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  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, soluble TNF receptors and endometrial cancer risk: the EPIC study.

    11 December 2018

    Chronic inflammation has been hypothesized to play a role in endometrial cancer development. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), one of the major pro-inflammatory cytokines, has also been implicated in endometrial physiology. We conducted a case-control study nested within the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition (EPIC) to examine the association of TNF-α and its two soluble receptors (sTNFR1 and sTNFR2) with endometrial cancer risk. Two-hundred-seventy cases and 518 matched controls were analyzed using conditional logistic regression. All statistical tests were two-sided. We observed an increased risk of endometrial cancer among women in the highest versus lowest quartile of TNF-α (odds ratio [OR]: 1.73, 95% CI: 1.09-2.73, P(trend) = 0.01), sTNFR1 (OR: 1.68, 95% CI: 0.99-2.86, P(trend) = 0.07) and sTNFR2 (OR: 1.53, 95%CI: 0.92-2.55, P(trend) = 0.03) after adjustment for body-mass-index, parity, age at menopause and previous postmenopausal hormone therapy use. Further adjustments for estrogens and C-peptide had minor effect on risk estimates. Our data show that elevated prediagnostic concentrations of TNF-α and its soluble receptors are related to a higher risk of endometrial cancer, particularly strong in women diagnosed within 2 years of blood donation. This is the first study of its kind and therefore deserves replication in further prospective studies.

  • Cereal fiber intake may reduce risk of gastric adenocarcinomas: the EPIC-EURGAST study.

    11 December 2018

    Numerous case-control studies suggest dietary fiber may reduce risk of gastric cancer, but this has not been confirmed prospectively. A previous case-control study reported reduced risk of gastric cardia adenocarcinomas associated with cereal fiber, but not with fruit or vegetable fiber. To date, different food sources of fiber have not been examined with respect to noncardia tumors or diverse histologic sub-types. This study prospectively examines associations between fiber from different food sources and incident gastric adenocarcinomas (GC) among more than 435,000 subjects from 10 countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Subjects aged 25-70 years completed dietary questionnaires in 1992-98, and were followed up for a median of 6.7 years. About 312 incident GCs were observed. The relative risk of GC was estimated based on cohort-wide sex-specific fiber intake quartiles using proportional hazards models to estimate hazards ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Intakes of cereal fiber, but not total, fruit or vegetable fiber, were associated with reduced GC risk [adjusted HR for the highest vs. lowest quartile of cereal fiber 0.69, 0.48-0.99]. There was a strong inverse association for diffuse [HR 0.43, 0.22-0.86], but not intestinal type [HR 0.98, 0.54-1.80] tumors. Associations for cardia vs. noncardia tumors were similar to those for overall GC, although cardia associations did not reach significance. Cereal fiber consumption may help to reduce risk of GC, particularly diffuse type tumors. Further study on different food sources of fiber in relation to GC risk is warranted to confirm these relationships.

  • Metabolic syndrome, plasma lipid, lipoprotein and glucose levels, and endometrial cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

    11 December 2018

    To clarify the role of metabolic factors in endometrial carcinogenesis, we conducted a case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), and examined the relation between prediagnostic plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and glucose, the metabolic syndrome (MetS; a cluster of metabolic factors) and endometrial cancer risk. Among pre- and postmenopausal women, 284 women developed endometrial cancer during follow-up. Using risk set sampling, 546 matched control subjects were selected. From conditional logistic regression models, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels were inversely associated with risk body mass index (BMI)-adjusted relative risk (RR) for top versus bottom quartile 0.61 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.38-0.97), P(trend) = 0.02). Glucose levels were positively associated with risk (BMI-adjusted RR top versus bottom quartile 1.69 (95% CI 0.99-2.90), P(trend) = 0.03), which appeared stronger among postmenopausal women (BMI-adjusted RR top versus bottom tertile 2.61 (95% CI 1.46-4.66), P(trend) = 0.0006, P(heterogeneity) = 0.13) and never-users of exogenous hormones (P(heterogeneity) = 0.005 for oral contraceptive (OC) use and 0.05 for hormone replacement therapy-use). The associations of HDL-C and glucose with risk were no longer statistically significant after further adjustment for obesity-related hormones. Plasma total cholesterol, Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglycerides were not significantly related to overall risk. The presence of MetS was associated with risk (RR 2.12 (95% CI 1.51-2.97)), which increased with the number of MetS factors (P(trend) = 0.02). An increasing number of MetS factors other than waist circumference, however, was marginally significantly associated with risk only in women with waist circumference above the median (P(interaction) = 0.01). None of the associations differed significantly by fasting status. These findings suggest that metabolic abnormalities and obesity may act synergistically to increase endometrial cancer risk.

  • Intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of cancer of the upper aero-digestive tract: the prospective EPIC-study.

    11 December 2018

    Epidemiologic studies suggest that a high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with decreased risk of cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract. We studied data from 345,904 subjects of the prospective European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) recruited in seven European countries, who had completed a dietary questionnaire in 1992-1998. During 2,182,560 person years of observation 352 histologically verified incident squamous cell cancer (SCC) cases (255 males; 97 females) of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus were identified. Linear and restricted cubic spline Cox regressions were fitted on variables of intake of fruits and vegetables and adjusted for potential confounders. We observed a significant inverse association with combined total fruits and vegetables intake (estimated relative risk (RR) = 0.91; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.83-1.00 per 80 g/d of consumption), and nearly significant inverse associations in separate analyses with total fruits and total vegetables intake (RR: 0.97 (95% CI: 0.92-1.02) and RR = 0.89 (95% CI: 0.78-1.02) per 40 g/d of consumption). Overall, vegetable subgroups were not related to risk with the exception of intake of root vegetables in men. Restricted cubic spline regression did not improve the linear model fits except for total fruits and vegetables and total fruits with a significant decrease in risk at low intake levels (<120 g/d) for fruits. Dietary recommendations should consider the potential benefit of increasing fruits and vegetables consumption for reducing the risk of cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract, particularly at low intake.

  • 4-Aminobiphenyl-hemoglobin adducts and risk of smoking-related disease in never smokers and former smokers in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition prospective study.

    11 December 2018

    The aim of this study was to evaluate whether biomarkers of environmental tobacco smoke exposure [i.e., 4-aminobiphenyl-hemoglobin (4-ABP-Hb) adducts] were predictive of the risk of tobacco-related cancers and diseases. We did a case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, involving 190 controls and 149 cases (incident cancer of the lung, bladder, pharynx, larynx, oral cavity, leukemias, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema deaths). All individuals were never smokers or ex smokers for >10 years. 4-ABP-Hb adducts were analyzed in peripheral blood collected before the onset of the disease (median, 7 years). Overall, 4-ABP-Hb adducts were higher, although not statistically significantly so, in cases (as a whole) than controls. In the control population, high fruit and vegetable consumption significantly lowered the frequency of detectable adducts (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.025). Restricting the analysis to women, 4-ABP-Hb adducts were higher in cases than controls (Mann-Whitney P = 0.036) and the odds ratio (OR) for the presence/absence of adducts was 2.42 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.18-4.98]. Moreover, the association of adducts with the individual cancer types was stronger in women than in the whole study population, although statistically significant only for leukemias (OR, 2.77; 95% CI, 1.06-7.20). The results provide some evidence that women may be more susceptible to environmental tobacco smoke, as suggested by their higher adduct levels. The most important finding of this prospective study is that, at least in women, 4-ABP-Hb adducts may help identify subjects at high risk of cancers related to environmental tobacco smoke exposure.

  • Body size and breast cancer risk: findings from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer And Nutrition (EPIC).

    11 December 2018

    The evidence for anthropometric factors influencing breast cancer risk is accumulating, but uncertainties remain concerning the role of fat distribution and potential effect modifiers. We used data from 73,542 premenopausal and 103,344 postmenopausal women from 9 European countries, taking part in the EPIC study. RRs from Cox regression models were calculated, using measured height, weight, BMI and waist and hip circumferences; categorized by cohort-wide quintiles; and expressed as continuous variables, adjusted for study center, age and other risk factors. During 4.7 years of follow-up, 1,879 incident invasive breast cancers were identified. In postmenopausal women, current HRT modified the body size-breast cancer association. Among nonusers, weight, BMI and hip circumference were positively associated with breast cancer risk (all ptrend < or = 0.002); obese women (BMI > 30) had a 31% excess risk compared to women with BMI < 25. Among HRT users, body measures were inversely but nonsignificantly associated with breast cancer. Excess breast cancer risk with HRT was particularly evident among lean women. Pooled RRs per height increment of 5 cm were 1.05 (95% CI 1.00-1.16) in premenopausal and 1.10 (95% CI 1.05-1.16) in postmenopausal women. Among premenopausal women, hip circumference was the only other measure significantly related to breast cancer (ptrend = 0.03), after accounting for BMI. In postmenopausal women not taking exogenous hormones, general obesity is a significant predictor of breast cancer, while abdominal fat assessed as waist-hip ratio or waist circumference was not related to excess risk when adjusted for BMI. Among premenopausal women, weight and BMI showed nonsignificant inverse associations with breast cancer.

  • Validation of a food frequency questionnaire in the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Life Span Study.

    11 December 2018

    We evaluated the performance of a 22-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) administered in 1980-81 to 3,005 members of the Adult Health Study cohort, part of the Life Span Study. The questionnaire was compared with the records of a 24-hour dietary survey that was performed in 1984-85. From the dietary records, food and nutrient intakes were estimated. The association between the two measures of dietary intake was assessed using Mantel-Haenszel chi-square test and the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. The frequency of food intake as measured by the FFQ was linearly associated with food intake as measured by the 24-hour diary, with the exception of dry fish. The highest correlations were observed for beverages, including coffee (0.51), milk (0.32) and black tea (0.26). Foods such as fruit (0.27), confectionery (0.23), rice (0.34) and bread (0.28) were also moderately correlated. These results show that, with the exception of dry fish, the FFQ is moderately correlated with the 24-hour diary and can be used to assess diet intake in this cohort.

  • Alcohol intake and pancreatic cancer: a pooled analysis from the pancreatic cancer cohort consortium (PanScan).

    11 December 2018

    The literature has consistently reported no association between low to moderate alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer; however, a few studies have shown that high levels of intake may increase risk. Most single studies have limited power to detect associations even in the highest alcohol intake categories or to examine associations by alcohol type. We analyzed these associations using 1,530 pancreatic cancer cases and 1,530 controls from the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PanScan) nested case-control study. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders. We observed no significant overall association between total alcohol (ethanol) intake and pancreatic cancer risk (OR = 1.38, 95% CI = 0.86-2.23, for 60 or more g/day vs. >0 to <5 g/day). A statistically significant increase in risk was observed among men consuming 45 or more grams of alcohol from liquor per day (OR = 2.23, 95% CI = 1.02-4.87, compared to 0 g/day of alcohol from liquor, P-trend = 0.12), but not among women (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 0.63-2.87, for 30 or more g/day of alcohol from liquor, compared to none). No associations were noted for wine or beer intake. Overall, no significant increase in risk was observed, but a small effect among heavy drinkers cannot be ruled out.

  • Serum C-peptide levels and breast cancer risk: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

    11 December 2018

    It has been hypothesized that chronic hyperinsulinemia, a major metabolic consequence of physical inactivity and excess weight, might increase breast cancer risk by direct effects on breast tissue or indirectly by increasing bioavailable levels of testosterone and estradiol. Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), we measured serum levels of C-peptide--a marker for pancreatic insulin secretion--in a total of 1,141 incident cases of breast cancer and 2,204 matched control subjects. Additional measurements were made of serum sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and sex steroids. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate breast cancer risk for different levels of C-peptide. C-peptide was inversely correlated with SHBG and hence directly correlated with free testosterone among both pre and postmenopausal women. C-peptide and free estradiol also correlated positively, but only among postmenopausal women. Elevated serum C-peptide levels were associated with a nonsignificant reduced risk of breast cancer diagnosed up to the age of 50 years [odds ratio (OR)=0.70, (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.39-1.24); ptrend=0.05]. By contrast, higher levels of C-peptide were associated with an increase of breast cancer risk among women above 60 years of age, however only among those women who had provided a blood sample under nonfasting conditions [OR=2.03, (95% CI, 1.20-3.43); ptrend=0.01]. Our results do not support the hypothesis that chronic hyperinsulinemia generally increases breast cancer risk, independently of age. Nevertheless, among older, postmenopausal women, hyperinsulinemia might contribute to increasing breast cancer risk.

  • Plasma and dietary carotenoid, retinol and tocopherol levels and the risk of gastric adenocarcinomas in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition.

    11 December 2018

    Despite declining incidence rates, gastric cancer (GC) is a major cause of death worldwide. Its aetiology may involve dietary antioxidant micronutrients such as carotenoids and tocopherols. The objective of this study was to determine the association of plasma levels of seven common carotenoids, their total plasma concentration, retinol and alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, with the risk of gastric adenocarcinoma in a case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a large cohort involving 10 countries. A secondary objective was to determine the association of total sum of carotenoids, retinol and alpha-tocopherol on GCs by anatomical subsite (cardia/noncardia) and histological subtype (diffuse/intestinal). Analytes were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography in prediagnostic plasma from 244 GC cases and 645 controls matched by age, gender, study centre and date of blood donation. Conditional logistic regression models adjusted by body mass index, total energy intake, smoking and Helicobacter pylori infection status were used to estimate relative cancer risks. After an average 3.2 years of follow-up, a negative association with GC risk was observed in the highest vs the lowest quartiles of plasma beta-cryptoxanthin (odds ratio (OR) = 0.53, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 0.30-0.94, P(trend) = 0.006), zeaxanthin (OR = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.22-0.69, P(trend) = 0.005), retinol (OR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.33-0.93, P(trend) = 0.005) and lipid-unadjusted alpha-tocopherol (OR = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.37-0.94, P(trend) = 0.022). For all analytes, no heterogeneity of risk estimates or significant associations were observed by anatomical subsite. In the diffuse histological subtype, an inverse association was observed with the highest vs lowest quartile of lipid-unadjusted alpha-tocopherol (OR = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.11-0.65, P(trend) = 0.003). These results show that higher plasma concentrations of some carotenoids, retinol and alpha-tocopherol are associated with reduced risk of GC.