The role of estrogen and progesterone in the development of endometrial cancer is well documented. Few studies have examined the association of genetic variants in sex hormone-related genes with endometrial cancer risk.
We conducted a case-control study nested within three cohorts to examine the association of endometrial cancer risk with polymorphisms in hormone-related genes among 391 cases (92% postmenopausal at diagnosis) and 712 individually-matched controls. We also examined the association of these polymorphisms with circulating levels of sex hormones and SHBG in a cross-sectional analysis including 596 healthy postmenopausal women at blood donation (controls from this nested case-control study and from a nested case-control study of breast cancer in one of the three cohorts).
Adjusting for endometrial cancer risk factors, the A allele of rs4775936 in CYP19 was significantly associated (ORper allele = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.01–1.47, ptrend = 0.04), while the T allele of rs10046 was marginally associated with increased risk of endometrial cancer (ORper allele = 1.20, 95% CI = 0.99 – 1.45, ptrend = 0.06). PGR rs1042838 was also marginally associated with risk (ORper allele = 1.25, 95% CI = 0.96–1.61, ptrend = 0.09). No significant association was found for the other polymorphisms, i.e. CYP1B1 rs1800440 and rs1056836, UGT1A1 rs8175347, SHBG rs6259 and ESR1 rs2234693. Rs8175347 was significantly associated with postmenopausal levels of estradiol, free estradiol and estrone and rs6259 with SHBG and estradiol.
Our findings support an association between genetic variants in CYP19, and possibly PGR, and risk of endometrial cancer.
endometrial cancer; estrogen; sex hormone-binding globulin; progesterone receptor; single nucleotide polymorphism
We developed an absolute risk model to identify individuals in the general population at elevated risk of pancreatic cancer.
Patients and Methods
Using data on 3,349 cases and 3,654 controls from the PanScan Consortium, we developed a relative risk model for men and women of European ancestry based on non-genetic and genetic risk factors for pancreatic cancer. We estimated absolute risks based on these relative risks and population incidence rates.
Our risk model included current smoking (multivariable adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval: 2.20 [1.84–2.62]), heavy alcohol use (>3 drinks/day) (OR: 1.45 [1.19–1.76]), obesity (body mass index >30 kg/m2) (OR: 1.26 [1.09–1.45]), diabetes >3 years (nested case-control OR: 1.57 [1.13–2.18], case-control OR: 1.80 [1.40–2.32]), family history of pancreatic cancer (OR: 1.60 [1.20–2.12]), non-O ABO genotype (AO vs. OO genotype) (OR: 1.23 [1.10–1.37]) to (BB vs. OO genotype) (OR 1.58 [0.97–2.59]), rs3790844(chr1q32.1) (OR: 1.29 [1.19–1.40]), rs401681(5p15.33) (OR: 1.18 [1.10–1.26]) and rs9543325(13q22.1) (OR: 1.27 [1.18–1.36]). The areas under the ROC curve for risk models including only non-genetic factors, only genetic factors, and both non-genetic and genetic factors were 58%, 57% and 61%, respectively. We estimate that fewer than 3/1,000 U.S. non-Hispanic whites have more than a 5% predicted lifetime absolute risk.
Although absolute risk modeling using established risk factors may help to identify a group of individuals at higher than average risk of pancreatic cancer, the immediate clinical utility of our model is limited. However, a risk model can increase awareness of the various risk factors for pancreatic cancer, including modifiable behaviors.
Numerous obesity loci have been identified using genome-wide association studies. A UK study indicated that physical activity may attenuate the cumulative effect of 12 of these loci, but replication studies are lacking. Therefore, we tested whether the aggregate effect of these loci is diminished in adults of European ancestry reporting high levels of physical activity. Twelve obesity-susceptibility loci were genotyped or imputed in 111,421 participants. A genetic risk score (GRS) was calculated by summing the BMI-associated alleles of each genetic variant. Physical activity was assessed using self-administered questionnaires. Multiplicative interactions between the GRS and physical activity on BMI were tested in linear and logistic regression models in each cohort, with adjustment for age, age2, sex, study center (for multicenter studies), and the marginal terms for physical activity and the GRS. These results were combined using meta-analysis weighted by cohort sample size. The meta-analysis yielded a statistically significant GRS × physical activity interaction effect estimate (Pinteraction = 0.015). However, a statistically significant interaction effect was only apparent in North American cohorts (n = 39,810, Pinteraction = 0.014 vs. n = 71,611, Pinteraction = 0.275 for Europeans). In secondary analyses, both the FTO rs1121980 (Pinteraction = 0.003) and the SEC16B rs10913469 (Pinteraction = 0.025) variants showed evidence of SNP × physical activity interactions. This meta-analysis of 111,421 individuals provides further support for an interaction between physical activity and a GRS in obesity disposition, although these findings hinge on the inclusion of cohorts from North America, indicating that these results are either population-specific or non-causal.
We undertook analyses in 111,421 adults of European descent to examine whether physical activity diminishes the genetic risk of obesity predisposed by 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms, as previously reported in a study of 20,000 UK adults (Li et al, PLoS Med. 2010). Although the study by Li et al is widely cited, the original report has not been replicated to our knowledge. Therefore, we sought to confirm or refute the original study's findings in a combined analysis of 111,421 adults. Our analyses yielded a statistically significant interaction effect (Pinteraction = 0.015), confirming the original study's results; we also identified an interaction between the FTO locus and physical activity (Pinteraction = 0.003), verifying previous analyses (Kilpelainen et al, PLoS Med., 2010), and we detected a novel interaction between the SEC16B locus and physical activity (Pinteraction = 0.025). We also examined the power constraints of interaction analyses, thereby demonstrating that sources of within- and between-study heterogeneity and the manner in which data are treated can inhibit the detection of interaction effects in meta-analyses that combine many cohorts with varying characteristics. This suggests that combining many small studies that have measured environmental exposures differently may be relatively inefficient for the detection of gene × environment interactions.
Sex hormones play a key role in the development of breast cancer. Certain polymorphic variants (SNPs and repeat polymorphisms) in hormone-related genes are associated with sex hormone levels. However, the relationship observed between these genetic variants and breast cancer risk has been inconsistent. We conducted a case-control study nested within two prospective cohorts to assess the relationship between specific genetic variants in hormone-related genes and breast cancer risk. In total, 1164 cases and 2111 individually-matched controls were included in the study. We did not observe an association between potential functional genetic polymorphisms in the estrogen pathway, SHBG rs6259, ESR1 rs2234693, CYP19 rs10046 and rs4775936, and UGT1A1 rs8175347, or the progesterone pathway, PGR rs1042838, with the risk of breast cancer. Our results suggest that these genetic variants do not have a strong effect on breast cancer risk.
Four loci have been associated with pancreatic cancer through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Pathway-based analysis of GWAS data is a complementary approach to identify groups of genes or biological pathways enriched with disease-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) whose individual effect sizes may be too small to be detected by standard single-locus methods. We used the adaptive rank truncated product method in a pathway-based analysis of GWAS data from 3851 pancreatic cancer cases and 3934 control participants pooled from 12 cohort studies and 8 case–control studies (PanScan). We compiled 23 biological pathways hypothesized to be relevant to pancreatic cancer and observed a nominal association between pancreatic cancer and five pathways (P < 0.05), i.e. pancreatic development, Helicobacter pylori lacto/neolacto, hedgehog, Th1/Th2 immune response and apoptosis (P = 2.0 × 10−6, 1.6 × 10−5, 0.0019, 0.019 and 0.023, respectively). After excluding previously identified genes from the original GWAS in three pathways (NR5A2, ABO and SHH), the pancreatic development pathway remained significant (P = 8.3 × 10−5), whereas the others did not. The most significant genes (P < 0.01) in the five pathways were NR5A2, HNF1A, HNF4G and PDX1 for pancreatic development; ABO for H.
pylori lacto/neolacto; SHH for hedgehog; TGFBR2 and CCL18 for Th1/Th2 immune response and MAPK8 and BCL2L11 for apoptosis. Our results provide a link between inherited variation in genes important for pancreatic development and cancer and show that pathway-based approaches to analysis of GWAS data can yield important insights into the collective role of genetic risk variants in cancer.
Adiponectin—an adipose tissue-derived protein—may provide a molecular link between obesity and colorectal cancer (CRC), but evidence from large prospective studies is limited. In particular, no epidemiological study explored high-molecular weight (HMW) and non-HMW adiponectin fractions in relation to CRC risk, despite them being hypothesized to have differential biological activities, i.e. regulating insulin sensitivity (HMW adiponectin) versus inflammatory response (non-HMW adiponectin). In a prospective, nested case–control study, we investigated whether prediagnostic serum concentrations of total, HMW and non-HMW adiponectin are associated with risk of CRC, independent of obesity and other known CRC risk factors. A total of 1206 incident cases (755 colon and 451 rectal) were matched to 1206 controls using incidence-density sampling. In conditional logistic regression, adjusted for dietary and lifestyle factors, total adiponectin and non-HMW adiponectin concentrations were inversely associated with risk of CRC [relative risk (RR) comparing highest versus lowest quintile = 0.71, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.53–0.95, P
trend = 0.03 for total adiponectin and RR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.34–0.61, P
trend < 0.0001 for non-HMW adiponectin]. HMW adiponectin concentrations were not associated with CRC risk (RR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.68–1.22, P
trend = 0.55). Non-HMW adiponectin was associated with CRC risk even after adjustment for body mass index and waist circumference (RR = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.26–0.60, P
trend < 0.0001), whereas the association with total adiponectin was no longer significant (RR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.60–1.09, P
trend = 0.23). When stratified by cancer site, non-HMW adiponectin was inversely associated with both colon and rectal cancer. These findings suggest an important role of the relative proportion of non-HMW adiponectin in CRC pathogenesis. Future studies are warranted to confirm these results and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
Elevated total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) in humans is associated with cardiovascular disease but prevention trials have failed to confirm causality. Reported reasons for this association have been that homocysteine and its major genetic determinant methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) may have an effect on HDL and Apolipoprotein (Apo) A1 levels. We wanted to study if tHcy and its major determinants were correlated with Apo A1 levels in a large population without folate fortification.
This study was a prospective incident nested case-referent study within the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study Cohort (NSHDSC), including 545 cases with first myocardial infarction and 1054 matched referents, median age at inclusion was 59 years. Univariate and multiple regression analyzes was used to study the associations between apolipoproteins Apo A1 and B, tHcy, folate and vitamin B12 in plasma as well as MTHFR polymorphisms 677C>T and 1298A>C.
Apo A1 and Apo B were strongly associated with the risk of a first myocardial infarction. tHcy was not associated with Apo A1 levels. Instead, folate had an independent positive association with Apo A1 levels in univariate and multiple regression models. The associations were seen in all men and women, among referents but not among cases. MTHFR polymorphisms had no clear effect on Apo A1 levels.
Analyzing over 1500 subjects we found an independent positive association between plasma folate (major dietary determinant of tHcy) and Apo A1 levels among those who later did not develop a first myocardial infarction. No association was seen between tHcy and Apo A1.
Apolipoprotein; Homocysteine; Myocardial infarction; Folate; Epidemiology
Although carbohydrate reduction of varying degrees is a popular and controversial dietary trend, potential long-term effects for health, and cancer in specific, are largely unknown.
We studied a previously established low-carbohydrate, high-protein (LCHP) score in relation to the incidence of cancer and specific cancer types in a population-based cohort in northern Sweden. Participants were 62,582 men and women with up to 17.8 years of follow-up (median 9.7), including 3,059 prospective cancer cases. Cox regression analyses were performed for a LCHP score based on the sum of energy-adjusted deciles of carbohydrate (descending) and protein (ascending) intake labeled 1 to 10, with higher scores representing a diet lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein. Important potential confounders were accounted for, and the role of metabolic risk profile, macronutrient quality including saturated fat intake, and adequacy of energy intake reporting was explored.
For the lowest to highest LCHP scores, 2 to 20, carbohydrate intakes ranged from median 60.9 to 38.9% of total energy intake. Both protein (primarily animal sources) and particularly fat (both saturated and unsaturated) intakes increased with increasing LCHP scores. LCHP score was not related to cancer risk, except for a non-dose-dependent, positive association for respiratory tract cancer that was statistically significant in men. The multivariate hazard ratio for medium (9–13) versus low (2–8) LCHP scores was 1.84 (95% confidence interval: 1.05-3.23; p-trend = 0.38). Other analyses were largely consistent with the main results, although LCHP score was associated with colorectal cancer risk inversely in women with high saturated fat intakes, and positively in men with higher LCHP scores based on vegetable protein.
These largely null results provide important information concerning the long-term safety of moderate carbohydrate reduction and consequent increases in protein and, in this cohort, especially fat intakes. In order to determine the effects of stricter carbohydrate restriction, further studies encompassing a wider range of macronutrient intakes are warranted.
Diet; Cancer; Macronutrients; Carbohydrate intake; Protein intake; Fat intake; Cohort study
Background: The suitability for omic analysis of biosamples collected in previous decades and currently stored in biobanks is unknown.
Objectives: We evaluated the influence of handling and storage conditions of blood-derived biosamples on transcriptomic, epigenomic (CpG methylation), plasma metabolomic [UPLC-ToFMS (ultra performance liquid chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry)], and wide-target proteomic profiles.
Methods: We collected fresh blood samples without RNA preservative in heparin, EDTA, or citrate and held them at room temperature for ≤ 24 hr before fractionating them into buffy coat, erythrocytes, and plasma and freezing the fractions at –80oC or in liquid nitrogen. We developed methodology for isolating RNA from the buffy coats and conducted omic analyses. Finally, we analyzed analogous samples from the EPIC-Italy and Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study biobanks.
Results: Microarray-quality RNA could be isolated from buffy coats (including most biobank samples) that had been frozen within 8 hr of blood collection by thawing the samples in RNA preservative. Different anticoagulants influenced the metabolomic, proteomic, and to a lesser extent transcriptomic profiles. Transcriptomic profiles were most affected by the delay (as little as 2 hr) before blood fractionation, whereas storage temperature had minimal impact. Effects on metabolomic and proteomic profiles were noted in samples processed ≥ 8 hr after collection, but no effects were due to storage temperature. None of the variables examined significantly influenced the epigenomic profiles. No systematic influence of time-in-storage was observed in samples stored over a period of 13–17 years.
Conclusions: Most samples currently stored in biobanks are amenable to meaningful omics analysis, provided that they satisfy collection and storage criteria defined in this study.
biomarkers; epigenomics; metabolomics; metabonomics; molecular epidemiology; proteomics; transcriptomics
Recently, some US cohorts have shown a moderate association between red and processed meat consumption and mortality supporting the results of previous studies among vegetarians. The aim of this study was to examine the association of red meat, processed meat, and poultry consumption with the risk of early death in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Included in the analysis were 448,568 men and women without prevalent cancer, stroke, or myocardial infarction, and with complete information on diet, smoking, physical activity and body mass index, who were between 35 and 69 years old at baseline. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine the association of meat consumption with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.
As of June 2009, 26,344 deaths were observed. After multivariate adjustment, a high consumption of red meat was related to higher all-cause mortality (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01 to 1.28, 160+ versus 10 to 19.9 g/day), and the association was stronger for processed meat (HR = 1.44, 95% CI 1.24 to 1.66, 160+ versus 10 to 19.9 g/day). After correction for measurement error, higher all-cause mortality remained significant only for processed meat (HR = 1.18, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.25, per 50 g/d). We estimated that 3.3% (95% CI 1.5% to 5.0%) of deaths could be prevented if all participants had a processed meat consumption of less than 20 g/day. Significant associations with processed meat intake were observed for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and 'other causes of death'. The consumption of poultry was not related to all-cause mortality.
The results of our analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases, but also to cancer.
diet; meat; mortality; cohort; Europe; cardiovascular; cancer
The effect of the macronutrient composition of the usual diet on long term weight maintenance remains controversial.
373,803 subjects aged 25–70 years were recruited in 10 European countries (1992–2000) in the PANACEA project of the EPIC cohort. Diet was assessed at baseline using country-specific validated questionnaires and weight and height were measured at baseline and self-reported at follow-up in most centers. The association between weight change after 5 years of follow-up and the iso-energetic replacement of 5% of energy from one macronutrient by 5% of energy from another macronutrient was assessed using multivariate linear mixed-models. The risk of becoming overweight or obese after 5 years was investigated using multivariate Poisson regressions stratified according to initial Body Mass Index.
A higher proportion of energy from fat at the expense of carbohydrates was not significantly associated with weight change after 5 years. However, a higher proportion of energy from protein at the expense of fat was positively associated with weight gain. A higher proportion of energy from protein at the expense of carbohydrates was also positively associated with weight gain, especially when carbohydrates were rich in fibre. The association between percentage of energy from protein and weight change was slightly stronger in overweight participants, former smokers, participants ≥60 years old, participants underreporting their energy intake and participants with a prudent dietary pattern. Compared to diets with no more than 14% of energy from protein, diets with more than 22% of energy from protein were associated with a 23–24% higher risk of becoming overweight or obese in normal weight and overweight subjects at baseline.
Our results show that participants consuming an amount of protein above the protein intake recommended by the American Diabetes Association may experience a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese during adult life.
Previous studies have shown that obesity and hypertension are associated with increased risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), but less is known about the association to other metabolic factors. In the Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer project (Me-Can) data on body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), blood pressure, and circulating levels of glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides were collected from 560,388 men and women in cohorts from Norway, Austria, and Sweden. By use of Cox proportional hazard models, hazard ratios (HR) were calculated for separate and composite metabolic exposures. During a median follow-up of 10 years, 592 men and 263 women were diagnosed with RCC. Among men, we found an increased risk of RCC for BMI, highest vs. lowest quintile, (HR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.13–2.03), systolic blood pressure, (HR = 3.40, 95% CI 1.91–6.06), diastolic blood pressure, (HR = 3.33, 95% CI 1.85–5.99), glucose, (HR = 3.75, 95% CI 1.46–9.68), triglycerides, (HR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.00–3.21) and a composite score of these metabolic factors, (HR = 2.68, 95% CI 1.75–4.11). Among women we found an increased risk of RCC for BMI, highest vs. lowest quintile, (HR = 2.21, 95% CI 1.32–3.70) and the composite score, (HR = 2.29, 95% CI 1.12–4.68). High levels of the composite score were also associated with risk of death from RCC among both men and women. No multiplicative statistical or biological interactions between metabolic factors on risk of RCC were found. High levels of BMI, blood pressure, glucose and triglycerides among men and high BMI among women were associated with increased risk of RCC.
Experimental evidence suggests a protective role for circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) in breast cancer development, but the results of epidemiological studies have been inconsistent.
We conducted a case-control study nested within two prospective cohorts, the New York University Women's Health Study and the Northern Sweden Mammary Screening Cohort. Blood samples were collected at enrollment, and women were followed up for breast cancer ascertainment. In total, 1,585 incident breast cancer cases were individually-matched to 2,940 controls. Of these subjects, 678 cases and 1,208 controls contributed two repeat blood samples, at least one year apart. Circulating levels of 25(OH)D were measured, and multivariate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using conditional logistic regression.
No association was observed between circulating levels of 25(OH)D and overall breast cancer risk (multivariate-adjusted model OR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.76-1.16 for the highest vs. lowest quintile, ptrend = 0.30). The temporal reliability of 25(OH)D measured in repeat blood samples was high (intraclass correlation coefficients for season-adjusted 25(OH)D > 0.70). An inverse association between 25(OH)D levels and breast cancer risk was observed among women who were ≤ 45 years of age (ORQ5-Q1 = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.30-0.79, ptrend = 0.01) or premenopausal at enrollment (ORQ5-Q1 = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.48-0.92, ptrend = 0.03).
Circulating 25(OH)D levels were not associated with breast cancer risk overall, although we could not exclude the possibility of a protective effect in younger women. Recommendations regarding vitamin D supplementation should be based on considerations other than breast cancer prevention.
To investigate the association between total serum cholesterol (TSC) and cancer incidence in the Metabolic syndrome and Cancer project (Me-Can).
Me-Can consists of seven cohorts from Norway, Austria, and Sweden including 289,273 male and 288,057 female participants prospectively followed up for cancer incidence (n = 38,978) with a mean follow-up of 11.7 years. Cox regression models with age as the underlying time metric were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) for quintiles of cholesterol levels and per 1 mmol/l, adjusting for age at first measurement, body mass index (BMI), and smoking status. Estimates were corrected for regression dilution bias. Furthermore, we performed lag time analyses, excluding different times of follow-up, in order to check for reverse causation.
In men, compared with the 1st quintile, TSC concentrations in the 5th quintile were borderline significantly associated with decreasing risk of total cancer (HR = 0.94; 95%CI: 0.88, 1.00). Significant inverse associations were observed for cancers of the liver/intrahepatic bile duct (HR = 0.14; 95%CI: 0.07, 0.29), pancreas cancer (HR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.33, 0.81), non-melanoma of skin (HR = 0.67; 95%CI: 0.46, 0.95), and cancers of the lymph−/hematopoietic tissue (HR = 0.68, 95%CI: 0.54, 0.87). In women, hazard ratios for the 5th quintile were associated with decreasing risk of total cancer (HR = 0.86, 95%CI: 0.79, 0.93) and for cancers of the gallbladder (HR = 0.23, 95%CI: 0.08, 0.62), breast (HR = 0.70, 95%CI: 0.61, 0.81), melanoma of skin (HR = 0.61, 95%CI: 0.42, 0.88), and cancers of the lymph−/hematopoietic tissue (HR = 0.61, 95%CI: 0.44, 0.83).
TSC was negatively associated with risk of cancer overall in females and risk of cancer at several sites in both males and females. In lag time analyses some associations persisted, suggesting that for these cancer sites reverse causation did not apply.
Cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg) cause toxicological renal effects, but the clinical relevance at low-level exposures in general populations is unclear. The objective of this study is to assess the risk of developing end-stage renal disease in relation to Cd, Pb, and Hg exposure.
A total of 118 cases who later in life developed end-stage renal disease, and 378 matched (sex, age, area, and time of blood sampling) referents were identified among participants in two population-based prospective cohorts (130,000 individuals). Cd, Pb, and Hg concentrations were determined in prospectively collected samples.
Erythrocyte lead was associated with an increased risk of developing end-stage renal disease (mean in cases 76 μg/L; odds ratio (OR) 1.54 for an interquartile range increase, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18-2.00), while erythrocyte mercury was negatively associated (2.4 μg/L; OR 0.75 for an interquartile range increase, CI 0.56-0.99). For erythrocyte cadmium, the OR of developing end-stage renal disease was 1.15 for an interquartile range increase (CI 0.99-1.34; mean Ery-Cd among cases: 1.3 μg/L). The associations for erythrocyte lead and erythrocyte mercury, but not for erythrocyte cadmium, remained after adjusting for the other two metals, smoking, BMI, diabetes, and hypertension. Gender-specific analyses showed that men carried almost all of the erythrocyte lead and erythrocyte cadmium associated risks.
Erythrocyte lead is associated with end-stage renal disease but further studies are needed to evaluate causality. Gender-specific analyses suggest potential differences in susceptibility or in exposure biomarker reliability.
Biobank; Cadmium; Case-referent; End-stage renal disease; Lead; Mercury
To date, no attempt has been made to systematically determine the apportionment of the hepatocellular carcinoma burden in Europe or North America among established risk factors.
Using data collected from 1992 to 2006, which included 4 409 809 person-years in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC), we identified 125 case patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, of whom 115 were matched to 229 control subjects. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) for the association of documented risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma with incidence of this disease and estimated their importance in this European cohort.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (OR = 9.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.10 to 39.50 and OR = 13.36, 95% CI = 4.11 to 43.45, respectively), obesity (OR = 2.13, 95% CI = 1.06 to 4.29), former or current smoking (OR = 1.98, 95% CI = 0.90 to 4.39 and OR = 4.55, 95% CI = 1.90 to 10.91, respectively), and heavy alcohol intake (OR = 1.77, 95% CI = 0.73 to 4.27) were associated with hepatocellular carcinoma. Smoking contributed to almost half of all hepatocellular carcinomas (47.6%), whereas 13.2% and 20.9% were attributable to chronic HBV and HCV infection, respectively. Obesity and heavy alcohol intake contributed 16.1% and 10.2%, respectively. Almost two-thirds (65.7%, 95% CI = 50.6% to 79.3%) of hepatocellular carcinomas can be accounted for by exposure to at least one of these documented risk factors.
Smoking contributed to more hepatocellular carcinomas in this Europe-wide cohort than chronic HBV and HCV infections. Heavy alcohol consumption and obesity also contributed to sizeable fractions of this disease burden. These contributions may be underestimates because EPIC volunteers are likely to be more health conscious than the general population.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is the most important predictor of fracture risk. We performed the largest meta-analysis to date on lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD, including 17 genome-wide association studies and 32,961 individuals of European and East Asian ancestry. We tested the top-associated BMD markers for replication in 50,933 independent subjects and for risk of low-trauma fracture in 31,016 cases and 102,444 controls. We identified 56 loci (32 novel)associated with BMD atgenome-wide significant level (P<5×10−8). Several of these factors cluster within the RANK-RANKL-OPG, mesenchymal-stem-cell differentiation, endochondral ossification and the Wnt signalling pathways. However, we also discovered loci containing genes not known to play a role in bone biology. Fourteen BMD loci were also associated with fracture risk (P<5×10−4, Bonferroni corrected), of which six reached P<5×10−8 including: 18p11.21 (C18orf19), 7q21.3 (SLC25A13), 11q13.2 (LRP5), 4q22.1 (MEPE), 2p16.2 (SPTBN1) and 10q21.1 (DKK1). These findings shed light on the genetic architecture and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying BMD variation and fracture susceptibility.
It is accepted that a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer after menopause is reduced by early full term pregnancy and multiparity. This phenomenon is thought to be associated with the development and differentiation of the breast during pregnancy.
In order to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of pregnancy induced breast cancer protection, we profiled and compared the transcriptomes of normal breast tissue biopsies from 71 parous (P) and 42 nulliparous (NP) healthy postmenopausal women using Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 arrays. To validate the results, we performed real time PCR and immunohistochemistry.
We identified 305 differentially expressed probesets (208 distinct genes). Of these, 267 probesets were up- and 38 down-regulated in parous breast samples; bioinformatics analysis using gene ontology enrichment revealed that up-regulated genes in the parous breast represented biological processes involving differentiation and development, anchoring of epithelial cells to the basement membrane, hemidesmosome and cell-substrate junction assembly, mRNA and RNA metabolic processes and RNA splicing machinery. The down-regulated genes represented biological processes that comprised cell proliferation, regulation of IGF-like growth factor receptor signaling, somatic stem cell maintenance, muscle cell differentiation and apoptosis.
This study suggests that the differentiation of the breast imprints a genomic signature that is centered in the mRNA processing reactome. These findings indicate that pregnancy may induce a safeguard mechanism at post-transcriptional level that maintains the fidelity of the transcriptional process.
Gene expression profiling; Pregnancy; Breast morphology; Breast differentiation; Parous and nulliparous breast transcriptome; Breast cancer risk; Normal breast transcriptome; Bioinformatics.
Individuals with higher blood 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), but the influence of 25(OH)D on mortality after CRC diagnosis is unknown.
The association between pre-diagnostic 25(OH)D levels and CRC-specific (N=444) and overall mortality (N=541) was prospectively examined among 1,202 participants diagnosed with CRC between 1992-2003 in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) according to 25(OH)D quintiles and genetic variation within the VDR and CASR genes. Potential dietary, lifestyle and metabolic effect modifiers were also investigated.
There were 541 deaths, 444 (82%) due to CRC. Mean follow-up was 73 months. In multivariable analysis, higher 25(OH)D levels were associated with a statistically significant reduction in CRC-specific (Ptrend=0.04) and overall mortality (Ptrend=0.01). Participants with 25(OH)D levels in the highest quintile had an adjusted HR of 0.69 (95%CI: 0.50-0.93) for CRC-specific and 0.67 (95%CI: 0.50-0.88) for overall mortality, compared to the lowest quintile. Except for a possible interaction by pre-diagnostic dietary calcium intake (Pinteraction=0.01), no other potential modifying factors related to CRC survival were noted. The VDR (FokI and BsmI) and CASR (rs1801725) genotypes were not associated with survival.
High pre-diagnostic 25(OH)D levels are associated with improved survival of patients with CRC.
Our findings may stimulate further research directed at investigating the effects of blood vitamin D levels before, at, and after CRC diagnosis on outcomes in CRC patients.
vitamin D; colorectal neoplasms; survival; VDR; CASR
The objective of the current study was to comprehensively compare the genomic profiles in the breast of parous and nulliparous postmenopausal women to identify genes that permanently change their expression following pregnancy.
The study was designed as a two-phase approach. In the discovery phase, we compared breast genomic profiles of 37 parous with 18 nulliparous postmenopausal women. In the validation phase, confirmation of the genomic patterns observed in the discovery phase was sought in an independent set of 30 parous and 22 nulliparous postmenopausal women. RNA was hybridized to Affymetrix HG_U133 Plus 2.0 oligonucleotide arrays containing probes to 54,675 transcripts; scanned and the images analyzed using Affymetrix GCOS software. Surrogate variable analysis, logistic regression and significance analysis for microarrays were used to identify statistically significant differences in expression of genes. The False Discovery Rate (FDR) approach was used to control for multiple comparisons. We found that 208 genes (305 probe sets) were differentially expressed between parous and nulliparous women in both discovery and validation phases of the study at a FDR of 10% and with at least a 1.25-fold change. These genes are involved in regulation of transcription, centrosome organization, RNA splicing, cell cycle control, adhesion and differentiation. The results provide persuasive evidence that full-term pregnancy induces long-term genomic changes in the breast. The genomic signature of pregnancy could be used as an intermediate marker to assess potential chemopreventive interventions with hormones mimicking the effects of pregnancy for prevention of breast cancer.
Pregnancy; breast; genes; expression; postmenopausal
Socio-economic inequalities in mortality are observed at the country level in both North America and Europe. The purpose of this work is to investigate the contribution of specific risk factors to social inequalities in cause-specific mortality using a large multi-country cohort of Europeans.
A total of 3,456,689 person/years follow-up of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) was analysed. Educational level of subjects coming from 9 European countries was recorded as proxy for socio-economic status (SES). Cox proportional hazard model's with a step-wise inclusion of explanatory variables were used to explore the association between SES and mortality; a Relative Index of Inequality (RII) was calculated as measure of relative inequality.
Total mortality among men with the highest education level is reduced by 43% compared to men with the lowest (HR 0.57, 95% C.I. 0.52–0.61); among women by 29% (HR 0.71, 95% C.I. 0.64–0.78). The risk reduction was attenuated by 7% in men and 3% in women by the introduction of smoking and to a lesser extent (2% in men and 3% in women) by introducing body mass index and additional explanatory variables (alcohol consumption, leisure physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake) (3% in men and 5% in women). Social inequalities were highly statistically significant for all causes of death examined in men. In women, social inequalities were less strong, but statistically significant for all causes of death except for cancer-related mortality and injuries.
In this European study, substantial social inequalities in mortality among European men and women which cannot be fully explained away by accounting for known common risk factors for chronic diseases are reported.
In the 1970s, men in northern Sweden had among the highest prevalences of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) worldwide. An intervention program combining population- and individual-oriented activities was initiated in 1985. Concurrently, collection of information on medical risk factors, lifestyle and anthropometry started. Today, these data make up one of the largest databases in the world on diet intake in a population-based sample, both in terms of sample size and follow-up period. The study examines trends in food and nutrient intake, serum cholesterol and body mass index (BMI) from 1986 to 2010 in northern Sweden.
Cross-sectional information on self-reported food and nutrient intake and measured body weight, height, and serum cholesterol were compiled for over 140,000 observations. Trends and trend breaks over the 25-year period were evaluated for energy-providing nutrients, foods contributing to fat intake, serum cholesterol and BMI.
Reported intake of fat exhibited two significant trend breaks in both sexes: a decrease between 1986 and 1992 and an increase from 2002 (women) or 2004 (men). A reverse trend was noted for carbohydrates, whereas protein intake remained unchanged during the 25-year period. Significant trend breaks in intake of foods contributing to total fat intake were seen. Reported intake of wine increased sharply for both sexes (more so for women) and export beer increased for men. BMI increased continuously for both sexes, whereas serum cholesterol levels decreased during 1986 - 2004, remained unchanged until 2007 and then began to rise. The increase in serum cholesterol coincided with the increase in fat intake, especially with intake of saturated fat and fats for spreading on bread and cooking.
Men and women in northern Sweden decreased their reported fat intake in the first 7 years (1986–1992) of an intervention program. After 2004 fat intake increased sharply for both genders, which coincided with introduction of a positive media support for low carbohydrate-high-fat (LCHF) diet. The decrease and following increase in cholesterol levels occurred simultaneously with the time trends in food selection, whereas a constant increase in BMI remained unaltered. These changes in risk factors may have important effects on primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Diet; Fat; Alcohol; Cholesterol; BMI; Tme trend; Sweden
Body fatness has been associated with increased risk of a number of hormone-dependent cancers. Recent studies suggest that body mass index may be related to meningiomas, which are more common in women than men, and for which estrogens are believed to play a role. Using data from a large European propective cohort, 203 incident cases of meningioma and 340 cases of glioma were included in the analysis for measures of body fat, height, and physical activity among 380,775 participants. All analyses were conducted using Cox proportional hazards model and controlling for age, sex, country and education. A 71% increase in risk of meningioma was observed among men and women in the top quartile of waist circumference (HR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.08–2.73, p-trend=0.01). A positive association was also observed for body mass index and meningioma (HR = 1.48, 95% CI = 0.98–2.23, for BMI ≥30 compared with a BMI of 20–24.9, p trend=0.05). An association with height and meningioma was also suggestive (HR = 1.24, 95% 0.96–1.51, for each 10cm increase). In contrast, no associations were observed for height and different measures of body fat and risk of glioma. Physical activity was not related to either type of brain tumors. Results from this study support an increase in risk of meningioma with higher body fatness among both men and women. No association was observed between anthropometric measures and risk of glioma.
Brain tumors; glioma; meningioma; BMI; waist circumference; physical activity; cohort studies
Mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) gene cause rare syndromes characterized by altered bone mineral density (BMD). More common LRP5 variants may affect osteoporosis risk in the general population.
To generate large-scale evidence on whether 2 common variants of LRP5 (Val667Met, Ala1330Val) and 1 variant of LRP6 (Ile1062Val) are associated with BMD and fracture risk.
Design and Setting
Prospective, multicenter, collaborative study of individual-level data on 37 534 individuals from 18 participating teams in Europe and North America. Data were collected between September 2004 and January 2007; analysis of the collected data was performed between February and May 2007. Bone mineral density was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Fractures were identified via questionnaire, medical records, or radiographic documentation; incident fracture data were available for some cohorts, ascertained via routine surveillance methods, including radiographic examination for vertebral fractures.
Main Outcome Measures
Bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and femoral neck; prevalence of all fractures and vertebral fractures.
The Met667 allele of LRP5 was associated with reduced lumbar spine BMD (n =25 052 [number of participants with available data]; 20-mg/cm2 lower BMD per Met667 allele copy; P=3.3 × 10−8), as was the Val1330 allele (n = 24 812; 14-mg/cm2 lower BMD per Val1330 copy; P=2.6 × 10−9). Similar effects were observed for femoral neck BMD, with a decrease of 11 mg/cm2 (P =3.8 × 10−5) and 8 mg/cm2 (P=5.0×10−6) for the Met667 and Val1330 alleles, respectively (n=25 193). Findings were consistent across studies for both LRP5 alleles. Both alleles were associated with vertebral fractures (odds ratio [OR], 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–1.47 for Met667 [2001 fractures among 20 488 individuals] and OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.01–1.24 for Val1330 [1988 fractures among 20 096 individuals]). Risk of all fractures was also increased with Met667 (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.05–1.24 per allele [7876 fractures among 31 435 individuals)]) and Val1330 (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01–1.12 per allele [7802 fractures among 31 199 individuals]). Effects were similar when adjustments were made for age, weight, height, menopausal status, and use of hormone therapy. Fracture risks were partly attenuated by adjustment for BMD. Haplotype analysis indicated that Met667 and Val1330 variants both independently affected BMD. The LRP6 Ile1062Val polymorphism was not associated with any osteoporosis phenotype. All aforementioned associations except that between Val1330 and all fractures and vertebral fractures remained significant after multiple-comparison adjustments.
Common LRP5 variants are consistently associated with BMD and fracture risk across different white populations. The magnitude of the effect is modest. LRP5 may be the first gene to reach a genome-wide significance level (a conservative level of significance [herein, unadjusted P<10−7] that accounts for the many possible comparisons in the human genome) for a phenotype related to osteoporosis.
To assess whether recently discovered genetic loci associated with hyperglycemia also predict long-term changes in glycemic traits.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Sixteen fasting glucose-raising loci were genotyped in middle-aged adults from the Gene x Lifestyle interactions And Complex traits Involved in Elevated disease Risk (GLACIER) Study, a population-based prospective cohort study from northern Sweden. Genotypes were tested for association with baseline fasting and 2-h postchallenge glycemia (N = 16,330), and for changes in these glycemic traits during a 10-year follow-up period (N = 4,059).
Cross-sectional directionally consistent replication with fasting glucose concentrations was achieved for 12 of 16 variants; 10 variants were also associated with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and 7 were independently associated with 2-h postchallenge glucose concentrations. In prospective analyses, the effect alleles at four loci (GCK rs4607517, ADRA2A rs10885122, DGKB-TMEM195 rs2191349, and G6PC2 rs560887) were nominally associated with worsening fasting glucose concentrations during 10-years of follow-up. MTNR1B rs10830963, which was predictive of elevated fasting glucose concentrations in cross-sectional analyses, was associated with a protective effect on postchallenge glucose concentrations during follow-up; however, this was only when baseline fasting and 2-h glucoses were adjusted for. An additive effect of multiple risk alleles on glycemic traits was observed: a weighted genetic risk score (80th vs. 20th centiles) was associated with a 0.16 mmol/l (P = 2.4 × 10−6) greater elevation in fasting glucose and a 64% (95% CI: 33–201%) higher risk of developing IFG during 10 years of follow-up.
Our findings imply that genetic profiling might facilitate the early detection of persons who are genetically susceptible to deteriorating glucose control; studies of incident type 2 diabetes and discrete cardiovascular end points will help establish whether the magnitude of these changes is clinically relevant.