Publications by authors named "Cornelia M Ulrich"

358 Publications

Circulating tryptophan metabolites and risk of colon cancer: Results from case-control and prospective cohort studies.

Int J Cancer 2021 Jul 1. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

Dysregulation of tryptophan metabolism has been linked to colorectal tumorigenesis; however, epidemiological studies investigating tryptophan metabolites in relation to colorectal cancer risk are limited. We studied associations of plasma tryptophan, serotonin and kynurenine with colon cancer risk in two studies with cancer patients and controls, and in one prospective cohort: ColoCare Study (110 patients/153 controls), the Colorectal Cancer Study of Austria (CORSA; 46 patients/390 controls) and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC; 456 matched case-control pairs). Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for colon cancer risk. Tryptophan was inversely associated with colon cancer risk in ColoCare (OR per 1-SD = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.31-0.64) and EPIC (OR per 1-SD = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74-0.99). Comparing detectable vs nondetectable levels, serotonin was positively associated with colon cancer in CORSA (OR = 6.39; 95% CI, 3.61-11.3) and EPIC (OR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.20-3.40). Kynurenine was inversely associated with colon cancer in ColoCare (OR per 1-SD = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55-0.98), positively associated in CORSA (OR per 1-SD = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.27-2.52), while no association was observed in EPIC. The kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio was positively associated with colon cancer in ColoCare (OR per 1-SD = 1.38; 95% CI, 1.03-1.84) and CORSA (OR per 1-SD = 1.44; 95% CI, 1.06-1.96), but not in EPIC. These results suggest that higher plasma tryptophan may be associated with lower colon cancer risk, while increased serotonin may be associated with a higher risk of colon cancer. The kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio may also reflect altered tryptophan catabolism during colon cancer development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33725DOI Listing
July 2021

Improving Electronic Survey Response Rates Among Cancer Center Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Pilot Study.

JMIR Cancer 2021 Jun 15. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, US.

Background: Surveys play a vital role in cancer research. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of electronic surveys is crucial to improve understanding of the patient experience. However, response rates to electronic survey are often lower compared to paper surveys.

Objective: Our goal was to determine the best approach to improve response rates for an electronic survey administered to patients at a cancer center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We contacted 2,750 patients seen at Moffitt Cancer Center in the prior five years via email to complete a survey regarding their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, with patients randomly assigned to a series of variations of pre-notifications (i.e., postcard, letter) or incentives (i.e., small gift, modest gift card). In total, eight combinations were evaluated. Qualitative interviews were conducted to understand the level of patient understanding and burden with the survey, and quantitative analysis evaluated the response rates between conditions.

Results: A total of 262 (9.5%) patients completed the survey, and 9 participated in a qualitative interview. Interviews revealed minimal barriers in understanding or burden and resulted in minor survey design changes. Compared to sending an email only, sending a postcard or letter prior to the email improved response rates from 3.7% to 9.8%. Similarly, inclusion of an incentive significantly increased response the rate from 5.4% to 16.7%, especially among racial (3.0% to 12.2%) and ethnic minorities (6.4% to 21.0%) as well as patients with low socioeconomic status (3.1% to 14.9%).

Conclusions: Strategies to promote effective response rates include pre-notification postcards or letters as well as monetary incentives. This work can inform future survey development to increase response rates for electronic surveys, particularly among hard-to-reach populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/30265DOI Listing
June 2021

Understanding the Prevalence of Prediabetes and Diabetes in Patients With Cancer in Clinical Practice: A Real-World Cohort Study.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2021 Mar 10;19(6):709-718. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

2Huntsman Cancer Institute, and.

Background: This study aimed to understand the prevalence of prediabetes (preDM) and diabetes mellitus (DM) in patients with cancer overall and by tumor site, cancer treatment, and time point in the cancer continuum.

Methods: This cohort study was conducted at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. Patients with a first primary invasive cancer enrolled in the Total Cancer Care protocol between July 2016 and July 2018 were eligible. Prevalence of preDM and DM was based on ICD code, laboratory tests for hemoglobin A1c, fasting plasma glucose, nonfasting blood glucose, or insulin prescription.

Results: The final cohort comprised 3,512 patients with cancer, with a mean age of 57.8 years at cancer diagnosis. Of all patients, 49.1% (n=1,724) were female. At cancer diagnosis, the prevalence of preDM and DM was 6.0% (95% CI, 5.3%-6.8%) and 12.2% (95% CI, 11.2%-13.3%), respectively. One year after diagnosis the prevalence was 16.6% (95% CI, 15.4%-17.9%) and 25.0% (95% CI, 23.6%-26.4%), respectively. At the end of the observation period, the prevalence of preDM and DM was 21.2% (95% CI, 19.9%-22.6%) and 32.6% (95% CI, 31.1%-34.2%), respectively. Patients with myeloma (39.2%; 95% CI, 32.6%-46.2%) had the highest prevalence of preDM, and those with pancreatic cancer had the highest prevalence of DM (65.1%; 95% CI, 57.0%-72.3%). Patients who underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy had a higher prevalence of preDM and DM compared with those who did not undergo these therapies.

Conclusions: Every second patient with cancer experiences preDM or DM. It is essential to foster interprofessional collaboration and to develop evidence-based practice guidelines. A better understanding of the impact of cancer treatment on the development of preDM and DM remains critical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2020.7653DOI Listing
March 2021

Associations of circulating choline and its related metabolites with cardiometabolic biomarkers: an international pooled analysis.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 May 21. Epub 2021 May 21.

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Choline is an essential nutrient; however, the associations of choline and its related metabolites with cardiometabolic risk remain unclear.

Objective: We examined the associations of circulating choline, betaine, carnitine, and dimethylglycine (DMG) with cardiometabolic biomarkers and their potential dietary and nondietary determinants.

Methods: The cross-sectional analyses included 32,853 participants from 17 studies, who were free of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease. In each study, metabolites and biomarkers were log-transformed and standardized by means and SDs, and linear regression coefficients (β) and 95% CIs were estimated with adjustments for potential confounders. Study-specific results were combined by random-effects meta-analyses. A false discovery rate <0.05 was considered significant.

Results: We observed moderate positive associations of circulating choline, carnitine, and DMG with creatinine [β (95% CI): 0.136 (0.084, 0.188), 0.106 (0.045, 0.168), and 0.128 (0.087, 0.169), respectively, for each SD increase in biomarkers on the log scale], carnitine with triglycerides (β = 0.076; 95% CI: 0.042, 0.109), homocysteine (β = 0.064; 95% CI: 0.033, 0.095), and LDL cholesterol (β = 0.055; 95% CI: 0.013, 0.096), DMG with homocysteine (β = 0.068; 95% CI: 0.023, 0.114), insulin (β = 0.068; 95% CI: 0.043, 0.093), and IL-6 (β = 0.060; 95% CI: 0.027, 0.094), but moderate inverse associations of betaine with triglycerides (β = -0.146; 95% CI: -0.188, -0.104), insulin (β = -0.106; 95% CI: -0.130, -0.082), homocysteine (β = -0.097; 95% CI: -0.149, -0.045), and total cholesterol (β = -0.074; 95% CI: -0.102, -0.047). In the whole pooled population, no dietary factor was associated with circulating choline; red meat intake was associated with circulating carnitine [β = 0.092 (0.042, 0.142) for a 1 serving/d increase], whereas plant protein was associated with circulating betaine [β = 0.249 (0.110, 0.388) for a 5% energy increase]. Demographics, lifestyle, and metabolic disease history showed differential associations with these metabolites.

Conclusions: Circulating choline, carnitine, and DMG were associated with unfavorable cardiometabolic risk profiles, whereas circulating betaine was associated with a favorable cardiometabolic risk profile. Future prospective studies are needed to examine the associations of these metabolites with incident cardiovascular events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab152DOI Listing
May 2021

Fusobacterium nucleatum and Clinicopathologic Features of Colorectal Cancer: Results From the ColoCare Study.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2021 Feb 27. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT; Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Background: Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn), a bacterium associated with a wide spectrum of infections, has emerged as a key microbe in colorectal carcinogenesis. However, the underlying mechanisms and clinical relevance of Fn in colorectal cancer (CRC) remain incompletely understood.

Patients And Methods: We examined associations between Fn abundance and clinicopathologic characteristics among 105 treatment-naïve CRC patients enrolled in the international, prospective ColoCare Study. Electronic medical charts, including pathological reports, were reviewed to document clinicopathologic features. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify/detect Fn DNA in preoperative fecal samples. Multinomial logistic regression was used to analyze associations between Fn abundance and patient sex, age, tumor stage, grade, site, microsatellite instability, body mass index (BMI), alcohol consumption, and smoking history. Cox proportional hazards models were used to investigate associations of Fn abundance with overall survival in adjusted models.

Results: Compared to patients with undetectable or low Fn abundance, patients with high Fn abundance (n = 22) were 3-fold more likely to be diagnosed with rectal versus colon cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 3.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-8.57; P = .04) after adjustment for patient sex, age, BMI, and study site. Patients with high Fn abundance also had a 5-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with rectal cancer versus right-sided colon cancer (OR = 5.32; 95% CI, 1.23-22.98; P = .03). There was no statistically significant association between Fn abundance and overall survival.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that Fn abundance in fecal samples collected prior to surgery varies by tumor site among treatment-naïve CRC patients. Overall, fecal Fn abundance may have diagnostic and prognostic significance in the clinical management of CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2021.02.007DOI Listing
February 2021

Adherence and Dietary Composition during Intermittent vs. Continuous Calorie Restriction: Follow-Up Data from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Adults with Overweight or Obesity.

Nutrients 2021 Apr 5;13(4). Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Although intermittent calorie restriction (ICR) has become popular as an alternative weight loss strategy to continuous calorie restriction (CCR), there is insufficient evidence on diet quality during ICR and on its feasibility over longer time periods. Thus, we compared dietary composition and adherence between ICR and CCR in a follow-up analysis of a randomized trial. A total of 98 participants with overweight or obesity [BMI (kg/m) 25-39.9, 35-65 years, 49% females] were randomly assigned to ICR, operationalized as a "5:2 diet" (energy intake: ~100% on five non-restricted (NR) days, ~25% on two restricted (R) days), or CCR (daily energy intake: ~80%). The trial included a 12-week (wk) intervention phase, and follow-up assessments at wk24, wk50 and wk102. Apart from a higher proportion of energy intake from protein with ICR vs. CCR during the intervention (wk2: < 0.001; wk12: = 0.002), there were no significant differences with respect to changes in dietary composition over time between the groups, while overall adherence to the interventions appeared to be good. No significant difference between ICR and CCR regarding weight change at wk102 was observed ( = 0.63). However, self-reported adherence was worse for ICR than CCR, with 71.1% vs. 32.5% of the participants reporting not to or only rarely have followed the regimen to which they were assigned between wk50 and wk102. These results indicate that within a weight management setting, ICR and CCR were equivalent in achieving modest weight loss over two years while affecting dietary composition in a comparable manner.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13041195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067073PMC
April 2021

Can Cost-effectiveness Analysis Inform Genotype-Guided Aspirin Use for Primary Colorectal Cancer Prevention?

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Jun 13;30(6):1106-1113. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Background: Inherited genetic variants can modify the cancer-chemopreventive effect of aspirin. We evaluated the clinical and economic value of genotype-guided aspirin use for colorectal cancer chemoprevention in average-risk individuals.

Methods: A decision analytical model compared genotype-guided aspirin use versus no genetic testing, no aspirin. The model simulated 100,000 adults ≥50 years of age with average colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease risk. Low-dose aspirin daily starting at age 50 years was recommended only for those with a genetic test result indicating a greater reduction in colorectal cancer risk with aspirin use. The primary outcomes were quality-adjusted life-years (QALY), costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER).

Results: The mean cost of using genotype-guided aspirin was $187,109 with 19.922 mean QALYs compared with $186,464 with 19.912 QALYs for no genetic testing, no aspirin. Genotype-guided aspirin yielded an ICER of $66,243 per QALY gained, and was cost-effective in 58% of simulations at the $100,000 willingness-to-pay threshold. Genotype-guided aspirin was associated with 1,461 fewer polyps developed, 510 fewer colorectal cancer cases, and 181 fewer colorectal cancer-related deaths. This strategy prevented 1,078 myocardial infarctions with 1,430 gastrointestinal bleeding events, and 323 intracranial hemorrhage cases compared with no genetic testing, no aspirin.

Conclusions: Genotype-guided aspirin use for colorectal cancer chemoprevention may offer a cost-effective approach for the future management of average-risk individuals.

Impact: A genotype-guided aspirin strategy may prevent colorectal cancer, colorectal cancer-related deaths, and myocardial infarctions, while minimizing bleeding adverse events. This model establishes a framework for genetically-guided aspirin use for targeted chemoprevention of colorectal cancer with application toward commercial testing in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1580DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172453PMC
June 2021

Circulating trimethylamine N-oxide in association with diet and cardiometabolic biomarkers: an international pooled analysis.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 05;113(5):1145-1156

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a diet-derived, gut microbial-host cometabolite, has been linked to cardiometabolic diseases. However, the relations remain unclear between diet, TMAO, and cardiometabolic health in general populations from different regions and ethnicities.

Objectives: To examine associations of circulating TMAO with dietary and cardiometabolic factors in a pooled analysis of 16 population-based studies from the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Methods: Included were 32,166 adults (16,269 white, 13,293 Asian, 1247 Hispanic/Latino, 1236 black, and 121 others) without cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, or inflammatory bowel disease. Linear regression coefficients (β) were computed for standardized TMAO with harmonized variables. Study-specific results were combined by random-effects meta-analysis. A false discovery rate <0.10 was considered significant.

Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, circulating TMAO was associated with intakes of animal protein and saturated fat (β = 0.124 and 0.058, respectively, for a 5% energy increase) and with shellfish, total fish, eggs, and red meat (β = 0.370, 0.151, 0.081, and 0.056, respectively, for a 1 serving/d increase). Plant protein and nuts showed inverse associations (β = -0.126 for a 5% energy increase from plant protein and -0.123 for a 1 serving/d increase of nuts). Although the animal protein-TMAO association was consistent across populations, fish and shellfish associations were stronger in Asians (β = 0.285 and 0.578), and egg and red meat associations were more prominent in Americans (β = 0.153 and 0.093). Besides, circulating TMAO was positively associated with creatinine (β = 0.131 SD increase in log-TMAO), homocysteine (β = 0.065), insulin (β = 0.048), glycated hemoglobin (β = 0.048), and glucose (β = 0.023), whereas it was inversely associated with HDL cholesterol (β = -0.047) and blood pressure (β = -0.030). Each TMAO-biomarker association remained significant after further adjusting for creatinine and was robust in subgroup/sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: In an international, consortium-based study, animal protein was consistently associated with increased circulating TMAO, whereas TMAO associations with fish, shellfish, eggs, and red meat varied among populations. The adverse associations of TMAO with certain cardiometabolic biomarkers, independent of renal function, warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa430DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8106754PMC
May 2021

Postoperative Complications Are Associated with Long-Term Changes in the Gut Microbiota Following Colorectal Cancer Surgery.

Life (Basel) 2021 Mar 16;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Heidelberg University Hospital, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Changes in the gut microbiome have already been associated with postoperative complications in major abdominal surgery. However, it is still unclear whether these changes are transient or a long-lasting effect. Therefore, the aim of this prospective clinical pilot study was to examine long-term changes in the gut microbiota and to correlate these changes with the clinical course of the patient. Methods: In total, stool samples of 62 newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients undergoing primary tumor resection were analyzed by 16S-rDNA next-generation sequencing. Stool samples were collected preoperatively in order to determine the gut microbiome at baseline as well as at 6, 12, and 24 months thereafter to observe longitudinal changes. Postoperatively, the study patients were separated into two groups-patients who suffered from postoperative complications ( = 30) and those without complication ( = 32). Patients with postoperative complications showed a significantly stronger reduction in the alpha diversity starting 6 months after operation, which does not resolve, even after 24 months. The structure of the microbiome was also significantly altered from baseline at six-month follow-up in patients with complications ( = 0.006). This was associated with a long-lasting decrease of a large number of species in the gut microbiota indicating an impact in the commensal microbiota and a long-lasting increase of . The microbial composition of the gut microbiome shows significant changes in patients with postoperative complications up to 24 months after surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/life11030246DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8002283PMC
March 2021

Genetically predicted circulating concentrations of micronutrients and risk of colorectal cancer among individuals of European descent: a Mendelian randomization study.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 06;113(6):1490-1502

Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: The literature on associations of circulating concentrations of minerals and vitamins with risk of colorectal cancer is limited and inconsistent. Evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to support the efficacy of dietary modification or nutrient supplementation for colorectal cancer prevention is also limited.

Objectives: To complement observational and RCT findings, we investigated associations of genetically predicted concentrations of 11 micronutrients (β-carotene, calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and zinc) with colorectal cancer risk using Mendelian randomization (MR).

Methods: Two-sample MR was conducted using 58,221 individuals with colorectal cancer and 67,694 controls from the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, Colorectal Cancer Transdisciplinary Study, and Colon Cancer Family Registry. Inverse variance-weighted MR analyses were performed with sensitivity analyses to assess the impact of potential violations of MR assumptions.

Results: Nominally significant associations were noted for genetically predicted iron concentration and higher risk of colon cancer [ORs per SD (ORSD): 1.08; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.17; P value = 0.05] and similarly for proximal colon cancer, and for vitamin B-12 concentration and higher risk of colorectal cancer (ORSD: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.21; P value = 0.01) and similarly for colon cancer. A nominally significant association was also noted for genetically predicted selenium concentration and lower risk of colon cancer (ORSD: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.96, 1.00; P value = 0.05) and similarly for distal colon cancer. These associations were robust to sensitivity analyses. Nominally significant inverse associations were observed for zinc and risk of colorectal and distal colon cancers, but sensitivity analyses could not be performed. None of these findings survived correction for multiple testing. Genetically predicted concentrations of β-carotene, calcium, copper, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B-6 were not associated with disease risk.

Conclusions: These results suggest possible causal associations of circulating iron and vitamin B-12 (positively) and selenium (inversely) with risk of colon cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168352PMC
June 2021

Untargeted Metabolomics Reveals Major Differences in the Plasma Metabolome between Colorectal Cancer and Colorectal Adenomas.

Metabolites 2021 Feb 19;11(2). Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Sporadic colorectal cancer is characterized by a multistep progression from normal epithelium to precancerous low-risk and high-risk adenomas to invasive cancer. Yet, the underlying molecular mechanisms of colorectal carcinogenesis are not completely understood. Within the "Metabolomic profiles throughout the continuum of colorectal cancer" (MetaboCCC) consortium we analyzed data generated by untargeted, mass spectrometry-based metabolomics using plasma from 88 colorectal cancer patients, 200 patients with high-risk adenomas and 200 patients with low-risk adenomas recruited within the "Colorectal Cancer Study of Austria" (CORSA). Univariate logistic regression models comparing colorectal cancer to adenomas resulted in 442 statistically significant molecular features. Metabolites discriminating colorectal cancer patients from those with adenomas in our dataset included acylcarnitines, caffeine, amino acids, glycerophospholipids, fatty acids, bilirubin, bile acids and bacterial metabolites of tryptophan. The data obtained discovers metabolite profiles reflecting metabolic differences between colorectal cancer and colorectal adenomas and delineates a potentially underlying biological interpretation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo11020119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922413PMC
February 2021

Targeted Plasma Metabolic Profiles and Risk of Recurrence in Stage II and III Colorectal Cancer Patients: Results from an International Cohort Consortium.

Metabolites 2021 Feb 24;11(3). Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Huntsman Cancer Institute Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.

The identification of patients at high-risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) recurrence remains an unmet clinical need. The aim of this study was to investigate associations of metabolites with risk of recurrence in stage II/III CRC patients. A targeted metabolomics assay (128 metabolites measured) was performed on pre-surgery collected EDTA plasma samples from n = 440 newly diagnosed stage II/III CRC patients. Patients have been recruited from four prospective cohort studies as part of an international consortium: Metabolomic profiles throughout the continuum of CRC (MetaboCCC). Cox proportional hazard models were computed to investigate associations of metabolites with recurrence, adjusted for age, sex, tumor stage, tumor site, body mass index, and cohort; false discovery rate (FDR) was used to account for multiple testing. Sixty-nine patients (15%) had a recurrence after a median follow-up time of 20 months. We identified 13 metabolites that were nominally associated with a reduced risk of recurrence. None of the associations were statistically significant after controlling for multiple testing. Pathway topology analyses did not reveal statistically significant associations between recurrence and alterations in metabolic pathways (e.g., sphingolipid metabolism = 0.04; p = 1.00). To conclude, we did not observe statistically significant associations between metabolites and CRC recurrence using a well-established metabolomics assay. The observed results require follow-up in larger studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo11030129DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7996362PMC
February 2021

Circulating B-vitamin biomarkers and B-vitamin supplement use in relation to quality of life in patients with colorectal cancer: results from the FOCUS consortium.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 06;113(6):1468-1481

Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: B vitamins have been associated with the risk and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC), given their central roles in nucleotide synthesis and methylation, yet their association with quality of life in established CRC is unclear.

Objectives: To investigate whether quality of life 6 months postdiagnosis is associated with: 1) circulating concentrations of B vitamins and related biomarkers 6 months postdiagnosis; 2) changes in these concentrations between diagnosis and 6 months postdiagnosis; 3) B-vitamin supplement use 6 months postdiagnosis; and 4) changes in B-vitamin supplement use between diagnosis and 6 months postdiagnosis.

Methods: We included 1676 newly diagnosed stage I-III CRC patients from 3 prospective European cohorts. Circulating concentrations of 9 biomarkers related to the B vitamins folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and cobalamin were measured at diagnosis and 6 months postdiagnosis. Information on dietary supplement use was collected at both time points. Health-related quality of life (global quality of life, functioning scales, and fatigue) was assessed by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire 6 months postdiagnosis. Confounder-adjusted linear regression analyses were performed, adjusted for multiple testing.

Results: Higher pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) was cross-sectionally associated with better physical, role, and social functioning, as well as reduced fatigue, 6 months postdiagnosis. Associations were observed for a doubling in the hydroxykynurenine ratio [3-hydroxykynurenine: (kynurenic acid + xanthurenic acid + 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid + anthranilic acid); an inverse marker of vitamin B6] and both reduced global quality of life (β = -3.62; 95% CI: -5.88, -1.36) and worse physical functioning (β = -5.01; 95% CI: -7.09, -2.94). Dose-response relations were observed for PLP and quality of life. No associations were observed for changes in biomarker concentrations between diagnosis and 6 months. Participants who stopped using B-vitamin supplements after diagnosis reported higher fatigue than nonusers.

Conclusions: Higher vitamin B6 status was associated with better quality of life, yet limited associations were observed for the use of B-vitamin supplements. Vitamin B6 needs further study to clarify its role in relation to quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa422DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168355PMC
June 2021

Genetic architectures of proximal and distal colorectal cancer are partly distinct.

Gut 2021 Jul 25;70(7):1325-1334. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology - IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: An understanding of the etiologic heterogeneity of colorectal cancer (CRC) is critical for improving precision prevention, including individualized screening recommendations and the discovery of novel drug targets and repurposable drug candidates for chemoprevention. Known differences in molecular characteristics and environmental risk factors among tumors arising in different locations of the colorectum suggest partly distinct mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The extent to which the contribution of inherited genetic risk factors for CRC differs by anatomical subsite of the primary tumor has not been examined.

Design: To identify new anatomical subsite-specific risk loci, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses including data of 48 214 CRC cases and 64 159 controls of European ancestry. We characterised effect heterogeneity at CRC risk loci using multinomial modelling.

Results: We identified 13 loci that reached genome-wide significance (p<5×10) and that were not reported by previous GWASs for overall CRC risk. Multiple lines of evidence support candidate genes at several of these loci. We detected substantial heterogeneity between anatomical subsites. Just over half (61) of 109 known and new risk variants showed no evidence for heterogeneity. In contrast, 22 variants showed association with distal CRC (including rectal cancer), but no evidence for association or an attenuated association with proximal CRC. For two loci, there was strong evidence for effects confined to proximal colon cancer.

Conclusion: Genetic architectures of proximal and distal CRC are partly distinct. Studies of risk factors and mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and precision prevention strategies should take into consideration the anatomical subsite of the tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321534DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223655PMC
July 2021

Diet quality indices and dietary patterns are associated with plasma metabolites in colorectal cancer patients.

Eur J Nutr 2021 Feb 5. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Division of Human Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University and Research, P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Emerging evidence suggests that diet is linked to survival in colorectal cancer patients, although underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether dietary exposures are associated with metabolite concentrations in colorectal cancer patients.

Methods: Concentrations of 134 metabolites of the Biocrates Absolute p180 kit were quantified in plasma samples collected at diagnosis from 195 stage I-IV colorectal cancer patients. Food frequency questionnaires were used to calculate adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) dietary recommendations and the Dutch Healthy Diet (DHD15) index as well as to construct dietary patterns using Principal Component Analysis. Multivariable linear regression models were used to determine associations between dietary exposures and metabolite concentrations. All models were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, analytical batch, cancer stage, and multiple testing using false discovery rate.

Results: Participants had a mean (SD) age of 66 (9) years, were mostly men (60%), and mostly diagnosed with stage II and III cancer. For the dietary pattern analyses, Western, Carnivore, and Prudent patterns were identified. Better adherence to the WCRF dietary recommendations was associated with lower concentrations of ten phosphatidylcholines. Higher intake of the Carnivore pattern was associated with higher concentrations of two phosphatidylcholines. The DHD15-index, Western pattern, or Prudent pattern were not associated with metabolite concentrations.

Conclusion: In the current study, the WCRF dietary score and the Carnivore pattern are associated with phosphatidylcholines. Future research should elucidate the potential relevance of phosphatidylcholine metabolism in the colorectal cancer continuum.

Clinical Trial Registry: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03191110.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02488-1DOI Listing
February 2021

The impact of a hospital-based exercise oncology program on cancer treatment-related side effects among rural cancer survivors.

Support Care Cancer 2021 Aug 27;29(8):4663-4672. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, 2000 Circle of Hope Drive, Rm 4747, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA.

Purpose: To assess the impact of the Personal Optimism With Exercise Recovery (POWER) program on cancer treatment-related side effects among rural cancer survivors.

Methods: In this retrospective study of data collected between 2016 and 2019, we assessed change in cardiorespiratory fitness, whole-body muscular endurance, physical function and strength, anthropometrics, fatigue, and quality of life (QoL), after participation in POWER. Descriptive statistics were calculated for demographic and clinical variables. Univariate analysis of variance was carried out with age and BMI at initial assessment as covariates.

Results: A total of 239 survivors, 78% rural residents, completed a follow-up assessment. Among rural cancer survivors, the most prevalent cancer sites were breast (42.5%), prostate (12.4%), and lymphoma (5.9%). The majority of survivors were female (70%), non-Hispanic (94.6%), and white (93.5%), with average age and BMI of 62.1 ± 13.2 years and 28.4 ± 6.7 kg/m, respectively. Rural cancer survivors with cancer stages I-III exhibited significant improvements in fitness (+ 3.07 ml/kg/min, 95% CI 1.93, 4.21; + 0.88 METS, 95% CI 0.55, 1.20), physical function (30-s chair stand: + 2.2 repetitions, 95% CI 1.3, 3.1), muscular endurance (10-repetition maximum: chest press + 4.1 kg, 95% CI 2.0, 6.3; lateral pulldown + 6.6 kg, 95% CI 4.4, 8.9), self-reported fatigue (FACIT-Fatigue score: + 4.9, 95% CI 1.6, 8.1), and QoL (FACT-G7 score + 2.1, 95% CI, 0.9, 3.4). Among stage IV rural and urban cancer survivors, significant improvements were observed in muscular endurance and physical function.

Conclusion: Participation in POWER was associated with attenuation of cancer treatment-related side effects and may serve as a model exercise oncology program for rural cancer survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06010-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7838462PMC
August 2021

Adiposity, metabolites, and colorectal cancer risk: Mendelian randomization study.

BMC Med 2020 12 17;18(1):396. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Higher adiposity increases the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), but whether this relationship varies by anatomical sub-site or by sex is unclear. Further, the metabolic alterations mediating the effects of adiposity on CRC are not fully understood.

Methods: We examined sex- and site-specific associations of adiposity with CRC risk and whether adiposity-associated metabolites explain the associations of adiposity with CRC. Genetic variants from genome-wide association studies of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR, unadjusted for BMI; N = 806,810), and 123 metabolites from targeted nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics (N = 24,925), were used as instruments. Sex-combined and sex-specific Mendelian randomization (MR) was conducted for BMI and WHR with CRC risk (58,221 cases and 67,694 controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, Colorectal Cancer Transdisciplinary Study, and Colon Cancer Family Registry). Sex-combined MR was conducted for BMI and WHR with metabolites, for metabolites with CRC, and for BMI and WHR with CRC adjusted for metabolite classes in multivariable models.

Results: In sex-specific MR analyses, higher BMI (per 4.2 kg/m) was associated with 1.23 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08, 1.38) times higher CRC odds among men (inverse-variance-weighted (IVW) model); among women, higher BMI (per 5.2 kg/m) was associated with 1.09 (95% CI = 0.97, 1.22) times higher CRC odds. WHR (per 0.07 higher) was more strongly associated with CRC risk among women (IVW OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.08, 1.43) than men (IVW OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.81, 1.36). BMI or WHR was associated with 104/123 metabolites at false discovery rate-corrected P ≤ 0.05; several metabolites were associated with CRC, but not in directions that were consistent with the mediation of positive adiposity-CRC relations. In multivariable MR analyses, associations of BMI and WHR with CRC were not attenuated following adjustment for representative metabolite classes, e.g., the univariable IVW OR for BMI with CRC was 1.12 (95% CI = 1.00, 1.26), and this became 1.11 (95% CI = 0.99, 1.26) when adjusting for cholesterol in low-density lipoprotein particles.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that higher BMI more greatly raises CRC risk among men, whereas higher WHR more greatly raises CRC risk among women. Adiposity was associated with numerous metabolic alterations, but none of these explained associations between adiposity and CRC. More detailed metabolomic measures are likely needed to clarify the mechanistic pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01855-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745469PMC
December 2020

A Combined Proteomics and Mendelian Randomization Approach to Investigate the Effects of Aspirin-Targeted Proteins on Colorectal Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Mar 14;30(3):564-575. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Nutrition and Metabolism Section, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France.

Background: Evidence for aspirin's chemopreventative properties on colorectal cancer (CRC) is substantial, but its mechanism of action is not well-understood. We combined a proteomic approach with Mendelian randomization (MR) to identify possible new aspirin targets that decrease CRC risk.

Methods: Human colorectal adenoma cells (RG/C2) were treated with aspirin (24 hours) and a stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) based proteomics approach identified altered protein expression. Protein quantitative trait loci (pQTLs) from INTERVAL ( = 3,301) and expression QTLs (eQTLs) from the eQTLGen Consortium ( = 31,684) were used as genetic proxies for protein and mRNA expression levels. Two-sample MR of mRNA/protein expression on CRC risk was performed using eQTL/pQTL data combined with CRC genetic summary data from the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR), Colorectal Transdisciplinary (CORECT), Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (GECCO) consortia and UK Biobank (55,168 cases and 65,160 controls).

Results: Altered expression was detected for 125/5886 proteins. Of these, aspirin decreased MCM6, RRM2, and ARFIP2 expression, and MR analysis showed that a standard deviation increase in mRNA/protein expression was associated with increased CRC risk (OR: 1.08, 95% CI, 1.03-1.13; OR: 3.33, 95% CI, 2.46-4.50; and OR: 1.15, 95% CI, 1.02-1.29, respectively).

Conclusions: MCM6 and RRM2 are involved in DNA repair whereby reduced expression may lead to increased DNA aberrations and ultimately cancer cell death, whereas ARFIP2 is involved in actin cytoskeletal regulation, indicating a possible role in aspirin's reduction of metastasis.

Impact: Our approach has shown how laboratory experiments and population-based approaches can combine to identify aspirin-targeted proteins possibly affecting CRC risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086774PMC
March 2021

Genotype-Based Gene Expression in Colon Tissue-Prediction Accuracy and Relationship with the Prognosis of Colorectal Cancer Patients.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Oct 31;21(21). Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Division of Preventive Oncology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), Im Neuenheimer Feld 460, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) survival has environmental and inherited components. The expression of specific genes can be inferred based on individual genotypes-so called expression quantitative trait loci. In this study, we used the PrediXcan method to predict gene expression in normal colon tissue using individual genotype data from 91 CRC patients and examined the correlation ρ between predicted and measured gene expression levels. Out of 5434 predicted genes, 58% showed a negative ρ value and only 16% presented a ρ higher than 0.10. We subsequently investigated the association between genotype-based gene expression in colon tissue for genes with ρ > 0.10 and survival of 4436 CRC patients. We identified an inverse association between the predicted expression of and CRC-specific survival for patients with a body mass index greater than or equal to 30 kg/m (HR (hazard ratio) = 0.66 for an expression higher vs. lower than the median, = 0.005). This association was validated using genotype and clinical data from the UK Biobank (HR = 0.74, = 0.04). In addition to the identification of expression in normal colon tissue as a candidate prognostic biomarker for obese CRC patients, our study illustrates the challenges of genotype-based prediction of gene expression, and the advantage of reassessing the prediction accuracy in a subset of the study population using measured gene expression data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7662650PMC
October 2020

Circulating Folate and Folic Acid Concentrations: Associations With Colorectal Cancer Recurrence and Survival.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2020 Oct 7;4(5):pkaa051. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Department of Surgery, Hospital Group Twente ZGT, Almelo, the Netherlands.

Background: Folates, including folic acid, may play a dual role in colorectal cancer development. Folate is suggested to be protective in early carcinogenesis but could accelerate growth of premalignant lesions or micrometastases. Whether circulating concentrations of folate and folic acid, measured around time of diagnosis, are associated with recurrence and survival in colorectal cancer patients is largely unknown.

Methods: Circulating concentrations of folate, folic acid, and folate catabolites p-aminobenzoylglutamate and p-acetamidobenzoylglutamate were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry at diagnosis in 2024 stage I-III colorectal cancer patients from European and US patient cohort studies. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess associations between folate, folic acid, and folate catabolites concentrations with recurrence, overall survival, and disease-free survival.

Results: No statistically significant associations were observed between folate, p-aminobenzoylglutamate, and p-acetamidobenzoylglutamate concentrations and recurrence, overall survival, and disease-free survival, with hazard ratios ranging from 0.92 to 1.16. The detection of folic acid in the circulation (yes or no) was not associated with any outcome. However, among patients with detectable folic acid concentrations (n = 296), a higher risk of recurrence was observed for each twofold increase in folic acid (hazard ratio = 1.31, 95% confidence interval = 1.02 to 1.58). No statistically significant associations were found between folic acid concentrations and overall and disease-free survival.

Conclusions: Circulating folate and folate catabolite concentrations at colorectal cancer diagnosis were not associated with recurrence and survival. However, caution is warranted for high blood concentrations of folic acid because they may increase the risk of colorectal cancer recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7583160PMC
October 2020

Identifying Novel Susceptibility Genes for Colorectal Cancer Risk From a Transcriptome-Wide Association Study of 125,478 Subjects.

Gastroenterology 2021 03 12;160(4):1164-1178.e6. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Background And Aims: Susceptibility genes and the underlying mechanisms for the majority of risk loci identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for colorectal cancer (CRC) risk remain largely unknown. We conducted a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) to identify putative susceptibility genes.

Methods: Gene-expression prediction models were built using transcriptome and genetic data from the 284 normal transverse colon tissues of European descendants from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx), and model performance was evaluated using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 355). We applied the gene-expression prediction models and GWAS data to evaluate associations of genetically predicted gene-expression with CRC risk in 58,131 CRC cases and 67,347 controls of European ancestry. Dual-luciferase reporter assays and knockdown experiments in CRC cells and tumor xenografts were conducted.

Results: We identified 25 genes associated with CRC risk at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P < 9.1 × 10, including genes in 4 novel loci, PYGL (14q22.1), RPL28 (19q13.42), CAPN12 (19q13.2), MYH7B (20q11.22), and MAP1L3CA (20q11.22). In 9 known GWAS-identified loci, we uncovered 9 genes that have not been reported previously, whereas 4 genes remained statistically significant after adjusting for the lead risk variant of the locus. Through colocalization analysis in GWAS loci, we additionally identified 12 putative susceptibility genes that were supported by TWAS analysis at P < .01. We showed that risk allele of the lead risk variant rs1741640 affected the promoter activity of CABLES2. Knockdown experiments confirmed that CABLES2 plays a vital role in colorectal carcinogenesis.

Conclusions: Our study reveals new putative susceptibility genes and provides new insight into the biological mechanisms underlying CRC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.08.062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7956223PMC
March 2021

Exercise and lung cancer surgery: A systematic review of randomized-controlled trials.

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2020 Dec 13;156:103086. Epub 2020 Sep 13.

Huntsman Cancer Institute, Population Sciences, Salt Lake City, UT, United States; Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States. Electronic address:

Lung cancer patients undergoing surgery are often left physically deconditioned and/or with functional deficits. Exercise interventions may improve pulmonary and physical function before and after lung resection. We conducted a systematic review of randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) testing the impact of pre-, post-, and combined pre-and-post surgery exercise interventions on physical and pulmonary function in lung cancer patients. Exercise pre-surgery seems to substantially improve physical and pulmonary function, which are factors associated with improved ability to undergo surgery while reducing post-surgery complications. Evidence is inconsistent for post-surgery interventions, reporting no or moderate effects. Results from pre-and-post surgery interventions are limited to one study. In conclusion, pre- and post-surgery exercise interventions, individually, have shown beneficial effects for lung cancer patients undergoing surgery. The impact of interventions combining both pre- and post-surgery exercise programs remains unknown. More evidence is needed on the ideal exercise setting, and timing across the lung cancer care continuum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2020.103086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7677203PMC
December 2020

Genetic Variants in the Regulatory T cell-Related Pathway and Colorectal Cancer Prognosis.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 12 2;29(12):2719-2728. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Colorectal Oncogenomics Group, Department of Clinical Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Background: High numbers of lymphocytes in tumor tissue, including T regulatory cells (Treg), have been associated with better colorectal cancer survival. Tregs, a subset of CD4 T lymphocytes, are mediators of immunosuppression in cancer, and therefore variants in genes related to Treg differentiation and function could be associated with colorectal cancer prognosis.

Methods: In a prospective German cohort of 3,593 colorectal cancer patients, we assessed the association of 771 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 58 Treg-related genes with overall and colorectal cancer-specific survival using Cox regression models. Effect modification by microsatellite instability (MSI) status was also investigated because tumors with MSI show greater lymphocytic infiltration and have been associated with better prognosis. Replication of significant results was attempted in 2,047 colorectal cancer patients of the International Survival Analysis in Colorectal Cancer Consortium (ISACC).

Results: A significant association of the SNP rs7524066 with more favorable colorectal cancer-specific survival [hazard ratio (HR) per minor allele: 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.74-0.94; value: 0.0033] was replicated in ISACC (HR: 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68-0.98; value: 0.03). Suggestive evidence for association was found with two SNPs, rs16906568 and rs7845577. Thirteen SNPs with differential associations with overall survival according to MSI in the discovery analysis were not confirmed.

Conclusions: Common genetic variation in the Treg pathway implicating genes such as and was shown to be associated with prognosis of colorectal cancer patients.

Impact: The implicated genes warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7976673PMC
December 2020

Associations between Plasma Choline Metabolites and Genetic Polymorphisms in One-Carbon Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women: The Women's Health Initiative Observational Study.

J Nutr 2020 11;150(11):2874-2881

Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Background: Choline plays an integral role in one-carbon metabolism in the body, but it is unclear whether genetic polymorphisms are associated with variations in plasma choline and its metabolites.

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the association of genetic variants in choline and one-carbon metabolism with plasma choline and its metabolites.

Methods: We analyzed data from 1423 postmenopausal women in a case-control study nested within the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. Plasma concentrations of choline, betaine, dimethylglycine (DMG), and trimethylamine N-oxide were determined in 12-h fasting blood samples collected at baseline (1993-1998). Candidate and tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT), BHMT2, 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (NADP+ dependent 1) (MTHFD1), 5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase (MTR), and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase reductase (MTRR). Linear regression was used to derive percentage difference in plasma concentrations per variant allele, adjusting for confounders, including B-vitamin biomarkers. Potential effect modification by plasma vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, and folate concentrations and folic-acid fortification periods was examined.

Results: The candidate SNP BHMT R239Q (rs3733890) was associated with lower concentrations of plasma betaine and DMG concentrations (-4.00% and -6.75% per variant allele, respectively; both nominal P < 0.05). Another candidate SNP, BHMT2 rs626105 A>G, was associated with higher plasma DMG concentration (13.0%; P < 0.0001). Several tagSNPs in these 2 genes were associated with plasma concentrations after correction for multiple comparisons. Vitamin B-12 status was a significant effect modifier of the association between the genetic variant BHMT2 rs626105 A>G and plasma DMG concentration.

Conclusions: Genetic variations in metabolic enzymes were associated with plasma concentrations of choline and its metabolites. Our findings contribute to the knowledge on the variation in blood nutrient concentrations in postmenopausal women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675024PMC
November 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

Genome-wide Modeling of Polygenic Risk Score in Colorectal Cancer Risk.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09 5;107(3):432-444. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

Accurate colorectal cancer (CRC) risk prediction models are critical for identifying individuals at low and high risk of developing CRC, as they can then be offered targeted screening and interventions to address their risks of developing disease (if they are in a high-risk group) and avoid unnecessary screening and interventions (if they are in a low-risk group). As it is likely that thousands of genetic variants contribute to CRC risk, it is clinically important to investigate whether these genetic variants can be used jointly for CRC risk prediction. In this paper, we derived and compared different approaches to generating predictive polygenic risk scores (PRS) from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) including 55,105 CRC-affected case subjects and 65,079 control subjects of European ancestry. We built the PRS in three ways, using (1) 140 previously identified and validated CRC loci; (2) SNP selection based on linkage disequilibrium (LD) clumping followed by machine-learning approaches; and (3) LDpred, a Bayesian approach for genome-wide risk prediction. We tested the PRS in an independent cohort of 101,987 individuals with 1,699 CRC-affected case subjects. The discriminatory accuracy, calculated by the age- and sex-adjusted area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC), was highest for the LDpred-derived PRS (AUC = 0.654) including nearly 1.2 M genetic variants (the proportion of causal genetic variants for CRC assumed to be 0.003), whereas the PRS of the 140 known variants identified from GWASs had the lowest AUC (AUC = 0.629). Based on the LDpred-derived PRS, we are able to identify 30% of individuals without a family history as having risk for CRC similar to those with a family history of CRC, whereas the PRS based on known GWAS variants identified only top 10% as having a similar relative risk. About 90% of these individuals have no family history and would have been considered average risk under current screening guidelines, but might benefit from earlier screening. The developed PRS offers a way for risk-stratified CRC screening and other targeted interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.07.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477007PMC
September 2020

Polymorphisms in the Angiogenesis-Related Genes , and Are Associated with Survival of Colorectal Cancer Patients.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Jul 29;21(15). Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Division of Preventive Oncology, National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.

An individual's inherited genetic variation may contribute to the 'angiogenic switch', which is essential for blood supply and tumor growth of microscopic and macroscopic tumors. Polymorphisms in angiogenesis-related genes potentially predispose to colorectal cancer (CRC) or affect the survival of CRC patients. We investigated the association of 392 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 33 angiogenesis-related genes with CRC risk and survival of CRC patients in 1754 CRC cases and 1781 healthy controls within DACHS (Darmkrebs: Chancen der Verhütung durch Screening), a German population-based case-control study. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated from unconditional logistic regression to test for genetic associations with CRC risk. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% CIs for survival. Multiple testing was adjusted for by a false discovery rate. No variant was associated with CRC risk. Variants in , and were significantly associated with overall survival. The association of the tagging SNP rs9520090 ( < 0.0001) was confirmed in two validation datasets (-values: 0.01 and 0.05). The associations of the tagging SNPs rs6040062 in (-value 0.0003) and rs2241145 in (-value 0.0005) showed the same direction of association with overall survival in the first and second validation sets, respectively, although they did not reach significance (-values: 0.09 and 0.25, respectively). , and are known for their functional role in angiogenesis and the present study points to novel evidence for the impact of angiogenesis-related genetic variants on the CRC outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155395DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7432124PMC
July 2020

Diabetes, Body Fatness, and Insulin Prescription Among Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer.

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol 2021 Apr 29;10(2):217-225. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Rates of obesity and obesity-related health consequences, including type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cancer, continue to rise. While cancer patients are at an increased risk of developing T2D, the prevalence of T2D and insulin prescription among young patients with cancer remains unknown. Using the Total Cancer Care Study cohort at Huntsman Cancer Institute (Salt Lake City, UT), we identified individuals age 18-39 years at cancer diagnosis between 2009 and 2019. Multivariable logistic regression was used to investigate associations between body mass index (BMI) with insulin prescription within 1 year of cancer diagnosis. In total, 344 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) were diagnosed with primary invasive cancer. Within this cohort, 19 patients (5.5%) were ever diagnosed with T2D, 48 AYAs ever received an insulin prescription (14.0%), and 197 were overweight or obese (BMI: 25+ kg/m) at cancer diagnosis. Each kg/m unit increase in BMI was associated with 6% increased odds of first insulin prescription within 1 year of cancer diagnosis among AYAs, even after adjustment for age, sex, smoking history, marital status, glucocorticoid prescription, and cancer treatments (odds ratio = 1.06, 95% confidence interval 1.02-1.11;  = 0.005). One in every 18 AYAs with cancer ever had T2D, 1 in 7 AYA patients with cancer ever received an insulin prescription, and higher BMI was associated with increased risk of insulin prescription within a year of cancer diagnosis among AYAs. Understanding the incidence of T2D and insulin prescription/use is critical for short-term and long-term clinical management of AYAs with cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/jayao.2020.0071DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8064923PMC
April 2021

Resistance Exercise Modulates Kynurenine Pathway in Pancreatic Cancer Patients.

Int J Sports Med 2021 Jan 24;42(1):33-40. Epub 2020 Jul 24.

Division of Physical Activity, Prevention and Cancer, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg, Germany.

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of Supervised and Home-based resistance exercise on the Kynurenine pathway in patients with pancreatic cancer who underwent surgery and chemotherapy. In the SUPPORT study, adult pancreatic cancer patients were randomized to intervention programs of 6-month (1) a Supervised moderate-to-high-intensity progressive resistance training or (2) unsupervised Home-based resistance training, or (3) to a standard care patient Control group. Serum levels of kynurenine, tryptophan and IL-6 were assessed for 32 participants before, after 3 months and after 6 months of exercise intervention. Group differences were investigated using analysis-of-covariance. Patients in the Supervised training group showed decreased levels of serum kynurenine and kynurenine/tryptophan ratio (p = 0.07; p = 0.01 respectively) as well as increased Tryptophan levels (p = 0.05) in comparison to Home-based and Control group over time. The Home-based exercise group had significant increased kynurenine and kynurenine/tryptophan ratio levels. IL-6 levels decreased over the first three months for both intervention groups as well as the Control group (Supervised: p < 0.01, Home-based: p < 0.010, Control group: p < 0.01). Supervised resistance exercise might positively regulate the Kynurenine pathway and downregulate the kynurenine/tryptophan (indicative of IDO/TDO enzyme) levels, hence modulating the immune system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-1186-1009DOI Listing
January 2021
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