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  • 1
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Copper and zinc are essential micronutrients and cofactors of many enzymatic reactions that may be involved in liver-cancer development. We aimed to assess pre-diagnostic circulating levels of copper, zinc and their ratio (Cu/Zn) in relation to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), intrahepatic bile duct (IHBD) and gall bladder and biliary tract (GBTC) cancers. METHODS: A nested case-control study was conducted within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Serum zinc and copper levels were measured in baseline blood samples by total reflection X-ray fluorescence in cancer cases (HCC n=106, IHDB n=34, GBTC n=96) and their matched controls (1:1). The Cu/Zn ratio, an indicator of the balance between the micronutrients, was computed. Multivariable adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (OR; 95% CI) were used to estimate cancer risk. RESULTS: For HCC, the highest vs lowest tertile showed a strong inverse association for zinc (OR=0.36; 95% CI: 0.13-0.98, Ptrend=0.0123), but no association for copper (OR=1.06; 95% CI: 0.45-2.46, Ptrend=0.8878) in multivariable models. The calculated Cu/Zn ratio showed a positive association for HCC (OR=4.63; 95% CI: 1.41-15.27, Ptrend=0.0135). For IHBC and GBTC, no significant associations were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Zinc may have a role in preventing liver-cancer development, but this finding requires further investigation in other settings.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28152549
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  • 2
    Abstract: Background: Emerging evidence from cohort studies indicates that adiposity is associated with greater incidence of head and neck cancer. However, most studies have used self-reported anthropometry which is prone to error.Methods: Among 363,094 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC) with measured anthropometry, there were 837 incident cases of head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancer risk was examined in relation to body mass index (BMI) [lean: 〈22.5 kg/m2, normal weight (reference): 22.5-24.9 kg/m2, overweight 25-29.9 kg/m2, obese: 〉/=30 kg/m2], waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) using Cox proportional hazards models.Results: Among men, a BMI 〈 22.5 kg/m2 was associated with higher head and neck cancer risk [HR 1.62; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.23-2.12)]; BMI was not associated with head and neck cancer among women. WC and WHR were associated with greater risk of head and neck cancer among women (WC per 5 cm: HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.02-1.15; WHR per 0.1 unit: HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.38-1.93). After stratification by smoking status, the association for WHR was present only among smokers (Pinteraction = 0.004). Among men, WC and WHR were associated with head and neck cancer only upon additional adjustment for BMI (WC per 5 cm: HR 1.16; 95% CI, 1.07-1.26; WHR per 0.1 unit: HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.21-1.65).Conclusions: Central adiposity, particularly among women, may have a stronger association with head and neck cancer risk than previously estimated.Impact: Strategies to reduce obesity may beneficially impact head and neck cancer incidence. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 26(6); 895-904. (c)2017 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28183827
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  • 3
    Abstract: Hepcidin is the main regulator of iron homeostasis and dysregulation of proteins involved in iron metabolism has been associated with tumorogenesis. However, to date, no epidemiological study has researched the association between hepcidin levels and gastric cancer risk. To further investigate the relationship between hepcidin levels and gastric cancer risk, we conducted a nested case-control study (EURGAST) within the multicentric European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. The study included 456 primary incident gastric adenocarcinoma cases and 900 matched controls that occurred during an average of 11 years of follow-up. We measured serum levels of hepcidin-25, iron, ferritin, transferrin and C-reactive protein. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the risk of gastric cancer by hepcidin levels were estimated from multivariable conditional logistic regression models. Mediation effect of the ferritin levels on the hepcidin-gastric cancer pathway was also evaluated. After adjusting for relevant confounders, we observed a statistically significant inverse association between gastric cancer and hepcidin levels (OR 5 ng/l = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.93-0.99). No differences were found by tumor localization or histological type. In mediation analysis, we found that the direct effect of hepcidin only represents a nonsignificant 38% (95% CI: -69%, 91%). In summary, these data suggest that the inverse association of hepcidin levels and gastric cancer risk was mostly accounted by ferritin levels. Further investigation including repeated measures of hepcidin is needed to clarify their role in gastric carcinogenesis.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28543377
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  • 4
    Abstract: Findings on the association between alcohol consumption and bladder cancer are inconsistent. We investigated that association in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. We included 476,160 individuals mostly aged 35-70 years, enrolled in ten countries and followed for 13.9 years on average. Hazard ratios (HR) for developing urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC; 1,802 incident cases) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models. Alcohol consumption at baseline and over the life course was analyzed, as well as different types of beverages (beer, wine, spirits). Baseline alcohol intake was associated with a statistically nonsignificant increased risk of UCC (HR 1.03; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00-1.06 for each additional 12 g/day). HR in smokers was 1.04 (95% CI 1.01-1.07). Men reporting high baseline intakes of alcohol (〉96 g/day) had an increased risk of UCC (HR 1.57; 95% CI 1.03-2.40) compared to those reporting moderate intakes (〈6 g/day), but no dose-response relationship emerged. In men, an increased risk of aggressive forms of UCC was observed even at lower doses (〉6 to 24 g/day). Average lifelong alcohol intake was not associated with the risk of UCC, however intakes of spirits 〉 24 g/day were associated with an increased risk of UCC in men (1.38; 95% CI 1.01-1.91) and smokers (1.39; 95% CI 1.01-1.92), compared to moderate intakes. We found no association between alcohol and UCC in women and never smokers. In conclusion, we observed some associations between alcohol and UCC in men and in smokers, possibly because of residual confounding by tobacco smoking.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28722206
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  • 5
    Abstract: Aims: The hypothesis of 'metabolically healthy obesity' implies that, in the absence of metabolic dysfunction, individuals with excess adiposity are not at greater cardiovascular risk. We tested this hypothesis in a large pan-European prospective study. Methods and results: We conducted a case-cohort analysis in the 520 000-person European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study ('EPIC-CVD'). During a median follow-up of 12.2 years, we recorded 7637 incident coronary heart disease (CHD) cases. Using cut-offs recommended by guidelines, we defined obesity and overweight using body mass index (BMI), and metabolic dysfunction ('unhealthy') as 〉/= 3 of elevated blood pressure, hypertriglyceridaemia, low HDL-cholesterol, hyperglycaemia, and elevated waist circumference. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) within each country using Prentice-weighted Cox proportional hazard regressions, accounting for age, sex, centre, education, smoking, diet, and physical activity. Compared with metabolically healthy normal weight people (reference), HRs were 2.15 (95% CI: 1.79; 2.57) for unhealthy normal weight, 2.33 (1.97; 2.76) for unhealthy overweight, and 2.54 (2.21; 2.92) for unhealthy obese people. Compared with the reference group, HRs were 1.26 (1.14; 1.40) and 1.28 (1.03; 1.58) for metabolically healthy overweight and obese people, respectively. These results were robust to various sensitivity analyses. Conclusion: Irrespective of BMI, metabolically unhealthy individuals had higher CHD risk than their healthy counterparts. Conversely, irrespective of metabolic health, overweight and obese people had higher CHD risk than lean people. These findings challenge the concept of 'metabolically healthy obesity', encouraging population-wide strategies to tackle obesity.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29020414
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  • 6
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Low-risk limits recommended for alcohol consumption vary substantially across different national guidelines. To define thresholds associated with lowest risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, we studied individual-participant data from 599 912 current drinkers without previous cardiovascular disease. METHODS: We did a combined analysis of individual-participant data from three large-scale data sources in 19 high-income countries (the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, EPIC-CVD, and the UK Biobank). We characterised dose-response associations and calculated hazard ratios (HRs) per 100 g per week of alcohol (12.5 units per week) across 83 prospective studies, adjusting at least for study or centre, age, sex, smoking, and diabetes. To be eligible for the analysis, participants had to have information recorded about their alcohol consumption amount and status (ie, non-drinker vs current drinker), plus age, sex, history of diabetes and smoking status, at least 1 year of follow-up after baseline, and no baseline history of cardiovascular disease. The main analyses focused on current drinkers, whose baseline alcohol consumption was categorised into eight predefined groups according to the amount in grams consumed per week. We assessed alcohol consumption in relation to all-cause mortality, total cardiovascular disease, and several cardiovascular disease subtypes. We corrected HRs for estimated long-term variability in alcohol consumption using 152 640 serial alcohol assessments obtained some years apart (median interval 5.6 years [5th-95th percentile 1.04-13.5]) from 71 011 participants from 37 studies. FINDINGS: In the 599 912 current drinkers included in the analysis, we recorded 40 310 deaths and 39 018 incident cardiovascular disease events during 5.4 million person-years of follow-up. For all-cause mortality, we recorded a positive and curvilinear association with the level of alcohol consumption, with the minimum mortality risk around or below 100 g per week. Alcohol consumption was roughly linearly associated with a higher risk of stroke (HR per 100 g per week higher consumption 1.14, 95% CI, 1.10-1.17), coronary disease excluding myocardial infarction (1.06, 1.00-1.11), heart failure (1.09, 1.03-1.15), fatal hypertensive disease (1.24, 1.15-1.33); and fatal aortic aneurysm (1.15, 1.03-1.28). By contrast, increased alcohol consumption was log-linearly associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction (HR 0.94, 0.91-0.97). In comparison to those who reported drinking 〉0-〈/=100 g per week, those who reported drinking 〉100-〈/=200 g per week, 〉200-〈/=350 g per week, or 〉350 g per week had lower life expectancy at age 40 years of approximately 6 months, 1-2 years, or 4-5 years, respectively. INTERPRETATION: In current drinkers of alcohol in high-income countries, the threshold for lowest risk of all-cause mortality was about 100 g/week. For cardiovascular disease subtypes other than myocardial infarction, there were no clear risk thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with lower disease risk. These data support limits for alcohol consumption that are lower than those recommended in most current guidelines. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, European Union Framework 7, and European Research Council.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29676281
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  • 7
    Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Meat intake has been consistently shown to be positively associated with incident type 2 diabetes. Part of that association may be mediated by body iron status, which is influenced by genetic factors. We aimed to test for interactions of genetic and dietary factors influencing body iron status in relation to the risk of incident type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: The case-cohort comprised 9,347 case subjects and 12,301 subcohort participants from eight European countries. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected from genome-wide association studies on iron status biomarkers and candidate gene studies. A ferritin-related gene score was constructed. Multiplicative and additive interactions of heme iron and SNPs as well as the gene score were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression. RESULTS: Higher heme iron intake (per 1 SD) was associated with higher ferritin levels (beta = 0.113 [95% CI 0.082; 0.144]), but not with transferrin (-0.019 [-0.043; 0.006]) or transferrin saturation (0.016 [-0.006; 0.037]). Five SNPs located in four genes (rs1799945 [HFE H63D], rs1800562 [HFE C282Y], rs236918 [PCK7], rs744653 [SLC40A1], and rs855791 [TMPRSS6 V736A]) were associated with ferritin. We did not detect an interaction of heme iron and the gene score on the risk of diabetes in the overall study population (Padd = 0.16, Pmult = 0.21) but did detect a trend toward a negative interaction in men (Padd = 0.04, Pmult = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: We found no convincing evidence that the interplay of dietary and genetic factors related to body iron status associates with type 2 diabetes risk above the level expected from the sum or product of the two individual exposures.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29167213
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  • 8
    Abstract: The gut microbiome is increasingly implicated in colorectal cancer (CRC) development. A subgroup of patients diagnosed with CRC show high antibody responses to Streptococcus gallolyticus subspecies gallolyticus (SGG). However, it is unclear whether the association is also present pre-diagnostically. We assessed the association of antibody responses to SGG proteins in pre-diagnostic serum samples with CRC risk in a case-control study nested within a prospective cohort. Pre-diagnostic serum samples from 485 first incident CRC cases (mean time between blood draw and diagnosis 3.4 years) and 485 matched controls in the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer (EPIC) study were analyzed for antibody responses to 11 SGG proteins using multiplex serology. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using multivariable conditional logistic regression models. Antibody positivity for any of the 11 SGG proteins was significantly associated with CRC risk with 56% positive controls compared to 63% positive cases (OR: 1.36, 95% CI: 1.04-1.77). Positivity for two or more proteins of a previously identified SGG 6-marker panel with greater CRC-specificity was also observed among 9% of controls compared to 17% of CRC cases, corresponding to a significantly increased CRC risk (OR: 2.17, 95% CI: 1.44-3.27). In this prospective nested case-control study, we observed a positive association between antibody responses to SGG and CRC development in serum samples taken before evident disease onset. Further work is required to establish the possibly etiological significance of these observations and whether SGG serology may be applicable for CRC risk stratification.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29377173
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  • 9
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Helping consumers make healthier food choices is a key issue for the prevention of cancer and other diseases. In many countries, political authorities are considering the implementation of a simplified labelling system to reflect the nutritional quality of food products. The Nutri-Score, a five-colour nutrition label, is derived from the Nutrient Profiling System of the British Food Standards Agency (modified version) (FSAm-NPS). How the consumption of foods with high/low FSAm-NPS relates to cancer risk has been studied in national/regional cohorts but has not been characterized in diverse European populations. METHODS AND FINDINGS: This prospective analysis included 471,495 adults from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC, 1992-2014, median follow-up: 15.3 y), among whom there were 49,794 incident cancer cases (main locations: breast, n = 12,063; prostate, n = 6,745; colon-rectum, n = 5,806). Usual food intakes were assessed with standardized country-specific diet assessment methods. The FSAm-NPS was calculated for each food/beverage using their 100-g content in energy, sugar, saturated fatty acid, sodium, fibres, proteins, and fruits/vegetables/legumes/nuts. The FSAm-NPS scores of all food items usually consumed by a participant were averaged to obtain the individual FSAm-NPS Dietary Index (DI) scores. Multi-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were computed. A higher FSAm-NPS DI score, reflecting a lower nutritional quality of the food consumed, was associated with a higher risk of total cancer (HRQ5 versus Q1 = 1.07; 95% CI 1.03-1.10, P-trend 〈 0.001). Absolute cancer rates in those with high and low (quintiles 5 and 1) FSAm-NPS DI scores were 81.4 and 69.5 cases/10,000 person-years, respectively. Higher FSAm-NPS DI scores were specifically associated with higher risks of cancers of the colon-rectum, upper aerodigestive tract and stomach, lung for men, and liver and postmenopausal breast for women (all P 〈 0.05). The main study limitation is that it was based on an observational cohort using self-reported dietary data obtained through a single baseline food frequency questionnaire; thus, exposure misclassification and residual confounding cannot be ruled out. CONCLUSIONS: In this large multinational European cohort, the consumption of food products with a higher FSAm-NPS score (lower nutritional quality) was associated with a higher risk of cancer. This supports the relevance of the FSAm-NPS as underlying nutrient profiling system for front-of-pack nutrition labels, as well as for other public health nutritional measures.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 30226842
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  • 10
    Keywords: NITRIC-OXIDE ; DNA ; CARCINOGENESIS ; DIETARY ; C-REACTIVE PROTEIN ; SERUM
    Abstract: Oxidative stress has been shown to play an important role in carcinogenesis, but prospective evidence for an association between biomarkers of oxidative stress and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk is limited. The authors investigated the association between prediagnostic serum levels of oxidative stress indicators (i.e., reactive oxygen metabolites (ROM) and ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP)) and CRC risk. This was examined in a nested case-control study (1,064 CRC cases, 1,064 matched controls) in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition cohort (1992-2003). Incidence rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using conditional logistic regression analyses. ROM were associated with overall CRC risk (highest tertile vs. lowest: adjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR(adj)) = 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.47, 2.48), proximal (IRR(adj) = 1.89, 95% CI: 1.06, 3.36) and distal (IRR(adj) = 2.31, 95% CI: 1.37, 3.89) colon cancer, and rectal cancer (IRR(adj) = 1.69, 95% CI: 1.05, 2.72). When results were stratified by tertile of follow-up time, the association remained significant only in participants with less than 2.63 years of follow-up (IRR(adj) = 2.28, 95% CI: 1.78, 2.94; P-heterogeneity 〈 0.01). FRAP was not associated with CRC risk. In conclusion, prediagnostic serum ROM levels were associated with increased risk of CRC. However, this association was seen only in subjects with relatively short follow-up, suggesting that the association results from production of reactive oxygen species by preclinical tumors.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22422922
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