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1.  Index-based dietary patterns and risk of incident hepatocellular carcinoma and mortality from chronic liver disease in a prospective study 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2014;60(2):588-597.
The role of diet in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its typical precursor, chronic liver disease (CLD), is poorly understood. Following dietary recommendations has been shown to reduce risk of many cancers, but whether such diets are associated with HCC and CLD is unknown. We prospectively evaluated the association of two dietary indices, the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) and the alternate Mediterranean Diet Score (aMED), with HCC incidence and CLD mortality in a large U.S. prospective cohort. We calculated the HEI-2010 and aMED scores for 494,942 participants in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health study, based on typical diet assessed using a food frequency questionnaire between 1995 and 1996. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for quintiles of each index were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression, after adjusting for alcohol intake, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, and other covariates. A total of 509 HCC cases (1995-2006) and 1053 CLD deaths (1995-2011) were documented during follow-up. Higher HEI-2010 scores, reflecting favorable adherence to dietary guidelines, were associated with lower risk of HCC (HR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.53-0.97 for the highest quintile compared to lowest; P-trend=0.03), and lower mortality due to CLD (HR: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.46-0.71; P-trend<0.0001). High aMED scores were also associated with lower risk of HCC (HR: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.47-0.84; P-trend=0.0002) and lower risk of CLD mortality (HR: 0.52; 95% CI: (0.42-0.65; P-trend<0.0001). Conclusions: Adhering to dietary recommendations may reduce the risk of developing HCC and dying of CLD.
PMCID: PMC4110163  PMID: 24715615
diet; liver cancer; Healthy Eating Index-2010; alternate Mediterranean Diet Score; cohort study
2.  Association of Meat and Fat Intake With Liver Disease and Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the NIH-AARP Cohort 
Several plausible mechanisms, including fat, iron, heterocyclic amines, and N-nitroso compounds, link meat intake with chronic liver disease (CLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Few studies have investigated these associations.
We prospectively examined the relationship between meat and associated exposures with CLD mortality (n = 551; not including HCC) and HCC incidence (n = 338) in 495 006 men and women of the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the fifth (Q5) vs the first (Q1) quintile were estimated from multivariable adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models. All tests of statistical significance were two-sided.
We found inverse associations between white meat and risk of CLD (HR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.39 to 0.70, 7.5 vs 18.2 cases per 100 000 person-years) and HCC (HR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.36 to 0.77, 5.8 vs 14.3 cases per 100 000 person-years). Red meat was associated with higher risk of CLD (HR = 2.59, 95% CI = 1.86 to 3.61, 22.3 vs 6.2 cases per 100 000 person-years) and HCC (HR = 1.74, 95% CI = 1.16 to 2.61, 14.9 vs 5.7 cases per 100 000 person-years). Among fat types, results were strongest for saturated fat (for CLD, HR = 3.50, 95% CI = 2.48 to 4.96, 23.0 vs 6.5 cases per 100 000 person-years; for HCC, HR = 1.87, 95% CI = 1.23 to 2.85, 14.5 vs 6.3 cases per 100 000 person-years). After mutual adjustment, risk estimates persisted for saturated fat, red meat, and white meat. Heme iron, processed meat, nitrate, and nitrite were positively associated with CLD but not with HCC. Individual heterocyclic amines, 2-amino-3,4,8-trimethylimidazo[4,5,-f]quinoxaline (DiMeIQx), 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f] quinoxaline (MeIQx), and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), were not associated with either outcome.
Our results suggest that red meat and saturated fat may be associated with increased CLD and HCC risk, whereas white meat may be associated with reduced risk.
PMCID: PMC2935477  PMID: 20729477
3.  Height, Weight, and Body Mass Index Associations with Gastric Cancer Subsites 
Although excess body weight has been associated with cancers of the gastric cardia, relationships with gastric cancer at other anatomic subsites are not well defined. Furthermore, subsite-specific associations with attained height have not been fully assessed.
In 1995–1996, 483,700 Whites enrolling in the multi-state NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study self-reported height and weight. Gastric cancers occurring through December 31, 2006 were ascertained from regional population-based registries. We used Cox regression models to estimate cancer hazard ratios (HRs) for sex-specific tertiles of height and weight and for body mass index (BMI) categories of the World Health Organization.
One thousand incident cancers (48% localized to the cardia, 4% fundus, 6% corpus, 3% greater curvature, 6% lesser curvature, 10% antrum, 2% pylorus, 5% overlapping lesion, and 16% unspecified) occurred an average of 5.4 years after enrollment. After controlling for effects of age, sex, education and smoking, we found an inverse association between height and total noncardia cancers (i.e., fundus, corpus, greater and lesser curvatures, antrum, and pylorus), with HRs vs. tertile 1 of 0.65 and 0.71 for tertiles 2 and 3, respectively (p-trend=0.016). Trends were consistent for individual noncardia subsites. In contrast, although weight and BMI were each associated with risk of cardia cancer, neither was associated with total noncardia cancer nor individual subsites.
Noncardia gastric cancer is associated with short stature but not with high body weight nor obesity. The excess risk for shorter adults would be consistent with the known association of chronic H. pylori infection with growth retardation during childhood.
PMCID: PMC4007380  PMID: 24174008
BMI; cardia; gastric cancer; height; noncardia; weight
4.  Metabolites of tobacco smoking and colorectal cancer risk 
Carcinogenesis  2014;35(7):1516-1522.
Epidemiologic studies report inconsistent and modest associations between smoking and colorectal cancer. Serum hydroxycotinine captures smoking behavior and metabolic variation, and is associated with a 2.7-fold increased risk of incident colorectal cancer, supporting a role for tobacco in this malignancy.
Colorectal cancer is not strictly considered a tobacco-related malignancy, but modest associations have emerged from large meta-analyses. Most studies, however, use self-reported data, which are subject to misclassification. Biomarkers of tobacco exposure may reduce misclassification and provide insight into metabolic variability that potentially influences carcinogenesis. Our aim was to identify metabolites that represent smoking habits and individual variation in tobacco metabolism, and investigate their association with colorectal cancer. In a nested case-control study of 255 colorectal cancers and 254 matched controls identified in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian cancer screening trial, baseline serum was used to identify metabolites by ultra-high-performance liquid-phase chromatography and mass spectrometry, as well as gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated by logistic regression. Self-reported current smoking was associated with serum cotinine, O-cresol sulfate and hydroxycotinine. Self-reported current smoking of any tobacco (OR = 1.90, 95% CI: 1.02–3.54) and current cigarette smoking (OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 0.75–3.04) were associated with elevated colorectal cancer risks, although the latter was not statistically significant. Individuals with detectable levels of hydroxycotinine had an increased colorectal cancer risk compared with those with undetectable levels (OR = 2.68, 95% CI: 1.33–5.40). Although those with detectable levels of cotinine had a suggestive elevated risk of this malignancy (OR = 1.81, 95% CI: 0.98–3.33), those with detectable levels of O-cresol sulfate did not (OR = 1.16, 95% CI: 0.57–2.37). Biomarkers capturing smoking behavior and metabolic variation exhibit stronger associations with colorectal cancer than self-report, providing additional evidence for a role for tobacco in this malignancy.
PMCID: PMC4076812  PMID: 24648381
5.  Menstrual and reproductive factors and gastric cancer risk in a large prospective study of women 
Gut  2007;56(12):1671-1677.
Gastric cancer incidence rates are consistently lower in women than men in both high and low‐risk regions worldwide. Sex hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, may protect women against gastric cancer.
To investigate the association of menstrual and reproductive factors and gastric cancer risk.
These associations were prospectively investigated in 73 442 Shanghai women. After 419 260 person‐years of follow‐up, 154 women were diagnosed with gastric cancer. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, body mass index, education, income, and cigarette use.
No associations were observed between gastric cancer risk and age of menarche, number of children, breast feeding, or oral contraceptive use. In contrast, associations were observed with age of menopause (HR 0.80 per five‐year increase in menopausal age, 95% CI 0.66–0.97), years of fertility (participants with less than 30 years of fertility were at increased risk compared with those with 30–36 years of fertility, HR 1.90, 95% CI 1.25–2.90), years since menopause (HR 1.26 per five years, 95% CI 1.03–1.53), and intrauterine device use (HR for users 1.61, 95% CI 1.08–2.39).
These results support the hypothesis that female hormones play a protective role in gastric cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2095686  PMID: 17627962
stomach neoplasms; cohort studies; prospective studies; hormones
7.  Time to Smoke First Morning Cigarette and Lung Cancer in a Case–Control Study 
Targeting smokers at higher lung cancer risk can improve efficiency and reduce false-positive detection in lung cancer screening. We evaluated whether time to first cigarette after waking (TTFC), a single-item measure of nicotine dependency, could improve stratification of lung cancer risk beyond standard smoking metrics (intensity, duration, and pack-years).
In 3249 ever-smokers (n = 1812 case subjects; n = 1437 control subjects) from a population-based case–control study in Italy, we examined the association between TTFC and lung cancer using logistic regression and estimated lung cancer incidence by levels of TTFC, and intensity, duration, and pack-years using absolute risk regression. Significance tests were two-sided.
Compared with smokers with TTFC greater than 60 minutes, the lung cancer odds ratios for TTFC of 31 to 60 minutes, 6 to 30 minutes, and 5 or fewer minutes (by increasing dependency) were 2.57 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.03 to 3.26), 2.27 (95% CI = 1.79 to 2.88), and 3.50 (95% CI = 2.64 to 4.64), respectively (P trend < .0001). The average lung cancer incidence rates for smokers of 1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 30 and more than 30 cigarettes per day were consistently higher among smokers with TTFC of 60 or fewer minutes vs more than 60 minutes (64.1 vs 11.7; 125.6 vs 28.6; 130.1 vs 40.7; and 260.8 vs 108.9 per 100000 person-years, respectively). The slopes of increase in lung cancer rates with smoking duration and pack-years were statistically significantly greater among smokers with higher dependency (P interaction < .001).
Lung cancer risk increases with shorter TTFC; this simple nicotine dependency measure increases lung cancer risk stratification beyond standard smoking measures. Assessing TTFC may improve lung cancer risk prediction and could be useful in lung cancer screening and smoking cessation programs.
PMCID: PMC4072901  PMID: 24948709
8.  Female reproductive factors, menopausal hormone use, and Parkinson’s disease 
To examine the associations of reproductive factors and exogenous hormone use with risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) among postmenopausal women.
The study comprised 119,166 postmenopausal women ages 50–71 years in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, who completed a baseline questionnaire in 1995–1996 and a follow-up survey in 2004–2006. A total of 410 self-reported PD diagnoses were identified between 1995 and 2006. Multivariate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were derived from logistic regression models.
PD risk was not significantly associated with female reproductive factors including age at menarche, age at first live birth, parity, and age at menopause. For example, compared with women with natural menopause at ages 50–54 years, the ORs were 1.18, (95% CI 0.78–1.79) for women with natural menopause at ages <45, 1.19 (0.88–1.61) for ages 45–49, and 1.33 (0.91–1.93) for ages 55 or later. We found that oral contraceptive use for ≥10 years (vs. never use) was associated with lower PD risk (OR=0.59; 0.38–0.92) but shorter use showed no association. Use of menopausal hormone therapy showed inconsistent results. Compared with non-hormone users at baseline, current hormone users of <5 years showed a higher risk of PD (OR=1.52; 1.11–2.08). However, no associations were observed for past hormone users or current users of ≥5 years.
Overall, this large prospective study provides little support for an association between female reproductive factors and PD risk. Our findings on long-term oral contraceptive use and current hormone therapy warrant further investigations.
PMCID: PMC4057969  PMID: 24352877
Reproductive factors; Parkinson’s disease; cohort studies; menopausal hormone therapy
9.  Time to First Morning Cigarette and Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Smokers in the PLCO Cancer Screening Trial 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0125973.
Time to first cigarette (TTFC) after waking is an indicator of nicotine dependence. The association between TTFC and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death in the United States, has not yet been reported.
We investigated the cross-sectional association between TTFC and prevalent COPD among 6,108 current smokers in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. COPD was defined as a self-reported diagnosis of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or both. Current smokers in PLCO reported TTFC, the amount of time they typically waited before smoking their first cigarette of the day after waking, in four categories: ≤5, 6-30, 31-60, or >60 minutes. We used logistic regression models to investigate the association between TTFC and prevalent COPD with adjustments for age, gender, race, education, and smoking (cigarettes/day, years smoked during lifetime, pack-years, age at smoking initiation), and prior lung cancer diagnosis.
COPD was reported by 19% of these 6,108 smokers. Individuals with the shortest TTFC had the greatest risk of COPD; compared to those with the longest TTFC (>60 minutes) the adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for COPD were 1.48 (95% CI, 1.15-1.91), 1.64 (95% CI, 1.29-2.08), 2.18 (95% CI, 1.65-2.87) for those with TTFC 31-60 minutes, 6-30 minutes, and ≤5 minutes, respectively (P-trend <0.0001). The association between TTFC and emphysema was similar to that for bronchitis, albeit the ORs were slightly stronger for chronic bronchitis; comparing TTFC ≤5 minutes to >60 minutes, the adjusted OR (95% CI) was 2.29 (1.69-3.12) for emphysema and 2.99 (1.95-4.59) for chronic bronchitis.
Current smokers with shorter TTFC have increased risk of COPD compared to those with longer TTFC, even after comprehensive adjustment for established smoking covariates. Future epidemiologic studies, including prospective designs, should incorporate TTFC to better assess disease risk and evaluate the potential utility of TTFC as a COPD screening tool for smokers in the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC4436174  PMID: 25985429
10.  Association between upper digestive tract microbiota and cancer predisposing states in the esophagus and stomach 
The human upper digestive tract microbial community (microbiota) is not well characterized and few studies have explored how it relates to human health. We examined the relationship between upper digestive tract microbiota and two cancer predisposing states, serum pepsinogen I/pepsinogen II ratio (PGI/II) (predictor of gastric cancer risk), and esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD) (the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC)) in a cross-sectional design.
The Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarray was used to test for the presence of 272 bacterial species in 333 upper digestive tract samples from a Chinese cancer screening cohort. Serum PGI and PGII were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. ESD was determined by chromoendoscopy with biopsy.
Lower microbial richness (number of bacterial genera per sample) was significantly associated with lower PGI/II ratio (P=0.034) and the presence of ESD (P=0.018). We conducted principal component (PC) analysis on a β-diversity matrix (pairwise difference in microbiota), and observed significant correlations between PC1, PC3 and PGI/II (P=0.004, 0.009 respectively), and between PC1 and ESD (P=0.003).
lower microbial richness in upper digestive tract was independently associated with both cancer predisposing states in the esophagus and stomach (presence of ESD and lower PGI/II).
PMCID: PMC4011942  PMID: 24700175
microbiota; gastric cancer; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; esophageal squamous dysplasia; serum pepsinogen I/pepsinogen II ratio
11.  Gastric Cancer: Descriptive Epidemiology, Risk Factors, Screening, and Prevention 
Less than a century ago, gastric cancer (GC) was the most common cancer in the United States and perhaps throughout the world. Despite its worldwide decline in incidence over the past century, GC remains a major killer across the globe. This article reviews the epidemiology, screening, and prevention of gastric cancer. We first discuss the descriptive epidemiology of GC, including its incidence, survival, and mortality, including trends over time. Next, we characterize the risk factors for gastric cancer, both environmental and genetic. Serological markers and histological precursor lesions of GC and early detection of GC of using these markers is reviewed. Finally, we discuss prevention strategies and provide suggestions for further research.
PMCID: PMC4019373  PMID: 24618998
gastric cancer; epidemiology; risk factors; screening; prevention
12.  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
13.  Vitamin D Metabolic Pathway Genes and Pancreatic Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0117574.
Evidence on the association between vitamin D status and pancreatic cancer risk is inconsistent. This inconsistency may be partially attributable to variation in vitamin D regulating genes. We selected 11 vitamin D-related genes (GC, DHCR7, CYP2R1, VDR, CYP27B1, CYP24A1, CYP27A1, RXRA, CRP2, CASR and CUBN) totaling 213 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and examined associations with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Our study included 3,583 pancreatic cancer cases and 7,053 controls from the genome-wide association studies of pancreatic cancer PanScans-I-III. We used the Adaptive Joint Test and the Adaptive Rank Truncated Product statistic for pathway and gene analyses, and unconditional logistic regression for SNP analyses, adjusting for age, sex, study and population stratification. We examined effect modification by circulating vitamin D concentration (≤50, >50 nmol/L) for the most significant SNPs using a subset of cohort cases (n = 713) and controls (n = 878). The vitamin D metabolic pathway was not associated with pancreatic cancer risk (p = 0.830). Of the individual genes, none were associated with pancreatic cancer risk at a significance level of p<0.05. SNPs near the VDR (rs2239186), LRP2 (rs4668123), CYP24A1 (rs2762932), GC (rs2282679), and CUBN (rs1810205) genes were the top SNPs associated with pancreatic cancer (p-values 0.008–0.037), but none were statistically significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. Associations between these SNPs and pancreatic cancer were not modified by circulating concentrations of vitamin D. These findings do not support an association between vitamin D-related genes and pancreatic cancer risk. Future research should explore other pathways through which vitamin D status might be associated with pancreatic cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC4370655  PMID: 25799011
14.  Joint analysis of three genome-wide association studies of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Chinese populations 
Wu, Chen | Wang, Zhaoming | Song, Xin | Feng, Xiao-Shan | Abnet, Christian C. | He, Jie | Hu, Nan | Zuo, Xian-Bo | Tan, Wen | Zhan, Qimin | Hu, Zhibin | He, Zhonghu | Jia, Weihua | Zhou, Yifeng | Yu, Kai | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Yuan, Jian-Min | Zheng, Wei | Zhao, Xue-Ke | Gao, She-Gan | Yuan, Zhi-Qing | Zhou, Fu-You | Fan, Zong-Min | Cui, Ji-Li | Lin, Hong-Li | Han, Xue-Na | Li, Bei | Chen, Xi | Dawsey, Sanford M. | Liao, Linda | Lee, Maxwell P. | Ding, Ti | Qiao, You-Lin | Liu, Zhihua | Liu, Yu | Yu, Dianke | Chang, Jiang | Wei, Lixuan | Gao, Yu-Tang | Koh, Woon-Puay | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Tang, Ze-Zhong | Fan, Jin-Hu | Han, Jing-Jing | Zhou, Sheng-Li | Zhang, Peng | Zhang, Dong-Yun | Yuan, Yuan | Huang, Ying | Liu, Chunling | Zhai, Kan | Qiao, Yan | Jin, Guangfu | Guo, Chuanhai | Fu, Jianhua | Miao, Xiaoping | Lu, Changdong | Yang, Haijun | Wang, Chaoyu | Wheeler, William A. | Gail, Mitchell | Yeager, Meredith | Yuenger, Jeff | Guo, Er-Tao | Li, Ai-Li | Zhang, Wei | Li, Xue-Min | Sun, Liang-Dan | Ma, Bao-Gen | Li, Yan | Tang, Sa | Peng, Xiu-Qing | Liu, Jing | Hutchinson, Amy | Jacobs, Kevin | Giffen, Carol | Burdette, Laurie | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Shen, Hongbing | Ke, Yang | Zeng, Yixin | Wu, Tangchun | Kraft, Peter | Chung, Charles C. | Tucker, Margaret A. | Hou, Zhi-Chao | Liu, Ya-Li | Hu, Yan-Long | Liu, Yu | Wang, Li | Yuan, Guo | Chen, Li-Sha | Liu, Xiao | Ma, Teng | Meng, Hui | Sun, Li | Li, Xin-Min | Li, Xiu-Min | Ku, Jian-Wei | Zhou, Ying-Fa | Yang, Liu-Qin | Wang, Zhou | Li, Yin | Qige, Qirenwang | Yang, Wen-Jun | Lei, Guang-Yan | Chen, Long-Qi | Li, En-Min | Yuan, Ling | Yue, Wen-Bin | Wang, Ran | Wang, Lu-Wen | Fan, Xue-Ping | Zhu, Fang-Heng | Zhao, Wei-Xing | Mao, Yi-Min | Zhang, Mei | Xing, Guo-Lan | Li, Ji-Lin | Han, Min | Ren, Jing-Li | Liu, Bin | Ren, Shu-Wei | Kong, Qing-Peng | Li, Feng | Sheyhidin, Ilyar | Wei, Wu | Zhang, Yan-Rui | Feng, Chang-Wei | Wang, Jin | Yang, Yu-Hua | Hao, Hong-Zhang | Bao, Qi-De | Liu, Bao-Chi | Wu, Ai-Qun | Xie, Dong | Yang, Wan-Cai | Wang, Liang | Zhao, Xiao-Hang | Chen, Shu-Qing | Hong, Jun-Yan | Zhang, Xue-Jun | Freedman, Neal D | Goldstein, Alisa M. | Lin, Dongxin | Taylor, Philip R. | Wang, Li-Dong | Chanock, Stephen J.
Nature genetics  2014;46(9):1001-1006.
We conducted a joint (pooled) analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) 1-3 of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in ethnic Chinese (5,337 ESCC cases and 5,787 controls) with 9,654 ESCC cases and 10,058 controls for follow-up. In a logistic regression model adjusted for age, sex, study, and two eigenvectors, two new loci achieved genome-wide significance, marked by rs7447927 at 5q31.2 (per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% CI 0.82-0.88; P=7.72x10−20) and rs1642764 at 17p13.1 (per-allele OR= 0.88, 95% CI 0.85-0.91; P=3.10x10−13). rs7447927 is a synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in TMEM173 and rs1642764 is an intronic SNP in ATP1B2, near TP53. Furthermore, a locus in the HLA class II region at 6p21.32 (rs35597309) achieved genome-wide significance in the two populations at highest risk for ESSC (OR=1.33, 95% CI 1.22-1.46; P=1.99x10−10). Our joint analysis identified new ESCC susceptibility loci overall as well as a new locus unique to the ESCC high risk Taihang Mountain region.
PMCID: PMC4212832  PMID: 25129146
15.  Genetic variants in Fas signaling pathway genes and risk of gastric cancer 
Populations in north central China are at high risk for gastric cancers (GC), and altered FAS-mediated cell signaling and/or apoptosis may contribute to this risk. We examined the association of 554 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 53 Fas signaling-related genes using a pathway-based approach in 1758 GC cases (1126 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas (GCA) and 632 gastric noncardia adenocarcinomas (GNCA)), and 2111 controls from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of GC in ethnic Chinese. SNP associations with risk of overall GC, GCA and GNCA were evaluated using unconditional logistic regressions controlling for age, sex and study. Gene- and pathway-based associations were tested using the adaptive rank-truncated product (ARTP) method. Statistical significance was evaluated empirically by permutation. Significant pathway-based associations were observed for Fas signaling with risk of overall GC (P = 5.5E-04) and GCA (P = 6.3E-03), but not GNCA (P = 8.1E-02). Among examined genes in the Fas signaling pathway, MAP2K4, FAF1, MAPK8, CASP10, CASP8, CFLAR, MAP2K1, CAP8AP2, PAK2 and IKBKB were associated with risk of GC (nominal P < 0.05), and FAF1 and MAPK8 were significantly associated with risk of both GCA and GNCA (nominal P < 0.05). Our examination of genetic variation in the Fas signaling pathway is consistent with an association of altered Fas signaling and/or apoptosis with risk of GC. As one of the first attempts to investigate a pathway-level association, our results suggest that these genes and the Fas signaling pathway warrant further evaluation in relation to GC risk in other populations.
PMCID: PMC3858487  PMID: 23921907
Gastric cancer; gastric cardia; gastric noncardia; Fas signaling; genetic variants; GWAS; single nucleotide polymorphisms; pathway genes
16.  The association between the upper digestive tract microbiota by HOMIM and oral health in a population-based study in Linxian, China 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:1110.
Bacteria affect oral health, but few studies have systematically examined the role of bacterial communities in oral diseases. We examined this relationship in a large population-based Chinese cancer screening cohort.
Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarrays were used to test for the presence of 272 human oral bacterial species (97 genera) in upper digestive tract (UDT) samples collected from 659 participants. Oral health was assessed using US NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) protocols. We assessed both dental health (total teeth missing; tooth decay; and the decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) score) and periodontal health (bleeding on probing (BoP) extent score, loss of attachment extent score, and a periodontitis summary estimate).
Microbial richness, estimated by number of genera per sample, was positively correlated with BoP score (P = 0.015), but negatively correlated with tooth decay and DMFT score (P = 0.008 and 0.022 respectively). Regarding β-diversity, as estimated by the UniFrac distance matrix for pairwise differences among samples, at least one of the first three principal components of the UniFrac distance matrix was correlated with the number of missing teeth, tooth decay, DMFT, BoP, or periodontitis. Of the examined genera, Parvimonas was positively associated with BoP and periodontitis. Veillonellacease [G-1] was associated with a high DMFT score, and Filifactor and Peptostreptococcus were associated with a low DMFT score.
Our results suggest distinct relationships between UDT microbiota and dental and periodontal health. Poor dental health was associated with a less microbial diversity, whereas poor periodontal health was associated with more diversity and the presence of potentially pathogenic species.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1110) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4223728  PMID: 25348940
Microbiota; Oral health; Dental caries; Periodontitis; Bleeding on probe; Attachment loss
17.  Index-Based Dietary Patterns and Risk of Esophageal and Gastric Cancer in a Large Cohort Study 
Background & Aims
Diet could affect risk for esophageal and gastric cancers, but associations have been inconsistent. The diet is complex, so studies of dietary patterns, rather than studies of individual foods, might be more likely to identify cancer risk factors. There is limited research on index-based dietary patterns and esophageal and gastric cancers. We prospectively evaluated associations between the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005) and alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMED) scores and risk of esophageal and gastric cancers.
We analyzed data from 494,968 participants in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health study, in which AARP members (51–70 y old) completed a self-administered baseline food frequency questionnaire between 1995 and 1996. Their answers were used to estimate scores for each index.
During the follow-up period (1995–2006), participants developed 215 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs), 633 esophageal adenocarcinomas (EACs), 453 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas, and 501 gastric non-cardia adenocarcinomas. Higher scores from the HEI-2005 were associated with a reduced risk of ESCC (comparing the highest quintile with the lowest: hazard ratio [HR], 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.31–0.86; Ptrend=.001) and EAC (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.57–0.98; Ptrend=.01). We observed an inverse association between ESCC, but not EAC, and higher aMED score (meaning a higher-quality diet). HEI-2005 and aMED scores were not significantly associated with gastric cardia or noncardia adenocarcinomas.
Using data collected from 1995 through 2006 from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, HEI-2005 and aMED scores were inversely associated with risk for esophageal cancers—particularly ESCC. Adherence to dietary recommendations might help prevent esophageal cancers.
PMCID: PMC3758458  PMID: 23591281
food habits; esophageal neoplasms; stomach neoplasms
18.  Gastroesophageal Reflux in Relation to Adenocarcinomas of the Esophagus: A Pooled Analysis from the Barrett’s and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103508.
Previous studies have evidenced an association between gastroesophageal reflux and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA). It is unknown to what extent these associations vary by population, age, sex, body mass index, and cigarette smoking, or whether duration and frequency of symptoms interact in predicting risk. The Barrett’s and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON) allowed an in-depth assessment of these issues.
Detailed information on heartburn and regurgitation symptoms and covariates were available from five BEACON case-control studies of EA and esophagogastric junction adenocarcinoma (EGJA). We conducted single-study multivariable logistic regressions followed by random-effects meta-analysis. Stratified analyses, meta-regressions, and sensitivity analyses were also conducted.
Five studies provided 1,128 EA cases, 1,229 EGJA cases, and 4,057 controls for analysis. All summary estimates indicated positive, significant associations between heartburn/regurgitation symptoms and EA. Increasing heartburn duration was associated with increasing EA risk; odds ratios were 2.80, 3.85, and 6.24 for symptom durations of <10 years, 10 to <20 years, and ≥20 years. Associations with EGJA were slighter weaker, but still statistically significant for those with the highest exposure. Both frequency and duration of heartburn/regurgitation symptoms were independently associated with higher risk. We observed similar strengths of associations when stratified by age, sex, cigarette smoking, and body mass index.
This analysis indicates that the association between heartburn/regurgitation symptoms and EA is strong, increases with increased duration and/or frequency, and is consistent across major risk factors. Weaker associations for EGJA suggest that this cancer site has a dissimilar pathogenesis or represents a mixed population of patients.
PMCID: PMC4116205  PMID: 25075959
19.  Genetic variants in DNA repair pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and gastric adenocarcinoma in a Chinese population 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(7):1536-1542.
The DNA repair pathways help to maintain genomic integrity and therefore genetic variation in the pathways could affect the propensity to develop cancer. Selected germline single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the pathways have been associated with esophageal cancer and gastric cancer (GC) but few studies have comprehensively examined the pathway genes. We aimed to investigate associations between DNA repair pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and GC, using data from a genome-wide association study in a Han Chinese population where ESCC and GC are the predominant cancers. In sum, 1942 ESCC cases, 1758 GC cases and 2111 controls from the Shanxi Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Project (discovery set) and the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials (replication set) were genotyped for 1675 SNPs in 170 DNA repair-related genes. Logistic regression models were applied to evaluate SNP-level associations. Gene- and pathway-level associations were determined using the resampling-based adaptive rank-truncated product approach. The DNA repair pathways overall were significantly associated with risk of ESCC (P = 6.37 × 10− 4), but not with GC (P = 0.20). The most significant gene in ESCC was CHEK2 (P = 2.00 × 10− 6) and in GC was CLK2 (P = 3.02 × 10− 4). We observed several other genes significantly associated with either ESCC (SMUG1, TDG, TP53, GTF2H3, FEN1, POLQ, HEL308, RAD54B, MPG, FANCE and BRCA1) or GC risk (MRE11A, RAD54L and POLE) (P < 0.05). We provide evidence for an association between specific genes in the DNA repair pathways and the risk of ESCC and GC. Further studies are warranted to validate these associations and to investigate underlying mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3697889  PMID: 23504502
20.  Soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products and risk of liver cancer 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;57(6):2338-2345.
Binding of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) to their receptor (RAGE) increases oxidative stress and inflammation, and may be involved in liver injury and subsequent carcinogenesis. Soluble RAGE (sRAGE) may neutralize the effects mediated by AGEs/RAGE complex. Epidemiologic studies examining sRAGE or AGEs in association with liver cancer are lacking. We examined the associations between prediagnostic serum concentrations of sRAGE or Nε-(carboxymethyl)-lysine (CML)-AGE and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a case-cohort study within a cohort of 29,133 Finnish male smokers who completed questionnaires and provided a fasting blood sample in 1985–1988. During follow-up beginning 5 years after enrollment through April 2006, 145 liver cancers occurred. Serum concentrations of sRAGE, CML-AGE, glucose, and insulin were measured in cases and 485 randomly sampled cohort participants. Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) were available on most cases and a subset of the study population. Weighted Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusted for age, years of smoking, and body mass index. sRAGE and CML-AGE concentrations were inversely associated with liver cancer (sRAGE: RR, highest versus lowest tertile, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.48–1.24; Ptrend=0.28; continuous RR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.75–0.99; CML-AGE: RR, highest versus lowest tertile, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.10–0.35; Ptrend <0.0001; continuous RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.65–0.84). Further adjustment for glucose and insulin, or exclusion of cases with chronic HBV or HCV, did not change the associations.
Our results support the hypothesis that sRAGE is inversely associated with liver cancer. The findings need confirmation, particularly in populations that include women and non-smokers.
PMCID: PMC3644530  PMID: 23325627
sRAGE; CML-AGE; case-cohort; incidence; men
21.  Genetic variants in sex hormone metabolic pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(5):1062-1068.
In China, esophageal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death where essentially all cases are histologically esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), in contrast to esophageal adenocarcinoma in the West. Globally, ESCC is 2.4 times more common among men than women and recently it has been suggested that sex hormones may be associated with the risk of ESCC. We examined the association between genetic variants in sex hormone metabolic genes and ESCC risk in a population from north central China with high-incidence rates. A total of 1026 ESCC cases and 1452 controls were genotyped for 797 unique tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 51 sex hormone metabolic genes. SNP-, gene- and pathway-based associations with ESCC risk were evaluated using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for age, sex and geographical location and the adaptive rank truncated product (ARTP) method. Statistical significance was determined through use of permutation for pathway- and gene-based associations. No associations were observed for the overall sex hormone metabolic pathway (P = 0.14) or subpathways (androgen synthesis: P = 0.30, estrogen synthesis: P = 0.15 and estrogen removal: P = 0.19) with risk of ESCC. However, six individual genes (including SULT2B1, CYP1B1, CYP3A7, CYP3A5, SHBG and CYP11A1) were significantly associated with ESCC risk (P < 0.05). Our examination of genetic variation in the sex hormone metabolic pathway is consistent with a potential association with risk of ESCC. These positive findings warrant further evaluation in relation to ESCC risk and replication in other populations.
PMCID: PMC3643422  PMID: 23358850
23.  Sweetened Beverages, Coffee, and Tea and Depression Risk among Older US Adults 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94715.
Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea are the most consumed non-alcoholic beverages and may have important health consequences. We prospectively evaluated the consumption of various types of beverages assessed in 1995–1996 in relation to self-reported depression diagnosis after 2000 among 263,923 participants of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were derived from multivariate logistic regressions. The OR (95% CI) comparing ≥4 cans/cups per day with none were 1.30 (95%CI: 1.17–1.44) for soft drinks, 1.38 (1.15–1.65) for fruit drinks, and 0.91 (0.84–0.98) for coffee (all P for trend<0.0001). Null associations were observed for iced-tea and hot tea. In stratified analyses by drinkers of primarily diet versus regular beverages, the ORs were 1.31 (1.16–1.47) for diet versus 1.22 (1.03–1.45) for regular soft drinks, 1.51 (1.18–1.92) for diet versus 1.08 (0.79–1.46) for regular fruit drinks, and 1.25 (1.10–1.41) for diet versus 0.94 (0.83–1.08) for regular sweetened iced-tea. Finally, compared to nondrinkers, drinking coffee or tea without any sweetener was associated with a lower risk for depression, adding artificial sweeteners, but not sugar or honey, was associated with higher risks. Frequent consumption of sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, may increase depression risk among older adults, whereas coffee consumption may lower the risk.
PMCID: PMC3990543  PMID: 24743309
24.  Alcohol consumption, folate intake, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver disease mortality 
Excessive alcohol consumption is a well-established risk factor for liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Previous studies have found that increased alcohol consumption can lead to lower absorption of folate. Conversely, higher folate intake has been inversely associated with liver damage and HCC. In the current study, we investigate the effect of alcohol consumption and folate intake on HCC incidence and liver disease mortality in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.
The study population included 494,743 participants who reported at baseline their dietary intake for the previous year. Alcohol and folate were analyzed with hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for age, sex, race, education, smoking, body mass index and diabetes. HCC incidence (n=435) was determined through 2006 via linkage with cancer registries and liver disease mortality (n=789) was determined through 2008 via linkage to the National Death Index Plus.
Consumption of more than three drinks per day was positively associated with both HCC incidence (HR: 1.92; 95%CI: 1.42–2.60) and liver disease mortality (HR: 5.84; 95%CI: 4.81–7.10), while folate intake was associated with neither outcome. Folate, however, modified the relationship between alcohol and HCC incidence (Pinteraction=0.03), but had no effect on the relationship between alcohol and liver disease mortality (Pinteraction=0.54).
These results suggest that higher folate intake may ameliorate the effect of alcohol consumption on the development of HCC.
Folate intake may be beneficial in the prevention of alcohol-associated HCC.
PMCID: PMC3596467  PMID: 23307533
Folate; Alcohol; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver disease; epidemiology
25.  Smoking water-pipe, chewing nass, and prevalence of heart disease – A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Golestan Cohort Study, Iran 
Heart (British Cardiac Society)  2012;99(4):272-278.
Water-pipe and smokeless tobacco use have been associated with several adverse health outcomes. However, little information is available on the association between water-pipe use and heart disease (HD). Therefore, we investigated the association of smoking water-pipe and chewing nass (a mixture of tobacco, lime, and ash) with prevalent HD.
Cross-sectional study.
Baseline data (collected in 2004–2008) from a prospective population-based study in Golestan Province, Iran.
50,045 residents of Golestan (40–75 years old; 42.4% male).
Main outcome measures
ORs and 95% CIs from multivariate logistic regression models for the association of water-pipe and nass use with HD prevalence.
A total of 3051 (6.1%) participants reported a history of HD, and 525 (1.1%) and 3726 (7.5%) reported ever water-pipe or nass use, respectively. Heavy water-pipe smoking was significantly associated with HD prevalence (highest level of cumulative use versus never use, OR= 3.75; 95% CI 1.52 – 9.22; P for trend= 0.04). This association persisted when using different cutoff points, when restricting HD to those taking nitrate compound medications, and among never cigarette smokers. There was no significant association between nass use and HD prevalence (highest category of use versus never use, OR= 0.91; 95% CI 0.69 – 1.20).
Our study suggests a significant association between HD and heavy water-pipe smoking. Although the existing evidence suggesting similar biological consequences of water-pipe and cigarette smoking make this association plausible, results of our study were based on a modest number of water-pipe users and need to be replicated in further studies.
PMCID: PMC3671096  PMID: 23257174
hookah; ischemic heart disease; nass; tobacco; water-pipe

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