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  • Obesity, inflammatory markers, and endometrial cancer risk: a prospective case-control study.

    11 December 2018

    Obesity, a major risk factor for endometrial cancer, is a low-grade inflammatory state characterized by elevated concentrations of cytokines and acute phase reactants. The current study had two aims: first to investigate the associations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL6), and IL1 receptor antagonist (IL1Ra) with endometrial cancer risk and second to examine to which extent these markers can influence the association between obesity and endometrial cancer. We conducted a case-control study, nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, which comprised 305 incident cases of endometrial cancer and 574 matched controls. CRP, IL6, and IL1Ra were measured in prospectively collected blood specimens by immunoassays. Data were analyzed using conditional logistic regression. All statistical tests were two-sided, and P values <0.05 were considered statistically significant. We observed a significant increase in risk of endometrial cancer with elevated levels of CRP (odds ratio (OR) for top versus bottom quartile: 1.58, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03-2.41, P(trend)=0.02), IL6 (OR for top versus bottom quartile: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.08-2.54, P(trend)=0.008), and IL1Ra (OR for top versus bottom quartile: 1.82, 95% CI: 1.22-2.73, P(trend)=0.004). After adjustment for body mass index (BMI), the estimates were strongly reduced and became non-significant. The association between BMI and endometrial cancer was also substantially attenuated (∼10-20%) after adjustment for inflammatory markers, even when the effects of C-peptide or estrone had already been taken into account. We provided epidemiological evidence that chronic inflammation might mediate the association between obesity and endometrial cancer and that endometrial carcinogenesis could be promoted by an inflammatory milieu.

  • DNA repair polymorphisms and the risk of stomach adenocarcinoma and severe chronic gastritis in the EPIC-EURGAST study.

    11 December 2018

    BACKGROUND: The contribution of genetic variation in DNA repair genes to gastric cancer (GC) risk remains essentially unknown. The aim of this study was to explore the relative contribution of DNA repair gene polymorphisms to GC risk and severe chronic atrophic gastritis (SCAG). Method A nested case control study within the EPIC cohort was performed including 246 gastric adenocarcinomas and 1175 matched controls. Controls with SCAG (n = 91), as defined by low pepsinogen A (PGA) levels, and controls with no SCAG (n = 1061) were also compared. Twelve polymorphisms at DNA repair genes (MSH2, MLH1, XRCC1, OGG1 and ERCC2) and TP53 gene were analysed. Antibodies against Helicobacter pylori were measured. RESULTS: No association was observed for any of these polymorphisms with stomach cancer risk. However, ERCC2 K751Q polymorphism was associated with an increased risk for non-cardial neoplasm [odds ratio (OR) = 1.78; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-3.12], being ERCC2 K751Q and D312N polymorphisms associated with the diffuse type. ERCC2 D312N (OR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.09-3.65) and K751Q alleles (OR = 1.82; 95% CI 1.01-3.30) and XRCC1 R399Q (OR = 1.69; 95% CI 1.02-2.79) allele were associated with an increased risk for SCAG. CONCLUSION: Our study supports a role of ERCC2 in non-cardial GC but not in cardial cancer. A concordant result was observed for subjects with low PGA levels. XRCC1 allele was associated also with SCAG. This is the first prospective study suggesting that individual variation in DNA repair may be relevant for gastric carcinogenesis, a finding that will require further confirmation validation in larger independent studies.

  • Comparative fracture risk in vegetarians and nonvegetarians in EPIC-Oxford.

    11 December 2018

    OBJECTIVE: To compare fracture rates in four diet groups (meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans) in the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford). DESIGN: Prospective cohort study of self-reported fracture risk at follow-up. SETTING: The United Kingdom. SUBJECTS: A total of 7947 men and 26,749 women aged 20-89 years, including 19,249 meat eaters, 4901 fish eaters, 9420 vegetarians and 1126 vegans, recruited by postal methods and through general practice surgeries. METHODS: Cox regression. RESULTS: Over an average of 5.2 years of follow-up, 343 men and 1555 women reported one or more fractures. Compared with meat eaters, fracture incidence rate ratios in men and women combined adjusted for sex, age and non-dietary factors were 1.01 (95% CI 0.88-1.17) for fish eaters, 1.00 (0.89-1.13) for vegetarians and 1.30 (1.02-1.66) for vegans. After further adjustment for dietary energy and calcium intake the incidence rate ratio among vegans compared with meat eaters was 1.15 (0.89-1.49). Among subjects consuming at least 525 mg/day calcium the corresponding incidence rate ratios were 1.05 (0.90-1.21) for fish eaters, 1.02 (0.90-1.15) for vegetarians and 1.00 (0.69-1.44) for vegans. CONCLUSIONS: In this population, fracture risk was similar for meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians. The higher fracture risk in the vegans appeared to be a consequence of their considerably lower mean calcium intake. An adequate calcium intake is essential for bone health, irrespective of dietary preferences. SPONSORSHIP: The EPIC-Oxford study is supported by The Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.

  • Risk of endometrial cancer in relationship to cigarette smoking: results from the EPIC study.

    11 December 2018

    Current epidemiologic evidence indicates that cigarette smoking reduces the risk of endometrial cancer. We examined data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort to analyze further aspects of the smoking-endometrial cancer relationship, such as possible modifying effects of menopausal status, HRT use, BMI and parity. In a total of 249,986 women with smoking exposure and menopausal status information, 619 incident endometrial cancer cases were identified during 1.56 million person-years of follow-up. Among postmenopausal women, the hazard ratio (HR) for current smokers versus never smokers was 0.70 (95% CI = 0.53-0.93), while it was 1.75 (95% CI = 1.13-2.70) among premenopausal women at recruitment. After adjustment for risk factors, the HR for postmenopausal women was slightly attenuated to 0.78 (95% CI = 0.59-1.03). No heterogeneity of effect was observed with HRT use or BMI. Among premenopausal women, current smokers of more than 15 cigarettes per day or who smoked for 30 years or more at the time of recruitment had a more than 2-fold increased risk of endometrial cancer compared to never smokers (HR = 2.54; 95% CI = 1.47-4.38 and HR = 2.23; 95% CI = 1.04-4.77, respectively). Past smoking was not associated with endometrial cancer risk, either among pre- or postmenopausal women. In this prospective study, we observed an increased risk of endometrial cancer with cigarette smoking in premenopausal women. The reduction of endometrial cancer risk observed among postmenopausal women does not have direct public health relevance since cigarette smoking is the main known risk factor for cancer.

  • Ethanol intake and risk of lung cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

    11 December 2018

    Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), the authors examined the association of ethanol intake at recruitment (1,119 cases) and mean lifelong ethanol intake (887 cases) with lung cancer. Information on baseline and past alcohol consumption, lifetime tobacco smoking, diet, and the anthropometric characteristics of 478,590 participants was collected between 1992 and 2000. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Overall, neither ethanol intake at recruitment nor mean lifelong ethanol intake was significantly associated with lung cancer. However, moderate intake (5-14.9 g/day) at recruitment (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.63, 0.90) and moderate mean lifelong intake (HR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.66, 0.97) were associated with a lower lung cancer risk in comparison with low consumption (0.1-4.9 g/day). Compared with low intake, a high (> or =60 g/day) mean lifelong ethanol intake tended to be related to a higher risk of lung cancer (HR = 1.29, 95% CI: 0.93, 1.74), but high intake at recruitment was not. Although there was no overall association between ethanol intake and risk of lung cancer, the authors cannot rule out a lower risk for moderate consumption and a possibly increased risk for high lifelong consumption.

  • Physical activity and risk of colon and rectal cancers: the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition.

    11 December 2018

    We investigated several aspects of the role of physical activity in colon and rectal cancer etiology that remain unclear in the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer. This cohort of 413,044 men and women had 1,094 cases of colon and 599 cases of rectal cancer diagnosed during an average of 6.4 years of follow-up. We analyzed baseline data on occupational, household, and recreational activity to examine associations by type of activity, tumor subsite, body mass index (BMI), and energy intake. The multivariate hazard ratio for colon cancer was 0.78 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.59-1.03] among the most active participants when compared with the inactive, with evidence of a dose-response effect (P(trend) = 0.04). For right-sided colon tumors, the risk was 0.65 (95% CI, 0.43-1.00) in the highest quartile of activity with evidence of a linear trend (P(trend) = 0.004). Active participants with a BMI under 25 had a risk of 0.63 (95% CI, 0.39-1.01) for colon cancer compared with the inactive. Finally, an interaction between BMI and activity (P(interaction) = 0.03) was observed for right-sided colon cancers; among moderately active and active participants with a BMI under 25, a risk of 0.38 (95% CI, 0.21-0.68) was found as compared with inactive participants with BMI >30. No comparable decreased risks were observed for rectal cancer for any type of physical activity for any subgroup analyses or interactions considered. We found that physical activity reduced colon cancer risk, specifically for right-sided tumors and for lean participants, but not rectal cancer.

  • Polymorphisms in metabolic genes related to tobacco smoke and the risk of gastric cancer in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition.

    11 December 2018

    Metabolizing enzymes, which often display genetic polymorphisms, are involved in the activation of compounds present in tobacco smoke that may be relevant to gastric carcinogenesis. We report the results of a study looking at the association between risk of gastric adenocarcinoma and polymorphisms in genes CYP1A1, CYP1A2, EPHX1, and GSTT1. A nested case-control study was carried out within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, developed in 10 European countries. The study includes 243 newly diagnosed cases of histologically confirmed gastric adenocarcinoma and 946 controls matched by center, age, sex, and date of blood collection. Genotypes were determined in nuclear DNA from WBCs. We found an increased risk of gastric cancer for homozygotes for C (histidine) variant in Y113H of EPHX1 (odds ratio, 1.91; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-3.07) compared with subjects with TC/TT. There was also a significant increased risk for smokers carrying at least one variant allele A in Ex7+129C>A (m4) of CYP1A1 and never smokers with null GSTT1 and allele A in the locus -3859G>A of CYP1A2. Most of these genes are involved in the activation and detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, suggesting a potential role of these compounds in gastric carcinogenesis.

  • Trends in self-reported past alcoholic beverage consumption and ethanol intake from 1950 to 1995 observed in eight European countries participating in the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

    11 December 2018

    OBJECTIVE: To describe the trends of self-reported past consumption of alcoholic beverages and ethanol intake from 1950 to 1995 within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). DESIGN: Data on consumption of beer/cider, wine and liqueur/spirits were obtained retrospectively at age 20, 30 and 40 years to calculate average consumption and ethanol intake for the time periods 1950-1975 (at age 20), 1960-1985 (at age 30) and 1970-1995 (at age 40). Regression analysis was conducted with the time period data to assess trends in past alcoholic beverage consumption and ethanol intake with time. SETTING: The EPIC project. SUBJECTS: In total, 392 064 EPIC participants (275 249 women and 116 815 men) from 21 study centres in eight European countries. RESULTS: Generally, increases in beer/cider consumption were observed for most EPIC centres for 1950-1975, 1960-1985 and 1970-1995. Trends in wine consumption differed according to geographical location: downward trends with time were observed for men in southern European EPIC centres, upward trends for those in middle/northern European study centres. For women, similar but less pronounced trends were observed. Because wine consumption was the major contributor to ethanol intake for both men and women in most study centres, time trends for ethanol intake showed a similar geographical pattern to that of wine consumption. CONCLUSION: The different trends in alcoholic beverage consumption and ethanol intake suggest that information depicting lifetime history of ethanol intake should be included in analyses of the relationship between ethanol and chronic diseases, particularly in multi-centre studies such as EPIC.

  • Patterns of alcohol consumption in 10 European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) project.

    11 December 2018

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the quantities of alcohol and types of alcoholic beverages consumed, and the timing of consumption, in centres participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). These centres, in 10 European countries, are characterised by widely differing drinking habits and frequencies of alcohol-related diseases. METHODS: We collected a single standardised 24-hour dietary recall per subject from a random sample of the EPIC cohort (36 900 persons initially and 35 955 after exclusion of subjects under 35 and over 74 years of age). This provided detailed information on the distribution of alcohol consumption during the day in relation to main meals, and was used to determine weekly consumption patterns. The crude and adjusted (by age, day of week and season) means of total ethanol consumption and consumption according to type of beverage were stratified by centre and sex. RESULTS: Sex was a strong determinant of drinking patterns in all 10 countries. The highest total alcohol consumption was observed in the Spanish centres (San Sebastian, 41.4 g day-1) for men and in Danish centres (Copenhagen, 20.9 g day-1) for women. The lowest total alcohol intake was in the Swedish centres (Umeå, 10.2 g day-1) in men and in Greek women (3.4 g day-1). Among men, the main contributor to total alcohol intake was wine in Mediterranean countries and beer in the Dutch, German, Swedish and Danish centres. In most centres, the main source of alcohol for women was wine except for Murcia (Spain), where it was beer. Alcohol consumption, particularly by women, increased markedly during the weekend in nearly all centres. The German, Dutch, UK (general population) and Danish centres were characterised by the highest percentages of alcohol consumption outside mealtimes. CONCLUSIONS: The large variation in drinking patterns among the EPIC centres provides an opportunity to better understand the relationship between alcohol and alcohol-related diseases.

  • Protocol and quality assurance for carotid imaging in 100,000 participants of UK Biobank: development and assessment.

    11 December 2018

    Background Ultrasound imaging is able to quantify carotid arterial wall structure for the assessment of cerebral and cardiovascular disease risks. We describe a protocol and quality assurance process to enable carotid imaging at large scale that has been developed for the UK Biobank Imaging Enhancement Study of 100,000 individuals. Design An imaging protocol was developed to allow measurement of carotid intima-media thickness from the far wall of both common carotid arteries. Six quality assurance criteria were defined and a web-based interface (Intelligent Ultrasound) was developed to facilitate rapid assessment of images against each criterion. Results and conclusions Excellent inter and intra-observer agreements were obtained for image quality evaluations on a test dataset from 100 individuals. The image quality criteria then were applied in the UK Biobank Imaging Enhancement Study. Data from 2560 participants were evaluated. Feedback of results to the imaging team led to improvement in quality assurance, with quality assurance failures falling from 16.2% in the first two-month period examined to 6.4% in the last. Eighty per cent had all carotid intima-media thickness images graded as of acceptable quality, with at least one image acceptable for 98% of participants. Carotid intima-media thickness measures showed expected associations with increasing age and gender. Carotid imaging can be performed consistently, with semi-automated quality assurance of all scans, in a limited timeframe within a large scale multimodality imaging assessment. Routine feedback of quality control metrics to operators can improve the quality of the data collection.