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1.  Relative Validity of Micronutrient and Fiber Intake Assessed With Two New Interactive Meal- and Web-Based Food Frequency Questionnaires 
Background
The meal- and Web-based food frequency questionnaires, Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q, were developed for cost-efficient assessment of dietary intake in epidemiological studies.
Objective
The objective of this study was to evaluate the relative validity of micronutrient and fiber intake assessed with Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q. The reproducibility of Meal-Q was also evaluated.
Methods
A total of 163 volunteer men and women aged between 20 and 63 years were recruited from Stockholm County, Sweden. Assessment of micronutrient and fiber intake with the 174-item Meal-Q was compared to a Web-based 7-day weighed food record (WFR). Two administered Meal-Q questionnaires were compared for reproducibility. The 126-item MiniMeal-Q, developed after the validation study, was evaluated in a simulated validation by using truncated Meal-Q data.
Results
The study population consisted of approximately 80% women (129/163) with a mean age of 33 years (SD 12) who were highly educated (130/163, 80% with >12 years of education) on average. Cross-classification of quartiles with the WFR placed 69% to 90% in the same/adjacent quartile for Meal-Q and 67% to 89% for MiniMeal-Q. Bland-Altman plots with the WFR and the questionnaires showed large variances and a trend of increasing underestimation with increasing intakes. Deattenuated and energy-adjusted Spearman rank correlations between the questionnaires and the WFR were in the range ρ=.25-.69, excluding sodium that was not statistically significant. Cross-classifications of quartiles of the 2 Meal-Q administrations placed 86% to 97% in the same/adjacent quartile. Intraclass correlation coefficients for energy-adjusted intakes were in the range of .50-.76.
Conclusions
With the exception of sodium, this validation study demonstrates Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q to be useful methods for ranking micronutrient and fiber intake in epidemiological studies with Web-based data collection.
doi:10.2196/jmir.2965
PMCID: PMC3961697  PMID: 24565605
validity; reproducibility; FFQ; micronutrients; weighed food record; Internet; adult
2.  PROSPECTIVE STUDY OF HPV16 VIRAL LOAD AND RISK OF IN SITU AND INVASIVE SQUAMOUS CERVICAL CANCER 
Background
A strong association has been shown between high viral DNA load (VL) of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 and risk for cervical cancer in situ (CIS). However, little data is available for the significance of VL in invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Methods
In two nested case-control studies among women participating in cervical screening, with a cytologically normal first smear, we collected 5665 smears from 621 women with CIS, 457 with SCC, and individually matched controls. All smears were tested for HPV, and VLs of HPV16 positive smears were quantified using realtime-PCR. The median follow-up until diagnosis of CIS or SCC was 6.1-7.7 years.
Results
Low VL’s were common among both CIS and SCC case women, until 1-2 years before diagnosis when a surge in VL occurred. The relative risk (RR) associated with low viral load of HPV16 was around 10 for CIS, and 10-20 for SCC throughout 10 years before diagnosis, compared to HPV16-negative women. For women with medium to high VL, the risk for CIS was greatly increased from five years before diagnosis (RR=19, 95% confidence interval 7-48). In SCC, a high VL conferred an increased risk, but only from 3 years before diagnosis (RR=60, 95% CI 6-580).
Conclusions
We demonstrate differing risk functions associated with HPV16 viral load in CIS and SCC, respectively. We further show that viral loads were unexpectedly low early in the SCC disease process.
Impact
HPV16 viral load appears highly complex which may limit its use in cervical screening.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0953-T
PMCID: PMC3538961  PMID: 23155137
Cervical cancer; HPV; HPV16; viral load; sensitivity
3.  The Role of Adiposity in Cardiometabolic Traits: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis 
Fall, Tove | Hägg, Sara | Mägi, Reedik | Ploner, Alexander | Fischer, Krista | Horikoshi, Momoko | Sarin, Antti-Pekka | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Ladenvall, Claes | Kals, Mart | Kuningas, Maris | Draisma, Harmen H. M. | Ried, Janina S. | van Zuydam, Natalie R. | Huikari, Ville | Mangino, Massimo | Sonestedt, Emily | Benyamin, Beben | Nelson, Christopher P. | Rivera, Natalia V. | Kristiansson, Kati | Shen, Huei-yi | Havulinna, Aki S. | Dehghan, Abbas | Donnelly, Louise A. | Kaakinen, Marika | Nuotio, Marja-Liisa | Robertson, Neil | de Bruijn, Renée F. A. G. | Ikram, M. Arfan | Amin, Najaf | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Braund, Peter S. | Doney, Alexander S. F. | Döring, Angela | Elliott, Paul | Esko, Tõnu | Franco, Oscar H. | Gretarsdottir, Solveig | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Heikkilä, Kauko | Herzig, Karl-Heinz | Holm, Hilma | Hottenga, Jouke Jan | Hyppönen, Elina | Illig, Thomas | Isaacs, Aaron | Isomaa, Bo | Karssen, Lennart C. | Kettunen, Johannes | Koenig, Wolfgang | Kuulasmaa, Kari | Laatikainen, Tiina | Laitinen, Jaana | Lindgren, Cecilia | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Läärä, Esa | Rayner, Nigel W. | Männistö, Satu | Pouta, Anneli | Rathmann, Wolfgang | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Ruokonen, Aimo | Savolainen, Markku J. | Sijbrands, Eric J. G. | Small, Kerrin S. | Smit, Jan H. | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Taanila, Anja | Tobin, Martin D. | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Willems, Sara M. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Witteman, Jacqueline | Perola, Markus | Evans, Alun | Ferrières, Jean | Virtamo, Jarmo | Kee, Frank | Tregouet, David-Alexandre | Arveiler, Dominique | Amouyel, Philippe | Ferrario, Marco M. | Brambilla, Paolo | Hall, Alistair S. | Heath, Andrew C. | Madden, Pamela A. F. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Whitfield, John B. | Jula, Antti | Knekt, Paul | Oostra, Ben | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Penninx, Brenda W. J. H. | Davey Smith, George | Kaprio, Jaakko | Samani, Nilesh J. | Gieger, Christian | Peters, Annette | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Boomsma, Dorret I. | de Geus, Eco J. C. | Tuomi, TiinaMaija | Power, Chris | Hammond, Christopher J. | Spector, Tim D. | Lind, Lars | Orho-Melander, Marju | Palmer, Colin Neil Alexander | Morris, Andrew D. | Groop, Leif | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Salomaa, Veikko | Vartiainen, Erkki | Hofman, Albert | Ripatti, Samuli | Metspalu, Andres | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari | Pedersen, Nancy L. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Ingelsson, Erik | Prokopenko, Inga
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001474.
In this study, Prokopenko and colleagues provide novel evidence for causal relationship between adiposity and heart failure and increased liver enzymes using a Mendelian randomization study design.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
The association between adiposity and cardiometabolic traits is well known from epidemiological studies. Whilst the causal relationship is clear for some of these traits, for others it is not. We aimed to determine whether adiposity is causally related to various cardiometabolic traits using the Mendelian randomization approach.
Methods and Findings
We used the adiposity-associated variant rs9939609 at the FTO locus as an instrumental variable (IV) for body mass index (BMI) in a Mendelian randomization design. Thirty-six population-based studies of individuals of European descent contributed to the analyses.
Age- and sex-adjusted regression models were fitted to test for association between (i) rs9939609 and BMI (n = 198,502), (ii) rs9939609 and 24 traits, and (iii) BMI and 24 traits. The causal effect of BMI on the outcome measures was quantified by IV estimators. The estimators were compared to the BMI–trait associations derived from the same individuals. In the IV analysis, we demonstrated novel evidence for a causal relationship between adiposity and incident heart failure (hazard ratio, 1.19 per BMI-unit increase; 95% CI, 1.03–1.39) and replicated earlier reports of a causal association with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, and hypertension (odds ratio for IV estimator, 1.1–1.4; all p<0.05). For quantitative traits, our results provide novel evidence for a causal effect of adiposity on the liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase and confirm previous reports of a causal effect of adiposity on systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting insulin, 2-h post-load glucose from the oral glucose tolerance test, C-reactive protein, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (all p<0.05). The estimated causal effects were in agreement with traditional observational measures in all instances except for type 2 diabetes, where the causal estimate was larger than the observational estimate (p = 0.001).
Conclusions
We provide novel evidence for a causal relationship between adiposity and heart failure as well as between adiposity and increased liver enzymes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—disease that affects the heart and/or the blood vessels—is a major cause of illness and death worldwide. In the US, for example, coronary heart disease—a CVD in which narrowing of the heart's blood vessels by fatty deposits slows the blood supply to the heart and may eventually cause a heart attack—is the leading cause of death, and stroke—a CVD in which the brain's blood supply is interrupted—is the fourth leading cause of death. Globally, both the incidence of CVD (the number of new cases in a population every year) and its prevalence (the proportion of the population with CVD) are increasing, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This increasing burden of CVD is occurring in parallel with a global increase in the incidence and prevalence of obesity—having an unhealthy amount of body fat (adiposity)—and of metabolic diseases—conditions such as diabetes in which metabolism (the processes that the body uses to make energy from food) is disrupted, with resulting high blood sugar and damage to the blood vessels.
Why Was This Study Done?
Epidemiological studies—investigations that record the patterns and causes of disease in populations—have reported an association between adiposity (indicated by an increased body mass index [BMI], which is calculated by dividing body weight in kilograms by height in meters squared) and cardiometabolic traits such as coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure (a condition in which the heart is incapable of pumping sufficient amounts of blood around the body), diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and high blood cholesterol (dyslipidemia). However, observational studies cannot prove that adiposity causes any particular cardiometabolic trait because overweight individuals may share other characteristics (confounding factors) that are the real causes of both obesity and the cardiometabolic disease. Moreover, it is possible that having CVD or a metabolic disease causes obesity (reverse causation). For example, individuals with heart failure cannot do much exercise, so heart failure may cause obesity rather than vice versa. Here, the researchers use “Mendelian randomization” to examine whether adiposity is causally related to various cardiometabolic traits. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not prone to confounding and are free from reverse causation. It is known that a genetic variant (rs9939609) within the genome region that encodes the fat-mass- and obesity-associated gene (FTO) is associated with increased BMI. Thus, an investigation of the associations between rs9939609 and cardiometabolic traits can indicate whether obesity is causally related to these traits.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed the association between rs9939609 (the “instrumental variable,” or IV) and BMI, between rs9939609 and 24 cardiometabolic traits, and between BMI and the same traits using genetic and health data collected in 36 population-based studies of nearly 200,000 individuals of European descent. They then quantified the strength of the causal association between BMI and the cardiometabolic traits by calculating “IV estimators.” Higher BMI showed a causal relationship with heart failure, metabolic syndrome (a combination of medical disorders that increases the risk of developing CVD), type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, increased blood levels of liver enzymes (an indicator of liver damage; some metabolic disorders involve liver damage), and several other cardiometabolic traits. All the IV estimators were similar to the BMI–cardiovascular trait associations (observational estimates) derived from the same individuals, with the exception of diabetes, where the causal estimate was higher than the observational estimate, probably because the observational estimate is based on a single BMI measurement, whereas the causal estimate considers lifetime changes in BMI.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Like all Mendelian randomization studies, the reliability of the causal associations reported here depends on several assumptions made by the researchers. Nevertheless, these findings provide support for many previously suspected and biologically plausible causal relationships, such as that between adiposity and hypertension. They also provide new insights into the causal effect of obesity on liver enzyme levels and on heart failure. In the latter case, these findings suggest that a one-unit increase in BMI might increase the incidence of heart failure by 17%. In the US, this corresponds to 113,000 additional cases of heart failure for every unit increase in BMI at the population level. Although additional studies are needed to confirm and extend these findings, these results suggest that global efforts to reduce the burden of obesity will likely also reduce the occurrence of CVD and metabolic disorders.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001474.
The American Heart Association provides information on all aspects of cardiovascular disease and tips on keeping the heart healthy, including weight management (in several languages); its website includes personal stories about stroke and heart attacks
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on heart disease, stroke, and all aspects of overweight and obesity (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and obesity, including a personal story about losing weight
The World Health Organization provides information on obesity (in several languages)
The International Obesity Taskforce provides information about the global obesity epidemic
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information on heart disease, on vascular disease, on obesity, and on metabolic disorders (in English and Spanish)
The International Association for the Study of Obesity provides maps and information about obesity worldwide
The International Diabetes Federation has a web page that describes types, complications, and risk factors of diabetes
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001474
PMCID: PMC3692470  PMID: 23824655
4.  Two New Meal- and Web-Based Interactive Food Frequency Questionnaires: Validation of Energy and Macronutrient Intake 
Background
Meal-Q and its shorter version, MiniMeal-Q, are 2 new Web-based food frequency questionnaires. Their meal-based and interactive format was designed to promote ease of use and to minimize answering time, desirable improvements in large epidemiological studies.
Objective
We evaluated the validity of energy and macronutrient intake assessed with Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q as well as the reproducibility of Meal-Q.
Methods
Healthy volunteers aged 20-63 years recruited from Stockholm County filled out the 174-item Meal-Q. The questionnaire was compared to 7-day weighed food records (WFR; n=163), for energy and macronutrient intake, and to doubly labeled water (DLW; n=39), for total energy expenditure. In addition, the 126-item MiniMeal-Q was evaluated in a simulated validation using truncated Meal-Q data. We also assessed the answering time and ease of use of both questionnaires.
Results
Bland-Altman plots showed a varying bias within the intake range for all validity comparisons. Cross-classification of quartiles placed 70%-86% in the same/adjacent quartile with WFR and 77% with DLW. Deattenuated and energy-adjusted Pearson correlation coefficients with the WFR ranged from r=0.33-0.74 for macronutrients and was r=0.18 for energy. Correlations with DLW were r=0.42 for Meal-Q and r=0.38 for MiniMeal-Q. Intraclass correlations for Meal-Q ranged from r=0.57-0.90. Median answering time was 17 minutes for Meal-Q and 7 minutes for MiniMeal-Q, and participants rated both questionnaires as easy to use.
Conclusions
Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q are easy to use and have short answering times. The ranking agreement is good for most of the nutrients for both questionnaires and Meal-Q shows fair reproducibility.
doi:10.2196/jmir.2458
PMCID: PMC3713929  PMID: 23739995
validity; reproducibility; food frequency questionnaire; Internet; weighed food record; doubly labeled water; adult
5.  Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Effectiveness: A Swedish National Cohort Study 
Background
Incidence of condyloma, or genital warts (GW), is the earliest possible disease outcome to measure when assessing the effectiveness of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination strategies. Efficacy trials that follow prespecified inclusion and exclusion criteria may not be fully generalizable to real-life HPV vaccination programs, which target a broader segment of the population. We assessed GW incidence after on-demand vaccination with quadrivalent HPV vaccine using individual-level data from the entire Swedish population.
Methods
An open cohort of girls and women aged 10 to 44 years living in Sweden between 2006 and 2010 (N > 2.2 million) was linked to multiple population registers to identify incident GW in relation to HPV vaccination. For vaccine effectiveness, incidence rate ratios of GW were estimated using time-to-event analyses with adjustment for attained age and parental education level, stratifying on age at first vaccination.
Results
A total of 124 000 girls and women were vaccinated between 2006 and 2010. Girls and women with at least one university-educated parent were 15 times more likely to be vaccinated before age 20 years than girls and women whose parents did not complete high school (relative risk ratio = 15.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 14.65 to 16.30). Among those aged older than 20 years, GW rates declined among the unvaccinated, suggesting that HPV vaccines were preferentially used by women at high risk of GW. Vaccination effectiveness was 76% (95% CI = 73% to 79%) among those who received three doses of the vaccine with their first dose before age 20 years. Vaccine effectiveness was highest in girls vaccinated before age 14 years (effectiveness = 93%, 95% CI = 73% to 98%).
Conclusions
Young age at first vaccination is imperative for maximizing quadrivalent HPV vaccine effectiveness.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djt032
PMCID: PMC3614506  PMID: 23486550
6.  Estrogen Receptor Status in Relation to Risk of Contralateral Breast Cancer–A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46535.
Background
It is unclear whether estrogen receptor (ER)-status of first primary breast cancer is associated with risk of metachronous (non-simultaneous) contralateral breast cancer (CBC), and to what extent endocrine therapy affects this association.
Methods
We studied the effect of ER-status of the first cancer on the risk of CBC overall, and for different ER-subtypes of CBC, using a large, population-based cohort. The cohort consisted of all women diagnosed with breast cancer in the Stockholm region 1976–2005; 25715 patients, of whom 940 suffered CBC. The relative risk was analyzed mainly using standardized incidence ratios (SIR).
Results
Women with breast cancer had a doubled risk of CBC compared to the risk of breast cancer in the general female population (SIR: 2.22 [2.08–2.36]), for women with a previous ER-positive cancer: SIR = 2.30 (95% CI:2.11–2.50) and for women with a previous ER-negative cancer: SIR = 2.17 (95% CI:1.82–2.55). The relative risk of ER-positive and ER-negative CBC was very similar for women with ER-positive first cancer (SIR = 2.02 [95%CI: 1.80–2.27] and SIR = 1.89 [95%CI: 1.46–2.41] respectively) while for patients with ER-negative first cancer the relative risk was significantly different (SIR = 1.27 [95% CI:0.94–1.68] for ER-positive CBC and SIR = 4.96 [95%CI:3.67–6.56] for ER-negative CBC). Patients with ER-positive first cancer who received hormone therapy still had a significantly higher risk of CBC than the risk of breast cancer for the general female population (SIR = 1.74 [95% CI:1.47–2.03]).
Conclusion
The risk of CBC for a breast cancer patient is increased to about two-fold, compared to the risk of breast cancer in the general female population. This excess risk decreases, but does not disappear, with adjuvant endocrine therapy. Patients with ER-positive first cancers have an increased risk for CBC of both ER subtypes, while patients with ER-negative first cancer have a specifically increased risk of ER-negative CBC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046535
PMCID: PMC3466301  PMID: 23056335
7.  Constructing a Population-Based Research Database from Routine Maternal Screening Records: A Resource for Studying Alloimmunization in Pregnant Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27619.
Background
Although screening for maternal red blood cell antibodies during pregnancy is a standard procedure, the prevalence and clinical consequences of non-anti-D immunization are poorly understood. The objective was to create a national database of maternal antibody screening results that can be linked with population health registers to create a research resource for investigating these issues.
Study Design and Methods
Each birth in the Swedish Medical Birth Register was uniquely identified and linked to the text stored in routine maternal antibody screening records in the time window from 9 months prior to 2 weeks after the delivery date. These text records were subjected to a computerized search for specific antibodies using regular expressions. To illustrate the research potential of the resulting database, selected antibody prevalence rates are presented as tables and figures, and the complete data (from more than 60 specific antibodies) presented as online moving graphical displays.
Results
More than one million (1,191,761) births with valid screening information from 1982–2002 constitute the study population. Computerized coverage of screening increased steadily over time and varied by region as electronic records were adopted. To ensure data quality, we restricted analysis to birth records in areas and years with a sustained coverage of at least 80%, representing 920,903 births from 572,626 mothers in 17 of the 24 counties in Sweden. During the study period, non-anti-D and anti-D antibodies occurred in 76.8/10,000 and 14.1/10,000 pregnancies respectively, with marked differences between specific antibodies over time.
Conclusion
This work demonstrates the feasibility of creating a nationally representative research database from the routine maternal antibody screening records from an extended calendar period. By linkage with population registers of maternal and child health, such data are a valuable resource for addressing important clinical questions, such as the etiological significance of non-anti-D antibodies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027619
PMCID: PMC3227597  PMID: 22140452
8.  Prospective study of HPV types, HPV persistence and risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix 
Background
The link between squamous cell cervical carcinoma and HPV 16/18 is well-established but the magnitude of the risk association is uncertain and the importance of other high-risk HPV types unclear.
Methods
In two prospective nested case-control series among women participating in cytological screening in Sweden, we collected 2772 cervical smears from 515 women with cancer in situ (CIS), 315 with invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and individually matched controls. All smears were tested for HPV with PCR assays and the median follow-up until diagnosis was 5-7 years. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Results
Presence of HPV16/18 in the first smear was associated with 8.5-fold (95% CI 5.3-13.7), and 18.6-fold (95% CI 9.0-38.9) increased risks of CIS and SCC, respectively, compared to women negative for HPV. Infection with other high-risk HPV types in the first smear was also associated with significantly increased risks for both CIS and SCC. Persistence of HPV16 infection conferred a RR of 18.5 (95% CI, 6.5-52.9) for CIS and 19.5 (95% CI 4.7-81.7) for SCC. The HPV16/18 attributable risk proportion was estimated to 30-50% of CIS, and 41-47% of SCC. Other high-risk HPV types also conferred significant proportions.
Conclusions
Our large population-based study provides quantification of risks for different HPV types and prospective evidence that non-16/18 high-risk HPV types increase the risk for future cervical cancer.
Impact
This study gives further insights into cervical cancer risk stratification with implications for HPV-based prevention strategies.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0424
PMCID: PMC2952359  PMID: 20671136
Cervical cancer; HPV; risk; prevalence; persistence
9.  Assessing Perceived Risk and STI Prevention Behavior: A National Population-Based Study with Special Reference to HPV 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20624.
Introduction
To better understand trends in sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, specifically low prevalence of condom use with temporary partners, the aim of this study was to examine factors associated with condom use and perceptions of STI risk amongst individuals at risk, with the underlying assumption that STI risk perceptions and STI prevention behaviors are correlated.
Methods
A national population-based survey on human papillomavirus (HPV) and sexual habits of young adults aged 18–30 was conducted in Sweden in 2007, with 1712 men and 8855 women participating. Regression analyses stratified by gender were performed to measure condom use with temporary partners and STI risk perception.
Results
Men's condom use was not associated with STI risk perception while women's was. Awareness of and disease severity perceptions were not associated with either condom use or risk perception though education level correlated with condom use. Women's young age at sexual debut was associated with a higher risk of non-condom use later in life (OR 1.95 95% CI: 1.46–2.60). Women with immigrant mothers were less likely to report seldom/never use of condoms with temporary partners compared to women with Swedish-born mothers (OR 0.53 95% CI: 0.37–0.77). Correlates to STI risk perception differ substantially between sexes. Number of reported temporary partners was the only factor associated for both men and women with condom use and STI risk perception.
Conclusions
Public health interventions advocating condom use with new partners could consider employing tactics besides those which primarily aim to increase knowledge or self-perceived risk if they are to be more effective in STI reduction. Gender-specific prevention strategies could be effective considering the differences found in this study.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020624
PMCID: PMC3107227  PMID: 21674050
10.  Blood biomarker levels to aid discovery of cancer-related single nucleotide polymorphisms: kallikreins and prostate cancer 
Polymorphisms associated with prostate cancer include those in three genes encoding major secretory products of the prostate: KLK2 (encoding kallikrein-related peptidase 2; hK2), KLK3 (encoding prostate-specific antigen; PSA), and MSMB (encoding beta-microseminoprotein). PSA and hK2, members of the kallikrein family, are elevated in serum of men with prostate cancer. In a comprehensive analysis which included sequencing of all coding, flanking, and 2kb of putative promoter regions of all 15 kallikrein (KLK) genes spanning ≈280 Kb on chromosome 19q, we identified novel SNPs and genotyped 104 SNPs in 1419 cancer cases and 736 controls in CAPS1, with independent replication in 1267 cases and 901 controls in CAPS2. This verified prior associations of SNPs in KLK2 and in MSMB (but not in KLK3) with prostate cancer. Twelve SNPs in KLK2 and KLK3 were associated with levels of PSA forms or hK2 in plasma of control subjects. Based on our comprehensive approach, this is likely to represent all common KLK variants associated with these phenotypes. A T allele at rs198977 in KLK2 associated with increased cancer risk and a striking decrease of hK2 levels in blood. We also found a strong interaction between rs198977 genotype and hK2 levels in blood in predicting cancer risk. Based on this strong association, we developed a model for predicting prostate cancer risk from standard biomarkers, rs198977 genotype, and rs198977 x hK2 interaction; this model had greater accuracy than did biomarkers alone (AUC 0.874 vs 0.866), providing proof in principle to clinical application for our findings.
doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-09-0206
PMCID: PMC2865570  PMID: 20424135
prostate cancer; prostate-specific antigen; human kallikrein-related peptidase 2; genetic variation; case-control study
11.  Prospective study of Human Papillomavirus and Risk of Cervical Adenocarcinoma 
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are established as a major cause of cervical carcinoma. However, causality inference is dependent on prospective evidence showing that exposure predicts risk for future disease. Such evidence is available for squamous cell carcinoma, but not for cervical adenocarcinoma. We followed a population-based cohort of 994 120 women who participated in cytological screening in Sweden for a median of 6.7 years. Baseline smears from women who developed adenocarcinoma during follow-up (118 women with in situ disease and 164 with invasive disease) and their individually matched controls (1434 smears) were analyzed for HPV using PCR. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) of future adenocarcinoma with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Being positive for HPV 16 in the first cytologically normal smear was associated with increased risks for both future adenocarcinoma in situ (OR 11.0, 95 % CI 2.6–46.8) and invasive adenocarcinoma (OR 16.0, 95 % CI 3.8–66.7), compared to being negative for HPV 16. Similarly, an HPV 18 positive smear was associated with increased risks for adenocarcinoma in situ (OR 26.0, 95 % CI 3.5–192) and invasive adenocarcinoma (OR 28.0, 95 % CI 3.8–206), compared to an HPV 18 negative smear. Being positive for HPV 16/18 in two subsequent smears was associated with an infinite risk of both in situ and invasive adenocarcinoma. In conclusion, infections with HPV 16 and 18 are detectable up to at least 14 years before diagnosis of cervical adenocarcinoma. Our data provide prospective evidence that the association of HPV16/18 with cervical adenocarcinoma is strong and causal.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25408
PMCID: PMC2930102  PMID: 20473898
Adenocarcinoma; adenocarcinoma in situ; HPV; cervical cancer; prospective
12.  Correlating gene and protein expression data using Correlated Factor Analysis 
BMC Bioinformatics  2009;10:272.
Background
Joint analysis of transcriptomic and proteomic data taken from the same samples has the potential to elucidate complex biological mechanisms. Most current methods that integrate these datasets allow for the computation of the correlation between a gene and protein but only after a one-to-one matching of genes and proteins is done. However, genes and proteins are connected via biological pathways and their relationship is not necessarily one-to-one. In this paper, we investigate the use of Correlated Factor Analysis (CFA) for modeling the correlation of genome-scale gene and protein data. Unlike existing approaches, CFA considers all possible gene-protein pairs and utilizes all gene and protein information in its modeling framework. The Generalized Singular Value Decomposition (gSVD) is another method which takes into account all available transcriptomic and proteomic data. Comparison is made between CFA and gSVD.
Results
Our simulation study indicates that the CFA estimates can consistently capture the dominant patterns of correlation between two sets of measurements; in contrast, the gSVD estimates cannot do that. Applied to real cancer data, the list of co-regulated genes and proteins identified by CFA has biologically meaningful interpretation, where both the gene and protein expressions are pointing to the same processes. Among the GO terms for which the genes and proteins are most correlated, we observed blood vessel morphogenesis and development.
Conclusion
We demonstrate that CFA is a useful tool for gene-protein data integration and modeling, where the main question is in finding which patterns of gene expression are most correlated with protein expression.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-10-272
PMCID: PMC2744708  PMID: 19723309
13.  GENESTAT: an information portal for design and analysis of genetic association studies 
We present the rationale, the background and the structure for version 2.0 of the GENESTAT information portal (www.genestat.org) for statistical genetics. The fast methodological advances, coupled with a range of standalone software, makes it difficult for expert as well as non-expert users to orientate when designing and analysing their genetic studies. The ultimate ambition of GENESTAT is to guide on statistical methodology related to the broad spectrum of research in genetic epidemiology. GENESTAT 2.0 focuses on genetic association studies. Each entry provides a summary of a topic and gives links to key papers, websites and software. The flexibility of the internet is utilised for cross-referencing and for open editing. This paper gives an overview of GENESTAT and gives short introductions to the current main topics in GENESTAT, with additional entries on the website. Methods and software developers are invited to contribute to the portal, which is powered by a Wikipedia-type engine and allows easy additions and editing.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2008.216
PMCID: PMC2986211  PMID: 19002210
statistical genetics; genetic software; internet
14.  Mapping patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer: An explorative cross-sectional study of individuals with reported positive "exceptional" experiences 
Background
While the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients is common and widespread, levels of commitment to CAM vary. "Committed" CAM use is important to investigate, as it may be associated with elevated risks and benefits, and may affect use of biomedically-oriented health care (BHC). Multiple methodological approaches were used to explore and map patterns of CAM use among individuals postulated to be committed users, voluntarily reporting exceptional experiences associated with CAM use after cancer diagnosis.
Method
The verbatim transcripts of thirty-eight unstructured interviews were analyzed in two steps. First, manifest content analysis was used to elucidate and map participants' use of CAM, based on the National Center for Complementary Medicine (NCCAM)'s classification system. Second, patterns of CAM use were explored statistically using principal component analysis.
Findings
The 38 participants reported using a total of 274 specific CAM (median = 4) consisting of 148 different therapeutic modalities. Most reported therapies could be categorized using the NCCAM taxonomy (n = 224). However, a significant number of CAM therapies were not consistent with this categorization (n = 50); consequently, we introduced two additional categories: Spiritual/health literature and Treatment centers. The two factors explaining the largest proportion of variation in CAM usage patterns were a) number of CAM modalities used and b) a category preference for Energy therapies over the categories Alternative Medical Systems and Treatment centers or vice versa.
Discussion
We found considerable heterogeneity in patterns of CAM use. By analyzing users' own descriptions of CAM in relation to the most commonly used predefined professional taxonomy, this study highlights discrepancies between user and professional conceptualizations of CAM not previously addressed. Beyond variations in users' reports of CAM, our findings indicate some patterns in CAM usage related to number of therapies used and preference for different CAM categories.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-48
PMCID: PMC2538498  PMID: 18691393
15.  Filtering genes to improve sensitivity in oligonucleotide microarray data analysis 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(16):e102.
Many recent microarrays hold an enormous number of probe sets, thus raising many practical and theoretical problems in controlling the false discovery rate (FDR). Biologically, it is likely that most probe sets are associated with un-expressed genes, so the measured values are simply noise due to non-specific binding; also many probe sets are associated with non-differentially-expressed (non-DE) genes. In an analysis to find DE genes, these probe sets contribute to the false discoveries, so it is desirable to filter out these probe sets prior to analysis. In the methodology proposed here, we first fit a robust linear model for probe-level Affymetrix data that accounts for probe and array effects. We then develop a novel procedure called FLUSH (Filtering Likely Uninformative Sets of Hybridizations), which excludes probe sets that have statistically small array-effects or large residual variance. This filtering procedure was evaluated on a publicly available data set from a controlled spiked-in experiment, as well as on a real experimental data set of a mouse model for retinal degeneration. In both cases, FLUSH filtering improves the sensitivity in the detection of DE genes compared to analyses using unfiltered, presence-filtered, intensity-filtered and variance-filtered data. A freely-available package called FLUSH implements the procedures and graphical displays described in the article.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkm537
PMCID: PMC2018638  PMID: 17702762
16.  Detecting differential expression in microarray data: comparison of optimal procedures 
BMC Bioinformatics  2007;8:28.
Background
Many procedures for finding differentially expressed genes in microarray data are based on classical or modified t-statistics. Due to multiple testing considerations, the false discovery rate (FDR) is the key tool for assessing the significance of these test statistics. Two recent papers have generalized two aspects: Storey et al. (2005) have introduced a likelihood ratio test statistic for two-sample situations that has desirable theoretical properties (optimal discovery procedure, ODP), but uses standard FDR assessment; Ploner et al. (2006) have introduced a multivariate local FDR that allows incorporation of standard error information, but uses the standard t-statistic (fdr2d). The relationship and relative performance of these methods in two-sample comparisons is currently unknown.
Methods
Using simulated and real datasets, we compare the ODP and fdr2d procedures. We also introduce a new procedure called S2d that combines the ODP test statistic with the extended FDR assessment of fdr2d.
Results
For both simulated and real datasets, fdr2d performs better than ODP. As expected, both methods perform better than a standard t-statistic with standard local FDR. The new procedure S2d performs as well as fdr2d on simulated data, but performs better on the real data sets.
Conclusion
The ODP can be improved by including the standard error information as in fdr2d. This means that the optimality enjoyed in theory by ODP does not hold for the estimated version that has to be used in practice. The new procedure S2d has a slight advantage over fdr2d, which has to be balanced against a significantly higher computational effort and a less intuititive test statistic.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-28
PMCID: PMC1797811  PMID: 17257426
17.  Intrinsic molecular signature of breast cancer in a population-based cohort of 412 patients 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(4):R34.
Background
Molecular markers and the rich biological information they contain have great potential for cancer diagnosis, prognostication and therapy prediction. So far, however, they have not superseded routine histopathology and staging criteria, partly because the few studies performed on molecular subtyping have had little validation and limited clinical characterization.
Methods
We obtained gene expression and clinical data for 412 breast cancers obtained from population-based cohorts of patients from Stockholm and Uppsala, Sweden. Using the intrinsic set of approximately 500 genes derived in the Norway/Stanford breast cancer data, we validated the existence of five molecular subtypes – basal-like, ERBB2, luminal A/B and normal-like – and characterized these subtypes extensively with the use of conventional clinical variables.
Results
We found an overall 77.5% concordance between the centroid prediction of the Swedish cohort by using the Norway/Stanford signature and the k-means clustering performed internally within the Swedish cohort. The highest rate of discordant assignments occurred between the luminal A and luminal B subtypes and between the luminal B and ERBB2 subtypes. The subtypes varied significantly in terms of grade (p < 0.001), p53 mutation (p < 0.001) and genomic instability (p = 0.01), but surprisingly there was little difference in lymph-node metastasis (p = 0.31). Furthermore, current users of hormone-replacement therapy were strikingly over-represented in the normal-like subgroup (p < 0.001). Separate analyses of the patients who received endocrine therapy and those who did not receive any adjuvant therapy supported the previous hypothesis that the basal-like subtype responded to adjuvant treatment, whereas the ERBB2 and luminal B subtypes were poor responders.
Conclusion
We found that the intrinsic molecular subtypes of breast cancer are broadly present in a diverse collection of patients from a population-based cohort in Sweden. The intrinsic gene set, originally selected to reveal stable tumor characteristics, was shown to have a strong correlation with progression-related properties such as grade, p53 mutation and genomic instability.
doi:10.1186/bcr1517
PMCID: PMC1779468  PMID: 16846532
18.  Hormone-replacement therapy influences gene expression profiles and is associated with breast-cancer prognosis: a cohort study 
BMC Medicine  2006;4:16.
Background
Postmenopausal hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) increases breast-cancer risk. The influence of HRT on the biology of the primary tumor, however, is not well understood.
Methods
We obtained breast-cancer gene expression profiles using Affymetrix human genome U133A arrays. We examined the relationship between HRT-regulated gene profiles, tumor characteristics, and recurrence-free survival in 72 postmenopausal women.
Results
HRT use in patients with estrogen receptor (ER) protein positive tumors (n = 72) was associated with an altered regulation of 276 genes. Expression profiles based on these genes clustered ER-positive tumors into two molecular subclasses, one of which was associated with HRT use and had significantly better recurrence free survival despite lower ER levels. A comparison with external data suggested that gene regulation in tumors associated with HRT was negatively correlated with gene regulation induced by short-term estrogen exposure, but positively correlated with the effect of tamoxifen.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that post-menopausal HRT use is associated with a distinct gene expression profile related to better recurrence-free survival and lower ER protein levels. Tentatively, HRT-associated gene expression in tumors resembles the effect of tamoxifen exposure on MCF-7 cells.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-4-16
PMCID: PMC1555602  PMID: 16813654
19.  Gene expression profiling spares early breast cancer patients from adjuvant therapy: derived and validated in two population-based cohorts 
Breast Cancer Research  2005;7(6):R953-R964.
Introduction
Adjuvant breast cancer therapy significantly improves survival, but overtreatment and undertreatment are major problems. Breast cancer expression profiling has so far mainly been used to identify women with a poor prognosis as candidates for adjuvant therapy but without demonstrated value for therapy prediction.
Methods
We obtained the gene expression profiles of 159 population-derived breast cancer patients, and used hierarchical clustering to identify the signature associated with prognosis and impact of adjuvant therapies, defined as distant metastasis or death within 5 years. Independent datasets of 76 treated population-derived Swedish patients, 135 untreated population-derived Swedish patients and 78 Dutch patients were used for validation. The inclusion and exclusion criteria for the studies of population-derived Swedish patients were defined.
Results
Among the 159 patients, a subset of 64 genes was found to give an optimal separation of patients with good and poor outcomes. Hierarchical clustering revealed three subgroups: patients who did well with therapy, patients who did well without therapy, and patients that failed to benefit from given therapy. The expression profile gave significantly better prognostication (odds ratio, 4.19; P = 0.007) (breast cancer end-points odds ratio, 10.64) compared with the Elston–Ellis histological grading (odds ratio of grade 2 vs 1 and grade 3 vs 1, 2.81 and 3.32 respectively; P = 0.24 and 0.16), tumor stage (odds ratio of stage 2 vs 1 and stage 3 vs 1, 1.11 and 1.28; P = 0.83 and 0.68) and age (odds ratio, 0.11; P = 0.55). The risk groups were consistent and validated in the independent Swedish and Dutch data sets used with 211 and 78 patients, respectively.
Conclusion
We have identified discriminatory gene expression signatures working both on untreated and systematically treated primary breast cancer patients with the potential to spare them from adjuvant therapy.
doi:10.1186/bcr1325
PMCID: PMC1410752  PMID: 16280042
20.  Correlation test to assess low-level processing of high-density oligonucleotide microarray data 
BMC Bioinformatics  2005;6:80.
Background
There are currently a number of competing techniques for low-level processing of oligonucleotide array data. The choice of technique has a profound effect on subsequent statistical analyses, but there is no method to assess whether a particular technique is appropriate for a specific data set, without reference to external data.
Results
We analyzed coregulation between genes in order to detect insufficient normalization between arrays, where coregulation is measured in terms of statistical correlation. In a large collection of genes, a random pair of genes should have on average zero correlation, hence allowing a correlation test. For all data sets that we evaluated, and the three most commonly used low-level processing procedures including MAS5, RMA and MBEI, the housekeeping-gene normalization failed the test. For a real clinical data set, RMA and MBEI showed significant correlation for absent genes. We also found that a second round of normalization on the probe set level improved normalization significantly throughout.
Conclusion
Previous evaluation of low-level processing in the literature has been limited to artificial spike-in and mixture data sets. In the absence of a known gold-standard, the correlation criterion allows us to assess the appropriateness of low-level processing of a specific data set and the success of normalization for subsets of genes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-80
PMCID: PMC1084343  PMID: 15799785

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