Sophia S. | Vajdic, Claire M. | Skibola, Christine F. | Bracci, Paige M. | de Sanjosé, Silvia | Smedby, Karin E. | Chiu, Brian C. H. | Zhang, Yawei | Mbulaiteye, Sam M. | Monnereau, Alain | Turner, Jennifer J. | Clavel, Jacqueline | Adami, Hans-Olov | Chang, Ellen T. | Glimelius, Bengt | Hjalgrim, Henrik | Melbye, Mads | Crosignani, Paolo | di Lollo, Simonetta | Miligi, Lucia | Nanni, Oriana | Ramazzotti, Valerio | Rodella, Stefania | Costantini, Adele Seniori | Stagnaro, Emanuele | Tumino, Rosario | Vindigni, Carla | Vineis, Paolo | Becker, Nikolaus | Benavente, Yolanda | Boffetta, Paolo | Brennan, Paul | Cocco, Pierluigi | Foretova, Lenka | Maynadié, Marc | Nieters, Alexandra | Staines, Anthony | Colt, Joanne S. | Cozen, Wendy | Davis, Scott | de Roos, Anneclaire J. | Hartge, Patricia | Rothman, Nathaniel | Severson, Richard K. | Holly, Elizabeth A. | Call, Timothy G. | Feldman, Andrew L. | Habermann, Thomas M. | Liebow, Mark | Blair, Aaron | Cantor, Kenneth P. | Kane, Eleanor V. | Lightfoot, Tracy | Roman, Eve | Smith, Alex | Brooks-Wilson, Angela | Connors, Joseph M. | Gascoyne, Randy D. | Spinelli, John J. | Armstrong, Bruce K. | Kricker, Anne | Holford, Theodore R. | Lan, Qing | Zheng, Tongzhang | Orsi, Laurent | Dal Maso, Luigino | Franceschi, Silvia | La Vecchia, Carlo | Negri, Eva | Serraino, Diego | Bernstein, Leslie | Levine, Alexandra | Friedberg, Jonathan W. | Kelly, Jennifer L. | Berndt, Sonja I. | Birmann, Brenda M. | Clarke, Christina A. | Flowers, Christopher R. | Foran, James M. | Kadin, Marshall E. | Paltiel, Ora | Weisenburger, Dennis D. | Linet, Martha S. | Sampson, Joshua N.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) comprises biologically and clinically heterogeneous subtypes. Previously, study size has limited the ability to compare and contrast the risk factor profiles among these heterogeneous subtypes.
We pooled individual-level data from 17 471 NHL cases and 23 096 controls in 20 case–control studies from the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph). We estimated the associations, measured as odds ratios, between each of 11 NHL subtypes and self-reported medical history, family history of hematologic malignancy, lifestyle factors, and occupation. We then assessed the heterogeneity of associations by evaluating the variability (Q value) of the estimated odds ratios for a given exposure among subtypes. Finally, we organized the subtypes into a hierarchical tree to identify groups that had similar risk factor profiles. Statistical significance of tree partitions was estimated by permutation-based P values (P NODE).
Risks differed statistically significantly among NHL subtypes for medical history factors (autoimmune diseases, hepatitis C virus seropositivity, eczema, and blood transfusion), family history of leukemia and multiple myeloma, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and certain occupations, whereas generally homogeneous risks among subtypes were observed for family history of NHL, recreational sun exposure, hay fever, allergy, and socioeconomic status. Overall, the greatest difference in risk factors occurred between T-cell and B-cell lymphomas (P NODE < 1.0×10−4), with increased risks generally restricted to T-cell lymphomas for eczema, T-cell-activating autoimmune diseases, family history of multiple myeloma, and occupation as a painter. We further observed substantial heterogeneity among B-cell lymphomas (P NODE < 1.0×10−4). Increased risks for B-cell-activating autoimmune disease and hepatitis C virus seropositivity and decreased risks for alcohol consumption and occupation as a teacher generally were restricted to marginal zone lymphoma, Burkitt/Burkitt-like lymphoma/leukemia, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and/or lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/Waldenström macroglobulinemia.
Using a novel approach to investigate etiologic heterogeneity among NHL subtypes, we identified risk factors that were common among subtypes as well as risk factors that appeared to be distinct among individual or a few subtypes, suggesting both subtype-specific and shared underlying mechanisms. Further research is needed to test putative mechanisms, investigate other risk factors (eg, other infections, environmental exposures, and diet), and evaluate potential joint effects with genetic susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC4155467  PMID: 25174034
9.  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.
PMCID: PMC4287989  PMID: 25569183
10.  Formaldehyde Exposure and Mortality Risks From Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Other Lymphohematopoietic Malignancies in the US National Cancer Institute Cohort Study of Workers in Formaldehyde Industries 
To evaluate associations between cumulative and peak formaldehyde exposure and mortality from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other lymphohematopoietic malignancies.
Cox proportional hazards analyses.
Acute myeloid leukemia was unrelated to cumulative exposure. Hodgkin lymphoma relative risk estimates in the highest exposure categories of cumulative and peak exposures were, respectively, 3.76 (Ptrend = 0.05) and 5.13 (Ptrend = 0.003). There were suggestive associations with peak exposure observed for chronic myeloid leukemia, albeit based on very small numbers. No other lymphohematopoietic malignancy was associated with either chronic or peak exposure.
Insofar as there is no prior epidemiologic evidence supporting associations between formaldehyde and either Hodgkin leukemia or chronic myeloid leukemia, any causal interpretations of the observed risk patterns are at most tentative. Findings from this re-analysis do not support the hypothesis that formaldehyde is a cause of AML.
PMCID: PMC4479664  PMID: 26147546
11.  Lung cancer risk among bricklayers in a pooled analysis of case–control studies 
Bricklayers may be exposed to several lung carcinogens, including crystalline silica and asbestos. Previous studies that analyzed lung cancer risk among these workers had several study design limitations. We examined lung cancer risk among bricklayers within SYNERGY, a large international pooled analysis of case–control studies on lung cancer and the joint effects of occupational carcinogens. For men ever employed as bricklayers we estimated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for study center, age, lifetime smoking history and employment in occupations with exposures to known or suspected lung carcinogens. Among 15,608 cases and 18,531 controls, there were 695 cases and 469 controls who had ever worked as bricklayers (OR: 1.47; 95% CI: 1.28–1.68). In studies using population controls the OR was 1.55 (95% CI: 1.32–1.81, 540/349 cases/controls), while it was 1.24 (95% CI: 0.93–1.64, 155/120 cases/controls) in hospital-based studies. There was a clear positive trend with length of employment (p < 0.001). The relative risk was higher for squamous (OR: 1.68, 95% CI: 1.42–1.98, 309 cases) and small cell carcinomas (OR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.44–2.20, 140 cases), than for adenocarcinoma (OR: 1.17, 95% CI: 0.95–1.43, 150 cases) (p-homogeneity: 0.0007). ORs were still elevated after additional adjustment for education and in analyses using blue collar workers as referents. This study provided robust evidence of increased lung cancer risk in bricklayers. Although non-causal explanations cannot be completely ruled out, the association is plausible in view of the potential for exposure to several carcinogens, notably crystalline silica and to a lesser extent asbestos.
What's new?
In their work, bricklayers can be exposed to various airborne carcinogens, including crystalline silica and asbestos. Previous studies of cancer risk have not accounted for full employment history or smoking status, and failed to establish a firm relationship between bricklaying and lung cancer. In this study, the authors used data from the largest collection of case-control studies on lung cancer with complete occupational and smoking history existing today, the SYNERGY project. They found clear evidence that lung cancer risk increases in proportion to the length of time spent working as a bricklayer, paving the way for better protection and compensation for those in this occupation.
PMCID: PMC4477910  PMID: 24861979
lung neoplasms; case–control studies; bricklayers; occupational health; epidemiology
12.  Impediments in foreign collaboration and conducting a high throughput molecular epidemiology research in India, an assessment from a feasibility study 
SpringerPlus  2015;4:287.
Esophageal cancer is one of the world’s top ten cancers. Its incidence, especially in the form of squamous cell carcinoma, is very high in some Asian regions including Kashmir. Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh are three provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, the northern most state of India. The three regions represent ethnically diverse socio-cultural populations with different incidences of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), a suitable setting for epidemiological studies. Hence, comparing the lifestyle, dietary habits and gene pools between the three regions will help in elucidation of ESCC etiology further. Therefore, to assess the possibility of conducting a larger case control study, we carried out a feasibility study to identify the collaborators as well as to explore patient referral systems and available research facilities in the state.
We found conducting good cancer molecular epidemiology studies is difficult due to lack of proper research facilities and favourable administrative guidelines. The appropriate storage, transportation and analyses facilities of biological specimens for genome-wide association study and assessment of nutrition and exposure markers are unavailable or not sufficiently developed. Guidelines that can encourage scientific collaborations within the country seem unavailable. However, the administrative guidelines available under which the export of biological specimens out of India for analysis seems impossible. Consequently, Indian researchers are unable to collaborate with foreign scientists and render state of art research facilities inaccessible to them. Scientists in other parts of India may also confront with most of these impediments.
The study found that for conducting conclusive molecular epidemiological studies in India, referral system in hospitals is not systematic, scientific research facilities are inadequate as well as the guidelines for foreign collaboration  are not favourable.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40064-015-1046-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4477010  PMID: 26120504
Feasibility study; Research limitations; Collaboration; ESCC; Kashmir; India
13.  Estimation of Cancer Incidence and Mortality Attributable to Overweight, Obesity, and Physical Inactivity in China 
Nutrition and cancer  2011;64(1):48-56.
The Objectives was to provide an evidence-based, systematic assessment of the burden of cancer due to overweight/obesity and physical inactivity in China. This study evaluated the proportion of cancers of colon, rectum, pancreas, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium and kidney attributable to overweight (30 kg/m2>BMI≥25 kg/m2)/obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m2) and physical inactivity in China in 2005. Data of prevalence of overweight/obesity, and lack of physical activity were derived from cross-sectional surveys among representative samples of Chinese population, and data of relative risks on cancers were derived from meta-analyses or large-scale studies from China and East Asian populations. The attributable fractions were calculated by combining both data of prevalence and relative risks. In China in 2005, 0.32% of cancer deaths and 0.65% of cancer cases were attributable to overweight and obesity combined. Lack of physical activity was responsible for 0.27% of cancer deaths and 0.39% of cancer cases. Future projections indicate that the contribution of overweight and obesity to the overall cancer burden will increase in the next decades. The largest increased attributable fractions will be for endometrial cancer. The increase in attributable fractions would be greater in men and in rural populations. Although the current burden of cancer associated with overweight/obesity and physical inactivity is still relatively small in China, it is expected to increase in the future.
PMCID: PMC4476377  PMID: 22136606
overweight; obesity; BMI; physical inactivity; cancer; attributable fraction; China
15.  The Clinical Performance of an Office-Based Risk Scoring System for Fatal Cardiovascular Diseases in North-East of Iran 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126779.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are becoming major causes of death in developing countries. Risk scoring systems for CVD are needed to prioritize allocation of limited resources. Most of these risk score algorithms have been based on a long array of risk factors including blood markers of lipids. However, risk scoring systems that solely use office-based data, not including laboratory markers, may be advantageous. In the current analysis, we validated the office-based Framingham risk scoring system in Iran.
The study used data from the Golestan Cohort in North-East of Iran. The following risk factors were used in the development of the risk scoring method: sex, age, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, hypertension treatment, current smoking, and diabetes. Cardiovascular risk functions for prediction of 10-year risk of fatal CVDs were developed.
A total of 46,674 participants free of CVD at baseline were included. Predictive value of estimated risks was examined. The resulting Area Under the ROC Curve (AUC) was 0.774 (95% CI: 0.762-0.787) in all participants, 0.772 (95% CI: 0.753-0.791) in women, and 0.763 (95% CI: 0.747-0.779) in men. AUC was higher in urban areas (0.790, 95% CI: 0.766-0.815). The predicted and observed risks of fatal CVD were similar in women. However, in men, predicted probabilities were higher than observed.
The AUC in the current study is comparable to results of previous studies while lipid profile was replaced by body mass index to develop an office-based scoring system. This scoring algorithm is capable of discriminating individuals at high risk versus low risk of fatal CVD.
PMCID: PMC4444120  PMID: 26011607
16.  Genome-wide association study identifies multiple susceptibility loci for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma 
Cerhan, James R | Berndt, Sonja I | Vijai, Joseph | Ghesquières, Hervé | McKay, James | Wang, Sophia S | Wang, Zhaoming | Yeager, Meredith | Conde, Lucia | de Bakker, Paul I W | Nieters, Alexandra | Cox, David | Burdett, Laurie | Monnereau, Alain | Flowers, Christopher R | De Roos, Anneclaire J | Brooks-Wilson, Angela R | Lan, Qing | Severi, Gianluca | Melbye, Mads | Gu, Jian | Jackson, Rebecca D | Kane, Eleanor | Teras, Lauren R | Purdue, Mark P | Vajdic, Claire M | Spinelli, John J | Giles, Graham G | Albanes, Demetrius | Kelly, Rachel S | Zucca, Mariagrazia | Bertrand, Kimberly A | Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Anne | Lawrence, Charles | Hutchinson, Amy | Zhi, Degui | Habermann, Thomas M | Link, Brian K | Novak, Anne J | Dogan, Ahmet | Asmann, Yan W | Liebow, Mark | Thompson, Carrie A | Ansell, Stephen M | Witzig, Thomas E | Weiner, George J | Veron, Amelie S | Zelenika, Diana | Tilly, Hervé | Haioun, Corinne | Molina, Thierry Jo | Hjalgrim, Henrik | Glimelius, Bengt | Adami, Hans-Olov | Bracci, Paige M | Riby, Jacques | Smith, Martyn T | Holly, Elizabeth A | Cozen, Wendy | Hartge, Patricia | Morton, Lindsay M | Severson, Richard K | Tinker, Lesley F | North, Kari E | Becker, Nikolaus | Benavente, Yolanda | Boffetta, Paolo | Brennan, Paul | Foretova, Lenka | Maynadie, Marc | Staines, Anthony | Lightfoot, Tracy | Crouch, Simon | Smith, Alex | Roman, Eve | Diver, W Ryan | Offit, Kenneth | Zelenetz, Andrew | Klein, Robert J | Villano, Danylo J | Zheng, Tongzhang | Zhang, Yawei | Holford, Theodore R | Kricker, Anne | Turner, Jenny | Southey, Melissa C | Clavel, Jacqueline | Virtamo, Jarmo | Weinstein, Stephanie | Riboli, Elio | Vineis, Paolo | Kaaks, Rudolph | Trichopoulos, Dimitrios | Vermeulen, Roel C H | Boeing, Heiner | Tjonneland, Anne | Angelucci, Emanuele | Di Lollo, Simonetta | Rais, Marco | Birmann, Brenda M | Laden, Francine | Giovannucci, Edward | Kraft, Peter | Huang, Jinyan | Ma, Baoshan | Ye, Yuanqing | Chiu, Brian C H | Sampson, Joshua | Liang, Liming | Park, Ju-Hyun | Chung, Charles C | Weisenburger, Dennis D | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Fraumeni, Joseph F | Slager, Susan L | Wu, Xifeng | de Sanjose, Silvia | Smedby, Karin E | Salles, Gilles | Skibola, Christine F | Rothman, Nathaniel | Chanock, Stephen J
Nature genetics  2014;46(11):1233-1238.
PMCID: PMC4213349  PMID: 25261932
17.  Impact of smoking and smoking cessation on cardiovascular events and mortality among older adults: meta-analysis of individual participant data from prospective cohort studies of the CHANCES consortium 
Objective To investigate the impact of smoking and smoking cessation on cardiovascular mortality, acute coronary events, and stroke events in people aged 60 and older, and to calculate and report risk advancement periods for cardiovascular mortality in addition to traditional epidemiological relative risk measures.
Design Individual participant meta-analysis using data from 25 cohorts participating in the CHANCES consortium. Data were harmonised, analysed separately employing Cox proportional hazard regression models, and combined by meta-analysis.
Results Overall, 503 905 participants aged 60 and older were included in this study, of whom 37 952 died from cardiovascular disease. Random effects meta-analysis of the association of smoking status with cardiovascular mortality yielded a summary hazard ratio of 2.07 (95% CI 1.82 to 2.36) for current smokers and 1.37 (1.25 to 1.49) for former smokers compared with never smokers. Corresponding summary estimates for risk advancement periods were 5.50 years (4.25 to 6.75) for current smokers and 2.16 years (1.38 to 2.39) for former smokers. The excess risk in smokers increased with cigarette consumption in a dose-response manner, and decreased continuously with time since smoking cessation in former smokers. Relative risk estimates for acute coronary events and for stroke events were somewhat lower than for cardiovascular mortality, but patterns were similar.
Conclusions Our study corroborates and expands evidence from previous studies in showing that smoking is a strong independent risk factor of cardiovascular events and mortality even at older age, advancing cardiovascular mortality by more than five years, and demonstrating that smoking cessation in these age groups is still beneficial in reducing the excess risk.
PMCID: PMC4413837  PMID: 25896935
18.  The 12p13.33/RAD52 Locus and Genetic Susceptibility to Squamous Cell Cancers of Upper Aerodigestive Tract 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0117639.
Genetic variants located within the 12p13.33/RAD52 locus have been associated with lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC). Here, within 5,947 UADT cancers and 7,789 controls from 9 different studies, we found rs10849605, a common intronic variant in RAD52, to be also associated with upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) squamous cell carcinoma cases (OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.04–1.15, p = 6x10−4). We additionally identified rs10849605 as a RAD52 cis-eQTL inUADT(p = 1x10−3) and LUSC (p = 9x10−4) tumours, with the UADT/LUSC risk allele correlated with increased RAD52 expression levels. The 12p13.33 locus, encompassing rs10849605/RAD52, was identified as a significant somatic focal copy number amplification in UADT(n = 374, q-value = 0.075) and LUSC (n = 464, q-value = 0.007) tumors and correlated with higher RAD52 tumor expression levels (p = 6x10−48 and p = 3x10−29 in UADT and LUSC, respectively). In combination, these results implicate increased RAD52 expression in both genetic susceptibility and tumorigenesis of UADT and LUSC tumors.
PMCID: PMC4368781  PMID: 25793373
19.  Targeting Preschool Children to Promote Cardiovascular Health: Cluster Randomized Trial 
The American journal of medicine  2012;126(1):27-35.e3.
School programs can be effective in modifying knowledge, attitudes, and habits relevant to long-term risk of chronic diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles. As part of a long-term research strategy, we conducted an educational intervention in preschool facilities to assess changes in preschoolers’ knowledge, attitudes, and habits toward healthy eating and living an active lifestyle.
Using a cluster design, we randomly assigned 14 preschool facilities in Bogotá, Colombia to a 5-month educational and playful intervention (7 preschool facilities) or to usual curriculum (7 preschool facilities). A total of 1216 children aged 3–5 years, 928 parents, and 120 teachers participated. A structured survey was used at baseline, at the end of the study, and 12 months later to evaluate changes in knowledge, attitudes, and habits.
Children in the intervention group showed a 10.9% increase in weighted score, compared with 5.3% in controls. The absolute adjusted difference was 3.90 units (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.64–6.16; P <.001). Among parents, the equivalent statistics were 8.9% and 3.1%, respectively (absolute difference 4.08 units; 95% CI, 2.03 to 6.12; P <.001), and among teachers, 9.4% and 2.5%, respectively (absolute difference 5.36 units; 95% CI, −0.29–11.01; P = .06). In the intervened cohort 1 year after the intervention, children still showed a significant increase in weighted score (absolute difference of 6.38 units; P <.001).
A preschool-based intervention aimed at improving knowledge, attitudes, and habits related to healthy diet and active lifestyle is feasible, efficacious, and sustainable in very young children.
PMCID: PMC4365993  PMID: 23062403
Cardiovascular disease (CVD); Global health; Health education; Noncommunicable disease (NCD); Preschool children
20.  Variations of gastric corpus microbiota are associated with early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and squamous dysplasia 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8820.
Observational studies revealed a relationship between changes in gastric mucosa and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) which suggested a possible role for gastric microbiota in ESCC carcinogenesis. In this study we aimed to compare pattern of gastric corpus microbiota in ESCC with normal esophagus. Cases were included subjects with early ESCC (stage I–II) and esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD) as the cancer precursor. Control groups included age and sex-matched subjects with mid-esophagus esophagitis (diseased-control), and histologically normal esophagus (healthy-control). DNA was extracted from snap-frozen gastric corpus tissues and 16S rRNA was sequenced on GS-FLX Titanium. After noise removal, an average of 3004 reads per sample was obtained from 93 subjects. We applied principal coordinate analysis to ordinate distances from beta diversity data. Pattern of gastric microbiota using Unifrac (p = 0.004) and weighted Unifrac distances (p = 0.018) statistically varied between cases and healthy controls. Sequences were aligned to SILVA database and Clostridiales and Erysipelotrichales orders were more abundant among cases after controling for multiple testing (p = 0.011). No such difference was observed between mid-esophagitis and healthy controls. This study is the first to show that composition of gastric corpus mucosal microbiota differs in early ESCC and ESD from healthy esophagus.
PMCID: PMC4351546  PMID: 25743945
21.  Dose-Response Relationship Between Serum 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin and Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2015;181(6):374-384.
We systematically evaluated studies published through May 2014 in which investigators assessed the dose-response relationship between serum levels of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and the occurrence of diabetes mellitus (DM), and we investigated the extent and sources of interstudy heterogeneity. The dose-response relationship between serum TCDD and DM across studies was examined using 2 dependent variables: an exposure level–specific proportion of persons with DM and a corresponding natural log-transformed ratio measure of the association between TCDD and DM. Regression slopes for each dependent variable were obtained for each study and included in a random-effects meta-analysis. Sensitivity analyses were used to assess the influence of inclusion and exclusion decisions, and sources of heterogeneity were explored using meta-regression models and a series of subanalyses. None of the summary estimates in the main models or in the sensitivity analyses indicated a statistically significant association. We found a pronounced dichotomy: a positive dose-response in cross-sectional studies of populations with low-level TCDD exposures (serum concentrations <10 pg/g lipid) and heterogeneous, but on balance null, results for prospective studies of persons with high prediagnosis TCDD body burdens. Considering the discrepancy of results for low current versus high past TCDD levels, the available data do not indicate that increasing TCDD exposure is associated with an increased risk of DM.
PMCID: PMC4380020  PMID: 25731889
Agent Orange; diabetes mellitus; dioxin; dose-response; heterogeneity; meta-analysis; TCDD
22.  A mortality study of workers exposed to insoluble forms of beryllium 
This study investigated lung cancer and other diseases related to insoluble beryllium compounds. A cohort of 4950 workers from four US insoluble beryllium manufacturing facilities were followed through 2009. Expected deaths were calculated using local and national rates. On the basis of local rates, all-cause mortality was significantly reduced. Mortality from lung cancer (standardized mortality ratio 96.0; 95% confidence interval 80.0, 114.3) and from nonmalignant respiratory diseases was also reduced. There were no significant trends for either cause of death according to duration of employment or time since first employment. Uterine cancer among women was the only cause of death with a significantly increased standardized mortality ratio. Five of the seven women worked in office jobs. This study confirmed the lack of an increase in mortality from lung cancer and nonmalignant respiratory diseases related to insoluble beryllium compounds.
PMCID: PMC4337587  PMID: 24589746
beryllium; lung cancer; mortality; retrospective cohort
23.  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
24.  Cigarette Smoking Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Biochemical Disease Recurrence, Metastasis, Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer, and Mortality After Radical Prostatectomy 
Cancer  2013;120(2):197-204.
The current study was conducted to analyze the association between cigarette smoking and metastasis (the primary outcome) as well as time to biochemical disease recurrence (BCR), metastasis, castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), and prostate cancer-specific and overall mortality (secondary outcomes) after radical prostatectomy among men from the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital cohort.
A retrospective analysis was performed of 1450 subjects for whom smoking status was available from preoperative notes. Analysis of baseline characteristics by smoking status was performed using the chi-square and rank sum tests. The association between smoking status and time to the event was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier plots, the log-rank test, and Cox and competing risk models.
A total of 549 men (33%) men were active smokers and 1121 (67%) were nonsmokers at the time of surgery. Current smokers were younger and had a lower body mass index, higher prostate-specific antigen level, and more extracapsular extension and seminal vesicle invasion (all P <.05). A total of 509 patients, 26 patients, 30 patients, 18 patients, and 217 patients, respectively, experienced BCR, metastasis, CRPC, prostate cancer-related death, and any-cause death over a median follow-up of 62 months, 75 months, 61 months, 78 months, and 78 months, respectively. After adjusting for preoperative features, active smoking was found to be associated with an increased risk of BCR (hazards ratio [HR], 1.25; P =.024), metastasis (HR, 2.64; P =.026), CRPC (HR, 2.62; P =.021), and overall mortality (HR, 2.14; P <.001). Similar results were noted after further adjustment for postoperative features, with the exception of BCR (HR, 1.10; P =.335), metastasis (HR, 2.51; P =.044), CRPC (HR, 2.67; P =.015), and death (HR, 2.03; P <.001).
Among patients undergoing radical prostatectomy, cigarette smoking was associated with an increased risk of metastasis. In addition, smoking was associated with a higher risk of BCR, CRPC, and overall mortality. If confirmed, these data suggest that smoking is a modifiable risk factor in patients with aggressive prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4149056  PMID: 24127391
disease-free survival; metastasis; mortality; prostate cancer; prostatectomy; prostate-specific antigen; smoking; tobacco
25.  Mortality and cancer in relation to ABO blood group phenotypes in the Golestan Cohort Study 
BMC Medicine  2015;13:8.
A few studies have shown an association between blood group alleles and vascular disease, including atherosclerosis, which is thought to be due to the higher level of von Willebrand factor in these individuals and the association of blood group locus variants with plasma lipid levels. No large population-based study has explored this association with overall and cause-specific mortality.
We aimed to study the association between ABO blood groups and overall and cause-specific mortality in the Golestan Cohort Study. In this cohort, 50,045 people 40- to 70-years old were recruited between 2004 and 2008, and followed annually to capture all incident cancers and deaths due to any cause. We used Cox regression models adjusted for age, sex, smoking, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, place of residence, education and opium use.
During a total of 346,708 person-years of follow-up (mean duration 6.9 years), 3,623 cohort participants died. Non-O blood groups were associated with significantly increased total mortality (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.09; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01 to 1.17) and cardiovascular disease mortality (HR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.27). Blood group was not significantly associated with overall cancer mortality, but people with group A, group B, and all non-O blood groups combined had increased risk of incident gastric cancer. In a subgroup of cohort participants, we also showed higher plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in those with blood group A.
Non-O blood groups have an increased mortality, particularly due to cardiovascular diseases, which may be due to the effect of blood group alleles on blood biochemistry or their effect on von Willebrand factor and factor VIII levels.
Please see related commentary 10.1186/s12916-014-0250-y.
PMCID: PMC4295491  PMID: 25592833
Blood group; ABO; Rh; Mortality; Cancer; Cardiovascular disease

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