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1.  Genetic Variation across C-Reactive Protein and Risk of Prostate Cancer 
The Prostate  2014;74(10):1034-1042.
Inflammation has been hypothesized to play an important etiological role in the initiation or progression of prostate cancer. Circulating levels of the systemic inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP) have been associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. We investigated the role of genetic variation in CRP and prostate cancer, under the hypothesis that variants may alter risk of disease.
We undertook a case-control study nested within the prospective Physicians' Health Study among 1,286 men with incident prostate cancer and 1,264 controls. Four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected to capture the common genetic variation across CRP (r2>0.8). We used unconditional logistic regression to assess the association between each SNP and risk of prostate cancer. Linear regression models explored associations between each genotype and plasma CRP levels.
None of the CRP SNPs were associated with prostate cancer overall. Individuals with one copy of the minor allele (C) in rs1800947 had an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer (OR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.1–2.8), and significantly lower mean CRP levels (p-value <0.001), however, we found no significant association with lethal disease. Mean CRP levels were significantly elevated in men with one or two copies of the minor allele in rs3093075 and rs1417939, but these were unrelated to prostate cancer risk.
Our findings suggest that SNPs in the CRP gene are not associated with risk of overall or lethal prostate cancer. Polymorphisms in CRP rs1800947 may be associated with higher grade disease, but our results require replication in other cohorts.
PMCID: PMC4063346  PMID: 24844401
CRP SNPs; prostate cancer; inflammation
2.  Stress resilience and physical fitness in adolescence and risk of coronary heart disease in middle age 
Heart  2015;101(8):623-629.
Psychosocial stress is a suggested risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). The relationship of stress resilience in adolescence with subsequent CHD risk is underinvestigated, so our objective was to assess this and investigate the possible mediating role of physical fitness.
In this register-based study, 237 980 men born between 1952 and 1956 were followed from 1987 to 2010 using information from Swedish registers. Stress resilience was measured at a compulsory military conscription examination using a semistructured interview with a psychologist. Some 10 581 diagnoses of CHD were identified. Cox regression estimated the association of stress resilience with CHD, with adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors.
Low-stress resilience was associated with increased CHD risk. The association remained after adjustment for physical fitness and other potential confounding and mediating factors, with adjusted HRs (and 95% CIs) of 1.17 (1.10 to 1.25), with some evidence of mediation by physical fitness. CHD incidence rates per 1000 person-years (and 95% CIs) for low-stress, medium-stress and high-stress resilience were 2.61 (2.52 to 2.70), 1.97 (1.92 to 2.03) and 1.59 (1.53 to 1.67) respectively. Higher physical fitness was inversely associated with CHD risk; however, this was attenuated by low-stress resilience, shown by interaction testing (p<0.001).
Low-stress resilience in adolescence was associated with increased risk of CHD in middle age and may diminish the benefit of physical fitness. This represents new evidence of the role of stress resilience in determining risk of CHD and its interrelationship with physical fitness.
PMCID: PMC4396533  PMID: 25740818
3.  Is a Cancer Diagnosis Associated with Subsequent Risk of Transient Global Amnesia? 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0122960.
Psychological stress has been associated with transient global amnesia (TGA). Whether a cancer diagnosis, a severely stressful life event, is associated with subsequent risk of TGA has not been studied.
Based on the Swedish Cancer Register and Patient Register, we conducted a prospective cohort study including 5,365,608 Swedes at age 30 and above during 2001–2009 to examine the relative risk of TGA among cancer patients, as compared to cancer-free individuals. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) derived from Poisson regression were used as estimates of the association between cancer diagnosis and the risk of TGA.
During the study 322,558 individuals (6.01%) received a first diagnosis of cancer. We identified 210 cases of TGA among the cancer patients (incidence rate, 0.22 per 1000 person-years) and 4,887 TGA cases among the cancer-free individuals (incidence rate, 0.12 per 1000 person-years). Overall, after adjustment for age, sex, calendar year, socioeconomic status, education and civil status, cancer patients had no increased risk of TGA than the cancer-free individuals (IRR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.86–1.13). The IRRs did not differ over time since cancer diagnosis or across individual cancer types. The null association was neither modified by sex, calendar period or age.
Our study did not provide support for the hypothesis that patients with a new diagnosis of cancer display a higher risk of TGA than cancer-free individuals.
PMCID: PMC4388478  PMID: 25849383
4.  Spousal Loss and Cognitive Function in Later Life: A 25-year Follow-up in the AGES-Reykjavik Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2014;179(6):674-683.
The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between loss of a life partner and the development of dementia and decline in cognitive function in later life. We used an Icelandic cohort of 4,370 participants in the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study who were living as married in 1978 (born in 1907–1935) and were either still married (unexposed cohort) or widowed (exposed cohort) at follow-up (in 2002–2006). We ascertained history of marital status and spouse's death by record linkage to the Registry of the Total Population, Statistics Iceland. The outcome measures were as follows: 1) dementia and mild cognitive impairment; and 2) memory, speed of processing, and executive function. During the observation period, 3,007 individuals remained married and 1,363 lost a spouse through death. We did not find any significant associations between loss of a spouse and our outcome variables, except that widowed women had poorer executive function (mean = −0.08) during the first 2 years after their husbands’ deaths compared with still-married women (mean = 0.09). Our findings do not support the notion that the risk of dementia is increased following the loss of a spouse, yet women demonstrate a seemingly temporary decline in executive function following the death of a partner.
PMCID: PMC3939848  PMID: 24444551
dementia; executive function; marital status; memory; psychological stress
5.  Sleep Disruption Among Older Men and Risk of Prostate Cancer 
While positive associations have consistently been reported between sleep disruption and breast cancer, less is known about its potential role in prostate cancer.
Within the prospective AGES-Reykjavik cohort study, we followed 2,102 men recruited in 2002–2006 until the end of 2009. Participants answered questions on sleep disruption. Information on the occurrence of prostate cancer was obtained through record-linkages across the Icelandic Cancer Registry. We used Cox regression models with 95% confidence intervals [CIs] to estimate hazard ratios [HR] of prostate cancer by symptoms of sleep disruption.
During follow-up, 135 men (6.4%) were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Compared to men without sleep disruption, those with problems falling and staying asleep were at significantly increased risk of prostate cancer [HR, 1.7 (95% CI, 1.0–2.9) and 2.1 (95% CI, 1.2–3.7)], respectively, with increasing sleep disruption severity. When restricted to advanced prostate cancer (≥ stage T3 or lethal disease), these associations became even stronger [HRs 2.1 (95% CI, 0.7–6.2) and 3.2 (95% CI, 1.1–9.7)]. The results did not change after excluding from the analyses men who woke up during the night, indicative of nocturia, suggesting limited risk of reverse association.
Our data suggest that certain aspects of sleep disruption may confer an increased risk of prostate cancer and call for additional, larger studies with longer follow-up times.
Prostate cancer is one of the leading public health concerns in men; if confirmed in future studies the association between sleep disruption and prostate cancer risk may open new avenues for prevention.
PMCID: PMC3652595  PMID: 23652374
prostate cancer; circadian disruption; sleep disruption; cohort study; melatonin; light at night
6.  SPOP Mutations in Prostate Cancer across Demographically Diverse Patient Cohorts12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(1):14-20.
Recurrent mutations in the Speckle-Type POZ Protein (SPOP) gene occur in up to 15% of prostate cancers. However, the frequency and features of cancers with these mutations across different populations is unknown.
To investigate SPOP mutations across diverse cohorts and validate a series of assays employing high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis and Sanger sequencing for mutational analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded material.
Design, Setting, and Participants
720 prostate cancer samples from six international cohorts spanning Caucasian, African American, and Asian patients, including both prostate-specific antigen-screened and unscreened populations, were screened for their SPOP mutation status. Status of SPOP was correlated to molecular features (ERG rearrangement, PTEN deletion, and CHD1 deletion) as well as clinical and pathologic features.
Results and Limitations
Overall frequency of SPOP mutations was 8.1% (4.6% to 14.4%), SPOP mutation was inversely associated with ERG rearrangement (P < .01), and SPOP mutant (SPOPmut) cancers had higher rates of CHD1 deletions (P < .01). There were no significant differences in biochemical recurrence in SPOPmut cancers. Limitations of this study include missing mutational data due to sample quality and lack of power to identify a difference in clinical outcomes.
SPOP is mutated in 4.6% to 14.4% of patients with prostate cancer across different ethnic and demographic backgrounds. There was no significant association between SPOP mutations with ethnicity, clinical, or pathologic parameters. Mutual exclusivity of SPOP mutation with ERG rearrangement as well as a high association with CHD1 deletion reinforces SPOP mutation as defining a distinct molecular subclass of prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3924544  PMID: 24563616
7.  Increasing use of radical prostatectomy for non-lethal prostate cancer in Sweden 
The number of patients in Sweden treated with radical prostatectomy for localized prostate cancer has increased exponentially. The extent to which this increase reflects treatment of non-lethal disease detected through PSA screening is unknown.
Experimental design
We undertook a nationwide study of all 18,837 prostate cancer patients treated with radical prostatectomy in Sweden from 1988 to 2008 with complete follow-up through 2009. We compared cumulative incidence curves, fit Cox regression and cure models and performed a simulation study to determine changes in treatment of non-lethal cancer, in cancer-specific survival over time, and effect of lead-time due to PSA screening.
The annual number of radical prostatectomies increased 25-fold during the study period. The five-year cancer-specific mortality decreased from 3.9% (95% CI 2.5 to 5.3) among patients diagnosed between 1988 and 1992 to 0.7% (95% CI 0.4–1.1) among those diagnosed between 1998 and 2002 (p for trend < 0.001). According to the cure model, the risk of not being cured declined by 13% (95% CI 12–14%) with each calendar year. The simulation study indicated that only about half of the improvement in disease-specific survival could be accounted for by lead-time.
Patients overdiagnosed with non-lethal prostate cancer appear to account for a substantial and growing part of the dramatic increase in radical prostatectomies in Sweden but increasing survival rates are likely also due to true reductions in the risk of disease-specific death over time. Because the magnitude of harm and costs due to overtreatment can be considerable, identification of men who likely benefit from radical prostatectomy is urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC3711175  PMID: 22927485
Overdiagnosis; prostate cancer; PSA screening; radical prostatectomy
8.  Mortality following a brain tumour diagnosis in patients with multiple sclerosis 
BMJ Open  2013;3(11):e003622.
As brain tumours and their treatment may theoretically have a poorer prognosis in inflammatory central nervous system diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), all-cause mortality following a brain tumour diagnosis was compared between patients with and without MS. The potential role of age at tumour diagnosis was also examined.
Hospital inpatients in Sweden with assessment of mortality in hospital or following discharge.
Swedish national registers identified 20 543 patients with an MS diagnosis (1969–2005) and they were matched individually to produce a comparison cohort of 204 163 members of the general population without MS. Everyone with a primary brain tumour diagnosis was selected for this study: 111 with MS and 907 without MS.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
5-year mortality risk following brain tumour diagnosis and age at brain tumour diagnosis.
A non-statistically significant lower mortality risk among patients with MS (lower for those with tumours of high-grade and uncertain-grade malignancy and no notable difference for low-grade tumours) produced an unadjusted HR (and 95% CI) of 0.75 (0.56 to 1.02). After adjustment for age at diagnosis, grade of malignancy, sex, region of residence and socioeconomic index, the HR is 0.91 (0.67–1.24). The change in estimate was largely due to adjustment for age at brain tumour diagnosis, as patients with MS were on average 4.7 years younger at brain tumour diagnosis than those in the comparison cohort (p<0.001).
Younger age at tumour diagnosis may contribute to mortality reduction in those with high-grade and uncertain-grade brain tumours. Survival following a brain tumour is not worse in patients with MS; even after age at brain tumour diagnosis and grade of malignancy are taken into account.
PMCID: PMC3831093  PMID: 24220114
9.  Dietary Fatty Acid Intake and Prostate Cancer Survival in Örebro County, Sweden 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;176(3):240-252.
Although dietary fat has been associated with prostate cancer risk, the association between specific fatty acids and prostate cancer survival remains unclear. Dietary intake of 14 fatty acids was analyzed in a population-based cohort of 525 Swedish men with prostate cancer in Örebro County (1989–1994). Multivariable hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for time to prostate cancer death by quartile and per standard deviation increase in intake were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression. Additional models examined the association by stage at diagnosis (localized: T0-T2/M0; advanced: T0-T4/M1, T3-T4/M0). Among all men, those with the highest omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid and total marine fatty acid intakes were 40% less likely to die from prostate cancer (Ptrend = 0.05 and 0.04, respectively). Among men with localized prostate cancer, hazard ratios of 2.07 (95% confidence interval: 0.93, 4.59; Ptrend = 0.03) for elevated total fat, 2.39 (95% confidence interval: 1.06, 5.38) for saturated myristic acid, and 2.88 (95% confidence interval: 1.24, 6.67) for shorter chain (C4-C10) fatty acid intakes demonstrated increased risk for disease-specific mortality for the highest quartile compared with the lowest quartile. This study suggests that high intake of total fat and certain saturated fatty acids may worsen prostate cancer survival, particularly among men with localized disease. In contrast, high marine omega-3 fatty acid intake may improve disease-specific survival for all men.
PMCID: PMC3491963  PMID: 22781428
fatty acids; prostatic neoplasms; survival analysis
10.  Seasonal variation in expression of markers in the vitamin D pathway in prostate tissue 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2012;23(8):1359-1366.
Recent studies suggest variation in genes along the vitamin D pathway, as well as vitamin D receptor (VDR) protein levels, may be associated with prostate cancer. As serum vitamin D levels vary by season, we sought to determine whether expression of genes on the vitamin D pathway, assessed in prostate tumor tissue, do the same.
Our study incorporates mRNA expression data from 362 men in the Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort, diagnosed between 1977 and 1999, and 106 men enrolled in the US Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) diagnosed between 1983 and 2004. We also assayed for VDR protein expression among 832 men in the PHS and Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohorts. Season was characterized by date of initial tissue specimen collection categorically and by average monthly ultraviolet radiation levels. One-way analysis of variance was used to examine variation in expression levels of six genes on the vitamin D pathway – VDR, GC, CYP27A1, CYP27B1, RXRα, CYP24A1 – and VDR protein by season, adjusted for age at diagnosis and Gleason grade. Variation was also examined separately among lethal and nonlethal cases.
Tumor expression levels of the six genes did not significantly vary by season of tissue collection. No consistent patterns emerged from subgroup analyses by lethal versus nonlethal cases.
Unlike circulating levels of 25-OH vitamin D, expression levels of genes on the vitamin D pathway and VDR protein did not vary overall by season of tissue collection. Epidemiological analyses of vitamin D gene expression may not be biased by seasonality.
PMCID: PMC3589913  PMID: 22710747
Vitamin D; Vitamin D receptor; prostate cancer; gene expression; seasonality; biomarkers
11.  Inflammation, Focal Atrophic Lesions, and Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN) with Respect to Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer 
A challenge in prostate cancer (PCa) management is identifying potentially lethal disease at diagnosis. Inflammation, focal prostatic atrophy and prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) are common in prostate tumor specimens, but it is not clear whether these lesions have prognostic significance.
We conducted a case-control study nested in a cohort of men diagnosed with stage T1a-b PCa through transurethral resection of the prostate in Sweden. Cases are men who died of PCa (n=228). Controls are men who survived more than 10 years after PCa diagnosis without metastases (n=387). Slides were assessed for Gleason grade, inflammation, PIN, and four subtypes of focal prostatic atrophy: simple atrophy (SA), post-atrophic hyperplasia (PAH), simple atrophy with cyst formation, and partial atrophy. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for odds of lethal PCa with multivariable logistic regression.
Chronic inflammation and PIN were more frequently observed in tumors with PAH, but not SA. No specific type of atrophy or inflammation was significantly associated with lethal PCa overall, but there was a suggestion of a positive association for chronic inflammation. Independent of age, Gleason score, year of diagnosis, inflammation, and atrophy type, men with PIN were 89% more likely to die of PCa (95% CI:1.04-3.42).
Our data demonstrate that PIN, and perhaps presence of moderate or severe chronic inflammation, may have prognostic significance for PCa.
Lesions in tumor adjacent tissue, and not just the tumor itself, may aid in identification of clinically relevant disease.
PMCID: PMC3671592  PMID: 21953116
Prostate adenocarcinoma; Chronic inflammation; Post-atrophic hyperplasia; Lethal prostate cancer
12.  Consumption of Fish Products across the Lifespan and Prostate Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e59799.
To examine whether fish and fish oil consumption across the lifespan is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.
The study was nested among 2268 men aged 67–96 years in the AGES-Reykjavik cohort study. In 2002 to 2006, dietary habits were assessed, for early life, midlife and later life using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Participants were followed for prostate cancer diagnosis and mortality through 2009 via linkage to nationwide cancer- and mortality registers. Adjusting for potential confounders, we used regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and hazard ratios (HRs) for prostate cancer according to fish and fish oil consumption.
Among the 2268 men, we ascertained 214 prevalent and 133 incident prostate cancer cases, of which 63 had advanced disease. High fish consumption in early- and midlife was not associated with overall or advanced prostate cancer. High intake of salted or smoked fish was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer both in early life (95% CI: 1.08, 3.62) and in later life (95% CI: 1.04, 5.00). Men consuming fish oil in later life had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer [HR (95%CI): 0.43 (0.19, 0.95)], no association was found for early life or midlife consumption.
Salted or smoked fish may increase risk of advanced prostate cancer, whereas fish oil consumption may be protective against progression of prostate cancer in elderly men. In a setting with very high fish consumption, no association was found between overall fish consumption in early or midlife and prostate cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3629172  PMID: 23613715
13.  Rye Bread Consumption in Early Life and Reduced Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2012;23(6):941-950.
To determine whether consumption of whole-grain; rye bread, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread, during different periods of life, is associated with risk of prostate cancer (PCa).
In 2002 to 2006, 2,268 men, aged 67-96 years, reported their dietary habits in the AGES-Reykjavik cohort study. Dietary habits were assessed for early-, mid- , and current life using a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Through linkage to cancer- and mortality registers, we retrieved information on PCa diagnosis and mortality through 2009. We used regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and hazard ratios (HRs) for PCa according to whole grain consumption, adjusted for possible confounding factors including fish-, fish liver oil-, meat-, and milk intake.
Of the 2,268 men, 347 had or were diagnosed with PCa during follow-up, 63 with advanced disease (stage 3+ or died of PCa). Daily rye bread consumption in adolescence (vs. less than daily) was associated with a decreased risk of PCa diagnosis (OR = 0.76, 95% Confidence interval (CI): 0.59-0.98), and of advanced PCa (OR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.27-0.84). High intake of oatmeal in adolescence (≥5 vs. ≤4 times/ week) was not significantly associated with risk of PCa diagnosis (OR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.77-1.27) nor advanced PCa (OR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.37-1.20). Mid-, and late life consumption of rye bread, oatmeal, or whole-wheat bread was not associated with PCa risk.
Our results suggest that rye bread consumption in adolescence may be associated with reduced risk of PCa, particularly advanced disease.
PMCID: PMC3568695  PMID: 22527172
adolescent; diet; epidemiology; rye bread; prostatic neoplasms; whole-grain; AGES Reykjavik study
14.  Genetic variation in the Toll-Like Receptor 4 and prostate cancer incidence and mortality 
The Prostate  2011;72(2):209-216.
Common genetic variants in the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), which is involved in inflammation and immune response pathways, may be important for prostate cancer.
In a large nested case-control study of prostate cancer in the Physicians’ Health Study (1982–2004), 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected and genotyped to capture common variation within the TLR4 gene as well as 5 kilobases up and downstream. Unconditional logistic regression was used to assess associations of these SNPs with total prostate cancer incidence, and with prostate cancers defined as advanced stage/lethal (T3/T4, M1/N1(T1-T4), lethal) or high Gleason grade (7 (4+3) or greater). Cox-proportional hazards regression was used to assess progression to metastases and death among prostate cancer cases.
The study included 1267 controls and 1286 incident prostate cancer cases, including 248 advanced stage/lethal and 306 high grade cases. During a median follow-up of 10.6 years, 183 men died of prostate cancer or developed distant metastases. No statistically significant associations between the TLR4 SNPs were found for total prostate cancer incidence, including SNPs for which an association was reported in other published studies. Additionally, there were no significant associations with TLR4 SNPS and the incidence of advanced stage/lethal, or high grade cancers; nor was there evidence among prostate cancer cases for associations of TLR4 SNPs with progression to prostate cancer specific mortality or bony metastases.
Results from this prospective nested case-control study suggest that genetic variation across TLR4 alone is not strongly associated with prostate cancer risk or mortality.
PMCID: PMC3175021  PMID: 21563195
TLR4; prostate cancer; inflammation; molecular epidemiology
15.  Milk Intake in Early Life and Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;175(2):144-153.
The authors investigated whether early-life residency in certain areas of Iceland marked by distinct differences in milk intake was associated with risk of prostate cancer in a population-based cohort of 8,894 men born between 1907 and 1935. Through linkage to cancer and mortality registers, the men were followed for prostate cancer diagnosis and mortality from study entry (in waves from 1967 to 1987) through 2009. In 2002–2006, a subgroup of 2,268 participants reported their milk intake in early, mid-, and current life. During a mean follow-up period of 24.3 years, 1,123 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 371 with advanced disease (stage 3 or higher or prostate cancer death). Compared with early-life residency in the capital area, rural residency in the first 20 years of life was marginally associated with increased risk of advanced prostate cancer (hazard ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97, 1.73), particularly among men born before 1920 (hazard ratio = 1.64, 95% CI: 1.06, 2.56). Daily milk consumption in adolescence (vs. less than daily), but not in midlife or currently, was associated with a 3.2-fold risk of advanced prostate cancer (95% CI: 1.25, 8.28). These data suggest that frequent milk intake in adolescence increases risk of advanced prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3249408  PMID: 22190107
adolescent; diet; Iceland; milk; prostatic neoplasms; risk factors
16.  Circadian Disruption, Sleep Loss and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review of Epidemiological Studies 
Disruption of the circadian system has been hypothesized to increase cancer risk, either due to direct disruption of the molecular machinery generating circadian rhythms or due to disruption of parameters controlled by the clock such as melatonin levels or sleep duration. This hypothesis has been studied in hormone-dependent cancers among women, but data are sparse regarding potential effects of circadian disruption on the risk of prostate cancer. This review systematically examines available data evaluating the effects of light at night, sleep patterns, and night shift work on prostate cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3392423  PMID: 22564869
prostate cancer; circadian disruption; sleep disruption; shift work; melatonin; light at night
17.  Utility of multispectral imaging in automated quantitative scoring of immunohistochemistry 
Journal of clinical pathology  2012;65(6):496-502.
Automated scanning devices and image analysis software provide a means to overcome the limitations of manual semiquantitative scoring of immunohistochemistry. Common drawbacks to automated imaging systems include an inability to classify tissue type and an inability to segregate cytoplasmic and nuclear staining.
Immunohistochemistry for the membranous marker α-catenin, the cytoplasmic marker stathmin and the nuclear marker Ki-67 was performed on tissue microarrays (TMA) of archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue comprising 471 (α-catenin and stathmin) and 511 (Ki-67) cases of prostate adenocarcinoma. These TMA were quantitatively analysed using two commercially available automated image analysers, the Ariol SL-50 system and the Nuance system from CRi. Both systems use brightfield microscopy for automated, unbiased and standardised quantification of immunohistochemistry, while the Nuance system has spectral deconvolution capabilities.
Overall concordance between scores from both systems was excellent (r=0.90; 0.83–0.95). The software associated with the multispectral imager allowed accurate automated classification of tissue type into epithelial glandular structures and stroma, and a single-step segmentation of staining into cytoplasmic or nuclear compartments allowing independent evaluation of these areas. The Nuance system, however, was not able to distinguish reliably between tumour and non-tumour tissue. In addition, variance in the labour and time required for analysis between the two systems was also noted.
Despite limitations, this study suggests some beneficial role for the use of a multispectral imaging system in automated analysis of immunohistochemistry.
PMCID: PMC3437674  PMID: 22447914
18.  mRNA Expression Signature of Gleason Grade Predicts Lethal Prostate Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(17):2391-2396.
Prostate-specific antigen screening has led to enormous overtreatment of prostate cancer because of the inability to distinguish potentially lethal disease at diagnosis. We reasoned that by identifying an mRNA signature of Gleason grade, the best predictor of prognosis, we could improve prediction of lethal disease among men with moderate Gleason 7 tumors, the most common grade, and the most indeterminate in terms of prognosis.
Patients and Methods
Using the complementary DNA–mediated annealing, selection, extension, and ligation assay, we measured the mRNA expression of 6,100 genes in prostate tumor tissue in the Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort (n = 358) and Physicians' Health Study (PHS; n = 109). We developed an mRNA signature of Gleason grade comparing individuals with Gleason ≤ 6 to those with Gleason ≥ 8 tumors and applied the model among patients with Gleason 7 to discriminate lethal cases.
We built a 157-gene signature using the Swedish data that predicted Gleason with low misclassification (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.91); when this signature was tested in the PHS, the discriminatory ability remained high (AUC = 0.94). In men with Gleason 7 tumors, who were excluded from the model building, the signature significantly improved the prediction of lethal disease beyond knowing whether the Gleason score was 4 + 3 or 3 + 4 (P = .006).
Our expression signature and the genes identified may improve our understanding of the de-differentiation process of prostate tumors. Additionally, the signature may have clinical applications among men with Gleason 7, by further estimating their risk of lethal prostate cancer and thereby guiding therapy decisions to improve outcomes and reduce overtreatment.
PMCID: PMC3107753  PMID: 21537050
19.  Genetic variation in RNASEL associated with prostate cancer risk and progression 
Carcinogenesis  2010;31(9):1597-1603.
Variation in genes contributing to the host immune response may mediate the relationship between inflammation and prostate carcinogenesis. RNASEL at chromosome 1q25 encodes ribonuclease L, part of the interferon-mediated immune response to viral infection. We therefore investigated the association between variation in RNASEL and prostate cancer risk and progression in a study of 1286 cases and 1264 controls nested within the prospective Physicians’ Health Study. Eleven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected using the web-based ‘Tagger’ in the HapMap CEPH panel (Utah residents of Northern and Western European Ancestry). Unconditional logistic regression models assessed the relationship between each SNP and incident advanced stage (T3/T4, T0-T4/M1 and lethal disease) and high Gleason grade (≥7) prostate cancer. Further analyses were stratified by calendar year of diagnosis. Cox proportional hazards models examined the relationship between genotype and prostate cancer-specific survival. We also explored associations between genotype and serum inflammatory biomarkers interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor 2 using linear regression. Individuals homozygous for the variant allele of rs12757998 had an increased risk of prostate cancer [AA versus GG; odds ratio (OR): 1.63, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18–2.25), and more specifically, high-grade tumors (OR: 1.90, 95% CI: 1.25–2.89). The same genotype was associated with increased CRP (P = 0.02) and IL-6 (P = 0.05) levels. Missense mutations R462Q and D541E were associated with an increased risk of advanced stage disease only in the pre-prostate-specific antigen era. There were no significant associations with survival. The results of this study support a link between RNASEL and prostate cancer and suggest that the association may be mediated through inflammation. These novel findings warrant replication in future studies.
PMCID: PMC2930803  PMID: 20576793
20.  Immunohistochemical expression of BRCA1 and lethal prostate cancer 
Cancer research  2010;70(8):3136-3139.
BRCA1 functions as a tumor suppressor; recent work suggests that BRCA1 may also induce cell-cycle arrest to allow for DNA repair. We hypothesized that BRCA1 expression in prostate tumor tissue may be associated with prostate cancer progression through regulation of the cell-cycle. We used immunohistochemistry to evaluate BRCA1 protein expression in archival tumors samples from 393 prostate cancer cases in the Physicians' Health Study. The men were followed prospectively from diagnosis to development of metastases and mortality. Fifteen percent of tumors stained positive for BRCA1. BRCA1 positive tumors had substantially increased tumor proliferation index compared to negative tumors (47.0 Ki67 positive nuclei vs. 10.3, p=0.0016), and were more likely to develop lethal cancer compared to BRCA1 negative tumors (Hazard ratio=4.6; 95% Confidence interval: 2.4, 8.7). These findings strengthen the hypothesis that BRCA1 plays a role in cell-cycle control and demonstrate that BRCA1 is a marker of clinical prostate cancer prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3049266  PMID: 20388772
21.  Estrogen-dependent signaling in a molecularly distinct subclass of aggressive prostate cancer 
The majority of prostate cancers harbor gene fusions of the 5′-untranslated region of the androgen-regulated transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2) promoter with erythroblast transformation specific (ETS) transcription factor family members. The common v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog [avian] (TMPRSS2–ERG) fusion is associated with a more aggressive clinical phenotype, implying the existence of a distinct subclass of prostate cancer defined by this fusion.
We used cDNA-mediated annealing, selection, ligation, and extension to determine the expression profiles of 6144 transcriptionally informative genes in archived biopsy samples from 455 prostate cancer patients in the Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort (1987–1999) and the US-based Physicians Health Study cohort (1983–2003). A gene expression signature for prostate cancers with the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was determined using partitioning and classification models and used in computational functional analysis. Cell proliferation and TMPRSS2-ERG expression in androgen receptor–negative (NCI-H660) and –positive (VCaP-ERβ) prostate cancer cells after treatment with vehicle or estrogenic compounds were assessed by viability assays and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, respectively. All statistical tests were two-sided.
We identified an 87-gene expression signature that distinguishes TMPRSS2-ERG fusion prostate cancer as a discrete molecular entity (area under the curve = 0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.792 to 0.81; P<.001). Computational analysis suggested that this fusion signature was associated with estrogen receptor (ER) signaling. Viability of NCI-H660 cells decreased after treatment with estrogen (viability normalized to day 0, estrogen vs vehicle at day 8, mean = 2.04 vs 3.40, difference = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.12 to 1.62) or ERβ agonist (ERβ agonist vs vehicle at day 8, mean = 1.86 vs 3.40, difference = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.39 to 1.69) but increased after ERα agonist treatment (ERα agonist vs vehicle at day 8, mean = 4.36 vs 3.40, difference = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.68 to 1.23). Similarly, expression of TMPRSS2-ERG decreased after ERβ agonist treatment (fold change over internal control, ERβ agonist vs vehicle at 24 hours, NCI H660, mean = 0.57-fold vs 1.0-fold, difference = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.29-fold to 0.57-fold) and increased after ERα agonist treatment (ERα agonist vs vehicle at 24 hours, mean = 5.63-fold vs 1.0-fold, difference = 4.63-fold, 95% CI = 4.34-fold to 4.92-fold).
TMPRSS2-ERG fusion prostate cancer is a distinct molecular subclass. TMPRSS2-ERG expression is regulated by a novel ER-dependent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3073404  PMID: 18505969
22.  Prediagnostic Plasma Vitamin D Metabolites and Mortality among Patients with Prostate Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18625.
Laboratory evidence suggests that vitamin D might influence prostate cancer prognosis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined the associations between prediagnostic plasma levels of 25(OH)vitamin D [25(OH)D] and 1,25(OH)2vitamin D [1,25(OH)2D] and mortality among 1822 participants of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and Physicians' Health Study who were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of total mortality (n = 595) and lethal prostate cancer (death from prostate cancer or development of bone metastases; n = 202). In models adjusted for age at diagnosis, BMI, physical activity, and smoking, we observed a HR of 1.22 (95% CI: 0.97, 1.54) for total mortality, comparing men in the lowest to the highest quartile of 25(OH)D. There was no association between 1,25(OH)2D and total mortality. Men with the lowest 25(OH)D quartile were more likely to die of their cancer (HR: 1.59; 95% CI: 1.06, 2.39) compared to those in the highest quartile (Ptrend = 0.006). This association was largely explained by the association between low 25(OH)D levels and advanced cancer stage and higher Gleason score, suggesting that these variables may mediate the influence of 25(OH)D on prognosis. The association also tended to be stronger among patients with samples collected within five years of cancer diagnosis. 1,25(OH)2D levels were not associated with lethal prostate cancer.
Although potential bias of less advanced disease due to more screening activity among men with high 25(OH)D levels cannot be ruled out, higher prediagnostic plasma 25(OH)D might be associated with improved prostate cancer prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3071841  PMID: 21494639
23.  Development of a New Method for Monitoring Prostate-Specific Antigen Changes in Men with Localised Prostate Cancer: A Comparison of Observational Cohorts 
European urology  2009;57(3):446-452.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurements are increasingly used to monitor men with localised prostate cancer (PCa), but there is little consensus about the method to use.
To apply age-specific predictions of PSA level (developed in men without cancer) to one cohort of men with clinically identified PCa and one cohort of men with PSA-detected PCa. We hypothesise that among men with clinically identified cancer, the annual increase in PSA level would be steeper than in men with PSA-detected cancer.
Design, setting, and participants
The Scandinavian Prostatic Cancer Group 4 (SPCG-4) cohort consisted of 321 men assigned to the watchful waiting arm of the SPCG-4 trial. The UK cohort consisted of 320 men with PSA-detected PCa in the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study in nine UK centres between 1999 and 2007 who opted for monitoring rather than treatment. Multilevel models describing changes in PSA level were fitted to the two cohorts, and average PSA level at age 50, change in PSA level with age, and predicted PSA values were derived.
PSA level.
Results and limitations
In the SPCG-4 cohort, mean PSA at age 50 was similar to the cancer-free cohort but with a steeper yearly increase in PSA level (16.4% vs 4.0%). In the UK cohort, mean PSA level was higher than that in the cancer-free cohort (due to a PSA biopsy threshold of 3.0 ng/ml) but with a similar yearly increase in PSA level (4.1%). Predictions were less accurate for the SPCG-4 cohort (median observed minus predicted PSA level: −2.0 ng/ml; interquartile range [IQR]: −7.6–0.7 ng/ml) than for the UK cohort (median observed minus predicted PSA level: −0.8 ng/ml; IQR: −2.1–0.1 ng/ml).
In PSA-detected men, yearly change in PSA was similar to that in cancer-free men, whereas in men with symptomatic PCa, the yearly change in PSA level was considerably higher. Our method needs further evaluation but has promise for refining active monitoring protocols.
PMCID: PMC2910432  PMID: 19303695
active surveillance; localised prostate cancer; PSA doubling time; PSA velocity; reference ranges
24.  An Exploration of Shared Genetic Risk Factors Between Periodontal Disease and Cancers: A Prospective Co-Twin Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2009;171(2):253-259.
Biologic mechanisms underlying associations of periodontal disease with cancers remain unknown. The authors propose that both conditions share common genetic risk factors. They analyzed associations between baseline periodontal disease, measured by questionnaire-recorded tooth mobility, and incident cancers, identified by linkage with national registries, between 1963 and 2004 in 15,333 Swedish twins. The authors used co-twin analyses to control for familial factors and undertook analyses restricted to monozygotic twins to further control for confounding by genetic factors. They observed 4,361 cancer cases over 548,913 person-years. After adjustment for covariates, baseline periodontal disease was associated with increased risk of several cancers ranging from 15% for total cancer (proportional hazard ratio (HR) = 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 1.32) to 120% for corpus uterine cancer (HR = 2.20, 95% CI: 1.16, 4.18). Periodontal disease was also associated with increased risk of colorectal (HR = 1.62, 95% CI: 1.13, 2.33), pancreatic (HR = 2.06, 95% CI: 1.14, 3.75), and prostate (HR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.07) cancers. In co-twin analyses, dizygotic twins with baseline periodontal disease showed a 50% increase in total cancer risk (HR = 1.50, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.17), but in monozygotic twins this association was markedly attenuated (HR = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.63, 1.81). Similar patterns emerged for digestive tract cancers, suggesting that shared genetic risk factors may partially explain associations between periodontal disease and cancers.
PMCID: PMC2878098  PMID: 19969528
genetics; neoplasms; periodontal diseases; twins
25.  Prospective Study of Trichomonas vaginalis Infection and Prostate Cancer Incidence and Mortality: Physicians' Health Study 
A recent nested case–control study found that the presence of antibodies against Trichomonas vaginalis, a common nonviral sexually transmitted infection, was positively associated with subsequent incidence of prostate cancer. We confirmed these findings in an independent population and related serostatus for antibodies against T vaginalis to prostate cancer incidence and mortality.
We conducted a case–control study nested within the Physicians’ Health Study that included 673 case subjects with prostate cancer and 673 individually matched control subjects who had available plasma samples. Plasma from blood samples collected at baseline was assayed for antibodies against T vaginalis with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) of incident prostate cancer, extraprostatic prostate cancer, and cancer that would ultimately progress to bony metastases or prostate cancer–specific death.
Although not statistically significant, the magnitude of the association between T vaginalis–seropositive status and overall prostate cancer risk (OR = 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.94 to 1.61) was similar to that reported previously. Furthermore, a seropositive status was associated with statistically significantly increased risks of extraprostatic prostate cancer (OR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.08 to 4.37) and of cancer that would ultimately progress to bony metastases or prostate cancer–specific death (OR = 2.69, 95% CI = 1.37 to 5.28).
This large prospective case–control study obtained further support for an association between a seropositive status for antibodies against T vaginalis and the risk of prostate cancer, with statistically significant associations identified for the risk of extraprostatic prostate cancer and for clinically relevant, potentially lethal prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2765259  PMID: 19741211

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