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1.  Prediagnostic serum glucose and lipids in relation to survival in breast cancer patients: a competing risk analysis 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:913.
Abnormal glucose and lipids levels may impact survival after breast cancer (BC) diagnosis, but their association to other causes of mortality such as cardiovascular (CV) disease may result in a competing risk problem.
We assessed serum glucose, triglycerides (TG) and total cholesterol (TC) measured prospectively 3 months to 3 years before diagnosis in 1798 Swedish women diagnosed with any type of BC between 1985 and 1999. In addition to using Cox regression, we employed latent class proportional hazards models to capture any heterogeneity of associations between these markers and BC death. The latter method was extended to include the primary outcome (BC death) and competing outcomes (CV death and death from other causes), allowing latent class-specific hazard estimation for cause-specific deaths.
A lack of association between prediagnostic glucose, TG or TC with BC death was observed with Cox regression. With latent class proportional hazards model, two latent classes (Class I and II) were suggested. Class I, comprising the majority (81.5 %) of BC patients, had an increased risk of BC death following higher TG levels (HR: 1.87, 95 % CI: 1.01–3.45 for every log TG increase). Lower overall survival was observed in Class II, but no association for BC death was found. On the other hand, TC positively corresponded to CV death in Class II, and similarly, glucose to death from other causes.
Addressing cohort heterogeneity in relation to BC survival is important in understanding the relationship between metabolic markers and cause-specific death in presence of competing outcomes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1928-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4650114  PMID: 26577580
Breast cancer; Glucose; Lipid; Competing risk; Survival; Latent class
2.  Serum glucose and risk of cancer: a meta-analysis 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:985.
Raised serum glucose has been linked to increased risk of many solid cancers. We performed a meta-analysis to quantify and summarise the evidence for this link.
Pubmed and Embase were reviewed, using search terms representing serum glucose and cancer. Inclusion and exclusion criteria focused on epidemiological studies with clear definitions of serum glucose levels, cancer type, as well as well-described statistical methods with sufficient data available. We used 6.1 mmol/L as the cut-off for high glucose, consistent with the WHO definition of metabolic syndrome. Random effects analyses were performed to estimate the pooled relative risk (RR).
Nineteen studies were included in the primary analysis, which showed a pooled RR of 1.32 (95% CI: 1.20 – 1.45). Including only those individuals with fasting glucose measurements did not have a large effect on the pooled RR (1.32 (95% CI: 1.11-1.57). A stratified analysis showed a pooled RR of 1.34 (95% CI: 1.02-1.77) for hormonally driven cancer and 1.21 (95% CI: 1.09-1.36) for cancers thought to be driven by Insulin Growth Factor-1.
A positive association between serum glucose and risk of cancer was found. The underlying biological mechanisms remain to be elucidated but our subgroup analyses suggest that the insulin- IGF-1 axis does not fully explain the association. These findings are of public health importance as measures to reduce serum glucose via lifestyle and dietary changes could be implemented in the context of cancer mortality.
PMCID: PMC4320469  PMID: 25526881
Glucose; Cancer; Metabolic syndrome; Meta-analysis; Diabetes
3.  Obesity and cancer: the role of vitamin D 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:712.
It is estimated that 20% of all cancer cases are caused by obesity. Vitamin D is thought to be one of the mechanisms underlying this association. This review aims to summarise the evidence for the mediating effect of vitamin D on the link between obesity and cancer.
Three literature searches using PubMed and Embase were conducted to assess whether vitamin D plays an important role in the pathway between obesity and cancer: (1) obesity and cancer; (2) obesity and vitamin D; and (3) vitamin D and cancer. A systematic review was performed for (1) and (3), whereas a meta-analysis including random effects analyses was performed for (2).
(1) 32 meta-analyses on obesity and cancer were identified; the majority reported a positive association between obesity and risk of cancer. (2) Our meta-analysis included 12 original studies showing a pooled relative risk of 1.52 (95% CI: 1.33-1.73) for risk of vitamin D deficiency (<50 nmol/L) in obese people (body mass index >30 kg/m2). (3) 21 meta-analyses on circulating vitamin D levels and cancer risk were identified with different results for different types of cancer.
There is consistent evidence for a link between obesity and cancer as well as obesity and low vitamin D. However, it seems like the significance of the mediating role of vitamin D in the biological pathways linking obesity and cancer is low. There is a need for a study including all three components while dealing with bias related to dietary supplements and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms.
PMCID: PMC4182855  PMID: 25255691
Cancer; Obesity; Vitamin D
4.  Inorganic phosphate and the risk of cancer in the Swedish AMORIS study 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:257.
Both dietary and serum levels of inorganic phosphate (Pi) have been linked to development of cancer in experimental studies. This is the first population-based study investigating the relation between serum Pi and risk of cancer in humans.
From the Swedish Apolipoprotein Mortality Risk (AMORIS) study, we selected all participants (> 20 years old) with baseline measurements of serum Pi, calcium, alkaline phosphatase, glucose, and creatinine (n = 397,292). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to assess serum Pi in relation to overall cancer risk. Similar analyses were performed for specific cancer sites.
We found a higher overall cancer risk with increasing Pi levels in men ( HR: 1.02 (95% CI: 1.00-1.04) for every SD increase in Pi), and a negative association in women (HR: 0.97 (95% CI: 0.96-0.99) for every SD increase in Pi). Further analyses for specific cancer sites showed a positive link between Pi quartiles and the risk of cancer of the pancreas, lung, thyroid gland and bone in men, and cancer of the oesophagus, lung, and nonmelanoma skin cancer in women. Conversely, the risks for developing breast and endometrial cancer as well as other endocrine cancer in both men and women were lower in those with higher Pi levels.
Abnormal Pi levels are related to development of cancer. Furthermore, the in verse association between Pi levels and risk of breast, endometrial and other endocrine cancers may indicate the role of hormonal factors in the relation between Pi metabolism and cancer.
PMCID: PMC3664604  PMID: 23706176
Cancer; Inorganic phosphate; Prospective cohort study
5.  Survival endpoints in colorectal cancer and the effect of second primary other cancer on disease free survival 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:438.
In cancer research the selection and definitions of survival endpoints are important and yet they are not used consistently. The aim of this study was to compare different survival endpoints in patients with primary colorectal cancer (CRC) and to understand the effect of second primary other cancer on disease-free survival (DFS) calculations.
A population-based cohort of 415 patients with CRC, 332 of whom were treated with curative intention between the years 2000-2003, was analysed. Events such as locoregional recurrence, distant metastases, second primary cancers, death, cause of death and loss to follow-up were recorded. Different survival endpoints, including DFS, overall survival, cancer-specific survival, relapse-free survival, time to treatment failure and time to recurrence were compared and DFS was calculated with and without inclusion of second primary other cancers.
The events that occurred most often in patients treated with curative intention were non-cancer-related death (n = 74), distant metastases (n = 66) and death from CRC (n = 59). DFS was the survival endpoint with most events (n = 170) followed by overall survival (n = 144) and relapse-free survival (n = 139). Fewer events were seen for time to treatment failure (n = 80), time to recurrence (n = 68) and cancer-specific survival (n = 59). Second primary other cancer occurred in 26 patients and its inclusion as an event in DFS calculations had a detrimental effect on the survival. The DFS for patients with stage I-III disease was 62% after 5 years if second primary other cancer was not included as an event, compared with 58% if it was. However, the difference was larger for stage II (68 vs 60%) than for stage III (49 vs 47%).
The inclusion of second primary other cancer as an endpoint in DFS analyses significantly alters the DFS for patients with CRC. Researchers and journals must clearly define survival endpoints in all trial protocols and published manuscripts.
PMCID: PMC3209454  PMID: 21989154
6.  Serum levels of selenium and smoking habits at age 50 influence long term prostate cancer risk; a 34 year ULSAM follow-up 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:431.
Serum selenium level (s-Se) has been associated with prostate cancer (PrCa) risk. We investigated the relation between s-Se, smoking and non-screening detected PrCa and explored if polymorphisms in two DNA repair genes: OGG1 and MnSOD, influenced any effect of s-Se.
ULSAM, a population based Swedish male cohort (n = 2322) investigated at age 50 for s-Se and s-Se influencing factors: serum cholesterol, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and smoking habits. At age 71 a subcohort, (n = 1005) was genotyped for OGG1 and MnSOD polymorphisms.
In a 34-year-follow-up, national registries identified 208 PrCa cases further confirmed in medical records. Participants with s-Se in the upper tertile had a non-significantly lower risk of PrCa. Smokers with s-Se in the two lower tertiles (≤80 μg/L) experienced a higher cumulative incidence of PrCa than smokers in the high selenium tertile (Hazard Ratio 2.39; 95% CI: 1.09-5.25). A high tertile selenium level in combination with non-wt rs125701 of the OGG1 gene in combination with smoking status or rs4880 related variation of MnSOD gene appeared to protect from PrCa.
S-Se levels and smoking habits influence long-term risk of PrCa. Smoking as a risk factor for PrCa in men with low s-Se is relevant to explore further. Exploratory analyses of variations in OGG1 and MnSOD genes indicate that hypotheses about patterns of exposure to selenium and smoking combined with data on genetic variation in genes involved in DNA repair can be valuable to pursue.
PMCID: PMC3199281  PMID: 21982398

Results 1-6 (6)