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1.  Heart disease is associated with anthropometric indices and change in body size perception over the life course: The Golestan Cohort Study 
Global heart  2015;10(4):245-254.e1.
Background
Cardiovascular disease and obesity are now becoming leading causes of morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We investigated the relationship between prevalent heart disease (HD) and current anthropometric indices and body size perception over time from adolescence to adulthood in Iran.
Methods
We present a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a prospective study of adults in Golestan Province, Iran. Demographics, cardiac history, and current anthropometric indices—body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist to hip ratio (WHR)—were recorded. Body size perception for age 15, age 30, and at the time of interview was assessed via pictograms. Associations of these factors and temporal change in perceived body size with HD were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression models.
Results
Complete data were available for 50,044 participants; 6.1% reported having HD. Higher BMI, WC, and WHR were associated with HD (p < 0.001). Men had a U-shaped relationship between HD and body size perception at younger ages. For change in body size perception, men and women demonstrated a U-shaped relationship with prevalent HD from adolescence to early adulthood, but a J-shaped pattern from early to late adulthood.
Conclusions
HD was associated with anthropometric indices and change in body size perception over time for men and women in Iran. Due to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in LMICs, interventions focused on decreasing the cumulative burden of risk factors throughout the life course may be an important component of cardiovascular risk reduction.
doi:10.1016/j.gheart.2014.10.004
PMCID: PMC4561595  PMID: 26014653
body size perception; body mass index; heart disease; prevalence; middle-income country
2.  Opium use, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption in relation to pancreatic cancer 
Medicine  2016;95(28):e3922.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
Abstract
Background and Aims:
Although several studies have suggested opium as a risk factor for cancers of the esophagus, stomach, larynx, lung, and bladder, no previous study has examined the association of opium with pancreatic cancer. We aimed to study the association between opium use and risk of pancreatic cancer in Iran, using a case-control design. We also studied the association of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption with pancreatic cancer, for which little information was available from this population.
Methods:
Cases and controls were selected from patients who were referred to 4 endoscopic ultrasound centers in Tehran, Iran. We recruited 316 histopathologically (all adenocarcinoma) and 41 clinically diagnosed incident cases of pancreatic cancer, as well as 328 controls from those with a normal pancreas in enodosonography from January 2011 to January 2015. We used logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results:
After adjustment for potential confounders, opium use (OR 1.91; 95% CI 1.06–3.43) and alcohol consumption (OR 4.16; 95% CI 1.86–9.31) were significantly associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. We did not find an association between ever tobacco smoking and pancreatic cancer risk (OR 0.93; 95% CI 0.62–1.39).
Conclusion:
In our study, opium use and alcohol consumption were associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, whereas cigarette smoking was not.
doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000003922
PMCID: PMC4956779  PMID: 27428185
alcohol; opium; pancreatic cancer; tobacco
3.  Solid Pseudopapillary Neoplasm of Pancreas; A Case Series and Review Literature 
BACKGROUND
Information regarding solid pseudopapillary neoplasm (SPN) of the pancreas is limited in Iran. We aimed to review the clinicocytopathological features and follow-up of patients with SPN of pancreas who were diagnosed in a single center in Iran.
METHODS
Seven patients with SPN of the pancreas were diagnosed during January 2010 to March 2015 at the Digestive Disease Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The patients were reviewed prospectively.
RESULTS
Six out of the 7 patients were female and the mean age of all the patients was 29.4 years ranging from 15 to 61 years. The most common clinical presentation was nonspecific abdominal pain (N=6). The tumors were located mostly in head and neck of the pancreas. SPN was diagnosed in all patients by fine needle aspiration through endosonography (EUS-FNA). All patients underwent surgery. Histological findings of surgical tissues were consistent with EUS-FNA. The postoperative follow-up period of about 14 months was uneventful.
CONCLUSION
SPN of the pancreas is a rare pancreatic tumor which affects primarily young women. EUS-guided FNA could play an important role in preoperative diagnosis of SPN of the pancreas.
doi:10.15171/mejdd.2016.14
PMCID: PMC4885608  PMID: 27252816
Solid pseudopapillary neoplasm; Pancreas; Immunohistochemistry
4.  Inverse Association of Plasma Level of Glutathione Peroxidase with Liver Fibrosis in Chronic Hepatitis B: Potential Role of Iron 
BACKGROUND
Oxidative stress has a major pathogenic role for liver damage following chronic hepatitis B. Glutathione peroxidase (Gpx) is necessary in oxidative state mechanism that is generally down-regulated by Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. On the other hand, disorders of iron homeostasis have been found out in HBV infected patients. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the interplay of Gpx and serum iron on clinical and virological features of patients with chronic HBV infection.
METHODS
One hundred and fifty adult, treatment-naïve, patients with chronic hepatitis B were randomly designated from an ongoing cohort of patients with HBV. Plasma Gpx1 concentration and HBV DNA quantity were measured. Liver stiffness was measured by transient elastography.
RESULTS
Serum iron had a positive association with HBV DNA count in the total population. Serum iron was not associated with liver stiffness. However, HBV DNA was significantly associated with liver stiffness only in male patients. Serum Gpx was inversely associated with liver stiffness. Serum iron and Gpx had indirect effects on liver stiffness via HBV DNA count. We observed dissimilar effects of serum iron on HBV DNA and Gpx on liver stiffness in male and female patients.
CONCLUSION
We identified interplay of serum iron and Gpx1 in relation to level of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis B. Our results propose that oxidative stress and serum iron are differentially implicated in the progression of chronic hepatitis B in male and female patients.
doi:10.15171/mejdd.2016.17
PMCID: PMC4885611  PMID: 27252819
Glutathione peroxidase (Gpx); Hepatitis B; Iron; Liver Stiffness; HBV DNA
5.  Multimorbidity: Epidemiology and Risk Factors in the Golestan Cohort Study, Iran 
Medicine  2016;95(7):e2756.
Abstract
Advances in medicine and health policy have resulted in growing of older population, with a concurrent rise in multimorbidity, particularly in Iran, as a country transitioning to a western lifestyle, and in which the percent of the population over the age of 60 years is increasing. This study aims to assess multimorbidity and the associated risk factors in Iran.
We used data from 50,045 participants (age 40–75 y) in the Golestan Cohort Study, including data on demographics, lifestyle habits, socioeconomic status, and anthropometric indices. Multimorbidity was defined as the presence of 2 or more out of 8 self-reported chronic conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, tuberculosis, and cancer. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between multiple different factors and the risk factors.
Multimorbidity prevalence was 19.4%, with the most common chronic diseases being gastroesophageal reflux disease (76.7%), cardiovascular diseases (72.7%), diabetes (25.3%), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (21.9%). The odds of multimorbidity was 2.56-fold higher at the age of >60 years compared with that at <50 years (P < 0.001), and 2.11-fold higher in women than in men (P < 0.001). Other factors associated with higher risk of multimorbidity included non-Turkmen ethnicity, low education, unemployment, low socioeconomic status, physical inactivity, overweight, obesity, former smoking, opium and alcohol use, and poor oral health.
Apart from advanced age and female sex, the most important potentially modifiable lifestyle factors, including excess body weight and opium use, and opium user, are associated with multimorbidity. Policies aiming at controlling multimorbidity will require a multidimensional approach to reduce modifiable risk factors in the younger population in developing countries alongside adopting efficient strategies to improve life quality in the older population.
doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000002756
PMCID: PMC4998618  PMID: 26886618
6.  The Nail as a Biomonitor of Trace Element Status in Golestan Cohort Study 
BACKGROUND
In the Golestan Cohort Study that was launched to investigate the causes of esophageal cancer, a complete biospecimen bank was established for storage of collected blood, urine, hair, and nail samples. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of nail samples as a biomarker of selected trace elements status.
METHODS
Thirty toenail samples were selected randomly from the participants of Golestan Cohort Study (GCS). The samples were cleaned and analyzed for selenium, mercury, chromium, iron, zinc, and scandium by instrumental neutron activation analysis at the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center. Pearson correlation coefficients were computed for selected trace elements concentration versus scandium concentration to assess terrestrial contamination.
RESULTS
The selenium, zinc, and mercury were not correlated with scandium, suggesting they were free from substantial contamination. The high correlations of scandium with iron and chromium suggest that the iron and chromium levels may be compromised by terrestrial contamination. The coefficients of variation for duplicate samples for selenium and zinc were 2.6% and 7.2%, respectively.
CONCLUSION
The nail samples from Golestan Cohort Study appears to be useable as a biomarker of selenium, zinc, and mercury and could be considered for use in future studies.
doi:10.15171/mejdd.2016.02
PMCID: PMC4773078  PMID: 26933477
Minerals; Biomarker Validation; Toe nail; Selenium; Zinc; Golestan Cohort Study
7.  Burden of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases in Middle East and North Africa: Results of Global Burden of Diseases Study from 1990 to 2010 
BACKGROUND
Gastrointestinal and liver diseases (GILDs) are major causes of death and disability in Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, they have different patterns in countries with various geographical, cultural, and socio-economic status. We aimed to compare the burden of GILDs in Iran with its neighboring countries using the results of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study in 2010.
METHODS
Classic metrics of GBD have been used including: age-standardized rates (ASRs) of death, years of life lost due to premature death (YLL), years of life lost due to disability (YLD), and disability adjusted life years (DALY). All countries neighboring Iran have been selected. In addition, all other countries classified in the MENA region were included. Five major groups of gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases were studied including: infections of gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal and pancreatobilliary cancers, acute hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other digestive diseases.
RESULTS
The overall burden of GILDs is highest in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Egypt. Diarrheal diseases have been replaced by gastrointestinal cancers and cirrhosis in most countries in the region. However, in a number of countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Egypt, and Yemen, communicable GILDs are still among top causes of mortality and morbidity in addition to non-communicable GILDs and cancers. These countries are experiencing the double burden. In Iran, burden caused by cancers of stomach and esophagus are considerably higher than other countries. Diseases that are mainly diagnosed in outpatient settings have not been captured by GBD.
CONCLUSION
Improving the infrastructure of health care system including cancer registries and electronic recording of outpatient care is a necessity for better surveillance of GILDs in MENA. In contrast to expensive treatment, prevention of most GILDs is feasible and inexpensive. The health care systems in the region can be strengthened for prevention and control
PMCID: PMC4655840  PMID: 26609348
Gastrointestinal disease; Liver disease; Mortality; Disability; Burden; Middle East and North Africa
8.  Prediagnostic serum levels of inflammatory biomarkers are correlated with future development of lung and esophageal cancer 
Cancer science  2014;105(9):1205-1211.
Summary
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.
doi:10.1111/cas.12485
PMCID: PMC4304770  PMID: 25040886
Serum Inflammatory Biomarker; Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma; Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma; Lung Cancer; Aerodigestive Cancer
9.  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.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126779
PMCID: PMC4444120  PMID: 26011607
10.  Mortality and cancer in relation to ABO blood group phenotypes in the Golestan Cohort Study 
BMC Medicine  2015;13:8.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0237-8
PMCID: PMC4295491  PMID: 25592833
Blood group; ABO; Rh; Mortality; Cancer; Cardiovascular disease
11.  Direct Sequencing of Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) Revealed an Intronic Variant rs201231411 in Iranian Patients with Pancreatic Cancer 
BACKGROUND
There are hoarding documents for the biological importance of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in pancreatic carcinogenesis. We aimed to thoroughly investigate the DNA sequence variations of whole COX-2 exons in a large case-control study of pancreatic cancer by direct sequencing.
METHODS
The entire exonic regions of COX-2 including 10 exons were sequenced in the germline DNA of 96 patients with pancreatic cancer. Selected variants within exons six to seven (E6E7) amplicon from the test panel were genotyped in 96 controls.
RESULTS
The COX-2 gene was demonstrated to be genetically conserved. Four missense mutations were found in three cases. However the common variant c.724-10_724-7delATTT (rs201231411) that is located in intron 6, showed significant difference between cases and controls (21 [21.9%] vs 11 [%11.5], p=0.05).
CONCLUSION
This study determined that COX-2 has a conservative sequence, which is required for its enzymatic activity and supports the important role of this enzyme’s expression in pancreatic cancer rather than any changes in its activity. The effect of intronic variant rs201231411 on COX-2 expression could be analyzed in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4293795  PMID: 25628848
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2); Pancreatic cancer; Genome sequencing
12.  Cohort Profile: Golestan Hepatitis B Cohort Study- A Prospective Long Term Study in Northern Iran ​  
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the most common cause of end stage liver disease in Iran and in Golestan province. Large-scale population-based prospective cohort studies with long term follow-up are the method of choice to accurately understand the natural course of HBV infection. To date, several studies of HBV epidemiology, natural history, progression to cirrhosis and association with HCC have been reported from other countries. However, few of these are prospective and fewer still are population-based. Moreover, the underlying molecular mechanisms and immunogenetic determinants of the outcome of HBV infection especially in low and middle income countries remains largely unknown. Therefore, the hepatitis B cohort study (HBCS), nested as part of the Golestan Cohort Study (GCS), Golestan, Iran was established in 2008 with the objective to prospectively investigate the natural course of chronic hepatitis B with reference to its epidemiology, viral/host genetic interactions, clinical features and outcome in the Middle East where genotype D HBV accounts for >90% of infections. In 2008, a baseline measurement of HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) was performed on stored serum samples of all GCS participants. A sub-cohort of 3,505 individuals were found to be HBsAg positive and were enrolled in the Golestan HBCS. In 2011, all first degree relatives of HBsAg positive subjects including their children and spouses were invited for HBV serology screening and those who were positive for HBsAg were also included in the Golestan HBCS.
PMCID: PMC4208926  PMID: 25349681
13.  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 prediagnostic serum levels of 20 cancer-associated inflammatory biomarkers correlate directly with future development of head and 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 21cytokines, chemokines, and inflammatory molecules using Luminex technology in serum samples collected 2 or more years before cancer diagnosis in 78 aerodigestive cancer cases and 81 controls. Data was analyzed using Wilcoxon rank sum test, odds ratios, receiver operating characteristic 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 interleukin-1Rα (IL-1Ra; 35.9), interferon α2 (IFN-a2; 34.0), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2; 17.4), and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF; 17.4). The same pattern was observed among future lung cancer cases for G-CSF (27.7), GM-CSF (13.3), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-a; 8.6). 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 2 or more years before cancer diagnosis.
doi:10.1111/cas.12485
PMCID: PMC4304770  PMID: 25040886
Aerodigestive cancer; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; lung cancer; serum inflammatory biomarker
14.  Opium; an emerging risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma 
Opium use has been associated with higher risk of cancers of the esophagus, bladder, larynx, and lung; however, no previous study has examined its association with gastric cancer. There is also little information on the associations between hookah (water pipe) smoking or the chewing of tobacco products and the risk of gastric cancer. In a case-control study in Golestan Province of Iran, we enrolled 309 cases of gastric adenocarcinoma (118 noncardia, 161 cardia, and 30 mixed-location adenocarcinomas) and 613 matched controls. Detailed information on long-term use of opium, tobacco products, and other covariates were collected using structured and validated lifestyle and food frequency questionnaires. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were obtained using conditional logistic regression models. Opium use was associated with an increased risk of gastric adenocarcinoma, with an adjusted OR (95% CI) of 3.1 (1.9 – 5.1), and this increased risk was apparent for both anatomic subsites (cardia and noncardia). There was a dose-response effect, and individuals with the highest cumulative opium use had the strongest association (OR: 4.5; 95%CI: 2.3-8.5). We did not find a statistically significant association between the use of any of the tobacco products and risk of gastric adenocarcinoma, overall or by anatomic subsite. We showed, for the first time, an association between opium use and gastric adenocarcinoma. Given that opium use is a traditional practice in many parts of the world, these results are of public health significance.
doi:10.1002/ijc.28018
PMCID: PMC3644384  PMID: 23319416
Opium; Adenocarcinoma; Cardia
15.  Clinical and Pathological Features of Non-Functional Neuroendocrine Tumors of Pancreas: A Report from Iran 
BACKGROUND
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) are rare tumors with variable malignant potential, prognosis, and survival. We aimed to assess the characteristics of patients with non- functional PNET in our hospital.
METHODS
From Nov 2010 to Nov 2013 , all patients who came to endosonography unit of Shariati hospital , Tehran , Iran , and had pancreatic lesions were assessed . Tumor samples were obtained through fine needle aspiration. Various characteristics of the non- functional PNET were recorded and patients were followed up to three years.
RESULTS
Twenty eight non func-PNET cases, aged 37-72 years were identified, 15 (53.6%) of whom were men. Fifteen (53.6%) tumors were located in the head and 5(17.8%) in the body of the pancreas. The mean tumor size was 3.9 Cm and 10.7% , 28.6%, 32.1%, and 28.6% of the patients were at stages I, II, III and IV, respectively. Of the patients, 12 (43%) underwent surgery, 3 (10.7%) received chemotherapy, and 13 (46.4%) received no treatment. During the mean follow-up of 16 months, the disease had progressed in 3 (10.7%) patients and 10 (35.7%) had died. In univariate analysis, tumor size>3Cm and Ki-67>20% were correlated with survival rate but not in multivariate analysis.
CONCLUSION
Iranian patients with non- functional PNET present similar characteristics to world patients. There is a need to establish efficacy of tumor samples which are obtaining through fine needle aspiration for assessing tumor grading.
PMCID: PMC4119672  PMID: 25093063
Neuroendocrine Tumors; Epidemiology; Survival
16.  Variation in PAH-related DNA adduct levels among non-smokers: the role of multiple genetic polymorphisms and nucleotide excision repair phenotype 
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) likely play a role in many cancers even in never-smokers. We tried to find a model to explain the relationship between variation in PAH-related DNA adduct levels among people with similar exposures, multiple genetic polymorphisms in genes related to metabolic and repair pathways, and nucleotide excision repair (NER) capacity. In 111 randomly-selected female never-smokers from the Golestan Cohort Study in Iran, we evaluated 21 SNPs in 14 genes related to xenobiotic metabolism and 12 SNPs in 8 DNA repair genes. NER capacity was evaluated by a modified comet assay, and aromatic DNA adduct levels were measured in blood by 32P-postlabelling. Multivariable regression models were compared by Akaike’s information criterion (AIC). Aromatic DNA adduct levels ranged between 1.7 and 18.6 per 108 nucleotides (mean: 5.8±3.1). DNA adduct level was significantly lower in homozygotes for NAT2 slow alleles and ERCC5 non risk-allele genotype, and was higher in the MPO homozygote risk-allele genotype. The sum of risk alleles in these genes significantly correlated with the log-adduct level (r=0.4, p<0.001). Compared with the environmental model, adding phase I SNPs and NER capacity provided the best fit, and could explain 17% more of the variation in adduct levels. NER capacity was affected by polymorphisms in the MTHFR and ERCC1 genes. Female non-smokers in this population had PAH-related DNA adduct levels 3-4 times higher than smokers and occupationally-exposed groups in previous studies, with large inter-individual variation which could best be explained by a combination of phase I genes and NER capacity.
doi:10.1002/ijc.27953
PMCID: PMC3597757  PMID: 23175176
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; DNA adducts; nucleotide excision repair; polymorphism
17.  Network of microRNAs-mRNAs Interactions in Pancreatic Cancer 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:534821.
Background. MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that regulate the expression of certain genes through interaction with mRNA targets and are mainly involved in human cancer. This study was conducted to make the network of miRNAs-mRNAs interactions in pancreatic cancer as the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Methods. 56 miRNAs that were exclusively expressed and 1176 genes that were downregulated or silenced in pancreas cancer were extracted from beforehand investigations. MiRNA–mRNA interactions data analysis and related networks were explored using MAGIA tool and Cytoscape 3 software. Functional annotations of candidate genes in pancreatic cancer were identified by DAVID annotation tool. Results. This network is made of 217 nodes for mRNA, 15 nodes for miRNA, and 241 edges that show 241 regulations between 15 miRNAs and 217 target genes. The miR-24 was the most significantly powerful miRNA that regulated series of important genes. ACVR2B, GFRA1, and MTHFR were significant target genes were that downregulated. Conclusion. Although the collected previous data seems to be a treasure trove, there was no study simultaneous to analysis of miRNAs and mRNAs interaction. Network of miRNA-mRNA interactions will help to corroborate experimental remarks and could be used to refine miRNA target predictions for developing new therapeutic approaches.
doi:10.1155/2014/534821
PMCID: PMC4033392  PMID: 24895587
18.  Association of tooth loss and oral hygiene with risk of gastric adenocarcinoma 
Introduction
Poor oral health and tooth loss have been proposed as possible risk factors for some chronic diseases, including gastric cancer. However only a small number of studies have tested these associations.
Method
We conducted a case-control study in Golestan Province, Iran, that enrolled 309 cases diagnosed with gastric adenocarcinoma (118 noncardia, 161 cardia, and 30 mixed-locations) and 613 sex, age and neighborhood matched controls. Data on oral health were obtained through physical examination and questionnaire including tooth loss, the number of decayed, missing, and filled teeth, and frequency of tooth brushing. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were obtained using conditional logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders. Standard one degree-of-freedom linear trend test and a multiple degree of freedom global test of the effect of adding oral hygiene variables to the model were also calculated.
Results
Our results showed apparent associations between tooth loss and DMFT score with risk of gastric cancer, overall and at each anatomic subsite. However, these associations were not monotonic and were strongly confounded by age. The results also showed that subjects who brushed their teeth less than daily were at significantly higher risk for gastric cardia adenocarcinoma OR (95% CI) of 5.6 (1.6–19.3).
Discussion
We found evidence for an association between oral health and gastric cancer, but the non- monotonic association, the relatively strong effect of confounder adjustment, and inconsistent results across studies must temper the strength of any conclusions.
doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0491
PMCID: PMC3644330  PMID: 23503651
Adenocarcinoma; Tooth loss; Oral health; Stomach
19.  Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and overall and Cause-specific Mortality: A Prospective Study of 50000 Individuals 
BACKGROUND
Only a few studies in Western countries have investigated the association between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and mortality at the general population level and they have shown mixed results. This study investigated the association between GERD symptoms and overall and cause-specific mortality in a large prospective population-based study in Golestan Province, Iran.
METHODS
Baseline data on frequency, onset time, and patient-perceived severity of GERD symptoms were available for 50001 participants in the Golestan Cohort Study (GCS). We identified 3107 deaths (including 1146 circulatory and 470 cancer-related) with an average follow-up of 6.4 years and calculated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for multiple potential confounders.
RESULTS
Severe daily symptoms (defined as symptoms interfering with daily work or causing nighttime awakenings on a daily bases, reported by 4.3% of participants) were associated with cancer mortality (HR 1.48, 95% CI: 1.04-2.05). This increase was too small to noticeably affect overall mortality. Mortality was not associated with onset time or frequency of GERD and was not increased with mild to moderate symptoms.
CONCLUSION
We have observed an association with GERD and increased cancer mortality in a small group of individuals that had severe symptoms. Most patients with mild to moderate GERD can be re-assured that their symptoms are not associated with increased mortality.
PMCID: PMC4034667  PMID: 24872865
Cardiovascular disease; Esophageal cancer; Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Mortality
20.  A U-shaped relationship between haematocrit and mortality in a large prospective cohort study 
Background Only a limited number of studies have investigated the correlation between haematocrit (HCT) and mortality in the general population, and few of those studies have had data on a wide range of low and high levels of HCT. We investigated the association between baseline HCT and mortality in a prospective cohort study of 49 983 adult subjects in Iran with a broad spectrum of HCT values.
Methods Data on socio-demographic and life-style factors, past medical history, and levels of HCT were collected at enrollment. During a mean follow-up of 5 years (follow-up success rate ∼99%), 2262 deaths were reported. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios and corresponding 95% confidence intervals.
Results There was a U-shaped relationship between categories of HCT and mortality in both sexes: both low and high levels of HCT were associated with increased overall mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease. The U-shaped relationship persisted after several sensitivity analyses were done, including analyses restricted to non-smokers and non-users of opium; analyses excluding deaths from accidents and other external causes as well as deaths of persons with self-reported ischemic heart disease at the baseline interview for the study; and analyses excluding the first 2 years of follow-up. Self-reported past medical history and lack of data about lipids and other cellular blood components were the major limitations of the study.
Conclusions Low and high levels of HCT are associated with increased mortality in the general population. The findings in the present study can be of particular importance for low- and middle-income countries in which a substantial proportion of the population lives with suboptimal levels of HCT.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyt013
PMCID: PMC3619954  PMID: 23569195
Anaemia; cancer; cardiovascular disease; erythrocytosis; haematocrit; mortality
21.  Determinants of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Including Hookah Smoking and Opium Use– A Cross-Sectional Analysis of 50,000 Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89256.
Background
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common cause of discomfort and morbidity worldwide. However, information on determinants of GERD from large-scale studies in low- to medium-income countries is limited. We investigated the factors associated with different measures of GERD symptoms, including frequency, patient-perceived severity, and onset time.
Methods
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the baseline data from a population-based cohort study of ∼50,000 individuals in in Golestan Province, Iran. GERD symptoms in this study included regurgitation and/or heartburn.
Results
Approximately 20% of participants reported at least weekly symptoms. Daily symptoms were less commonly reported by men, those of Turkmen ethnicity, and nass chewers. On the other hand, age, body mass index, alcohol drinking, cigarette smoking, opium use, lower socioeconomic status, and lower physical activity were associated with daily symptoms. Most of these factors showed similar associations with severe symptoms. Women with higher BMI and waist to hip ratio were more likely to report frequent and severe GERD symptoms. Hookah smoking (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.02–1.75) and opium use (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.55–1.87) were associated with severe symptoms, whereas nass chewing had an inverse association (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.76–0.99). After exclusion of cigarette smokers, hookah smoking was still positively associated and nass chewing was inversely associated with GERD symptoms (all frequencies combined).
Conclusion
GERD is common in this population. The associations of hookah and opium use and inverse association of nass use with GERD symptoms are reported for the first time. Further studies are required to investigate the nature of these associations. Other determinants of GERD were mostly comparable to those reported elsewhere.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089256
PMCID: PMC3931722  PMID: 24586635
22.  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.
Objective
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.
Design
Cross-sectional study.
Setting
Baseline data (collected in 2004–2008) from a prospective population-based study in Golestan Province, Iran.
Participants
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2012-302861
PMCID: PMC3671096  PMID: 23257174
hookah; ischemic heart disease; nass; tobacco; water-pipe
23.  The gastro-esophageal malignancies in Northern Iran research project: impact on the health research and health care systems in Iran 
Archives of Iranian medicine  2013;16(1):46-53.
Since 2000, considerable progress has been made in health research in Iran. An example of this progress has been the Gastro- Esophageal Malignancies in Northern Iran (GEMINI). The original aim of this project was to identify etiologic factors and prevention measures for upper gastrointestinal cancers in Northern provinces of Iran, but its achievements have gone much beyond the initial goal. This project is one of the largest studies in the Middle East and North African region, has helped build and strengthen research capacity at both individual and institutional levels in Iran, and has provided international credibility to research institutes and the wider research system in Iran. The success of GEMINI reveals the feasibility of large-scale studies in developing countries and serves as a successful model not only for health research institutes within Iran, but also for research systems in other developing countries. The outcomes of the project are numerous, including establishment of research networks, development of efficient methods for planning and implementation of research projects, and introduction of methodologies for project management, data management and usage of health technology. Finally and perhaps most importantly, GEMINI is among the few projects that has had a significant impact on the attitudes and concerns of decision makers in the health sector in Iran. It signifies the importance of investment in human resources and has proved that health policies should be health-based rather than patient-based. Here we review the impact of GEMINI on the health research system and the broader health care system of Iran and put these into a more global perspective.
PMCID: PMC3659328  PMID: 23273237
research design; prospective studies; pilot projects; feasibility studies; planning techniques; methods; cancer epidemiology; gastroenterology
24.  Prevalence, awareness and risk factors of hypertension in a large cohort of Iranian adult population 
Journal of hypertension  2013;31(7):1364-1371.
Background
There is considerable variation in hypertension prevalence and awareness, and their correlates, across different geographic locations and ethnic groups. We performed this cross-sectional analysis on data from the Golestan Cohort Study (GCS).
Methods
Enrollment in this study occurred in 2004–2008, and included 50,045 healthy subjects from Golestan Province in northeastern Iran. Hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥140, a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥90, a prior diagnosis of hypertension, or the use of antihypertensive drugs. Potential correlates of hypertension and its awareness were analyzed by logistic regression adjusted for sex, age, BMI, place of residence, literacy, ethnicity, physical activity, smoking, black and green tea consumption and wealth score.
Results
Of the total cohort participants, 21,350 (42.7%) were hypertensive. Age-standardized prevalence of hypertension, using the 2001 WHO standard world population, was 41.8% (95%CI: 38.3%–45.2%). Hypertension was directly associated with female sex, increased BMI, Turkmen ethnicity, and lack of physical activity, and inversely associated with drinking black tea and wealth score. Among hypertensive subjects, 46.2% were aware of their disease, 17.6% were receiving antihypertensive medication, and 32.1% of the treated subjects had controlled hypertension. Hypertension awareness was greater among women, the elderly, overweight and obese subjects, and those with a higher wealth score.
Conclusions
Hypertension is highly prevalent in rural Iran, many of the affected individuals are unaware of their disease, and the rate of control by antihypertensive medications is low. Increasing hypertension awareness and access to health services, especially among less privileged residents are recommended.
doi:10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283613053
PMCID: PMC3766446  PMID: 23673348
hypertension; awareness; obesity; smoking; socioeconomic status
25.  Detection of TP53 R249 Mutation in Iranian Patients with Pancreatic Cancer 
Journal of Oncology  2013;2013:738915.
The TP53 gene encodes tumor protein p53 which play a major role in the etiology of pancreatic cancer. The important role of codon 249 of TP53 for binding of p53 to its sequence-specific consensus site in DNA has been revealed by crystallography's studies, and mutation at this codon was detected in the plasma of some human cancers. The TP53 Mut assessor software within the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) TP53 Database was performed to evaluate every possible mutation at codon 249. DNA was extracted from the plasma of 133 pancreatic cancer patients and 85 noncancer-bearing individuals. Exon 7 in TP53 was amplified, and mutation at R249 was identified by the endonuclease cleavage of HaeIII. The group of patients showed a frequency of 11% (22 of 133 samples) R249 mutation compared to 3.5% (3 of 85 samples) in the group of control which was significant (P = 0.03). This mutation demonstrated statistically significant association with pancreatic cancer risk in unadjusted odds ratio (OR: 3.74, 95% CI: 1.1–13.2; P = 0.041); however when adjusted for confounding factors, it was marginally significant because of lower control samples. These findings demonstrate that mutation at R249 of TP53 can be considered for increasing risk of pancreatic cancer that needs more research.
doi:10.1155/2013/738915
PMCID: PMC3892507  PMID: 24489544

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