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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
    Keywords: EXPOSURE ; BIOMARKERS ; BREAST ; HUMANS ; smoking ; VALIDITY ; ENDOMETRIAL ; HEMOGLOBIN ADDUCTS ; glycidamide
    Abstract: Acrylamide, classified in 1994 by IARC as 'probably carcinogenic' to humans, was discovered in 2002 in some heat-treated, carbohydrate-rich foods. The association between dietary acrylamide intake and epithelial ovarian cancer risk (EOC) has been previously studied in one case-control and three prospective cohort studies which obtained inconsistent results, and could not further examine histological subtypes other than serous EOC. The present study was carried out in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) sub-cohort of women (n=325,006). Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between questionnaire-based acrylamide intake and EOC risk. Acrylamide was energy-adjusted using the residual method, and was evaluated both as a continuous variable (per 10microg/day) and in quintiles; when subgroups by histological EOC subtypes were analyzed, acrylamide intake was evaluated in quartiles. During a mean follow-up of 11 years, 1,191 incident EOC cases were diagnosed. At baseline, the median acrylamide intake in EPIC was 21.3 mug/day. No associations, and no evidence for a dose-response were observed between energy-adjusted acrylamide intake and EOC risk (HR10microg/day:1.02, 95%CI:0.96-1.09; HRQ5vsQ1:0.97, 95%CI:0.76-1.23). No differences were seen when invasive EOC subtypes (582 serous, 118 endometrioid, and 79 mucinous tumors) were analyzed separately. This study did not provide evidence that acrylamide intake, based on food intake questionnaires, was associated with risk for EOC in EPIC. Additional studies with more reliable estimates of exposure based on biomarkers may be needed.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25300475
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  • 3
    Keywords: OBESITY ; PATHOGENESIS ; nutrition ; ADIPOSE-TISSUE ; POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN ; GROWTH-FACTOR-I ; INSULIN-RESISTANCE ; PREMENOPAUSAL ; C-PEPTIDE ; Adiponectin
    Abstract: A "Western" lifestyle characterized by physical inactivity and excess weight is associated with a number of metabolic and hormonal dysregulations, including increased circulating estrogen levels, hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and chronic inflammation. The same hormonal and metabolic axes might mediate the association between this lifestyle and the development of endometrial cancer. Using data collected within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a prospective cohort study carried out in 10 European countries during 1992-2000, we conducted a factor analysis to delineate important components that summarize the variation explained by a set of biomarkers and to examine their association with endometrial cancer risk. Prediagnostic levels of testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, sex hormone-binding globulin, estrone, estradiol, C-peptide, insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins 1 and 2, adiponectin, high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, soluble TNF receptors 1 and 2, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist were measured in 233 incident endometrial cancer cases and 446 matched controls. Factor analysis identified 3 components associated with postmenopausal endometrial cancer risk that could be labeled "insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome," "steroids," and "inflammation" factors. A fourth component, "lipids," was not significantly associated with endometrial cancer. In conclusion, besides the well-known associations of risk with sex hormones and insulin-regulated physiological axes, our data further support the hypothesis that inflammation factors play a role in endometrial carcinogenesis.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23492765
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  • 4
    Keywords: INFECTION ; POLYMORPHISMS ; MEN ; COLORECTAL-CANCER ; DNA methylation ; INDOLEAMINE 2,3-DIOXYGENASE ; FOLATE ; ONE-CARBON METABOLISM ; SYSTEM ACTIVATION ; NEOPTERIN
    Abstract: The one-carbon metabolism (OCM) is considered key in maintaining DNA integrity and regulating gene expression, and may be involved in the process of carcinogenesis. Several B-vitamins and amino acids have been implicated in lung cancer risk, via the OCM directly as well as immune system activation. However it is unclear whether these factors act independently or through complex mechanisms. The current study applies structural equations modelling (SEM) to further disentangle the mechanisms involved in lung carcinogenesis. SEM allows simultaneous estimation of linear relations where a variable can be the outcome in one equation and the predictor in another, as well as allowing estimation using latent variables (factors estimated by correlation matrix). A large number of biomarkers have been analysed from 891 lung cancer cases and 1,747 controls nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Four putative mechanisms in the OCM and immunity were investigated in relation to lung cancer risk: methionine-homocysteine metabolism, folate cycle, transsulfuration, and mechanisms involved in inflammation and immune activation, all adjusted for tobacco exposure. The hypothesized SEM model confirmed a direct and protective effect for factors representing methionine-homocysteine metabolism (p = 0.020) and immune activation (p = 0.021), and an indirect protective effect of folate cycle (p = 0.019), after adjustment for tobacco smoking. In conclusion, our results show that in the investigation of the involvement of the OCM, the folate cycle and immune system in lung carcinogenesis, it is important to consider complex pathways (by applying SEM) rather than the effects of single vitamins or nutrients (e.g. using traditional multiple regression). In our study SEM were able to suggest a greater role of the methionine-homocysteine metabolism and immune activation over other potential mechanisms.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23532743
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  • 5
    Keywords: EXPOSURE ; BREAST ; VALIDITY ; QUESTIONNAIRE ; OVARIAN
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Three prospective studies have evaluated the association between dietary acrylamide intake and endometrial cancer (EC) risk with inconsistent results. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between acrylamide intake and EC risk: for overall EC, for type-I EC, and in never smokers and never users of oral contraceptives (OCs). Smoking is a source of acrylamide, and OC use is a protective factor for EC risk. METHODS: Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for the association between acrylamide intake and EC risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Acrylamide intake was estimated from the EU acrylamide monitoring database, which was matched with EPIC questionnaire-based food consumption data. Acrylamide intake was energy adjusted using the residual method. RESULTS: No associations were observed between acrylamide intake and overall EC (n=1382) or type-I EC risk (n=627). We observed increasing relative risks for type-I EC with increasing acrylamide intake among women who both never smoked and were non-users of OCs (HRQ5vsQ1: 1.97, 95% CI: 1.08-3.62; likelihood ratio test (LRT) P-value: 0.01, n=203). CONCLUSIONS: Dietary intake of acrylamide was not associated with overall or type-I EC risk; however, positive associations with type I were observed in women who were both non-users of OCs and never smokers.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24937665
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  • 6
    Keywords: carcinoma ; HISTORY ; REPRODUCIBILITY ; POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN ; PREMENOPAUSAL WOMEN ; STEROID-HORMONES ; PERIOD ; PLASMA PROLACTIN
    Abstract: INTRODUCTION: The relationship between circulating prolactin and invasive breast cancer has been investigated previously, but the association between prolactin levels and in situ breast cancer risk has received less attention. METHODS: We analysed the relationship between pre-diagnostic prolactin levels and the risk of in situ breast cancer overall, and by menopausal status and use of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) at blood donation. Conditional logistic regression was used to assess this association in a case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, including 307 in situ breast cancer cases and their matched control subjects. RESULTS: We found a significant positive association between higher circulating prolactin levels and risk of in situ breast cancer among all women [pre-and postmenopausal combined, ORlog2 = 1.35 (95%CI 1.04-1.76), Ptrend = 0.03]. No statistically significant heterogeneity was found between prolactin levels and in situ cancer risk by menopausal status (Phet = 0.98) or baseline HT use (Phet = 0.20), although the observed association was more pronounced among postmenopausal women using HT compared to non-users (Ptrend = 0.06 vs Ptrend = 0.35). In subgroup analyses, the observed positive association was strongest in women diagnosed with in situ breast tumors 〈4 years compared to 〉/=4 years after blood donation (Ptrend = 0.01 vs Ptrend = 0.63; Phet = 0.04) and among nulliparous women compared to parous women (Ptrend = 0.03 vs Ptrend = 0.15; Phet = 0.07). CONCLUSIONS: Our data extends prior research linking prolactin and invasive breast cancer to the outcome of in situ breast tumours and shows that higher circulating prolactin is associated with increased risk of in situ breast cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25887963
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  • 7
    Keywords: BREAST-CANCER ; PATTERNS ; AGE ; nutrition ; METAANALYSIS ; pooled analysis ; FAMILY-HISTORY ; TUBAL-LIGATION ; HYSTERECTOMY ; ASSOCIATION CONSORTIUM
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer has a high case-fatality ratio, largely due to late diagnosis. Epidemiologic risk prediction models could help identify women at increased risk who may benefit from targeted prevention measures, such as screening or chemopreventive agents. METHODS: We built an ovarian cancer risk prediction model with epidemiologic risk factors from 202 206 women in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. RESULTS: Older age at menopause, longer duration of hormone replacement therapy, and higher body mass index were included as increasing ovarian cancer risk, whereas unilateral ovariectomy, longer duration of oral contraceptive use, and higher number of full-term pregnancies were decreasing risk. The discriminatory power (overall concordance index) of this model, as examined with five-fold cross-validation, was 0.64 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.57, 0.70). The ratio of the expected to observed number of ovarian cancer cases occurring in the first 5 years of follow-up was 0.90 (293 out of 324, 95% CI: 0.81-1.01), in general there was no evidence for miscalibration. CONCLUSION: Our ovarian cancer risk model containing only epidemiological data showed modest discriminatory power for a Western European population. Future studies should consider adding informative biomarkers to possibly improve the predictive ability of the model.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25742479
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  • 8
    Keywords: AGE ; OBESITY ; nutrition ; ENDOMETRIAL CANCER
    Abstract: Whether risk factors for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) differ by subtype (i.e., dualistic pathway of carcinogenesis, histologic subtype) is not well understood; however, data to date suggest risk factor differences. We examined associations between reproductive and hormone-related risk factors for EOC by subtype in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Among 334,126 women with data on reproductive and hormone-related risk factors (follow-up: 1992-2010), 1,245 incident cases of EOC with known histology and invasiveness were identified. Data on tumor histology, grade, and invasiveness, were available from cancer registries and pathology record review. We observed significant heterogeneity by the dualistic model (i.e., type I [low grade serous or endometrioid, mucinous, clear cell, malignant Brenner] vs. type II [high grade serous or endometrioid]) for full-term pregnancy (phet = 0.02). Full-term pregnancy was more strongly inversely associated with type I than type II tumors (ever vs. never: type I: relative risk (RR) 0.47 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.33-0.69]; type II, RR: 0.81 [0.61-1.06]). We observed no significant differences in risk in analyses by major histologic subtypes of invasive EOC (serous, mucinous, endometrioid, clear cell). None of the investigated factors were associated with borderline tumors. Established protective factors, including duration of oral contraceptive use and full term pregnancy, were consistently inversely associated with risk across histologic subtypes (e.g., ever full-term pregnancy: serous, RR: 0.73 [0.58-0.92]; mucinous, RR: 0.53 [0.30-0.95]; endometrioid, RR: 0.65 [0.40-1.06]; clear cell, RR: 0.34 [0.18-0.64]; phet = 0.16). These results suggest limited heterogeneity between reproductive and hormone-related risk factors and EOC subtypes.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25656413
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  • 9
    Keywords: RISK ; AGE ; WOMEN ; PROSPECTIVE COHORT ; PREVALENCE ; PROJECT ; LIFE-STYLE ; MELLITUS ; ALL-CAUSE MORTALITY ; PREMATURE
    Abstract: STUDY QUESTION: Do women who have diabetes before menopause have their menopause at an earlier age compared with women without diabetes? SUMMARY ANSWER: Although there was no overall association between diabetes and age at menopause, our study suggests that early-onset diabetes may accelerate menopause. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Today, more women of childbearing age are being diagnosed with diabetes, but little is known about the impact of diabetes on reproductive health. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: We investigated the impact of diabetes on age at natural menopause (ANM) in 258 898 women from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), enrolled between 1992 and 2000. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Determinant and outcome information was obtained through questionnaires. Time-dependent Cox regression analyses were used to estimate the associations of diabetes and age at diabetes diagnosis with ANM, stratified by center and adjusted for age, smoking, reproductive and diabetes risk factors and with age from birth to menopause or censoring as the underlying time scale. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Overall, no association between diabetes and ANM was found (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.94; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.89-1.01). However, women with diabetes before the age of 20 years had an earlier menopause (10-20 years: HR = 1.43; 95% CI 1.02-2.01, 〈10 years: HR = 1.59; 95% CI 1.03-2.43) compared with non-diabetic women, whereas women with diabetes at age 50 years and older had a later menopause (HR = 0.81; 95% CI 0.70-0.95). None of the other age groups were associated with ANM. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Strengths of the study include the large sample size and the broad set of potential confounders measured. However, results may have been underestimated due to survival bias. We cannot be sure about the sequence of the events in women with a late age at diabetes, as both events then occur in a short period. We could not distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Based on the literature, an accelerating effect of early-onset diabetes on ANM might be plausible. A delaying effect of late-onset diabetes on ANM has not been reported before, and is not in agreement with recent studies suggesting the opposite association. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: The coordination of EPIC is financially supported by the European Commission (DG-SANCO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The national cohorts are supported by Danish Cancer Society (Denmark); Ligue Contre le Cancer, Institut Gustave Roussy, Mutuelle Generale de l'Education Nationale, Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) (France); German Cancer Aid, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMMF) (Germany); Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Hellenic Health Foundation (Greece); Italian Association for Research on Cancer (AIRC) and National Research Council (Italy); Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS), Netherlands Cancer Registry (NKR), LK Research Funds, Dutch Prevention Funds, Dutch ZON (Zorg Onderzoek Nederland), World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), Statistics Netherlands (The Netherlands); ERC-2009-AdG 232997 and Nordforsk, Nordic Centre of Excellence programme on Food, Nutrition and Health (Norway); Health Research Fund (FIS), Regional Governments of Andalucia, Asturias, Basque Country, Murcia (no. 6236) and Navarra, ISCIII RETIC (RD06/0020) (Spain); Swedish Cancer Society, Swedish Scientific Council and Regional Government of Skane and Vasterbotten (Sweden); Cancer Research UK, Medical Research Council, Stroke Association, British Heart Foundation, Department of Health, Food Standards Agency, and Wellcome Trust (UK). None of the authors reported a conflict of interest.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25779698
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  • 10
    Abstract: Endometrial cancer (EC) is the fourth most frequent cancer in women in Europe, and as its incidence is increasing, prevention strategies gain further pertinence. Risk prediction models can be a useful tool for identifying women likely to benefit from targeted prevention measures. On the basis of data from 201,811 women (mostly aged 30-65 years) including 855 incident EC cases from eight countries in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort, a model to predict EC was developed. A step-wise model selection process was used to select confirmed predictive epidemiologic risk factors. Piece-wise constant hazard rates in 5-year age-intervals were estimated in a cause-specific competing risks model, five-fold-cross-validation was applied for internal validation. Risk factors included in the risk prediction model were body-mass index (BMI), menopausal status, age at menarche and at menopause, oral contraceptive use, overall and by different BMI categories and overall duration of use, parity, age at first full-term pregnancy, duration of menopausal hormone therapy and smoking status (specific for pre, peri- and post-menopausal women). These variables improved the discriminating capacity to predict risk over 5 years from 71 % for a model based on age alone to 77 % (overall C statistic), and the model was well-calibrated (ratio of expected to observed cases = 0.99). Our model could be used for the identification of women at increased risk of EC in Western Europe. To achieve an EC-risk model with general validity, a large-scale cohort-consortium approach would be needed to assess and adjust for population variation.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25968175
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