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1.  Effects of Physiological Levels of the Green Tea Extract Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate on Breast Cancer Cells 
Physiological concentrations of the green tea extract epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) caused growth inhibition in estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive MCF7 cells that was associated with down-regulation of the ERα and reduced insulin-like growth factor binding protein-2 abundance and increased protein abundance of the tumor suppressor genes p53/p21. In contrast to MCF7 cells that have wt p53, EGCG alone did not change cell proliferation or death significantly in another ERα-positive cell line T47D that possesses mutant p53. EGCG increased ERα protein levels and as a consequence, the cells responded significantly better to an ERα antagonist tamoxifen (TAM) in the presence of EGCG. EGCG significantly increased cell death in an ERα-negative cell line, MDA-MB-231 that also possesses mutant p53. EGCG significantly increased the ERα and insulin-like growth factor-I receptor levels and thereby enhanced the sensitivities of the cells to TAM and a blocking antibody targeting the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (αIR3). In contrast to MCF7, T47D and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells that exhibited significant changes in key molecules involved in breast growth and survival upon treatment with physiological levels of EGCG, the growth, survival, and levels of these proteins in non-malignant breast epithelial cells, MCF10A cells, were not affected.
PMCID: PMC4019852  PMID: 24847310
EGCG; breast cancer; physiological; green tea; drug sensitivity
2.  Childhood milk consumption is associated with better physical performance in old age 
Age and Ageing  2012;41(6):776-784.
Background: studies have shown that milk and dairy consumption in adulthood have beneficial effects on health.
Methods: we examined the impact of childhood and adult diet on physical performance at age 63–86 years. The Boyd Orr cohort (n = 405) is a 65-year prospective study of children who took part in a 1930's survey; the Caerphilly Prospective Study (CaPS; n = 1,195) provides data from mid-life to old age. We hypothesised that higher intakes of childhood and adult milk, calcium, protein, fat and energy would be associated with a better performance.
Results: in fully adjusted models, a standard deviation (SD) increase in natural log-transformed childhood milk intake was associated with 5% faster walking times from the get-up and go test in Boyd Orr (95% CI: 1 to 9) and 25% lower odds of poor balance (OR: 0.75; 0.55 to 1.02). Childhood calcium intake was positively associated with walking times (4% faster per SD; 0 to 8) and a higher protein intake was associated with lower odds of poor balance (OR: 0.71; 0.54 to 0.92). In adulthood, protein intake was positively associated with walking times (2% faster per SD; 1 to 3; Boyd Orr and CaPS pooled data).
Conclusion: this is the first study to show positive associations of childhood milk intake with physical performance in old age.
PMCID: PMC3476828  PMID: 22542496
diet; physical performance; walking speed; standing balance; older people
3.  Epithelial cancers in the post-genomic era: should we reconsider our lifestyle? 
Cancer Metastasis Reviews  2013;32(3-4):673-705.
The age-related epithelial cancers of the breast, colorectum and prostate are the most prevalent and are increasing in our aging populations. Epithelial cells turnover rapidly and mutations naturally accumulate throughout life. Most epithelial cancers arise from this normal mutation rate. All elderly individuals will harbour many cells with the requisite mutations and most will develop occult neoplastic lesions. Although essential for initiation, these mutations are not sufficient for the progression of cancer to a life-threatening disease. This progression appears to be dependent on context: the tissue ecosystem within individuals and lifestyle exposures across populations of individuals. Together, this implies that the seeds may be plentiful but they only germinate in the right soil. The incidence of these cancers is much lower in Eastern countries but is increasing with Westernisation and increases more acutely in migrants to the West. A Western lifestyle is strongly associated with perturbed metabolism, as evidenced by the epidemics of obesity and diabetes: this may also provide the setting enabling the progression of epithelial cancers. Epidemiology has indicated that metabolic biomarkers are prospectively associated with cancer incidence and prognosis. Furthermore, within cancer research, there has been a rediscovery that a switch in cell metabolism is critical for cancer progression but this is set within the metabolic status of the host. The seed may only germinate if the soil is fertile. This perspective brings together the different avenues of investigation implicating the role that metabolism may play within the context of post-genomic concepts of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3843373  PMID: 23907184
Metabolism; Breast cancer; Prostate cancer; Colorectal cancer; Lifestyle
4.  Higher Levels of IGF-I and Adrenal Androgens at Age 8 Years Are Associated with Earlier Age at Menarche in Girls 
Earlier age at menarche is associated with rapid infancy weight gain and childhood obesity. The role of hormone levels in mediating these associations is unclear.
The aim of this study was to identify childhood hormone levels at age 8 yr that are associated with early menarche, independent of body size.
Design, Settings, and Subjects:
A total of 329 girls from a prospective United Kingdom birth cohort study provided blood samples at mean age 8.1 yr (range, 8.0–8.5) for hormone measurements and were followed longitudinally to establish age at menarche.
Main Outcome Measures:
Fasting plasma levels of IGF-I, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), leptin, insulin, IGF binding protein-1, and SHBG were measured. Age at menarche was reported by questionnaire and categorized as before 12.0, 12.0–13.0, or later than 13 yr.
Earlier menarche was associated with greater body weight, height, and body mass index at age 8 yr (all P-trend <0.001). Before adjustment for body size, earlier menarche was associated with higher levels of IGF-I, androstenedione, DHEAS, leptin, and fasting insulin, and with lower levels of IGF binding protein-1 and SHBG at age 8 yr (all P < 0.01). After adjustment for body mass index and height at age 8 yr, only IGF-I (P = 0.004), androstenedione (P = 0.01), and DHEAS (P = 0.01) remained associated with earlier menarche.
Associations between higher levels of IGF-I and adrenal androgens at age 8 yr with earlier menarche, independent of body size, support functional roles of these hormones in regulating puberty timing in girls. Higher levels of these hormones reported in children who exhibited rapid weight gain during infancy may indicate their role in developmental pathways leading to earlier sexual maturation.
PMCID: PMC3444968  PMID: 22419724
5.  Associations of Insulin and Insulin-Like Growth Factors with Physical Performance in Old Age in the Boyd Orr and Caerphilly Studies 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30096.
Insulin and the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system regulate growth and are involved in determining muscle mass, strength and body composition. We hypothesised that IGF-I and IGF-II are associated with improved, and insulin with worse, physical performance in old age.
Physical performance was measured using the get-up and go timed walk and flamingo balance test at 63–86 years. We examined prospective associations of insulin, IGF-I, IGF-II and IGFBP-3 with physical performance in the UK-based Caerphilly Prospective Study (CaPS; n = 739 men); and cross-sectional insulin, IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3 in the Boyd Orr cohort (n = 182 men, 223 women).
In confounder-adjusted models, there was some evidence in CaPS that a standard deviation (SD) increase in IGF-I was associated with 1.5% faster get-up and go test times (95% CI: −0.2%, 3.2%; p = 0.08), but little association with poor balance, 19 years later. Coefficients in Boyd Orr were in the same direction as CaPS, but consistent with chance. Higher levels of insulin were weakly associated with worse physical performance (CaPS and Boyd Orr combined: get-up and go time = 1.3% slower per SD log-transformed insulin; 95% CI: 0.0%, 2.7%; p = 0.07; OR poor balance 1.13; 95% CI; 0.98, 1.29; p = 0.08), although associations were attenuated after controlling for body mass index (BMI) and co-morbidities. In Boyd Orr, a one SD increase in IGFBP-2 was associated with 2.6% slower get-up and go times (95% CI: 0.4%, 4.8% slower; p = 0.02), but this was only seen when controlling for BMI and co-morbidities. There was no consistent evidence of associations of IGF-II, or IGFBP-3 with physical performance.
There was some evidence that high IGF-I and low insulin levels in middle-age were associated with improved physical performance in old age, but estimates were imprecise. Larger cohorts are required to confirm or refute the findings.
PMCID: PMC3254635  PMID: 22253890
6.  Prospective study of insulin-like growth factor-I, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3, genetic variants in the IGF1 and IGFBP3 genes and risk of coronary artery disease 
Although experimental studies have suggested that insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and its binding protein IGFBP-3 might have a role in the aetiology of coronary artery disease (CAD), the relevance of circulating IGFs and their binding proteins in the development of CAD in human populations is unclear. We conducted a nested case-control study, with a mean follow-up of six years, within the EPIC-Norfolk cohort to assess the association between circulating levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 and risk of CAD in up to 1,013 cases and 2,055 controls matched for age, sex and study enrolment date. After adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, we found no association between circulating levels of IGF-I or IGFBP-3 and risk of CAD (odds ratio: 0.98 (95% Cl 0.90-1.06) per 1 SD increase in circulating IGF-I; odds ratio: 1.02 (95% Cl 0.94-1.12) for IGFBP-3). We examined associations between tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) at the IGF1 and IGFBP3 loci and circulating IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels in up to 1,133 cases and 2,223 controls and identified three tSNPs (rs1520220, rs3730204, rs2132571) that showed independent association with either circulating IGF-I or IGFBP-3 levels. In an assessment of 31 SNPs spanning the IGF1 or IGFBP3 loci, none were associated with risk of CAD in a meta-analysis that included EPIC-Norfolk and eight additional studies comprising up to 9,319 cases and 19,964 controls. Our results indicate that IGF-I and IGFBP-3 are unlikely to be importantly involved in the aetiology of CAD in human populations.
PMCID: PMC3166154  PMID: 21915365
Epidemiology; Genetics of cardiovascular disease; Risk factors; IGF1; IGFBP3
7.  Intrinsic, Pro-Apoptotic Effects of IGFBP-3 on Breast Cancer Cells are Reversible: Involvement of PKA, Rho, and Ceramide 
We established previously that IGFBP-3 could exert positive or negative effects on cell function depending upon the extracellular matrix composition and by interacting with integrin signaling. To elicit its pro-apoptotic effects IGFBP-3 bound to caveolin-1 and the beta 1 integrin receptor and increased their association culminating in MAPK activation. Disruption of these complexes or blocking the beta 1 integrin receptor reversed these intrinsic actions of IGFBP-3. In this study we have examined the signaling pathway between integrin receptor binding and MAPK activation that mediates the intrinsic, pro-apoptotic actions of IGFBP-3. We found on inhibiting protein kinase A (PKA), Rho associated kinase (ROCK), and ceramide, the accentuating effects of IGFBP-3 on apoptotic triggers were reversed, such that IGFBP-3 then conferred cell survival. We established that IGFBP-3 activated Rho, the upstream regulator of ROCK and that beta1 integrin and PKA were upstream of Rho activation, whereas the involvement of ceramide was downstream. The beta 1 integrin, PKA, Rho, and ceramide were all upstream of MAPK activation. These data highlight key components involved in the pro-apoptotic effects of IGFBP-3 and that inhibiting them leads to a reversal in the action of IGFBP-3.
PMCID: PMC3356103  PMID: 22654794
IGFBP-3; PKA; rho; ceramide; IGF-independent
8.  Genome-Wide Association Meta-Analysis of Cortical Bone Mineral Density Unravels Allelic Heterogeneity at the RANKL Locus and Potential Pleiotropic Effects on Bone 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(11):e1001217.
Previous genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified SNPs associated with areal bone mineral density (aBMD). However, this measure is influenced by several different skeletal parameters, such as periosteal expansion, cortical bone mineral density (BMDC) cortical thickness, trabecular number, and trabecular thickness, which may be under distinct biological and genetic control. We have carried out a GWA and replication study of BMDC, as measured by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), a more homogenous and valid measure of actual volumetric bone density. After initial GWA meta-analysis of two cohorts (ALSPAC n = 999, aged ∼15 years and GOOD n = 935, aged ∼19 years), we attempted to replicate the BMDC associations that had p<1×10−5 in an independent sample of ALSPAC children (n = 2803) and in a cohort of elderly men (MrOS Sweden, n = 1052). The rs1021188 SNP (near RANKL) was associated with BMDC in all cohorts (overall p = 2×10−14, n = 5739). Each minor allele was associated with a decrease in BMDC of ∼0.14SD. There was also evidence for an interaction between this variant and sex (p = 0.01), with a stronger effect in males than females (at age 15, males −6.77mg/cm3 per C allele, p = 2×10−6; females −2.79 mg/cm3 per C allele, p = 0.004). Furthermore, in a preliminary analysis, the rs1021188 minor C allele was associated with higher circulating levels of sRANKL (p<0.005). We show this variant to be independent from the previously aBMD associated SNP (rs9594738) and possibly from a third variant in the same RANKL region, which demonstrates important allelic heterogeneity at this locus. Associations with skeletal parameters reflecting bone dimensions were either not found or were much less pronounced. This finding implicates RANKL as a locus containing variation associated with volumetric bone density and provides further insight into the mechanism by which the RANK/RANKL/OPG pathway may be involved in skeletal development.
Author Summary
Previous studies that have identified genetic polymorphisms involved in bone density have used a technique that cannot differentiate between cortical and trabecular bone. We have carried out the first genome-wide association study using a bone scanning method that can differentiate between the constituent parts of bone. We found a genetic variant (rs1021188) near the RANKL gene that was associated with the density of cortical bone in the three cohorts that we studied (ranging in age from 15 to 78 years old). We also found that this variant may have a more prominent effect on cortical bone density in males than females. In addition, the minor C allele of rs1021188 was associated with higher circulating levels of free RANKL. Although the RANKL gene has been previously identified as being important for bone structure (albeit with a different SNP showing association), we show for the first time that this may be primarily due to its influence on the density of cortical bone, rather than the size of the bone or other bone features.
PMCID: PMC2987837  PMID: 21124946
9.  Variants in ADCY5 and near CCNL1 are associated with fetal growth and birth weight 
Freathy, Rachel M | Mook-Kanamori, Dennis O | Sovio, Ulla | Prokopenko, Inga | Timpson, Nicholas J | Berry, Diane J | Warrington, Nicole M | Widen, Elisabeth | Hottenga, Jouke Jan | Kaakinen, Marika | Lange, Leslie A | Bradfield, Jonathan P | Kerkhof, Marjan | Marsh, Julie A | Mägi, Reedik | Chen, Chih-Mei | Lyon, Helen N | Kirin, Mirna | Adair, Linda S | Aulchenko, Yurii S | Bennett, Amanda J | Borja, Judith B | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Charoen, Pimphen | Coin, Lachlan J M | Cousminer, Diana L | de Geus, Eco J. C. | Deloukas, Panos | Elliott, Paul | Evans, David M | Froguel, Philippe | Glaser, Beate | Groves, Christopher J | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Hassanali, Neelam | Hirschhorn, Joel N | Hofman, Albert | Holly, Jeff M P | Hyppönen, Elina | Kanoni, Stavroula | Knight, Bridget A | Laitinen, Jaana | Lindgren, Cecilia M | McArdle, Wendy L | O'Reilly, Paul F | Pennell, Craig E | Postma, Dirkje S | Pouta, Anneli | Ramasamy, Adaikalavan | Rayner, Nigel W | Ring, Susan M | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Shields, Beverley M | Strachan, David P | Surakka, Ida | Taanila, Anja | Tiesler, Carla | Uitterlinden, Andre G | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Wijga, Alet H | Willemsen, Gonneke | Zhang, Haitao | Zhao, Jianhua | Wilson, James F | Steegers, Eric A P | Hattersley, Andrew T | Eriksson, Johan G | Peltonen, Leena | Mohlke, Karen L | Grant, Struan F A | Hakonarson, Hakon | Koppelman, Gerard H | Dedoussis, George V | Heinrich, Joachim | Gillman, Matthew W | Palmer, Lyle J | Frayling, Timothy M | Boomsma, Dorret I | Smith, George Davey | Power, Chris | Jaddoe, Vincent W V | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | McCarthy, Mark I
Nature genetics  2010;42(5):430-435.
To identify genetic variants associated with birth weight, we meta-analyzed six genome-wide association (GWA) studies (N=10,623 Europeans from pregnancy/birth cohorts) and followed up two lead signals in thirteen replication studies (N=27,591). Rs900400 near LEKR1 and CCNL1 (P=2×10−35), and rs9883204 in ADCY5 (P=7×10−15) were robustly associated with birth weight. Correlated SNPs in ADCY5 were recently implicated in regulation of glucose levels and type 2 diabetes susceptibility,1 providing evidence that the well described association between lower birth weight and subsequent type 2 diabetes2,3 has a genetic component, distinct from the proposed role of programming by maternal nutrition. Using data from both SNPs, the 9% of Europeans with 4 birth weight-lowering alleles were, on average, 113g (95%CI 89-137g) lighter at birth than the 24% with 0 or 1 allele (Ptrend=7×10−30). The impact on birth weight is similar to that of a mother smoking 4-5 cigarettes per day in the third trimester of pregnancy.4
PMCID: PMC2862164  PMID: 20372150
10.  Metabolic imbalance and prostate cancer progression 
There is substantial evidence implicating environmental factors in the progression of prostate cancer. The metabolic consequences of a western lifestyle, such as obesity, insulin resistance and abnormal hormone production have been linked to prostate carcinogenesis through multiple overlapping pathways. Insulin resistance results in raised levels of the mitogens insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, both of which may affect prostate cancer directly, or through their effect on other metabolic regulators. Obesity is associated with abnormal levels of adipocyte-derived peptides (adipokines), sex hormones and inflammatory cytokines. Adipokines have been shown to influence prostate cancer in both cell culture studies and observational, population level studies. Testosterone appears to have a complex relationship with prostate carcinogenesis, and it has been suggested that the lower levels associated with obesity may select for more aggressive androgen independent prostate cancer cells. Prostatic inflammation, caused by infection, urinary reflux or dietary toxins, frequently occurs prior to cancer development and may influence progression to advanced disease. High levels of ω-6 fatty acids in the diet may lead to the production of further inflammatory molecules that may influence prostate cancer. Increased fatty acid metabolism occurs within tumour cells, providing a potential target for prostate cancer therapies. Aberrations in amino acid metabolism have also been identified in prostate cancer tissue, particularly in metastatic cancer. This evidence indicates lifestyle interventions may be effective in reducing the incidence of clinical disease. However, much more research is needed before recommendations are made.
PMCID: PMC3076778  PMID: 21532839
Prostate cancer; obesity; adipokines; insulin-like growth factors; diabetes; inflammation; metabolism
12.  Insulin-like Growth Factors, Their Binding Proteins, and Prostate Cancer Risk: Analysis of Individual Patient Data from 12 Prospective Studies 
Annals of internal medicine  2008;149(7):461-W88.
Some, but not all, published results have shown an association between circulating blood levels of some insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) and their binding proteins (IGFBPs) and the subsequent risk for prostate cancer.
To assess the association between levels of IGFs and IGFBPs and the subsequent risk for prostate cancer.
Data Sources
Studies identified in PubMed, Web of Science, and CancerLit.
Study Selection
The principal investigators of all studies that published data on circulating concentrations of sex steroids, IGFs, or IGFBPs and prostate cancer risk using prospectively collected blood samples were invited to collaborate.
Data Extraction
Investigators provided individual participant data on circulating concentrations of IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-II, and IGFBP-III and participant characteristics to a central data set in Oxford, United Kingdom.
Data Synthesis
The study included data on 3700 men with prostate cancer and 5200 control participants. On average, case patients were 61.5 years of age at blood collection and received a diagnosis of prostate cancer 5 years after blood collection. The greater the serum IGF-I concentration, the greater the subsequent risk for prostate cancer (odds ratio [OR] in the highest vs. lowest quintile, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.19 to 1.60]; P < 0.001 for trend). Neither IGF-II nor IGFBP-II concentrations were associated with prostate cancer risk, but statistical power was limited. Insulin-like growth factor I and IGFBP-III were correlated (r = 0.58), and although IGFBP-III concentration seemed to be associated with prostate cancer risk, this was secondary to its association with IGF-I levels. Insulin-like growth factor I concentrations seemed to be more positively associated with low-grade than high-grade disease; otherwise, the association between IGFs and IGFBPs and prostate cancer risk had no statistically significant heterogeneity related to stage or grade of disease, time between blood collection and diagnosis, age and year of diagnosis, prostate-specific antigen level at recruitment, body mass index, smoking, or alcohol intake.
Insulin-like growth factor concentrations were measured in only 1 sample for each participant, and the laboratory methods to measure IGFs differed in each study. Not all patients had disease stage or grade information, and the diagnosis of prostate cancer may differ among the studies.
High circulating IGF-I concentrations are associated with a moderately increased risk for prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2584869  PMID: 18838726
13.  Sex steroids, growth factors and mammographic density: a cross-sectional study of UK postmenopausal Caucasian and Afro-Caribbean women 
Sex steroids, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) and prolactin are breast cancer risk factors but whether their effects are mediated through mammographic density, one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer, is unknown. If such a hormonal basis of mammographic density exists, hormones may underlie ethnic differences in both mammographic density and breast cancer incidence rates.
In a cross-sectional study of 270 postmenopausal Caucasian and Afro-Caribbean women attending a population-based breast screening service in London, UK, we investigated whether plasma biomarkers (oestradiol, oestrone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, prolactin, leptin, IGF-I, IGF-II and IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP3)) were related to and explained ethnic differences in mammographic percent density, dense area and nondense area, measured in Cumulus using the threshold method.
Mean levels of oestrogens, leptin and IGF-I:IGFBP3 were higher whereas SHBG and IGF-II:IGFBP3 were lower in Afro-Caribbean women compared with Caucasian women after adjustment for higher mean body mass index (BMI) in the former group (by 3.2 kg/m2 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.8, 4.5)). Age-adjusted percent density was lower in Afro-Caribbean compared with Caucasian women by 5.4% (absolute difference), but was attenuated to 2.5% (95% CI: -0.2, 5.1) upon BMI adjustment. Despite ethnic differences in biomarkers and in percent density, strong ethnic-age-adjusted inverse associations of oestradiol, leptin and testosterone with percent density were completely attenuated upon adjustment for BMI. There were no associations of IGF-I, IGF-II or IGFBP3 with percent density or dense area. We found weak evidence that a twofold increase in prolactin and oestrone levels were associated, respectively, with an increase (by 1.7% (95% CI: -0.3, 3.7)) and a decrease (by 2.0% (95% CI: 0, 4.1)) in density after adjustment for BMI.
These findings suggest that sex hormone and IGF levels are not associated with BMI-adjusted percent mammographic density in cross-sectional analyses of postmenopausal women and thus do not explain ethnic differences in density. Mammographic density may still, however, be influenced by much higher premenopausal hormone levels.
PMCID: PMC2716507  PMID: 19545414

Results 1-13 (13)