Publications by authors named "Carlotta Sacerdote"

402 Publications

Genomic and phenotypic insights from an atlas of genetic effects on DNA methylation.

Nat Genet 2021 Sep 6;53(9):1311-1321. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Estonian Genome Center, Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Characterizing genetic influences on DNA methylation (DNAm) provides an opportunity to understand mechanisms underpinning gene regulation and disease. In the present study, we describe results of DNAm quantitative trait locus (mQTL) analyses on 32,851 participants, identifying genetic variants associated with DNAm at 420,509 DNAm sites in blood. We present a database of >270,000 independent mQTLs, of which 8.5% comprise long-range (trans) associations. Identified mQTL associations explain 15-17% of the additive genetic variance of DNAm. We show that the genetic architecture of DNAm levels is highly polygenic. Using shared genetic control between distal DNAm sites, we constructed networks, identifying 405 discrete genomic communities enriched for genomic annotations and complex traits. Shared genetic variants are associated with both DNAm levels and complex diseases, but only in a minority of cases do these associations reflect causal relationships from DNAm to trait or vice versa, indicating a more complex genotype-phenotype map than previously anticipated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00923-xDOI Listing
September 2021

Factors associated with serum ferritin levels and iron excess: results from the EPIC-EurGast study.

Eur J Nutr 2021 Jul 2. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, Catalan Institute of Oncology - ICO, Nutrition and Cancer Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute -(IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: Excess iron is involved in the development of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. We aimed to describe the prevalence of excess iron and its determinants in healthy European adults.

Methods: Sociodemographic, lifestyle, iron status, dietary information, and HFE genotyping were obtained from controls from the nested case-control study EPIC-EurGast study. High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) was measured to address possible systemic inflammation. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were used to assess iron status and its determinants.

Results: Out of the 828 participants (median age: 58.7 years), 43% were females. Median serum ferritin and prevalence of excess iron were 143.7 µg/L and 35.2% in males, respectively, and 77 µg/L and 20% in females, both increasing with latitude across Europe. Prevalence of HFE C282Y mutation was significantly higher in Northern and Central Europe (~ 11%) than in the South (5%). Overweight/obesity, age, and daily alcohol and heme iron intake were independent determinants for iron status, with sex differences even after excluding participants with hsCRP > 5 mg/L. Obese males showed a greater consumption of alcohol, total and red meat, and heme iron, compared with those normal weight.

Conclusion: Obesity, higher alcohol and heme iron consumption were the main risk factors for excess iron in males while only age was associated with iron overload in females. Weight control and promoting healthy lifestyle may help prevent iron overload, especially in obese people. Further research is needed to clarify determinants of excess iron in the healthy adult population, helping to reduce the associated comorbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02625-wDOI Listing
July 2021

Inflammatory potential of the diet and risk of breast cancer in the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

Eur J Epidemiol 2021 Jun 20. Epub 2021 Jun 20.

Director Office, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France.

The role of chronic inflammation on breast cancer (BC) risk remains unclear beyond as an underlying mechanism of obesity and physical activity. We aimed to evaluate the association between the inflammatory potential of the diet and risk of BC overall, according to menopausal status and tumour subtypes. Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort, 318,686 women were followed for 14 years, among whom 13,246 incident BC cases were identified. The inflammatory potential of the diet was characterized by an inflammatory score of the diet (ISD). Multivariable Cox regression models were used to assess the potential effect of the ISD on BC risk by means of hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). ISD was positively associated with BC risk. Each increase of one standard deviation (1-Sd) of the score increased by 4% the risk of BC (HR = 1.04; 95% CI 1.01-1.07). Women in the highest quintile of the ISD (indicating a most pro-inflammatory diet) had a 12% increase in risk compared with those in the lowest quintile (HR = 1.12; 95% CI 1.04-1.21) with a significant trend. The association was strongest among premenopausal women, with an 8% increased risk for 1-Sd increase in the score (HR = 1.08; 95% CI 1.01-1.14). The pattern of the association was quite homogeneous by BC subtypes based on hormone receptor status. There were no significant interactions between ISD and body mass index, physical activity, or alcohol consumption. Women consuming more pro-inflammatory diets as measured by ISD are at increased risk for BC, especially premenopausal women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10654-021-00772-2DOI Listing
June 2021

Prospective analysis of circulating metabolites and endometrial cancer risk.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 Aug 5;162(2):475-481. Epub 2021 Jun 5.

Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Background: Endometrial cancer is strongly associated with obesity and dysregulation of metabolic factors such as estrogen and insulin signaling are causal risk factors for this malignancy. To identify additional novel metabolic pathways associated with endometrial cancer we performed metabolomic analyses on pre-diagnostic plasma samples from 853 case-control pairs from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Methods: A total of 129 metabolites (acylcarnitines, amino acids, biogenic amines, glycerophospholipids, hexoses, and sphingolipids) were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Conditional logistic regression estimated the associations of metabolites with endometrial cancer risk. An analysis focusing on clusters of metabolites using the bootstrap lasso method was also employed.

Results: After adjustment for body mass index, sphingomyelin [SM] C18:0 was positively (OR: 1.18, 95% CI: 1.05-1.33), and glycine, serine, and free carnitine (C0) were inversely (OR: 0.89, 95% CI: 0.80-0.99; OR: 0.89, 95% CI: 0.79-1.00 and OR: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.81-1.00, respectively) associated with endometrial cancer risk. Serine, C0 and two sphingomyelins were selected by the lasso method in >90% of the bootstrap samples. The ratio of esterified to free carnitine (OR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.02-1.28) and that of short chain to free acylcarnitines (OR: 1.12, 95% CI: 1.00-1.25) were positively associated with endometrial cancer risk. Further adjustment for C-peptide or other endometrial cancer risk factors only minimally altered the results.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that variation in levels of glycine, serine, SM C18:0 and free carnitine may represent specific pathways linked to endometrial cancer development. If causal, these pathways may offer novel targets for endometrial cancer prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336647PMC
August 2021

Dietary Methyl-Group Donor Intake and Breast Cancer Risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Nutrients 2021 May 28;13(6). Epub 2021 May 28.

Office of the Director, International Agency for Research on Cancer, CEDEX 08, 69372 Lyon, France.

(1) Background: Methyl-group donors (MGDs), including folate, choline, betaine, and methionine, may influence breast cancer (BC) risk through their role in one-carbon metabolism; (2) Methods: We studied the relationship between dietary intakes of MGDs and BC risk, adopting data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort; (3) Results: 318,686 pre- and postmenopausal women were followed between enrolment in 1992-2000 and December 2013-December 2015. Dietary MGD intakes were estimated at baseline through food-frequency questionnaires. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to quantify the association between dietary intake of MGDs, measured both as a calculated score based on their sum and individually, and BC risk. Subgroup analyses were performed by hormone receptor status, menopausal status, and level of alcohol intake. During a mean follow-up time of 14.1 years, 13,320 women with malignant BC were identified. No associations were found between dietary intakes of the MGD score or individual MGDs and BC risk. However, a potential U-shaped relationship was observed between dietary folate intake and overall BC risk, suggesting an inverse association for intakes up to 350 µg/day compared to a reference intake of 205 µg/day. No statistically significant differences in the associations were observed by hormone receptor status, menopausal status, or level of alcohol intake; (4) Conclusions: There was no strong evidence for an association between MGDs involved in one-carbon metabolism and BC risk. However, a potential U-shaped trend was suggested for dietary folate intake and BC risk. Further research is needed to clarify this association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13061843DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8228096PMC
May 2021

Are antigenic tests useful for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections in patients accessing to emergency departments? Results from a North-West Italy hospital.

J Infect 2021 08 21;83(2):237-279. Epub 2021 May 21.

Department of Clinical and Biological Science, University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, Orbassano 10043, Italy; Epidemiology Unit, Regional Health Service ASL TO3, Grugliasco. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2021.05.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8139186PMC
August 2021

Dietary intake and plasma phospholipid concentrations of saturated, monounsaturated and trans fatty acids and colorectal cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort.

Int J Cancer 2021 Apr 28. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section of Sustainable Health, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Epidemiologic studies examining the association between specific fatty acids and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk are inconclusive. We investigated the association between dietary estimates and plasma levels of individual and total saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA), industrial-processed trans (iTFA), and ruminant-sourced trans (rTFA) fatty acids, and CRC risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Baseline fatty acid intakes were estimated in 450 112 participants (6162 developed CRC, median follow-up = 15 years). In a nested case-control study, plasma phospholipid fatty acids were determined by gas chromatography in 433 colon cancer cases and 433 matched controls. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed using Cox and conditional logistic regression, respectively. Dietary total SFA (highest vs lowest quintile, HR  = 0.80; 95%CI:0.69-0.92), myristic acid (HR  = 0.83, 95%CI:0.74-0.93) and palmitic acid (HR  = 0.81, 95%CI:0.70-0.93) were inversely associated with CRC risk. Plasma myristic acid was also inversely associated with colon cancer risk (highest vs lowest quartile, OR  = 0.51; 95%CI:0.32-0.83), whereas a borderline positive association was found for plasma stearic acid (OR  = 1.63; 95%CI:1.00-2.64). Dietary total MUFA was inversely associated with colon cancer (per 1-SD increment, HR  = 0.92, 95%CI: 0.85-0.98), but not rectal cancer (HR  = 1.04, 95%CI:0.95-1.15, P  = 0.027). Dietary iTFA, and particularly elaidic acid, was positively associated with rectal cancer (HR  = 1.07, 95%CI:1.02-1.13). Our results suggest that total and individual saturated fatty acids and fatty acids of industrial origin may be relevant to the aetiology of CRC. Both dietary and plasma myristic acid levels were inversely associated with colon cancer risk, which warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33615DOI Listing
April 2021

Association of Pre-diagnostic Antibody Responses to Escherichia coli and Bacteroides fragilis Toxin Proteins with Colorectal Cancer in a European Cohort.

Gut Microbes 2021 Jan-Dec;13(1):1-14

Department of Medical Biosciences, Pathology, Umeå University, Ireland.

Experimental evidence has implicated genotoxic () and enterotoxigenic (ETBF) in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, evidence from epidemiological studies is sparse. We therefore assessed the association of serological markers of and ETBF exposure with odds of developing CRC in the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer (EPIC) study.Serum samples of incident CRC cases and matched controls (n = 442 pairs) were analyzed for immunoglobulin (Ig) A and G antibody responses to seven proteins and two isoforms of the ETBF toxin via multiplex serology. Multivariable-adjusted conditional logistic regression analyses were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of sero-positivity to and ETBF with CRC.The IgA-positivity of any of the tested antigens was associated with higher odds of developing CRC (OR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.05-1.91). Dual-positivity for both IgA and IgG to and ETBF was associated with >1.7-fold higher odds of developing CRC, with a significant association only for IgG (OR: 1.75; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.94). This association was more pronounced when restricted to the proximal colon cancers (OR: 2.62; 95% CI: 1.09, 6.29) compared to those of the distal colon (OR: 1.24; 95% CI: 0.51, 3.00) (= 0.095). Sero-positivity to and ETBF was associated with CRC development, suggesting that co-infection of these bacterial species may contribute to colorectal carcinogenesis. These findings warrant further exploration in larger prospective studies and within different population groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19490976.2021.1903825DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078709PMC
April 2021

A comparison of complementary measures of vitamin B6 status, function, and metabolism in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 07;114(1):338-347

Department of Medical Biosciences, Pathology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Background: Vitamin B6 insufficiency has been linked to increased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. The circulating concentration of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) is a commonly used measure of vitamin B6 status. Ratios of substrates indicating PLP coenzymatic function and metabolism may be useful complementary measures to further explore the role of vitamin B6 in health.

Objectives: We explored the sensitivity of 5 outcomes, namely PLP concentration, homocysteine:cysteine (Hcy:Cys), cystathionine:cysteine (Cysta:Cys), the 3´-hydroxykynurenine ratio (HKr), and the 4-pyridoxic acid ratio (PAr) to vitamin B6 intake as well as personal and lifestyle characteristics.

Medthods: Dietary intake and biomarker data were collected from participants from 3 nested case-control studies within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Bayesian regression models assessed the associations of the 5 biomarker outcomes with vitamin B6 intake and personal and lifestyle covariates. Analogous models examined the relations of Hcy:Cys, Cysta:Cys, and HKr with PLP.

Results: In total, 4608 participants were included in the analyses. Vitamin B6 intake was most strongly associated with PLP, moderately associated with Hcy:Cys, Cysta:Cys, and HKr, and not associated with PAr (fold change in marker given a doubling of vitamin B6 intake: PLP 1.60 [95% credible interval (CrI): 1.50, 1.71]; Hcy:Cys 0.87 [95% CrI: 0.84, 0.90]; Cysta:Cys 0.89 [95% CrI: 0.84, 0.94]; HKr 0.88 [95% CrI: 0.85, 0.91]; PAr 1.00 [95% CrI: 0.95, 1.05]). PAr was most sensitive to age, and HKr was least sensitive to BMI and alcohol intake. Sex and menopause status were strongly associated with all 5 markers.

Conclusions: We found that 5 different markers, capturing different aspects of vitamin B6-related biological processes, varied in their associations with vitamin B6 intake and personal and lifestyle predictors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246608PMC
July 2021

Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and breast cancer risk in 9 European countries.

BMC Med 2021 Mar 30;19(1):81. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Clinical Sciences Lund, Oncology, Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.

Background: Trans fatty acids (TFAs) have been hypothesised to influence breast cancer risk. However, relatively few prospective studies have examined this relationship, and well-powered analyses according to hormone receptor-defined molecular subtypes, menopausal status, and body size have rarely been conducted.

Methods: In the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), we investigated the associations between dietary intakes of TFAs (industrial trans fatty acids [ITFAs] and ruminant trans fatty acids [RTFAs]) and breast cancer risk among 318,607 women. Multivariable hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for other breast cancer risk factors.

Results: After a median follow-up of 8.1 years, 13,241 breast cancer cases occurred. In the multivariable-adjusted model, higher total ITFA intake was associated with elevated breast cancer risk (HR for highest vs lowest quintile, 1.14, 95% CI 1.06-1.23; P trend = 0.001). A similar positive association was found between intake of elaidic acid, the predominant ITFA, and breast cancer risk (HR for highest vs lowest quintile, 1.14, 95% CI 1.06-1.23; P trend = 0.001). Intake of total RTFAs was also associated with higher breast cancer risk (HR for highest vs lowest quintile, 1.09, 95% CI 1.01-1.17; P trend = 0.015). For individual RTFAs, we found positive associations with breast cancer risk for dietary intakes of two strongly correlated fatty acids (Spearman correlation r = 0.77), conjugated linoleic acid (HR for highest vs lowest quintile, 1.11, 95% CI 1.03-1.20; P trend = 0.001) and palmitelaidic acid (HR for highest vs lowest quintile, 1.08, 95% CI 1.01-1.16; P trend = 0.028). Similar associations were found for total ITFAs and RTFAs with breast cancer risk according to menopausal status, body mass index, and breast cancer subtypes.

Conclusions: These results support the hypothesis that higher dietary intakes of ITFAs, in particular elaidic acid, are associated with elevated breast cancer risk. Due to the high correlation between conjugated linoleic acid and palmitelaidic acid, we were unable to disentangle the positive associations found for these fatty acids with breast cancer risk. Further mechanistic studies are needed to identify biological pathways that may underlie these associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01952-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8008592PMC
March 2021

Pepper Alkaloids and Processed Meat Intake: Results from a Randomized Trial and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Cohort.

Mol Nutr Food Res 2021 04 2;65(7):e2001141. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Nutrition and Metabolism Branch, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert Thomas, Lyon, France.

Scope: Processed meat intake has been associated with adverse health outcomes. However, little is known about the type of processed meat more particularly responsible for these effects. This study aims to identify novel biomarkers for processed meat intake.

Methods And Results: In a controlled randomized cross-over dietary intervention study, 12 healthy volunteers consume different processed and non-processed meats for 3 consecutive days each. Metabolomics analyses are applied on post-intervention fasting blood and urine samples to identify discriminating molecular features of processed meat intake. Nine and five pepper alkaloid metabolites, including piperine, are identified as major discriminants of salami intake in urine and plasma, respectively. The associations with processed meat intake are tested for replication in a cross-sectional study (n = 418) embedded within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Three of the serum metabolites including piperine are associated with habitual intake of sausages and to a lesser extent of total processed meat.

Conclusion: Pepper alkaloids are major discriminants of intake for sausages that contain high levels of pepper used as ingredient. Further work is needed to assess if pepper alkaloids in combination with other metabolites may serve as biomarkers of processed meat intake.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.202001141DOI Listing
April 2021

Prospective Identification of Elevated Circulating CDCP1 in Patients Years before Onset of Lung Cancer.

Cancer Res 2021 Jul 11;81(13):3738-3748. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

MRC Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Increasing evidence points to a role for inflammation in lung carcinogenesis. A small number of circulating inflammatory proteins have been identified as showing elevated levels prior to lung cancer diagnosis, indicating the potential for prospective circulating protein concentration as a marker of early carcinogenesis. To identify novel markers of lung cancer risk, we measured a panel of 92 circulating inflammatory proteins in 648 prediagnostic blood samples from two prospective cohorts in Italy and Norway (women only). To preserve the comparability of results and protect against confounding factors, the main statistical analyses were conducted in women from both studies, with replication sought in men (Italian participants). Univariate and penalized regression models revealed for the first time higher blood levels of CDCP1 protein in cases that went on to develop lung cancer compared with controls, irrespective of time to diagnosis, smoking habits, and gender. This association was validated in an additional 450 samples. Associations were stronger for future cases of adenocarcinoma where CDCP1 showed better explanatory performance. Integrative analyses combining gene expression and protein levels of CDCP1 measured in the same individuals suggested a link between CDCP1 and the expression of transcripts of LRRN3 and SEM1. Enrichment analyses indicated a potential role for CDCP1 in pathways related to cell adhesion and mobility, such as the WNT/β-catenin pathway. Overall, this study identifies lung cancer-related dysregulation of CDCP1 expression years before diagnosis. SIGNIFICANCE: Prospective proteomics analyses reveal an association between increased levels of circulating CDCP1 and lung carcinogenesis irrespective of smoking and years before diagnosis, and integrating gene expression indicates potential underlying mechanisms..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-3454DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611235PMC
July 2021

"Journey of hope": a study on sexual gender-based violence reported by asylum-seeking women during their journey to Europe.

Epidemiol Prev 2020 Sep-Dec;44(5-6 Suppl 1):102-106

joint last authors.

Objectives: to describe sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) reported by asylum-seeking women during their journey from their country of origin to Italy, using data obtained from medical record of asylum seekers hosted between June 2016 and December 2017 at the "T. Fenoglio" Red Cross Reception Centre, one of the largest Italian regional hubs; to evaluate if, based on these data, it is possible to hypothesize an underreporting of SGBV from these women.

Design: cross-sectional study.

Setting And Participants: 2,484 asylum-seeking females hosted in the centre for initial-reception of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta regions (Northern Italy) between June 2016 and December 2017.

Main Outcome Measures: prevalence of SGBV.

Results: among the women arrived at the centre, 46 reported being victim of SGBV during their journey to Italy (prevalence: 1.85%; 95%CI 1.39-2.46), 37 of which with reliable and verified data supported by health certification documentation (prevalence: 1.49%; 95%CI 1.08-2.05). Women who suffered SGBV have a higher prevalence of diseases than their counterpart (more blood, digestive, neurological, psychological, genital diseases, and AIDS), are more frequently pregnant, and asked more frequently for a voluntary interruption of pregnancy.

Conclusions: the low prevalence of SGBV identified suggests that underreporting and under-recognition of the phenomenon are possible. This highlights the need to offer a psychological support to all migrant women at their arrival in the Italian hubs, also when they do not report violence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.19191/EP20.5-6.S1.P102.079DOI Listing
June 2021

Clinical and epidemiological characteristics associated with pneumonia at disease onset in patients admitted for COVID-19 to the Emergency Department of a large Hospital in Piedmont (North-Western Italy).

Epidemiol Prev 2020 Sep-Dec;44(5-6 Suppl 2):216-225

SSD Epidemiologia clinica e valutativa, SC Epidemiologia dei tumori, AOU Città della salute e della scienza di Torino - CPO Piemonte, Torino.

Objectives: to explore clinical and epidemiological characteristics associated with an imaging feature of COVID-19 pneumonia at disease onset, in order to identify factors that may be evaluable by general practitioners at patient's home, and which may lead to identify a more severe disease, needing hospitalization.

Design: this is a retrospective/prospective observational hospital cohort.

Setting And Participants: the study population includes all patients consecutively admitted to the emergency department of Città della salute e della scienza University Hospital from 01.03 to 31.05.2020 with a confirmed diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Main Outcome Measures: patients were classified in two groups according to the findings of X-ray imaging, lung ultrasound and chest computer tomography, as pneumonia or not pneumonia patients.

Results: in multivariable analysis, factors most strongly associated with emergency department admission with pneumonia were age, oxygen saturation <90% (adj OR 4.16 ;95%CI 1.44-12.07), respiratory rate >24 breaths/min (adj OR 6.50; 95%CI 2.36-17.87), fever ≥38° (adj OR 3.05; 95%CI 1.53-6.08) and the presence of gastroenteric symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea). A delay (> 7 days) between the appearance of the initial lung symptoms (cough and dyspnea) and the admission to the emergency department was also related to a higher probability of receiving a positive imaging report (OR 4.99; 95%CI 2,02-12,34).

Conclusions: in order to reorganize the management of COVID-19 patients in Italy, in view of the risk of a second wave of epidemic or of local outbreaks, it would be desirable to relocate the triage, and possibly the patient's care, from hospital to home. In this scenario it is important to identify all symptoms and signs associated with COVID-19 pneumonia that would facilitate the decision-making process of GPs leading to patients hospitalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.19191/EP20.5-6.S2.121DOI Listing
January 2021

Clinical characteristics and management of COVID-19 patients accessing the emergency department in a hospital in Northern Italy in March and April 2020.

Epidemiol Prev 2020 Sep-Dec;44(5-6 Suppl 2):208-215

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin (Italy);

Background: the emergency due to SARS-CoV-2 pandemic struck the national and regional health system that needed an effort to reorganise and increase resources to cope with a sudden, uncertain, and previously unknown situation. This study was conducted in the immediate aftermath of this difficult period.

Objectives: to describe clinical characteristics, short-term outcomes, and management of SARS-CoV-2 positive patients that accessed the emergency department (ED) of the San Luigi Gonzaga hospital of Orbassano (Turin district, Piedmont Region, Northern Italy) in March and April 2020. Furthermore, this study aimed at investigating if a difference in patients characteristics, clinical management, and outcomes was present during time.

Design: comparison of different periods in a clinical cohort.

Setting And Participants: for each patient who accessed the ED and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 swab, the ED medical record was collected and a descriptive analysis was performed on demographical characteristics, pre-existing comorbidities, parameters measured at triage, imaging exams results, lab tests results, separately for patients admitted at the ED in four different periods.

Main Outcome Measures: discharge from ED, admission to hospital wards (low and high intensity of care), short term in-hospital mortality, hospital length of stay. The association between patients' characteristics and the main outcomes was measured using multivariable logistic models.

Results: age of patients increased significantly from March to April, together with female prevalence and associated comorbid conditions. A significant difference in symptoms at presentation was not observed nor it was in laboratory test results. Severity at triage and need of intensive care resources were higher in the first weeks, together with the typical clinical presentation with respiratory failure and imaging with signs of bilateral interstitial pneumonia. Accordingly, in-hospital mortality was higher in the first period. Nevertheless, nearly half of patients in the first period were discharged directly from ED showing mild COVID-19 cases. On the contrary, in April an increasing need of hospitalisation in low intensity of care beds was observed, whereas mild cases stopped to access the ED.

Conclusions: the results of this study suggest that in few weeks of COVID-19 epidemic both management of the patients at the hospital level - and probably at territorial level resulting in a different population who accessed to the ED - and the clinical characteristics of the COVID-19 patients changed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.19191/EP20.5-6.S2.120DOI Listing
January 2021

[Covid-19 and clinical-epidemiological research in Italy: proposal of a research agenda on priority topics by the Italian association of epidemiology].

Epidemiol Prev 2020 Sep-Dec;44(5-6 Suppl 2):51-59

Istituto per la ricerca e l'innovazione biomedica, Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche, Palermo.

Background: the Covid-19 pandemic has provoked a huge of clinical and epidemiological research initiatives, especially in the most involved countries. However, this very large effort was characterized by several methodological weaknesses, both in the field of discovering effective treatments (with too many small and uncontrolled trials) and in the field of identifying preventable risks and prognostic factors (with too few large, representative and well-designed cohorts or case-control studies).

Objectives: in response to the fragmented and uncoordinated research production on Covid-19, the   italian Association of Epidemiology (AIE) stimulated the formation of a working group (WG) with the aims of identifying the most important gaps in knowledge and to propose a structured research agenda of clinical and epidemiological studies considered at high priority on Covid-19, including recommendations on the preferable methodology.

Methods: the WG was composed by 25 subjects, mainly epidemiologists, statisticians, and other experts in specific fields, who have voluntarily agreed to the proposal. The agreement on a list of main research questions and on the structure of the specific documents to be produced were defined through few meetings and cycles of document exchanges.

Results: twelve main research questions on Covid-19 were identified, covering aetiology, prognosis, interventions, follow-up and impact on general and specific populations (children, pregnant women). For each of them, a two-page form was developed, structured in: background, main topics, methods (with recommendations on preferred study design and warnings for bias prevention) and an essential bibliography.

Conclusions: this research agenda represents an initial contribution to direct clinical and epidemiological research efforts on high priority topics with a focus on methodological aspects. Further development and refinements of this agenda by Public Health Authorities are encouraged.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.19191/EP20.5-6.S2.103DOI Listing
January 2021

Development and validation of a lifestyle-based model for colorectal cancer risk prediction: the LiFeCRC score.

BMC Med 2021 Jan 4;19(1). Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Public Health Directorate, Asturias, Spain.

Background: Nutrition and lifestyle have been long established as risk factors for colorectal cancer (CRC). Modifiable lifestyle behaviours bear potential to minimize long-term CRC risk; however, translation of lifestyle information into individualized CRC risk assessment has not been implemented. Lifestyle-based risk models may aid the identification of high-risk individuals, guide referral to screening and motivate behaviour change. We therefore developed and validated a lifestyle-based CRC risk prediction algorithm in an asymptomatic European population.

Methods: The model was based on data from 255,482 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study aged 19 to 70 years who were free of cancer at study baseline (1992-2000) and were followed up to 31 September 2010. The model was validated in a sample comprising 74,403 participants selected among five EPIC centres. Over a median follow-up time of 15 years, there were 3645 and 981 colorectal cancer cases in the derivation and validation samples, respectively. Variable selection algorithms in Cox proportional hazard regression and random survival forest (RSF) were used to identify the best predictors among plausible predictor variables. Measures of discrimination and calibration were calculated in derivation and validation samples. To facilitate model communication, a nomogram and a web-based application were developed.

Results: The final selection model included age, waist circumference, height, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, vegetables, dairy products, processed meat, and sugar and confectionary. The risk score demonstrated good discrimination overall and in sex-specific models. Harrell's C-index was 0.710 in the derivation cohort and 0.714 in the validation cohort. The model was well calibrated and showed strong agreement between predicted and observed risk. Random survival forest analysis suggested high model robustness. Beyond age, lifestyle data led to improved model performance overall (continuous net reclassification improvement = 0.307 (95% CI 0.264-0.352)), and especially for young individuals below 45 years (continuous net reclassification improvement = 0.364 (95% CI 0.084-0.575)).

Conclusions: LiFeCRC score based on age and lifestyle data accurately identifies individuals at risk for incident colorectal cancer in European populations and could contribute to improved prevention through motivating lifestyle change at an individual level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01826-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7780676PMC
January 2021

Plant foods, dietary fibre and risk of ischaemic heart disease in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 03;50(1):212-222

Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section of Sustainable Health/Nutritional Research, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Background: Epidemiological evidence indicates that diets rich in plant foods are associated with a lower risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), but there is sparse information on fruit and vegetable subtypes and sources of dietary fibre. This study examined the associations of major plant foods, their subtypes and dietary fibre with risk of IHD in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of 490 311 men and women without a history of myocardial infarction or stroke at recruitment (12.6 years of follow-up, n cases = 8504), in 10 European countries. Dietary intake was assessed using validated questionnaires, calibrated with 24-h recalls. Multivariable Cox regressions were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) of IHD.

Results: There was a lower risk of IHD with a higher intake of fruit and vegetables combined [HR per 200 g/day higher intake 0.94, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.90-0.99, P-trend = 0.009], and with total fruits (per 100 g/day 0.97, 0.95-1.00, P-trend = 0.021). There was no evidence for a reduced risk for fruit subtypes, except for bananas. Risk was lower with higher intakes of nuts and seeds (per 10 g/day 0.90, 0.82-0.98, P-trend = 0.020), total fibre (per 10 g/day 0.91, 0.85-0.98, P-trend = 0.015), fruit and vegetable fibre (per 4 g/day 0.95, 0.91-0.99, P-trend = 0.022) and fruit fibre (per 2 g/day 0.97, 0.95-1.00, P-trend = 0.045). No associations were observed between vegetables, vegetables subtypes, legumes, cereals and IHD risk.

Conclusions: In this large prospective study, we found some small inverse associations between plant foods and IHD risk, with fruit and vegetables combined being the most strongly inversely associated with risk. Whether these small associations are causal remains unclear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938513PMC
March 2021

The impact of lifecourse socio-economic position and individual social mobility on breast cancer risk.

BMC Cancer 2020 Nov 23;20(1):1138. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

UMR LEASP, Université de Toulouse III, UPS, Inserm, Toulouse, France.

Background: Women with an advantaged socioeconomic position (SEP) have a higher risk of developing breast cancer (BC). The reasons for this association do not seem to be limited to reproductive factors and remain to be understood. We aimed to investigate the impact of lifecourse SEP from childhood and social mobility on the risk of BC considering a broad set of potential mediators.

Methods: We used a discovery-replication strategy in two European prospective cohorts, E3N (N = 83,436) and EPIC-Italy (N = 20,530). In E3N, 7877 women were diagnosed with BC during a median 24.4 years of follow-up, while in EPIC-Italy, 893 BC cases were diagnosed within 15.1 years. Hazard ratios (HR) were estimated using Cox proportional hazard models on imputed data.

Results: In E3N, women with higher education had a higher risk of BC (HR [95%CI] = 1.21 [1.12, 1.30]). This association was attenuated by adjusting for reproductive factors, in particular age at first childbirth (HR[95%CI] = 1.13 [1.04, 1.22]). Health behaviours, anthropometric variables, and BC screening had a weaker effect on the association. Women who remained in a stable advantaged SEP had a higher risk of BC (HR [95%CI] = 1.24 [1.07; 1.43]) attenuated after adjustment for potential mediators (HR [95%CI] = 1.13 [0.98; 1.31]). These results were replicated in EPIC-Italy.

Conclusions: These results confirm the important role of reproductive factors in the social gradient in BC risk, which does not appear to be fully explained by the large set of potential mediators, including cancer screening, suggesting that further research is needed to identify additional mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-020-07648-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7684912PMC
November 2020

Genome-wide association analysis of type 2 diabetes in the EPIC-InterAct study.

Sci Data 2020 11 13;7(1):393. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a global public health challenge. Whilst the advent of genome-wide association studies has identified >400 genetic variants associated with T2D, our understanding of its biological mechanisms and translational insights is still limited. The EPIC-InterAct project, centred in 8 countries in the European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition study, is one of the largest prospective studies of T2D. Established as a nested case-cohort study to investigate the interplay between genetic and lifestyle behavioural factors on the risk of T2D, a total of 12,403 individuals were identified as incident T2D cases, and a representative sub-cohort of 16,154 individuals was selected from a larger cohort of 340,234 participants with a follow-up time of 3.99 million person-years. We describe the results from a genome-wide association analysis between more than 8.9 million SNPs and T2D risk among 22,326 individuals (9,978 cases and 12,348 non-cases) from the EPIC-InterAct study. The summary statistics to be shared provide a valuable resource to facilitate further investigations into the genetics of T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-00716-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666191PMC
November 2020

Risk of digestive cancers in a cohort of 69 460 five-year survivors of childhood cancer in Europe: the PanCareSurFup study.

Gut 2020 Nov 2. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Survivors of childhood cancer are at risk of subsequent primary neoplasms (SPNs), but the risk of developing specific digestive SPNs beyond age 40 years remains uncertain. We investigated risks of specific digestive SPNs within the largest available cohort worldwide.

Methods: The PanCareSurFup cohort includes 69 460 five-year survivors of childhood cancer from 12 countries in Europe. Risks of digestive SPNs were quantified using standardised incidence ratios (SIRs), absolute excess risks and cumulative incidence.

Results: 427 digestive SPNs (214 colorectal, 62 liver, 48 stomach, 44 pancreas, 59 other) were diagnosed in 413 survivors. Wilms tumour (WT) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors were at greatest risk (SIR 12.1; 95% CI 9.6 to 15.1; SIR 7.3; 95% CI 5.9 to 9.0, respectively). The cumulative incidence increased the most steeply with increasing age for WT survivors, reaching 7.4% by age 55% and 9.6% by age 60 years (1.0% expected based on general population rates). Regarding colorectal SPNs, WT and HL survivors were at greatest risk; both seven times that expected. By age 55 years, 2.3% of both WT (95% CI 1.4 to 3.9) and HL (95% CI 1.6 to 3.2) survivors had developed a colorectal SPN-comparable to the risk among members of the general population with at least two first-degree relatives affected.

Conclusions: Colonoscopy surveillance before age 55 is recommended in many European countries for individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer, but not for WT and HL survivors despite a comparable risk profile. Clinically, serious consideration should be given to the implementation of colonoscopy surveillance while further evaluation of its benefits, harms and cost-effectiveness in WT and HL survivors is undertaken.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322237DOI Listing
November 2020

Association between anthropometry and lifestyle factors and risk of B-cell lymphoma: An exposome-wide analysis.

Int J Cancer 2021 05 12;148(9):2115-2128. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Department of Oncology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

To better understand the role of individual and lifestyle factors in human disease, an exposome-wide association study was performed to investigate within a single-study anthropometry measures and lifestyle factors previously associated with B-cell lymphoma (BCL). Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition study, 2402 incident BCL cases were diagnosed from 475 426 participants that were followed-up on average 14 years. Standard and penalized Cox regression models as well as principal component analysis (PCA) were used to evaluate 84 exposures in relation to BCL risk. Standard and penalized Cox regression models showed a positive association between anthropometric measures and BCL and multiple myeloma/plasma cell neoplasm (MM). The penalized Cox models additionally showed the association between several exposures from categories of physical activity, smoking status, medical history, socioeconomic position, diet and BCL and/or the subtypes. PCAs confirmed the individual associations but also showed additional observations. The PC5 including anthropometry, was positively associated with BCL, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and MM. There was a significant positive association between consumption of sugar and confectionary (PC11) and follicular lymphoma risk, and an inverse association between fish and shellfish and Vitamin D (PC15) and DLBCL risk. The PC1 including features of the Mediterranean diet and diet with lower inflammatory score showed an inverse association with BCL risk, while the PC7, including dairy, was positively associated with BCL and DLBCL risk. Physical activity (PC10) was positively associated with DLBCL risk among women. This study provided informative insights on the etiology of BCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33369DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048490PMC
May 2021

Pregnancy outcomes and risk of endometrial cancer: A pooled analysis of individual participant data in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium.

Int J Cancer 2021 05 17;148(9):2068-2078. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Orbassano, Italy.

A full-term pregnancy is associated with reduced endometrial cancer risk; however, whether the effect of additional pregnancies is independent of age at last pregnancy is unknown. The associations between other pregnancy-related factors and endometrial cancer risk are less clear. We pooled individual participant data from 11 cohort and 19 case-control studies participating in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2) including 16 986 women with endometrial cancer and 39 538 control women. We used one- and two-stage meta-analytic approaches to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs) for the association between exposures and endometrial cancer risk. Ever having a full-term pregnancy was associated with a 41% reduction in risk of endometrial cancer compared to never having a full-term pregnancy (OR = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.56-0.63). The risk reduction appeared the greatest for the first full-term pregnancy (OR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.72-0.84), with a further ~15% reduction per pregnancy up to eight pregnancies (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.14-0.28) that was independent of age at last full-term pregnancy. Incomplete pregnancy was also associated with decreased endometrial cancer risk (7%-9% reduction per pregnancy). Twin births appeared to have the same effect as singleton pregnancies. Our pooled analysis shows that, while the magnitude of the risk reduction is greater for a full-term pregnancy than an incomplete pregnancy, each additional pregnancy is associated with further reduction in endometrial cancer risk, independent of age at last full-term pregnancy. These results suggest that the very high progesterone level in the last trimester of pregnancy is not the sole explanation for the protective effect of pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7969437PMC
May 2021

The association between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D metabolites and type 2 diabetes in European populations: A meta-analysis and Mendelian randomisation analysis.

PLoS Med 2020 10 16;17(10):e1003394. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Background: Prior research suggested a differential association of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) metabolites with type 2 diabetes (T2D), with total 25(OH)D and 25(OH)D3 inversely associated with T2D, but the epimeric form (C3-epi-25(OH)D3) positively associated with T2D. Whether or not these observational associations are causal remains uncertain. We aimed to examine the potential causality of these associations using Mendelian randomisation (MR) analysis.

Methods And Findings: We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for total 25(OH)D (N = 120,618), 25(OH)D3 (N = 40,562), and C3-epi-25(OH)D3 (N = 40,562) in participants of European descent (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition [EPIC]-InterAct study, EPIC-Norfolk study, EPIC-CVD study, Ely study, and the SUNLIGHT consortium). We identified genetic variants for MR analysis to investigate the causal association of the 25(OH)D metabolites with T2D (including 80,983 T2D cases and 842,909 non-cases). We also estimated the observational association of 25(OH)D metabolites with T2D by performing random effects meta-analysis of results from previous studies and results from the EPIC-InterAct study. We identified 10 genetic loci associated with total 25(OH)D, 7 loci associated with 25(OH)D3 and 3 loci associated with C3-epi-25(OH)D3. Based on the meta-analysis of observational studies, each 1-standard deviation (SD) higher level of 25(OH)D was associated with a 20% lower risk of T2D (relative risk [RR]: 0.80; 95% CI 0.77, 0.84; p < 0.001), but a genetically predicted 1-SD increase in 25(OH)D was not significantly associated with T2D (odds ratio [OR]: 0.96; 95% CI 0.89, 1.03; p = 0.23); this result was consistent across sensitivity analyses. In EPIC-InterAct, 25(OH)D3 (per 1-SD) was associated with a lower risk of T2D (RR: 0.81; 95% CI 0.77, 0.86; p < 0.001), while C3-epi-25(OH)D3 (above versus below lower limit of quantification) was positively associated with T2D (RR: 1.12; 95% CI 1.03, 1.22; p = 0.006), but neither 25(OH)D3 (OR: 0.97; 95% CI 0.93, 1.01; p = 0.14) nor C3-epi-25(OH)D3 (OR: 0.98; 95% CI 0.93, 1.04; p = 0.53) was causally associated with T2D risk in the MR analysis. Main limitations include the lack of a non-linear MR analysis and of the generalisability of the current findings from European populations to other populations of different ethnicities.

Conclusions: Our study found discordant associations of biochemically measured and genetically predicted differences in blood 25(OH)D with T2D risk. The findings based on MR analysis in a large sample of European ancestry do not support a causal association of total 25(OH)D or 25(OH)D metabolites with T2D and argue against the use of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003394DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567390PMC
October 2020

Weight change in middle adulthood and risk of cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Int J Cancer 2021 04 9;148(7):1637-1651. Epub 2020 Nov 9.

Unit of Cancer Epidemiology, Città della Salute e della Scienza University-Hospital and Center for Cancer Prevention (CPO), Turin, Italy.

Obesity is a risk factor for several major cancers. Associations of weight change in middle adulthood with cancer risk, however, are less clear. We examined the association of change in weight and body mass index (BMI) category during middle adulthood with 42 cancers, using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Of 241 323 participants (31% men), 20% lost and 32% gained weight (>0.4 to 5.0 kg/year) during 6.9 years (average). During 8.0 years of follow-up after the second weight assessment, 20 960 incident cancers were ascertained. Independent of baseline BMI, weight gain (per one kg/year increment) was positively associated with cancer of the corpus uteri (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.14; 95% confidence interval: 1.05-1.23). Compared to stable weight (±0.4 kg/year), weight gain (>0.4 to 5.0 kg/year) was positively associated with cancers of the gallbladder and bile ducts (HR = 1.41; 1.01-1.96), postmenopausal breast (HR = 1.08; 1.00-1.16) and thyroid (HR = 1.40; 1.04-1.90). Compared to maintaining normal weight, maintaining overweight or obese BMI (World Health Organisation categories) was positively associated with most obesity-related cancers. Compared to maintaining the baseline BMI category, weight gain to a higher BMI category was positively associated with cancers of the postmenopausal breast (HR = 1.19; 1.06-1.33), ovary (HR = 1.40; 1.04-1.91), corpus uteri (HR = 1.42; 1.06-1.91), kidney (HR = 1.80; 1.20-2.68) and pancreas in men (HR = 1.81; 1.11-2.95). Losing weight to a lower BMI category, however, was inversely associated with cancers of the corpus uteri (HR = 0.40; 0.23-0.69) and colon (HR = 0.69; 0.52-0.92). Our findings support avoiding weight gain and encouraging weight loss in middle adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33339DOI Listing
April 2021

Association between nutritional profiles of foods underlying Nutri-Score front-of-pack labels and mortality: EPIC cohort study in 10 European countries.

BMJ 2020 09 16;370:m3173. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

AOU Federico II, Naples, Italy.

Objective: To determine if the Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system (FSAm-NPS), which grades the nutritional quality of food products and is used to derive the Nutri-Score front-of-packet label to guide consumers towards healthier food choices, is associated with mortality.

Design: Population based cohort study.

Setting: European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort from 23 centres in 10 European countries.

Participants: 521 324 adults; at recruitment, country specific and validated dietary questionnaires were used to assess their usual dietary intakes. A FSAm-NPS score was calculated for each food item per 100 g content of energy, sugars, saturated fatty acids, sodium, fibre, and protein, and of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. The FSAm-NPS dietary index was calculated for each participant as an energy weighted mean of the FSAm-NPS score of all foods consumed. The higher the score the lower the overall nutritional quality of the diet.

Main Outcome Measure: Associations between the FSAm-NPS dietary index score and mortality, assessed using multivariable adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models.

Results: After exclusions, 501 594 adults (median follow-up 17.2 years, 8 162 730 person years) were included in the analyses. Those with a higher FSAm-NPS dietary index score (highest versus lowest fifth) showed an increased risk of all cause mortality (n=53 112 events from non-external causes; hazard ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.10, P<0.001 for trend) and mortality from cancer (1.08, 1.03 to 1.13, P<0.001 for trend) and diseases of the circulatory (1.04, 0.98 to 1.11, P=0.06 for trend), respiratory (1.39, 1.22 to 1.59, P<0.001), and digestive (1.22, 1.02 to 1.45, P=0.03 for trend) systems. The age standardised absolute rates for all cause mortality per 10 000 persons over 10 years were 760 (men=1237; women=563) for those in the highest fifth of the FSAm-NPS dietary index score and 661 (men=1008; women=518) for those in the lowest fifth.

Conclusions: In this large multinational European cohort, consuming foods with a higher FSAm-NPS score (lower nutritional quality) was associated with a higher mortality for all causes and for cancer and diseases of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems, supporting the relevance of FSAm-NPS to characterise healthier food choices in the context of public health policies (eg, the Nutri-Score) for European populations. This is important considering ongoing discussions about the potential implementation of a unique nutrition labelling system at the European Union level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7491938PMC
September 2020

A Body Shape Index (ABSI) achieves better mortality risk stratification than alternative indices of abdominal obesity: results from a large European cohort.

Sci Rep 2020 09 3;10(1):14541. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Andalusian School of Public Health (EASP), Granada, Spain.

Abdominal and general adiposity are independently associated with mortality, but there is no consensus on how best to assess abdominal adiposity. We compared the ability of alternative waist indices to complement body mass index (BMI) when assessing all-cause mortality. We used data from 352,985 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for other risk factors. During a mean follow-up of 16.1 years, 38,178 participants died. Combining in one model BMI and a strongly correlated waist index altered the association patterns with mortality, to a predominantly negative association for BMI and a stronger positive association for the waist index, while combining BMI with the uncorrelated A Body Shape Index (ABSI) preserved the association patterns. Sex-specific cohort-wide quartiles of waist indices correlated with BMI could not separate high-risk from low-risk individuals within underweight (BMI < 18.5 kg/m) or obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m) categories, while the highest quartile of ABSI separated 18-39% of the individuals within each BMI category, which had 22-55% higher risk of death. In conclusion, only a waist index independent of BMI by design, such as ABSI, complements BMI and enables efficient risk stratification, which could facilitate personalisation of screening, treatment and monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-71302-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7471961PMC
September 2020

Circulating bilirubin levels and risk of colorectal cancer: serological and Mendelian randomization analyses.

BMC Med 2020 09 3;18(1):229. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Public Health Directorate, Asturias, Spain.

Background: Bilirubin, a byproduct of hemoglobin breakdown and purported anti-oxidant, is thought to be cancer preventive. We conducted complementary serological and Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses to investigate whether alterations in circulating levels of bilirubin are associated with risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). We decided a priori to perform analyses separately in men and women based on suggestive evidence that associations may differ by sex.

Methods: In a case-control study nested in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), pre-diagnostic unconjugated bilirubin (UCB, the main component of total bilirubin) concentrations were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography in plasma samples of 1386 CRC cases and their individually matched controls. Additionally, 115 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) robustly associated (P < 5 × 10) with circulating total bilirubin were instrumented in a 2-sample MR to test for a potential causal effect of bilirubin on CRC risk in 52,775 CRC cases and 45,940 matched controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO), the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR), and the Colorectal Transdisciplinary (CORECT) study.

Results: The associations between circulating UCB levels and CRC risk differed by sex (P = 0.008). Among men, higher levels of UCB were positively associated with CRC risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04-1.36; per 1-SD increment of log-UCB). In women, an inverse association was observed (OR = 0.86 (0.76-0.97)). In the MR analysis of the main UGT1A1 SNP (rs6431625), genetically predicted higher levels of total bilirubin were associated with a 7% increase in CRC risk in men (OR = 1.07 (1.02-1.12); P = 0.006; per 1-SD increment of total bilirubin), while there was no association in women (OR = 1.01 (0.96-1.06); P = 0.73). Raised bilirubin levels, predicted by instrumental variables excluding rs6431625, were suggestive of an inverse association with CRC in men, but not in women. These differences by sex did not reach formal statistical significance (P ≥ 0.2).

Conclusions: Additional insight into the relationship between circulating bilirubin and CRC is needed in order to conclude on a potential causal role of bilirubin in CRC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01703-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7469292PMC
September 2020

A multi-omics approach to investigate the inflammatory response to life course socioeconomic position.

Epigenomics 2020 08 2;12(15):1287-1302. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

LEASP, UMR 1027, Inserm-Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.

Inflammation represents a potential pathway through which socioeconomic position (SEP) is biologically embedded. We analyzed inflammatory biomarkers in response to life course SEP by integrating multi-omics DNA-methylation, gene expression and protein level in 178 European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Italy participants. We identified 61 potential acting CpG loci whose methylation levels were associated with gene expression at a Bonferroni correction. We examined the relationships between life course SEP and these 61 -acting regulatory methylation sites individually and jointly using several scores. Less-advantaged SEP participants exhibit, later in life, a lower inflammatory methylome score, suggesting an overall increased expression of the corresponding inflammatory genes or proteins, supporting the hypothesis that SEP impacts adult physiology through inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/epi-2019-0261DOI Listing
August 2020

Replacement of Red and Processed Meat With Other Food Sources of Protein and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in European Populations: The EPIC-InterAct Study.

Diabetes Care 2020 11 31;43(11):2660-2667. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain.

Objective: There is sparse evidence for the association of suitable food substitutions for red and processed meat on the risk of type 2 diabetes. We modeled the association between replacing red and processed meat with other protein sources and the risk of type 2 diabetes and estimated its population impact.

Research Design And Methods: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-InterAct case cohort included 11,741 individuals with type 2 diabetes and a subcohort of 15,450 participants in eight countries. We modeled the replacement of self-reported red and processed meat with poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, cheese, cereals, yogurt, milk, and nuts. Country-specific hazard ratios (HRs) for incident type 2 diabetes were estimated by Prentice-weighted Cox regression and pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: There was a lower hazard for type 2 diabetes for the modeled replacement of red and processed meat (50 g/day) with cheese (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.97) (30 g/day), yogurt (0.90, 0.86-0.95) (70 g/day), nuts (0.90, 0.84-0.96) (10 g/day), or cereals (0.92, 0.88-0.96) (30 g/day) but not for replacements with poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, or milk. If a causal association is assumed, replacing red and processed meat with cheese, yogurt, or nuts could prevent 8.8%, 8.3%, or 7.5%, respectively, of new cases of type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions: Replacement of red and processed meat with cheese, yogurt, nuts, or cereals was associated with a lower rate of type 2 diabetes. Substituting red and processed meat by other protein sources may contribute to the prevention of incident type 2 diabetes in European populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-1038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7576430PMC
November 2020
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