Publications by authors named "Dallas R English"

332 Publications

Association of markers of inflammation, the kynurenine pathway and B vitamins with age and mortality, and a signature of inflammaging.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2021 Jun 12. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia.

Background: Inflammation is a key feature of aging. We aimed to i) investigate the association of 34 blood markers potentially involved in inflammatory processes with age and mortality, ii) develop a signature of 'inflammaging'.

Methods: Thirty-four blood markers relating to inflammation, B vitamin status and the kynurenine pathway were measured in 976 participants in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study at baseline (median age=59 years) and follow-up (median age=70 years). Associations with age and mortality were assessed using linear and Cox regression, respectively. A parsimonious signature of inflammaging was developed and its association with mortality was compared with two marker scores calculated across all markers associated with age and mortality, respectively.

Results: The majority of markers (30/34) were associated with age, with stronger associations observed for neopterin, cystatin C, IL-6, TNF-α, several markers of the kynurenine pathway and derived indices KTR (kynurenine/tryptophan ratio), PAr index (ratio of 4-pyridoxic acid and the sum of pyridoxal 5´-phosphate and pyridoxal), and HK:XA (3-hydroxykynurenine/xanthurenic acid ratio). Many markers (17/34) showed an association with mortality, in particular IL-6, neopterin, CRP, quinolinic acid, PAr index, and KTR. The inflammaging signature included ten markers and was strongly associated of mortality (HR per SD=1.40, 95%CI:1.24-1.57, P=2x10 -8), similar to scores based on all age-associated (HR=1.38, 95%CI:1.23-1.55, P=4x10 -8) and mortality-associated markers (HR=1.43, 95%CI:1.28-1.60, P=1x10 -10), respectively. Strong evidence of replication of the inflammaging signature association with mortality was found in the Hordaland Health Study.

Conclusion: Our study highlights the key role of the kynurenine pathway and vitamin B6 catabolism in aging, along with other well-established inflammation-related markers. A signature of inflammaging based on ten markers was strongly associated with mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glab163DOI Listing
June 2021

Prospective Evaluation of the Addition of Polygenic Risk Scores to Breast Cancer Risk Models.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Jun 2;5(3):pkab021. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: The Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm and the International Breast Cancer Intervention Study breast cancer risk models are used to provide advice on screening intervals and chemoprevention. We evaluated the performance of these models, which now incorporate polygenic risk scores (PRSs), using a prospective cohort study.

Methods: We used a case-cohort design, involving women in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study aged 50-75 years when surveyed in 2003-2007, of whom 408 had a first primary breast cancer diagnosed within 10 years (cases), and 2783 were from the subcohort. Ten-year risks were calculated based on lifestyle factors, family history data, and a 313-variant PRS. Discrimination was assessed using a C-statistic compared with 0.50 and calibration using the ratio of expected to observed number of cases (E/O).

Results: When the PRS was added to models with lifestyle factors and family history, the C-statistic (95% confidence interval [CI]) increased from 0.57 (0.54 to 0.60) to 0.62 (0.60 to 0.65) using IBIS and from 0.56 (0.53 to 0.59) to 0.62 (0.59 to 0.64) using BOADICEA. IBIS underpredicted risk (E/O = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.48 to 0.80) for women in the lowest risk category (<1.7%) and overpredicted risk (E/O = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.18 to 1.67) in the highest risk category (≥5%), using the Hosmer-Lemeshow test for calibration in quantiles of risk and a 2-sided value less than.001. BOADICEA underpredicted risk (E/O = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.67 to 0.99) in the second highest risk category (3.4%-5%); the Hosmer-Lemeshow test and a 2-sided valuewas equal to .02.

Conclusions: Although the inclusion of a 313 genetic variant PRS doubles discriminatory accuracy (relative to reference 0.50), models with and without this PRS have relatively modest discrimination and might require recalibration before their clinical and wider use are promoted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkab021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099999PMC
June 2021

Factors Explaining Socio-Economic Inequalities in Cancer Survival: A Systematic Review.

Cancer Control 2021 Jan-Dec;28:10732748211011956

Cancer Epidemiology Division, 56367Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: There is strong and well-documented evidence that socio-economic inequality in cancer survival exists within and between countries, but the underlying causes of these differences are not well understood.

Methods: We systematically searched the Ovid Medline, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases up to 31 May 2020. Observational studies exploring pathways by which socio-economic position (SEP) might causally influence cancer survival were included.

Results: We found 74 eligible articles published between 2005 and 2020. Cancer stage, other tumor characteristics, health-related lifestyle behaviors, co-morbidities and treatment were reported as key contributing factors, although the potential mediating effect of these factors varied across cancer sites. For common cancers such as breast and prostate cancer, stage of disease was generally cited as the primary explanatory factor, while co-morbid conditions and treatment were also reported to contribute to lower survival for more disadvantaged cases. In contrast, for colorectal cancer, most studies found that stage did not explain the observed differences in survival by SEP. For lung cancer, inequalities in survival appear to be partly explained by receipt of treatment and co-morbidities.

Conclusions: Most studies compared regression models with and without adjusting for potential mediators; this method has several limitations in the presence of multiple mediators that could result in biased estimates of mediating effects and invalid conclusions. It is therefore essential that future studies apply modern methods of causal mediation analysis to accurately estimate the contribution of potential explanatory factors for these inequalities, which may translate into effective interventions to improve survival for disadvantaged cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10732748211011956DOI Listing
April 2021

Epigenetic Drift Association with Cancer Risk and Survival, and Modification by Sex.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 14;13(8). Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia.

To investigate age- and sex-specific DNA methylation alterations related to cancer risk and survival, we used matched case-control studies of colorectal ( = 835), gastric ( = 170), kidney ( = 143), lung ( = 332), prostate ( = 869) and urothelial ( = 428) cancers, and mature B-cell lymphoma ( = 438). Linear mixed-effects models were conducted to identify age-, sex- and age-by-sex-associated methylation markers using a discovery (controls)-replication (cases) strategy. Replication was further examined using summary statistics from Generation Scotland (GS). Associations between replicated markers and risk of and survival from cancer were assessed using conditional logistic regression and Cox models (hazard ratios (HR)), respectively. We found 32,659, 23,141 and 48 CpGs with replicated associations for age, sex and age-by-sex, respectively. The replication rates for these CpGs using GS summary data were 94%, 86% and 91%, respectively. Significant associations for cancer risk and survival were identified at some individual age-related CpGs. Opposite to previous findings using epigenetic clocks, there was a strong negative trend in the association between epigenetic drift and risk of colorectal cancer. Methylation at two CpGs overlapping and genes was associated with survival of overall (HR = 0.91, = 7.7 × 10) and colorectal (HR = 1.52, = 1.8 × 10) cancer, respectively, with significant age-by-sex interaction. Our results may provide markers for cancer early detection and prognosis prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081881DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8070898PMC
April 2021

Prediagnosis alcohol intake and metachronous cancer risk in cancer survivors: A prospective cohort study.

Int J Cancer 2021 Apr 19. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Alcohol consumption is a known cause of cancer, but its role in the etiology of second primary (metachronous) cancer is uncertain. Associations between alcohol intake up until study enrollment (prediagnosis) and risk of metachronous cancer were estimated using 9435 participants in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study who were diagnosed with their first invasive cancer after enrollment (1990-1994). Follow-up was from date of first invasive cancer until diagnosis of metachronous cancer, death or censor date (February 2018), whichever came first. Alcohol intake for 10-year periods from age 20 until decade encompassing baseline using recalled beverage-specific frequency and quantity was used to calculate baseline and lifetime intakes, and group-based intake trajectories. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for potential confounders. After a mean follow-up of 7 years, 1512 metachronous cancers were identified. A 10 g/d increment in prediagnosis lifetime alcohol intake (HR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.00-1.06; P = .02) and an intake of ≥60 g/d (HR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.01-1.73) were associated with increased metachronous cancer risk. We observed positive associations (per 10 g/d increment) for metachronous colorectal (HR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.00-1.14), upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) (HR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.00-1.34) and kidney cancer (HR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.10-1.39). Although these findings were partly explained by effects of smoking, the association for kidney cancer remained unchanged when current smokers or obese individuals were excluded. Alcohol intake trajectories over the life course confirmed associations with metachronous cancer risk. Prediagnosis long-term alcohol intake, and particularly heavy drinking, may increase the risk of metachronous cancer, particularly of the colorectum, UADT and kidney.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33603DOI Listing
April 2021

Predicting deseasonalised serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D concentrations in the D-Health Trial: An analysis using boosted regression trees.

Contemp Clin Trials 2021 May 6;104:106347. Epub 2021 Mar 6.

Population Health Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia; School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: The D-Health Trial aims to determine whether monthly high-dose vitamin D supplementation can reduce the mortality rate and prevent cancer. We did not have adequate statistical power for subgroup analyses, so could not justify the high cost of collecting blood samples at baseline. To enable future exploratory analyses stratified by baseline vitamin D status, we developed models to predict baseline serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration.

Methods: We used data and serum 25(OH)D concentrations from participants who gave a blood sample during the trial for compliance monitoring and were randomised to placebo. Data were partitioned into training (80%) and validation (20%) datasets. Deseasonalised serum 25(OH)D concentrations were dichotomised using cut-points of 50, 60 and 75 nmol/L. We fitted boosted regression tree models, based on 13 predictors, and evaluated model performance using the validation data.

Results: The training and validation datasets had 1788 (10.5% <50 nmol/L, 23.1% <60 nmol, 48.8 <75 nmol/L) and 447 (11.9% <50 nmol/L, 25.7% <60 nmol/L, and 49.2% <75 nmol/L) samples, respectively. Ambient UV radiation and total intake of vitamin D were the strongest predictors of 'low' serum 25(OH)D concentration. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curves were 0.71, 0.70, and 0.66 for cut-points of <50, <60 and <75 nmol/L respectively.

Conclusions: We exploited compliance monitoring data to develop models to predict serum 25(OH)D concentration for D-Health participants at baseline. This approach may prove useful in other trial settings where there is an obstacle to exhaustive data collection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2021.106347DOI Listing
May 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
July 2021

Lifetime alcohol intake, drinking patterns over time and risk of stomach cancer: A pooled analysis of data from two prospective cohort studies.

Int J Cancer 2021 Jun 22;148(11):2759-2773. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece.

Alcohol consumption is causally linked to several cancers but the evidence for stomach cancer is inconclusive. In our study, the association between long-term alcohol intake and risk of stomach cancer and its subtypes was evaluated. We performed a pooled analysis of data collected at baseline from 491 714 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition and the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for incident stomach cancer in relation to lifetime alcohol intake and group-based life course intake trajectories, adjusted for potential confounders including Helicobacter pylori infection. In all, 1225 incident stomach cancers (78% noncardia) were diagnosed over 7 094 637 person-years; 984 in 382 957 study participants with lifetime alcohol intake data (5 455 507 person-years). Although lifetime alcohol intake was not associated with overall stomach cancer risk, we observed a weak positive association with noncardia cancer (HR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.00-1.06 per 10 g/d increment), with a HR of 1.50 (95% CI: 1.08-2.09) for ≥60 g/d compared to 0.1 to 4.9 g/d. A weak inverse association with cardia cancer (HR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.87-1.00) was also observed. HRs of 1.48 (95% CI: 1.10-1.99) for noncardia and 0.51 (95% CI: 0.26-1.03) for cardia cancer were observed for a life course trajectory characterized by heavy decreasing intake compared to light stable intake (P = .02). These associations did not differ appreciably by smoking or H pylori infection status. Limiting alcohol use during lifetime, particularly avoiding heavy use during early adulthood, might help prevent noncardia stomach cancer. Heterogeneous associations observed for cardia and noncardia cancers may indicate etiologic differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33504DOI Listing
June 2021

Diet and risk of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study.

Public Health Nutr 2021 Jan 21:1-13. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Objective: To examine associations between diet and risk of developing gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Design: Prospective cohort with a median follow-up of 15·8 years. Baseline diet was measured using a FFQ. GERD was defined as self-reported current or history of daily heartburn or acid regurgitation beginning at least 2 years after baseline. Sex-specific logistic regressions were performed to estimate OR for GERD associated with diet quality scores and intakes of nutrients, food groups and individual foods and beverages. The effect of substituting saturated fat for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat on GERD risk was examined.

Setting: Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: A cohort of 20 926 participants (62 % women) aged 40-59 years at recruitment between 1990 and 1994.

Results: For men, total fat intake was associated with increased risk of GERD (OR 1·05 per 5 g/d; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·09; P = 0·016), whereas total carbohydrate (OR 0·89 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·82, 0·98; P = 0·010) and starch intakes (OR 0·84 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·75, 0·94; P = 0·005) were associated with reduced risk. Nutrients were not associated with risk for women. For both sexes, substituting saturated fat for polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat did not change risk. For both sexes, fish, chicken, cruciferous vegetables and carbonated beverages were associated with increased risk, whereas total fruit and citrus were associated with reduced risk. No association was observed with diet quality scores.

Conclusions: Diet is a possible risk factor for GERD, but food considered as triggers of GERD symptoms might not necessarily contribute to disease development. Potential differential associations for men and women warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980021000197DOI Listing
January 2021

The effect of vitamin D supplementation on acute respiratory tract infection in older Australian adults: an analysis of data from the D-Health Trial.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2021 02 11;9(2):69-81. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Population Health Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; School of Public Health, the University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Observational studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with acute respiratory tract infection, but results from randomised controlled trials are heterogeneous. We analysed data from the D-Health Trial to determine whether supplementing older Australian adults, recruited from the general population, with monthly doses of vitamin D reduced the risk, duration, and severity of acute respiratory tract infections.

Methods: We used data from the D-Health Trial, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of monthly vitamin D supplementation, for which acute respiratory infection was a pre-specified trial outcome. Participants were supplemented and followed for up to 5 years. The trial was set within the Australian general population, using the Commonwealth Electoral Roll as the sampling frame, but also allowing some volunteers to participate. Participants were men and women aged 60 to 79 years (with volunteers up to age 84 years). Participants were randomly assigned to receive either vitamin D or placebo (1:1) using computer-generated permuted block randomisation, which was stratified by age, sex, and state. This was an automated process and the assignment list was not visible to study staff or investigators. Active and placebo gel capsules, identical in appearance to ensure masking, were labelled A and B and the code was not available to study staff or investigators. Participants were asked to report occurrence of acute respiratory symptoms over the previous month via annual surveys, and a subset of participants completed 8-week respiratory symptom diaries in winter. As part of our process to maintain blinding, a random sample of participants was selected for analysis of survey data and a separate sample selected for analysis of diary data. Blood samples were obtained from a random sample of participants (about 450 per group per year) and serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations were measured to monitor adherence. We used regression models to estimate odds ratios (OR), rate ratios, and rate differences. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12613000743763.

Findings: Between Jan 13, 2014, and May 26, 2015, 421 207 invitations were sent, 40 824 people were interested in participating, and 21 315 participants were recruited and randomised. Of the 16 000 participants selected for potential analysis of survey data, 15 373 were included in the analysis; 295 in the vitamin D group and 332 in the placebo group who were missing data for all five annual surveys were excluded from the analysis. Of the 3800 selected for potential analysis of diary data, 3070 were invited to complete the diaries because 730 had already withdrawn. 2598 people were included in the analysis; 218 people in the vitamin D group and 254 in the placebo group were missing data and were therefore excluded from the analysis. In blood samples collected from randomly sampled participants throughout the trial, the mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 114·8 (SD 30·3) nmol/L in the vitamin D group and 77·5 (25·2) nmol/L in the placebo group. Vitamin D supplementation did not reduce the risk of acute respiratory tract infection (survey OR 0·98, 95% CI 0·93 to 1·02; diary OR 0·98, 0·83 to 1·15). Analyses of diary data showed reductions in the overall duration of symptoms and of severe symptoms, but these were small and unlikely to be clinically significant.

Interpretation: Monthly bolus doses of 60 000 IU of vitamin D did not reduce the overall risk of acute respiratory tract infection, but could slightly reduce the duration of symptoms in the general population. These findings suggest that routine vitamin D supplementation of a population that is largely vitamin D replete is unlikely to have a clinically relevant effect on acute respiratory tract infection.

Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30380-6DOI Listing
February 2021

Biological Aging Measures Based on Blood DNA Methylation and Risk of Cancer: A Prospective Study.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Feb 16;5(1):pkaa109. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.

Background: We previously investigated the association between 5 "first-generation" measures of epigenetic aging and cancer risk in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. This study assessed cancer risk associations for 3 recently developed methylation-based biomarkers of aging: , , and predicted telomere length.

Methods: We estimated rate ratios (RRs) for the association between these 3 age-adjusted measures and risk of colorectal (N = 813), gastric (N = 165), kidney (N = 139), lung (N = 327), mature B-cell (N = 423), prostate (N = 846), and urothelial (N = 404) cancer using conditional logistic regression models. We also assessed associations by time since blood draw and by cancer subtype, and we investigated potential nonlinearity.

Results: We observed relatively strong associations of age-adjusted with risk of colorectal, kidney, lung, mature B-cell, and urothelial cancers (RR per SD was approximately 1.2-1.3). Similar findings were obtained for age-adjusted , but the association with lung cancer risk was much larger (RR per SD = 1.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.44 to 2.30), after adjustment for smoking status, pack-years, starting age, time since quitting, and other cancer risk factors. Most associations appeared linear, larger than for the first-generation measures, and were virtually unchanged after adjustment for a large set of sociodemographic, lifestyle, and anthropometric variables. For cancer overall, the comprehensively adjusted rate ratio per SD was 1.13 (95% CI = 1.07 to 1.19) for and 1.12 (95% CI = 1.05 to 1.20) for and appeared larger within 5 years of blood draw (RR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.15 to 1.44 and 1.19, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.33, respectively).

Conclusions: The methylation-based measures and may provide insights into the relationship between biological aging and cancer and be useful to predict cancer risk, particularly for lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7791618PMC
February 2021

Latent Class Trajectory Modeling of Adult Body Mass Index and Risk of Obesity-Related Cancer: Findings from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Feb 2;30(2):373-379. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Obesity increases the risk of 13 cancer types. Given the long process of carcinogenesis, it is important to determine the impact of patterns of body mass over time.

Methods: Using data from 30,377 participants in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, we identified body mass index (BMI) trajectories across adulthood and examined their association with the risk of obesity-related cancer. Participants completed interviews and questionnaires at baseline (1990-1994, age 40-69 years), follow-up 1 (1995-1998), and follow-up 2 (2003-2005). Body mass was recalled for age 18 to 21 years, measured at baseline, self-reported at follow-up 1, and measured at follow-up 2. Height was measured at baseline. Cancer diagnoses were ascertained from the Victorian Cancer Registry and the Australian Cancer Database. A latent class trajectory model was used to identify BMI trajectories that were not defined . Cox regression was used to estimate HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of obesity-related cancer risks by BMI trajectory.

Results: Six distinct BMI trajectories were identified. Compared with people who maintained lower normal BMI, higher risks of developing obesity-related cancer were observed for participants who transitioned from normal to overweight (HR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.13-1.47), normal to class I obesity (HR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.28-1.75), or from overweight to class II obesity (HR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.32-2.08).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that maintaining a healthy BMI across the adult lifespan is important for cancer prevention.

Impact: Categorization of BMI by trajectory allowed us to identify specific risk groups to target with public health interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0690DOI Listing
February 2021

Methylation marks of prenatal exposure to maternal smoking and risk of cancer in adulthood.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 03;50(1):105-115

Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia.

Background: Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking is detrimental to child health but its association with risk of cancer has seldom been investigated. Maternal smoking induces widespread and long-lasting DNA methylation changes, which we study here for association with risk of cancer in adulthood.

Methods: Eight prospective case-control studies nested within the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study were used to assess associations between maternal-smoking-associated methylation marks in blood and risk of several cancers: breast (n = 406 cases), colorectal (n = 814), gastric (n = 166), kidney (n = 139), lung (n = 327), prostate (n = 847) and urothelial (n = 404) cancer and B-cell lymphoma (n = 426). We used conditional logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between cancer and five methylation scores calculated as weighted averages for 568, 19, 15, 28 and 17 CpG sites. Models were adjusted for confounders, including personal smoking history (smoking status, pack-years, age at starting and quitting) and methylation scores for personal smoking.

Results: All methylation scores for maternal smoking were strongly positively associated with risk of urothelial cancer. Risk estimates were only slightly attenuated after adjustment for smoking history, other potential confounders and methylation scores for personal smoking. Potential negative associations were observed with risk of lung cancer and B-cell lymphoma. No associations were observed for other cancers.

Conclusions: We found that methylation marks of prenatal exposure to maternal smoking are associated with increased risk of urothelial cancer. Our study demonstrates the potential for using DNA methylation to investigate the impact of early-life, unmeasured exposures on later-life cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa210DOI Listing
March 2021

Adiposity and Endometrial Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women: A Sequential Causal Mediation Analysis.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Jan 2;30(1):104-113. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain.

Background: Adiposity increases endometrial cancer risk, possibly through inflammation, hyperinsulinemia, and increasing estrogens. We aimed to quantify the mediating effects of adiponectin (anti-inflammatory adipocytokine); IL6, IL1-receptor antagonist, TNF receptor 1 and 2, and C-reactive protein (inflammatory status biomarkers); C-peptide (hyperinsulinemia biomarker); and free estradiol and estrone (estrogen biomarkers) in the adiposity-endometrial cancer link in postmenopausal women.

Methods: We used data from a case-control study within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Eligible women did not have cancer, hysterectomy, and diabetes; did not use oral contraceptives or hormone therapy; and were postmenopausal at recruitment. Mediating pathways from adiposity to endometrial cancer were investigated by estimating natural indirect (NIE) and direct (NDE) effects using sequential mediation analysis.

Results: The study included 163 cases and 306 controls. The adjusted OR for endometrial cancer for body mass index (BMI) ≥30 versus ≥18.5-<25 kg/m was 2.51 (95% confidence interval, 1.26-5.02). The ORs were 1.95 (1.01-3.74) through all biomarkers [72% proportion mediated (PM)] decomposed as: 1.35 (1.06-1.73) through pathways originating with adiponectin (33% PM); 1.13 (0.71-1.80) through inflammation beyond (the potential influence of) adiponectin (13% PM); 1.05 (0.88-1.24) through C-peptide beyond adiponectin and inflammation (5% PM); and 1.22 (0.89-1.67) through estrogens beyond preceding biomarkers (21% PM). The OR not through biomarkers was 1.29 (0.54-3.09). Waist circumference gave similar results.

Conclusions: Reduced adiponectin and increased inflammatory biomarkers, C-peptide, and estrogens mediated approximately 70% of increased odds of endometrial cancer in women with obesity versus normal weight.

Impact: If replicated, these results could have implications for identifying targets for intervention to reduce endometrial cancer risk in women with obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0965DOI Listing
January 2021

DNA Methylation in Peripheral Blood and Risk of Gastric Cancer: A Prospective Nested Case-control Study.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2021 Feb 21;14(2):233-240. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

DNA methylation in peripheral blood is a potential biomarker of gastric cancer risk which could be used for early detection. We conducted a prospective case-control study nested within the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. Genomic DNA was prepared from blood samples collected a median of 12 years before diagnosis for cases ( = 168). Controls ( = 163) were matched to cases on sex, year of birth, country of birth, and blood sample type using incidence density sampling. Genome-wide DNA methylation was measured using the Infinium HumanMethylation450K Beadchip. Global measures of DNA methylation were defined as the median methylation M value, calculated for each of 13 CpG subsets representing genomic function, mean methylation and location, and reliability of measurement. Conditional logistic regression was conducted to assess associations between these global measures of methylation and gastric cancer risk, adjusting for and other potential confounders. We tested nonlinear associations using quintiles of the global measure distribution. A genome-wide association study of DNA methylation and gastric cancer risk was also conducted ( = 484,989 CpGs) using conditional logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders. Differentially methylated regions (DMR) were investigated using the R package We found no evidence of associations with gastric cancer risk for individual CpGs or DMRs ( > 7.6 × 10). No evidence of association was observed with global measures of methylation (OR 1.07 per SD of overall median methylation; 95% confidence interval, 0.80-1.44; = 0.65). We found no evidence that blood DNA methylation is prospectively associated with gastric cancer risk. We studied DNA methylation in blood to try and predict who was at risk of gastric cancer before symptoms developed, by which stage survival is poor. We did not find any such markers, but the importance of early diagnosis in gastric cancer remains, and the search for markers continues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-20-0003DOI Listing
February 2021

Domain-Specific Physical Activity, Pain Interference, and Muscle Pain after Activity.

Med Sci Sports Exerc 2020 10;52(10):2145-2151

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA.

Purpose: Using the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, we examined the associations of occupation, household, transport, and leisure physical activity with pain interference with normal work and muscle pain after activity.

Methods: This cross-sectional analysis included 7655 working and 11,766 nonworking participants. Physical activity was assessed using the long-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Pain interference was assessed with the Short-Form 12-Item Health Survey version 2.0, and muscle pain after activity was assessed using the 12-item Somatic and Psychological Health Report. Ordered logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), and restricted cubic splines were used to graphically represent the shape of associations.

Results: All physical activity domain-pain outcome associations were nonlinear. Compared with participants who reported the lowest level of activity, participants who reported the median level of transport physical activity (10 MET·h·wk) reported less pain interference (workers: OR, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.77-0.97]; nonworkers: OR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.79-0.97]) and muscle pain after activity (workers: OR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.70-0.95]; nonworkers: OR, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.77-0.95]). Higher levels of leisure time activity (20 MET·h·wk) were associated with less pain interference in nonworkers (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.77-0.98) and muscle pain after activity in workers (OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.56-0.80). Workers who reported the median level of household activity (16 MET·h·wk) had increased pain interference (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.07-1.32) and muscle pain after activity (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.06-1.42) than did those who reported the least household activity.

Conclusions: Associations between domain-specific physical activity and pain outcomes were not uniform. Within the transport and leisure domains, physical activity was inversely associated with pain-related outcomes, whereas household physical activity was positively associated with pain scores within the working sample.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002358DOI Listing
October 2020

Effects of a wearable technology-based physical activity intervention on sleep quality in breast cancer survivors: the ACTIVATE Trial.

J Cancer Surviv 2021 Apr 1;15(2):273-280. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, 615 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia.

Introduction: Physical activity interventions can improve sleep quality in breast cancer survivors. This paper examines the effects of the ACTIVATE Trial, a wearable-based physical activity intervention (Garmin Vivofit2® coupled with behavioral feedback, goal setting, and health coaching) on sleep outcomes.

Methods: Post-primary treatment, inactive, postmenopausal breast cancer survivors were recruited and randomized to primary intervention or waitlist. Wrist-worn actigraphy (sleep onset latency, SOL; total sleep time, TST; sleep efficiency, SE; wake after sleep onset, WASO; and number of awakenings, NWAKE) and questionnaire-derived sleep measures (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) were assessed at baseline (T1), 12 weeks (end of primary intervention and start of waitlist intervention, T2), and at 24 weeks (T3).

Results: Eighty-three women (mean age = 62 years) were randomized; trial retention was 94% at T2 and 87% at T3. At T2, primary intervention participants had greater improvements in WASO (- 5.7 min, 95% CI - 11.7 to - 0.2) and NWAKE compared with the waitlist arm (- 2.0, 95% CI - 3.6 to - 0.4). At T3, within-group improvements were observed for SE (both groups), WASO (both groups), NWAKE (primary intervention group only), total PSQI score (primary intervention group), and sleep efficacy (primary intervention group).

Conclusions: The intervention reduced actigraphy-measured sleep disturbances. Within-group analyses suggest that improvements in sleep quality are sustained over a longer duration, and there may be similar benefits from an abridged intervention (wearable device only). Actigraphy-measured effects appeared stronger in participants who were poor sleepers at study entry.

Implications For Cancer Survivors: Wearable technology can increase physical activity and improve sleep for breast cancer survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11764-020-00930-7DOI Listing
April 2021

Mortality Effects of Hypothetical Interventions on Physical Activity and TV Viewing.

Med Sci Sports Exerc 2021 02;53(2):316-323

Behavioral Epidemiology, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA.

Introduction: Long-term effects of physical activity and television (TV) viewing on mortality have been inferred from observational studies. The associations observed do not allow for inferences about the effects of population interventions and could be subject to bias due to time-varying confounding.

Methods: Using data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, collected in 1999-2000 (T0), 2004-2005 (T1), and 2011-2012 (T2), we applied the parametric g-formula to estimate cumulative risks of death under hypothetical interventions on physical activity and/or TV viewing determined from self-report while adjusting for time-varying confounding.

Results: In the 6377 participants followed up for 13 yr from 2004 to 2005 to death or censoring in 2017, 781 participants died. The observed cumulative risk of death was 12.2%. The most effective hypothetical intervention was to increase weekly physical activity to >300 min (risk ratio (RR), 0.66 (0.46-0.86) compared with a "worst-case" scenario; RR, 0.83 (0.73-0.94) compared with no intervention). Reducing daily TV viewing to <2 h in addition to physical activity interventions did not show added survival benefits. Reducing TV viewing alone was least effective in reducing mortality (RR, 0.85 (0.60-1.10) compared with the worst-case scenario; RR, 1.06 (0.93-1.20) compared with no intervention).

Conclusions: Our findings suggested that sustained interventions to increase physical activity could lower all-cause mortality over a 13-yr period, and there might be limited gain from intervening to reduce TV viewing time in a relatively healthy population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002479DOI Listing
February 2021

Stochastic Epigenetic Mutations Are Associated with Risk of Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, and Mature B-cell Neoplasms.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 10 11;29(10):2026-2037. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

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

Background: Age-related epigenetic dysregulations are associated with several diseases, including cancer. The number of stochastic epigenetic mutations (SEM) has been suggested as a biomarker of life-course accumulation of exposure-related DNA damage; however, the predictive role of SEMs in cancer has seldom been investigated.

Methods: A SEM, at a given CpG site, was defined as an extreme outlier of DNA methylation value distribution across individuals. We investigated the association of the total number of SEMs with the risk of eight cancers in 4,497 case-control pairs nested in three prospective cohorts. Furthermore, we investigated whether SEMs were randomly distributed across the genome or enriched in functional genomic regions.

Results: In the three-study meta-analysis, the estimated ORs per one-unit increase in log(SEM) from logistic regression models adjusted for age and cancer risk factors were 1.25; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11-1.41 for breast cancer, and 1.23; 95% CI, 1.07-1.42 for lung cancer. In the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, the OR for mature B-cell neoplasm was 1.46; 95% CI, 1.25-1.71. Enrichment analyses indicated that SEMs frequently occur in silenced genomic regions and in transcription factor binding sites regulated by EZH2 and SUZ12 ( < 0.0001 and = 0.0005, respectively): two components of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PCR2). Finally, we showed that PCR2-specific SEMs are generally more stable over time compared with SEMs occurring in the whole genome.

Conclusions: The number of SEMs is associated with a higher risk of different cancers in prediagnostic blood samples.

Impact: We identified a candidate biomarker for cancer early detection, and we described a carcinogenesis mechanism involving PCR2 complex proteins worthy of further investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0451DOI Listing
October 2020

Geographic variation in tobacco use in India: a population-based multilevel cross-sectional study.

BMJ Open 2020 06 21;10(6):e033178. Epub 2020 Jun 21.

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Objective: This study aims to quantify the extent to which people's use of tobacco products varies by local areas (city ward and village) across India and the variation in this clustering by tobacco products.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting And Participants: Data on 73 954 adults across 2547 city wards and villages were available for analysis from 30 states and 2 union territories in India.

Primary And Secondary Outcome Measures: We included as primary outcomes self-reported any tobacco use, current cigarette smoking, current bidi smoking, current smokeless tobacco use and a derived variable for dual use describing respondents who engaged in both smoking and smokeless tobacco use.

Results: The median risk of an individual using tobacco was 1.64 times greater if a person hypothetically moved from an area of low to high risk of tobacco use (95% CI: 1.60 to 1.69). Area-level partitioning of variation differed by tobacco product used. Median ORs ranged from 1.77 for smokeless tobacco use to 2.53 for dual use.

Conclusions: Tobacco use is highly clustered geographically in India. To be effective in India, policy interventions should be directed to influence specific local contextual factors on adult tobacco use. Where people live in India influences their use of tobacco, and this association may be greater than has been observed in other settings. Tailoring tobacco control policies for local areas in India may, therefore, provide substantial public health benefits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033178DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7307551PMC
June 2020

Differences in cancer survival by remoteness of residence: an analysis of data from a population-based cancer registry.

Cancer Causes Control 2020 Jul 30;31(7):617-629. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, 615 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia.

Purpose: Cancer survival is generally lower for rural compared with urban residents, but findings have been inconsistent. We aimed to assess inequalities in cancer survival by remoteness of residence in Victoria, Australia.

Methods: Incident cancer cases diagnosed in 2001-2015 with 30 cancer types (n = 331,302) were identified through the Victorian Cancer Registry and followed to the end of 2015 through death registries. Five-year net survival was estimated using the Pohar-Perme method and differences assessed by excess mortality rate ratios (EMRRs) using Poisson regression, adjusting for sex, age and year of diagnosis. EMRRs adjusted for socio-economic disadvantage were also estimated.

Results: People living outside major cities had lower survival for 11 cancers: esophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, gallbladder/biliary tract, pancreas, lung, connective/soft tissue, ovary, prostate, kidney. No differences in survival were found for cancers of uterus, small intestine and mesothelioma. After adjusting for socio-economic disadvantage, the observed differences in survival decreased for most cancers and disappeared for colorectal cancer, but they remained largely unchanged for cancers of esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, lung, connective/soft tissue, ovary and kidney.

Conclusion: People with cancer residing outside major cities had lower survival from some cancers, which is partly due to the greater socio-economic disadvantage of rural residents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10552-020-01303-2DOI Listing
July 2020

Explaining the link between adiposity and colorectal cancer risk in men and postmenopausal women in the UK Biobank: A sequential causal mediation analysis.

Int J Cancer 2020 10 13;147(7):1881-1894. Epub 2020 Apr 13.

Section of Nutrition and Metabolism, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France.

Mechanisms underlying adiposity-colorectal cancer (CRC) association are incompletely understood. Using UK Biobank data, we investigated the role of C-reactive protein (CRP), hemoglobin-A1c (HbA1c) and (jointly) sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and testosterone, in explaining this association. Total effect of obesity versus normal-weight (based on waist circumference, body mass index, waist-hip ratio) on CRC risk was decomposed into natural direct (NDE) and indirect (NIE) effects using sequential mediation analysis. After a median follow-up of 7.1 years, 2070 incident CRC cases (men = 1,280; postmenopausal women = 790) were recorded. For men, the adjusted risk ratio (RR) for waist circumference (≥102 vs. ≤94 cm) was 1.37 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19-1.58). The RRs were 1.08 (95% CI: 1.01-1.16) through all biomarkers, 1.06 (95% CI: 1.01-1.11) through pathways influenced by CRP, 0.99 (95% CI: 0.97-1.01) through HbA1c beyond (the potential influence of) CRP and 1.03 (95% CI: 0.99-1.08) through SHBG and testosterone combined beyond CRP and HbA1c. The RR was 1.26 (95% CI: 1.09-1.47). For women, the RR for waist circumference (≥88 vs. ≤80 cm) was 1.27 (95% CI: 1.07-1.50). The RRs were 1.08 (95% CI: 0.94-1.22) through all biomarkers, 1.08 (95% CI: 0.99-1.17) through CRP, 1.00 (95% CI: 0.98-1.02) through HbA1c beyond CRP and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.92-1.09) through SHBG and testosterone combined beyond CRP and HbA1c. The RR was 1.18 (95% CI: 0.96-1.45). For men and women, pathways influenced by CRP explained a small proportion of the adiposity-CRC association. Testosterone and SHBG also explained a small proportion of this association in men. These results suggest that pathways marked by these obesity-related factors may not explain a large proportion of the adiposity-CRC association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32980DOI Listing
October 2020

Mendelian Randomization of Circulating Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Colorectal Cancer Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 04 12;29(4):860-870. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Background: Results from epidemiologic studies examining polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and colorectal cancer risk are inconsistent. Mendelian randomization may strengthen causal inference from observational studies. Given their shared metabolic pathway, examining the combined effects of aspirin/NSAID use with PUFAs could help elucidate an association between PUFAs and colorectal cancer risk.

Methods: Information was leveraged from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) regarding PUFA-associated SNPs to create weighted genetic scores (wGS) representing genetically predicted circulating blood PUFAs for 11,016 non-Hispanic white colorectal cancer cases and 13,732 controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO). Associations per SD increase in the wGS were estimated using unconditional logistic regression. Interactions between PUFA wGSs and aspirin/NSAID use on colorectal cancer risk were also examined.

Results: Modest colorectal cancer risk reductions were observed per SD increase in circulating linoleic acid [OR = 0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.93-0.98; = 5.2 × 10] and α-linolenic acid (OR = 0.95; 95% CI = 0.92-0.97; = 5.4 × 10), whereas modest increased risks were observed for arachidonic (OR = 1.06; 95% CI = 1.03-1.08; = 3.3 × 10), eicosapentaenoic (OR = 1.04; 95% CI = 1.01-1.07; = 2.5 × 10), and docosapentaenoic acids (OR = 1.03; 95% CI = 1.01-1.06; = 1.2 × 10). Each of these effects was stronger among aspirin/NSAID nonusers in the stratified analyses.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that higher circulating shorter-chain PUFAs (i.e., LA and ALA) were associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk, whereas longer-chain PUFAs (i.e., AA, EPA, and DPA) were associated with an increased colorectal cancer risk.

Impact: The interaction of PUFAs with aspirin/NSAID use indicates a shared colorectal cancer inflammatory pathway. Future research should continue to improve PUFA genetic instruments to elucidate the independent effects of PUFAs on colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0891DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7125012PMC
April 2020

Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and cause-specific mortality in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study.

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2020 04 30;198:105612. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Department of Medical Statistics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. Electronic address:

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher all-cause mortality, but associations with specific causes of death are unclear. We investigated the association between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration and cause-specific mortality using a case-cohort study within the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (MCCS). Eligibility for the case-cohort study was restricted to participants with baseline dried blood spot samples and no pre-baseline diagnosis of cancer. These analyses included participants who died (n = 2307) during a mean follow-up of 14 years and a sex-stratified random sample of eligible cohort participants ('subcohort', n = 2923). Concentration of 25(OH)D was measured using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Cox regression, with Barlow weights and robust standard errors to account for the case-cohort design, was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for cause-specific mortality in relation to 25(OH)D concentration with adjustment for confounders. Circulating 25(OH)D concentration was inversely associated with risk of death due to cancer (HR per 25 nmol/L increment = 0.88, 95 % CI 0.78-0.99), particularly colorectal cancer (HR = 0.75, 95 % CI 0.57-0.99). Higher 25(OH)D concentrations were also associated with a lower risk of death due to diseases of the respiratory system (HR = 0.62, 95 % CI 0.43-0.88), particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (HR = 0.53, 95 % CI 0.30-0.94), and diseases of the digestive system (HR = 0.44, 95 % CI 0.26-0.76). Estimates for diabetes mortality (HR = 0.64, 95 % CI 0.33-1.26) and cardiovascular disease mortality (HR = 0.90, 95 % CI 0.76-1.07) lacked precision. The findings suggest that vitamin D might be important for preventing death due to some cancers, respiratory diseases, and digestive diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105612DOI Listing
April 2020

Differences in cancer survival by area-level socio-economic disadvantage: A population-based study using cancer registry data.

PLoS One 2020 30;15(1):e0228551. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Despite overall improvements in cancer survival due to earlier diagnosis and better treatment, socio-economically disadvantaged people have lower cancer survival than more advantaged people. We aimed to examine differences in cancer survival by area-level socio-economic disadvantage in Victoria, Australia and assess whether these inequalities varied by year of diagnosis, age at diagnosis, time since diagnosis and sex. Cases diagnosed with a first primary cancer in 2001-2015 were identified using the Victorian Cancer Registry and followed to the end of 2016. Five-year net survival and the excess risk of death due to a cancer diagnosis were estimated. People living in more disadvantaged areas had lower five-year survival than residents of less disadvantaged regions for 21 of 29 cancer types: head and neck, oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, anus/anal canal, liver, gallbladder/biliary tract, pancreas, lung, melanoma, connective/soft tissue, female breast, ovary, prostate, kidney, bladder, brain and central nervous system, unknown primary, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma and leukemia. The observed lower survival in more deprived regions persisted over time, except head and neck cancer, for which the gap in survival has widened. Socio-economic inequalities in survival decreased with increasing age at diagnosis for cancers of connective/soft tissue, bladder and unknown primary. For colorectal cancer, the observed survival disadvantage in lower socio-economic regions was greater for men than for women, while for brain and central nervous system tumours, it was larger for women. Cancer survival is generally lower for residents of more socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Identifying the underlying reasons for these inequalities is important and may help to identify effective interventions to increase survival for underprivileged cancer patients.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228551PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992207PMC
April 2020

Sustained adherence to a Mediterranean diet and physical activity on all-cause mortality in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study: application of the g-formula.

BMC Public Health 2019 Dec 26;19(1):1733. Epub 2019 Dec 26.

The Victorian Centre for Biostatistics (ViCBiostat), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower mortality and cardiovascular disease risk. The relative importance of diet compared to other lifestyle factors and effects of dietary patterns over time remains unknown.

Methods: We used the parametric G-formula to account for time-dependent confounding, in order to assess the relative importance of diet compared to other lifestyle factors and effects of dietary patterns over time. We included healthy Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study participants attending a visit during 1995-1999. Questionnaires assessed diet and physical activity at each of three study waves. Deaths were identified by linkage to national registries. We estimated mortality risk over approximately 14 years (1995-2011).

Results: Of 22,213 participants, 2163 (9.7%) died during 13.6 years median follow-up. Sustained high physical activity and adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet resulted in an estimated reduction in all-cause mortality of 1.82 per 100 people (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.03, 3.6). The population attributable fraction was 13% (95% CI: 4, 23%) for sustained high physical activity, 7% (95% CI: - 3, 17%) for sustained adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet and 18% (95% CI: 0, 36%) for their combination.

Conclusions: A small reduction in mortality may be achieved by sustained elevated physical activity levels in healthy middle-aged adults, but there may be comparatively little gain from increasing adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7919-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6933918PMC
December 2019

Cumulative Burden of Colorectal Cancer-Associated Genetic Variants Is More Strongly Associated With Early-Onset vs Late-Onset Cancer.

Gastroenterology 2020 04 19;158(5):1274-1286.e12. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington.

Background & Aims: Early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC, in persons younger than 50 years old) is increasing in incidence; yet, in the absence of a family history of CRC, this population lacks harmonized recommendations for prevention. We aimed to determine whether a polygenic risk score (PRS) developed from 95 CRC-associated common genetic risk variants was associated with risk for early-onset CRC.

Methods: We studied risk for CRC associated with a weighted PRS in 12,197 participants younger than 50 years old vs 95,865 participants 50 years or older. PRS was calculated based on single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CRC in a large-scale genome-wide association study as of January 2019. Participants were pooled from 3 large consortia that provided clinical and genotyping data: the Colon Cancer Family Registry, the Colorectal Transdisciplinary Study, and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium and were all of genetically defined European descent. Findings were replicated in an independent cohort of 72,573 participants.

Results: Overall associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS were significant for early-onset cancer, and were stronger compared with late-onset cancer (P for interaction = .01); when we compared the highest PRS quartile with the lowest, risk increased 3.7-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.28-4.24) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.80-3.04). This association was strongest for participants without a first-degree family history of CRC (P for interaction = 5.61 × 10). When we compared the highest with the lowest quartiles in this group, risk increased 4.3-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.61-5.01) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.70-3.00). Sensitivity analyses were consistent with these findings.

Conclusions: In an analysis of associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS, we found the cumulative burden of CRC-associated common genetic variants to associate with early-onset cancer, and to be more strongly associated with early-onset than late-onset cancer, particularly in the absence of CRC family history. Analyses of PRS, along with environmental and lifestyle risk factors, might identify younger individuals who would benefit from preventive measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.12.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7103489PMC
April 2020

Approaches to Improve Causal Inference in Physical Activity Epidemiology.

J Phys Act Health 2020 01 1;17(1):80-84. Epub 2020 Jan 1.

Background: It is not always clear whether physical activity is causally related to health outcomes, or whether the associations are induced through confounding or other biases. Randomized controlled trials of physical activity are not feasible when outcomes of interest are rare or develop over many years. Thus, we need methods to improve causal inference in observational physical activity studies.

Methods: We outline a range of approaches that can improve causal inference in observational physical activity research, and also discuss the impact of measurement error on results and methods to minimize this.

Results: Key concepts and methods described include directed acyclic graphs, quantitative bias analysis, Mendelian randomization, and potential outcomes approaches which include propensity scores, g methods, and causal mediation.

Conclusions: We provide a brief overview of some contemporary epidemiological methods that are beginning to be used in physical activity research. Adoption of these methods will help build a stronger body of evidence for the health benefits of physical activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2019-0515DOI Listing
January 2020

Alcohol consumption is associated with widespread changes in blood DNA methylation: Analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal data.

Addict Biol 2021 01 2;26(1):e12855. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

DNA methylation may be one of the mechanisms by which alcohol consumption is associated with the risk of disease. We conducted a large-scale, cross-sectional, genome-wide DNA methylation association study of alcohol consumption and a longitudinal analysis of repeated measurements taken several years apart. Using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip, DNA methylation was measured in blood samples from 5606 Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (MCCS) participants. For 1088 of them, these measures were repeated using blood samples collected a median of 11 years later. Associations between alcohol intake and blood DNA methylation were assessed using linear mixed-effects regression models. Independent data from the London Life Sciences Prospective Population (LOLIPOP) (N = 4042) and Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region (KORA) (N = 1662) cohorts were used to replicate associations discovered in the MCCS. Cross-sectional analyses identified 1414 CpGs associated with alcohol intake at P < 10 , 1243 of which had not been reported previously. Of these novel associations, 1078 were replicated (P < .05) using LOLIPOP and KORA data. Using the MCCS data, we also replicated 403 of 518 previously reported associations. Interaction analyses suggested that associations were stronger for women, non-smokers, and participants genetically predisposed to consume less alcohol. Of the 1414 CpGs, 530 were differentially methylated (P < .05) in former compared with current drinkers. Longitudinal associations between the change in alcohol intake and the change in methylation were observed for 513 of the 1414 cross-sectional associations. Our study indicates that alcohol intake is associated with widespread changes in DNA methylation across the genome. Longitudinal analyses showed that the methylation status of alcohol-associated CpGs may change with alcohol consumption changes in adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12855DOI Listing
January 2021