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  • 1
    Abstract: AIM OF THE STUDY: A vast majority of human malignancies are associated with ageing, and age is a strong predictor of cancer risk. Recently, DNA methylation-based marker of ageing, known as 'epigenetic clock', has been linked with cancer risk factors. This study aimed to evaluate whether the epigenetic clock is associated with breast cancer risk susceptibility and to identify potential epigenetics-based biomarkers for risk stratification. METHODS: Here, we profiled DNA methylation changes in a nested case-control study embedded in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort (n = 960) using the Illumina HumanMethylation 450K BeadChip arrays and used the Horvath age estimation method to calculate epigenetic age for these samples. Intrinsic epigenetic age acceleration (IEAA) was estimated as the residuals by regressing epigenetic age on chronological age. RESULTS: We observed an association between IEAA and breast cancer risk (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.007-1.076, P = 0.016). One unit increase in IEAA was associated with a 4% increased odds of developing breast cancer (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.007-1.076). Stratified analysis based on menopausal status revealed that IEAA was associated with development of postmenopausal breast cancers (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.020-1.11, P = 0.003). In addition, methylome-wide analyses revealed that a higher mean DNA methylation at cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) islands was associated with increased risk of breast cancer development (OR per 1 SD = 1.20; 95 %CI: 1.03-1.40, P = 0.02) whereas mean methylation levels at non-island CpGs were indistinguishable between cancer cases and controls. CONCLUSION: Epigenetic age acceleration and CpG island methylation have a weak, but statistically significant, association with breast cancer susceptibility.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28259012
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  • 2
    Abstract: Scores of overall diet quality have received increasing attention in relation to disease aetiology; however, their value in risk prediction has been little examined. The objective was to assess and compare the association and predictive performance of 10 diet quality scores on 10-year risk of all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality in 451,256 healthy participants to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, followed-up for a median of 12.8y. All dietary scores studied showed significant inverse associations with all outcomes. The range of HRs (95% CI) in the top vs. lowest quartile of dietary scores in a composite model including non-invasive factors (age, sex, smoking, body mass index, education, physical activity and study centre) was 0.75 (0.72-0.79) to 0.88 (0.84-0.92) for all-cause, 0.76 (0.69-0.83) to 0.84 (0.76-0.92) for CVD and 0.78 (0.73-0.83) to 0.91 (0.85-0.97) for cancer mortality. Models with dietary scores alone showed low discrimination, but composite models also including age, sex and other non-invasive factors showed good discrimination and calibration, which varied little between different diet scores examined. Mean C-statistic of full models was 0.73, 0.80 and 0.71 for all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality. Dietary scores have poor predictive performance for 10-year mortality risk when used in isolation but display good predictive ability in combination with other non-invasive common risk factors.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27409582
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  • 3
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Obesity is positively associated with colorectal cancer. Recently, body size subtypes categorised by the prevalence of hyperinsulinaemia have been defined, and metabolically healthy overweight/obese individuals (without hyperinsulinaemia) have been suggested to be at lower risk of cardiovascular disease than their metabolically unhealthy (hyperinsulinaemic) overweight/obese counterparts. Whether similarly variable relationships exist for metabolically defined body size phenotypes and colorectal cancer risk is unknown. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The association of metabolically defined body size phenotypes with colorectal cancer was investigated in a case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Metabolic health/body size phenotypes were defined according to hyperinsulinaemia status using serum concentrations of C-peptide, a marker of insulin secretion. A total of 737 incident colorectal cancer cases and 737 matched controls were divided into tertiles based on the distribution of C-peptide concentration amongst the control population, and participants were classified as metabolically healthy if below the first tertile of C-peptide and metabolically unhealthy if above the first tertile. These metabolic health definitions were then combined with body mass index (BMI) measurements to create four metabolic health/body size phenotype categories: (1) metabolically healthy/normal weight (BMI 〈 25 kg/m2), (2) metabolically healthy/overweight (BMI 〉/= 25 kg/m2), (3) metabolically unhealthy/normal weight (BMI 〈 25 kg/m2), and (4) metabolically unhealthy/overweight (BMI 〉/= 25 kg/m2). Additionally, in separate models, waist circumference measurements (using the International Diabetes Federation cut-points [〉/=80 cm for women and 〉/=94 cm for men]) were used (instead of BMI) to create the four metabolic health/body size phenotype categories. Statistical tests used in the analysis were all two-sided, and a p-value of 〈0.05 was considered statistically significant. In multivariable-adjusted conditional logistic regression models with BMI used to define adiposity, compared with metabolically healthy/normal weight individuals, we observed a higher colorectal cancer risk among metabolically unhealthy/normal weight (odds ratio [OR] = 1.59, 95% CI 1.10-2.28) and metabolically unhealthy/overweight (OR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.01-1.94) participants, but not among metabolically healthy/overweight individuals (OR = 0.96, 95% CI 0.65-1.42). Among the overweight individuals, lower colorectal cancer risk was observed for metabolically healthy/overweight individuals compared with metabolically unhealthy/overweight individuals (OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.49-0.96). These associations were generally consistent when waist circumference was used as the measure of adiposity. To our knowledge, there is no universally accepted clinical definition for using C-peptide level as an indication of hyperinsulinaemia. Therefore, a possible limitation of our analysis was that the classification of individuals as being hyperinsulinaemic-based on their C-peptide level-was arbitrary. However, when we used quartiles or the median of C-peptide, instead of tertiles, as the cut-point of hyperinsulinaemia, a similar pattern of associations was observed. CONCLUSIONS: These results support the idea that individuals with the metabolically healthy/overweight phenotype (with normal insulin levels) are at lower colorectal cancer risk than those with hyperinsulinaemia. The combination of anthropometric measures with metabolic parameters, such as C-peptide, may be useful for defining strata of the population at greater risk of colorectal cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27046222
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  • 4
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Life expectancy is increasing in Europe, yet a substantial proportion of adults still die prematurely before the age of 70 years. We sought to estimate the joint and relative contributions of tobacco smoking, hypertension, obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol and poor diet towards risk of premature death. METHODS: We analysed data from 264,906 European adults from the EPIC prospective cohort study, aged between 40 and 70 years at the time of recruitment. Flexible parametric survival models were used to model risk of death conditional on risk factors, and survival functions and attributable fractions (AF) for deaths prior to age 70 years were calculated based on the fitted models. RESULTS: We identified 11,930 deaths which occurred before the age of 70. The AF for premature mortality for smoking was 31 % (95 % confidence interval (CI), 31-32 %) and 14 % (95 % CI, 12-16 %) for poor diet. Important contributions were also observed for overweight and obesity measured by waist-hip ratio (10 %; 95 % CI, 8-12 %) and high blood pressure (9 %; 95 % CI, 7-11 %). AFs for physical inactivity and excessive alcohol intake were 7 % and 4 %, respectively. Collectively, the AF for all six risk factors was 57 % (95 % CI, 55-59 %), being 35 % (95 % CI, 32-37 %) among never smokers and 74 % (95 % CI, 73-75 %) among current smokers. CONCLUSIONS: While smoking remains the predominant risk factor for premature death in Europe, poor diet, overweight and obesity, hypertension, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol consumption also contribute substantially. Any attempt to minimise premature deaths will ultimately require all six factors to be addressed.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27296932
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  • 5
    Abstract: Background: The relationship between coffee consumption and mortality in diverse European populations with variable coffee preparation methods is unclear. Objective: To examine whether coffee consumption is associated with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: 10 European countries. Participants: 521 330 persons enrolled in EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition). Measurements: Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. The association of coffee consumption with serum biomarkers of liver function, inflammation, and metabolic health was evaluated in the EPIC Biomarkers subcohort (n = 14 800). Results: During a mean follow-up of 16.4 years, 41 693 deaths occurred. Compared with nonconsumers, participants in the highest quartile of coffee consumption had statistically significantly lower all-cause mortality (men: HR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.82 to 0.95]; P for trend 〈 0.001; women: HR, 0.93 [CI, 0.87 to 0.98]; P for trend = 0.009). Inverse associations were also observed for digestive disease mortality for men (HR, 0.41 [CI, 0.32 to 0.54]; P for trend 〈 0.001) and women (HR, 0.60 [CI, 0.46 to 0.78]; P for trend 〈 0.001). Among women, there was a statistically significant inverse association of coffee drinking with circulatory disease mortality (HR, 0.78 [CI, 0.68 to 0.90]; P for trend 〈 0.001) and cerebrovascular disease mortality (HR, 0.70 [CI, 0.55 to 0.90]; P for trend = 0.002) and a positive association with ovarian cancer mortality (HR, 1.31 [CI, 1.07 to 1.61]; P for trend = 0.015). In the EPIC Biomarkers subcohort, higher coffee consumption was associated with lower serum alkaline phosphatase; alanine aminotransferase; aspartate aminotransferase; gamma-glutamyltransferase; and, in women, C-reactive protein, lipoprotein(a), and glycated hemoglobin levels. Limitations: Reverse causality may have biased the findings; however, results did not differ after exclusion of participants who died within 8 years of baseline. Coffee-drinking habits were assessed only once. Conclusion: Coffee drinking was associated with reduced risk for death from various causes. This relationship did not vary by country. Primary Funding Source: European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and International Agency for Research on Cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28693038
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  • 6
    Keywords: MODELS ; DISEASE ; EPIDEMIOLOGY ; CONSUMPTION ; ADULTS ; METAANALYSIS ; fractional polynomials ; COMPETING RISKS ; GLOBAL BURDEN ; RATE ADVANCEMENT PERIODS
    Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To investigate the role of factors that modulate the association between alcohol and mortality, and to provide estimates of absolute risk of death. DESIGN: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC). SETTING: 23 centres in 10 countries. PARTICIPANTS: 380 395 men and women, free of cancer, diabetes, heart attack or stroke at enrolment, followed up for 12.6 years on average. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 20 453 fatal events, of which 2053 alcohol-related cancers (ARC, including cancers of upper aerodigestive tract, liver, colorectal and female breast), 4187 cardiovascular diseases/coronary heart disease (CVD/CHD), 856 violent deaths and injuries. Lifetime alcohol use was assessed at recruitment. RESULTS: HRs comparing extreme drinkers (〉/=30 g/day in women and 〉/=60 g/day in men) to moderate drinkers (0.1-4.9 g/day) were 1.27 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.43) in women and 1.53 (1.39 to 1.68) in men. Strong associations were observed for ARC mortality, in men particularly, and for violent deaths and injuries, in men only. No associations were observed for CVD/CHD mortality among drinkers, whereby HRs were higher in never compared to moderate drinkers. Overall mortality seemed to be more strongly related to beer than wine use, particularly in men. The 10-year risks of overall death for women aged 60 years, drinking more than 30 g/day was 5% and 7%, for never and current smokers, respectively. Corresponding figures in men consuming more than 60 g/day were 11% and 18%, in never and current smokers, respectively. In competing risks analyses, mortality due to CVD/CHD was more pronounced than ARC in men, while CVD/CHD and ARC mortality were of similar magnitude in women. CONCLUSIONS: In this large European cohort, alcohol use was positively associated with overall mortality, ARC and violent death and injuries, but marginally to CVD/CHD. Absolute risks of death observed in EPIC suggest that alcohol is an important determinant of total mortality.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24993766
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