Publications by authors named "Domenico Palli"

664 Publications

Pre-diagnostic alterations in circulating bile acid profiles in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Int J Cancer 2021 Nov 29. Epub 2021 Nov 29.

Public Health Directorate, Asturias, Spain.

Bile acids (BA) play different roles in cancer development. Some are carcinogenic and BA signaling is also involved in various metabolic, inflammatory, and immune-related processes. The liver is the primary site of BA synthesis. Liver dysfunction and microbiome compositional changes, such as during hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development, may modulate BA metabolism increasing concentration of carcinogenic BAs. Observations from prospective cohorts are sparse. We conducted a study (233 HCC case-control pairs) nested within a large observational prospective cohort with blood samples taken at recruitment when healthy with follow-up over time for later cancer development. A targeted metabolomics method was used to quantify 17 BAs (primary/secondary/tertiary; conjugated/un-conjugated) in pre-diagnostic plasma. Odd ratios (OR) for HCC risk associations were calculated by multivariable conditional logistic regression models. Positive HCC risk associations were observed for the molar sum of all BAs (OR  = 2.30, 95%CI = 1.76-3.00) and choline- and taurine-conjugated BAs. Relative concentrations of BAs showed positive HCC risk associations for glycoholic acid and most taurine-conjugated BAs. We observe an association between increased HCC risk and higher levels of major circulating BAs, from several years prior to tumor diagnosis and after multivariable adjustment for confounders and liver functionality. Increased in BA concentration is accompanied by a shift in BA profile towards higher proportions of taurine-conjugated BAs, indicating early alterations of BA metabolism with HCC development. Future studies are needed to assess BA profiles for improved stratification of patients at high HCC risk and to determine whether supplementation with certain BAs may ameliorate liver dysfunction. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33885DOI Listing
November 2021

Urinary Concentrations of (+)-Catechin and (-)-Epicatechin as Biomarkers of Dietary Intake of Flavan-3-ols in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study.

Nutrients 2021 Nov 20;13(11). Epub 2021 Nov 20.

Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology Research Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), 08908 Barcelona, Spain.

This study examines the correlation of acute and habitual dietary intake of flavan-3-ol monomers, proanthocyanidins, theaflavins, and their main food sources with the urinary concentrations of (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC). Participants (N = 419, men and women) provided 24-h urine samples and completed a 24-h dietary recall (24-HDR) on the same day. Acute and habitual dietary data were collected using a standardized 24-HDR software and a validated dietary questionnaire, respectively. Intake of flavan-3-ols was estimated using the Phenol-Explorer database. Concentrations of (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin in 24-h urine were analyzed using tandem mass spectrometry after enzymatic deconjugation. Simple and partial Spearman's correlations showed that urinary concentrations of (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin and their sum were more strongly correlated with acute than with habitual intake of individual and total monomers (acute = 0.13-0.54, < 0.05; and habitual = 0.14-0.28, < 0.01), proanthocyanidins (acute = 0.24-0.49, < 0.001; and habitual = 0.10-0.15, < 0.05), theaflavins (acute = 0.22-0.31, < 0.001; and habitual = 0.20-0.26, < 0.01), and total flavan-3-ols (acute = 0.40-0.48, < 0.001; and habitual = 0.23-0.33, < 0.001). Similarly, urinary concentrations of flavan-3-ols were weakly correlated with both acute ( = 0.12-0.30, < 0.05) and habitual intake ( = 0.10-0.27, < 0.05) of apple and pear, stone fruits, berries, chocolate and chocolate products, cakes and pastries, tea, herbal tea, wine, red wine, and beer and cider. Moreover, all comparable correlations were stronger for urinary (-)-epicatechin than for (+)-catechin. In conclusion, our data support the use of urinary concentrations of (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin, especially as short-term nutritional biomarkers of dietary catechin, epicatechin and total flavan-3-ol monomers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13114157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8624971PMC
November 2021

Dietary Advanced Glycation End-Products and Colorectal Cancer Risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study.

Nutrients 2021 Sep 8;13(9). Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), 28029 Madrid, Spain.

Dietary advanced glycation end-products (dAGEs) have been hypothesized to be associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) by promoting inflammation, metabolic dysfunction, and oxidative stress in the colonic epithelium. However, evidence from prospective cohort studies is scarce and inconclusive. We evaluated CRC risk associated with the intake of dAGEs in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Dietary intakes of three major dAGEs: N-carboxy-methyllysine (CML), N-carboxyethyllysine (CEL), and N-(5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl)-ornithine (MG-H1) were estimated in 450,111 participants (median follow-up = 13 years, with 6162 CRC cases) by matching to a detailed published European food composition database. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations of dAGEs with CRC were computed using multivariable-adjusted Cox regression models. Inverse CRC risk associations were observed for CML (HR comparing extreme quintiles: HR. = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.85-1.00) and MG-H1 (HR. = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.85-1.00), but not for CEL (HR. = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.89-1.05). The associations did not differ by sex or anatomical location of the tumor. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, our findings suggest an inverse association between dAGEs and CRC risk. More research is required to verify these findings and better differentiate the role of dAGEs from that of endogenously produced AGEs and their precursor compounds in CRC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13093132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470201PMC
September 2021

Transcriptome of Male Breast Cancer Matched with Germline Profiling Reveals Novel Molecular Subtypes with Possible Clinical Relevance.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Sep 8;13(18). Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Male breast cancer (MBC) is a rare and understudied disease compared with female BC. About 15% of MBCs are associated with germline mutation in BC susceptibility genes, mainly and . Hereditary MBCs are likely to represent a subgroup of tumors with a peculiar phenotype. Here, we performed a whole transcriptome analysis of MBCs characterized for germline mutations in the most relevant BC susceptibility genes in order to identify molecular subtypes with clinical relevance. A series of 63 MBCs, including 16 6 , 2 , 1 , and 1 germline-mutated cases, was analyzed by RNA-sequencing. Differential expression and hierarchical clustering analyses were performed. Module signatures associated with central biological processes involved in breast cancer pathogenesis were also examined. Different transcriptome profiles for genes mainly involved in the cell cycle, DNA damage, and DNA repair pathways emerged between MBCs with and without germline mutations. Unsupervised clustering analysis revealed two distinct subgroups, one of which was characterized by a higher expression of immune response genes, high scores of gene-expression signatures suggestive of aggressive behavior, and worse overall survival. Our results suggest that transcriptome matched with germline profiling may be a valuable approach for the identification and characterization of MBC subtypes with possible relevance in the clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13184515DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8469418PMC
September 2021

A New Pipeline for the Normalization and Pooling of Metabolomics Data.

Metabolites 2021 Sep 17;11(9). Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), 28029 Madrid, Spain.

Pooling metabolomics data across studies is often desirable to increase the statistical power of the analysis. However, this can raise methodological challenges as several preanalytical and analytical factors could introduce differences in measured concentrations and variability between datasets. Specifically, different studies may use variable sample types (e.g., serum versus plasma) collected, treated, and stored according to different protocols, and assayed in different laboratories using different instruments. To address these issues, a new pipeline was developed to normalize and pool metabolomics data through a set of sequential steps: (i) exclusions of the least informative observations and metabolites and removal of outliers; imputation of missing data; (ii) identification of the main sources of variability through principal component partial R-square (PC-PR2) analysis; (iii) application of linear mixed models to remove unwanted variability, including samples' originating study and batch, and preserve biological variations while accounting for potential differences in the residual variances across studies. This pipeline was applied to targeted metabolomics data acquired using Biocrates AbsoluteIDQ kits in eight case-control studies nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Comprehensive examination of metabolomics measurements indicated that the pipeline improved the comparability of data across the studies. Our pipeline can be adapted to normalize other molecular data, including biomarkers as well as proteomics data, and could be used for pooling molecular datasets, for example in international consortia, to limit biases introduced by inter-study variability. This versatility of the pipeline makes our work of potential interest to molecular epidemiologists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo11090631DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8467830PMC
September 2021

Coffee consumption and gastric cancer: a pooled analysis from the Stomach cancer Pooling Project consortium.

Eur J Cancer Prev 2021 Sep 17. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Branch of Medical Statistics, Biometry and Epidemiology "G.A. Maccacaro", University of Milan, Milan, Italy Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences L. Sacco Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, University of Milan, Milan, Italy Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland, USA School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China Cancer Risk Factors and Life-Style Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network, ISPRO, Florence, Italy EPIUnit - Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação Médica, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal Epidemiology and Prevention Group, Center for Public Health Sciences, National Cancer Center, Tokyo, Japan Nikkei Disease Prevention Center, São Paulo, Brazil Mexico National Institute of Public Health, Morelos, Mexico Department of Biostatistics, Yale School of Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Russian N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russia Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP) Cancer Epidemiology Section, Public Health Division, Department of Health of Madrid, Madrid Research Group in Gene-Environment Interactions and Health, University of León, León Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica de Alicante, ISABIAL-UMH, Alicante, Spain Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, New York, USA Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Department of Public and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of West Attica, Athens 2nd Pulmonary Medicine Department, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School, "ATTIKON" University Hospital, Haidari, Greece Digestive Oncology Research Center, Digestive Disease Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran Centro Internacional de Pesquisa, A. C. Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, Brazil Section of Hygiene, University Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Department of Woman and Child Health and Public Health - Public Health Area, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Roma, Italia Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate and quantify the relationship between coffee and gastric cancer using a uniquely large dataset from an international consortium of observational studies on gastric cancer, including data from 18 studies, for a total of 8198 cases and 21 419 controls.

Methods: A two-stage approach was used to obtain the pooled odds ratios (ORs) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for coffee drinkers versus never or rare drinkers. A one-stage logistic mixed-effects model with a random intercept for each study was used to estimate the dose-response relationship. Estimates were adjusted for sex, age and the main recognized risk factors for gastric cancer.

Results: Compared to never or rare coffee drinkers, the estimated pooled OR for coffee drinkers was 1.03 (95% CI, 0.94-1.13). When the amount of coffee intake was considered, the pooled ORs were 0.91 (95% CI, 0.81-1.03) for drinkers of 1-2 cups per day, 0.95 (95% CI, 0.82-1.10) for 3-4 cups, and 0.95 (95% CI, 0.79-1.15) for five or more cups. An OR of 1.20 (95% CI, 0.91-1.58) was found for heavy coffee drinkers (seven or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day). A positive association emerged for high coffee intake (five or more cups per day) for gastric cardia cancer only.

Conclusions: These findings better quantify the previously available evidence of the absence of a relevant association between coffee consumption and gastric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000680DOI Listing
September 2021

DNA methylation-based biomarkers of aging were slowed down in a two-year diet and physical activity intervention trial: the DAMA study.

Aging Cell 2021 10 18;20(10):e13439. Epub 2021 Sep 18.

Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network - ISPRO, Florence, Italy.

Several biomarkers of healthy aging have been proposed in recent years, including the epigenetic clocks, based on DNA methylation (DNAm) measures, which are getting increasingly accurate in predicting the individual biological age. The recently developed "next-generation clock" DNAmGrimAge outperforms "first-generation clocks" in predicting longevity and the onset of many age-related pathological conditions and diseases. Additionally, the total number of stochastic epigenetic mutations (SEMs), also known as the epigenetic mutation load (EML), has been proposed as a complementary DNAm-based biomarker of healthy aging. A fundamental biological property of epigenetic, and in particular DNAm modifications, is the potential reversibility of the effect, raising questions about the possible slowdown of epigenetic aging by modifying one's lifestyle. Here, we investigated whether improved dietary habits and increased physical activity have favorable effects on aging biomarkers in healthy postmenopausal women. The study sample consists of 219 women from the "Diet, Physical Activity, and Mammography" (DAMA) study: a 24-month randomized factorial intervention trial with DNAm measured twice, at baseline and the end of the trial. Women who participated in the dietary intervention had a significant slowing of the DNAmGrimAge clock, whereas increasing physical activity led to a significant reduction of SEMs in crucial cancer-related pathways. Our study provides strong evidence of a causal association between lifestyle modification and slowing down of DNAm aging biomarkers. This randomized trial elucidates the causal relationship between lifestyle and healthy aging-related epigenetic mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acel.13439DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8520727PMC
October 2021

Polyphenol Intake and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study.

Antioxidants (Basel) 2021 Aug 4;10(8). Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Institut Gustave Roussy, 94805 Villejuif, France.

Despite some epidemiological evidence on the protective effects of polyphenol intake on epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) risk from case-control studies, the evidence is scarce from prospective studies and non-existent for several polyphenol classes. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the associations between the intake of total, classes and subclasses of polyphenols and EOC risk in a large prospective study. The study was conducted in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, which included 309,129 adult women recruited mostly from the general population. Polyphenol intake was assessed through validated country-specific dietary questionnaires and the Phenol-Explorer database. During a mean follow-up of 14 years, 1469 first incident EOC cases (including 806 serous, 129 endometrioid, 102 mucinous, and 67 clear cell tumours) were identified. In multivariable-adjusted Cox regression models, the hazard ratio in the highest quartile of total polyphenol intake compared with the lowest quartile (HR) was 1.14 (95% CI 0.94-1.39; -trend = 0.11). Similarly, the intake of most classes and subclasses of polyphenols were not related to either overall EOC risk or any EOC subtype. A borderline statistically significant positive association was observed between phenolic acid intake (HR = 1.20, 95% CI 1.01-1.43; -trend = 0.02) and EOC risk, especially for the serous subtype and in women with obesity, although these associations did not exceed the Bonferroni correction threshold. The current results do not support any association between polyphenol intake and EOC in our large European prospective study. Results regarding phenolic acid intake need further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antiox10081249DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8389235PMC
August 2021

Family History and Gastric Cancer Risk: A Pooled Investigation in the Stomach Cancer Pooling (STOP) Project Consortium.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jul 30;13(15). Epub 2021 Jul 30.

Department of Public and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of West Attica, 12243 Athens, Greece.

Although there is a clear relationship between family history (FH) and the risk of gastric cancer (GC), quantification is still needed in relation to different histological types and anatomical sites, and in strata of covariates. The objective was to analyze the risk of GC according to first-degree FH in a uniquely large epidemiological consortium of GC. This investigation includes 5946 cases and 12,776 controls from 17 studies of the Stomach Cancer Pooling (StoP) Project consortium. Summary odds ratios (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by pooling study-specific ORs using fixed-effect model meta-analysis techniques. Stratified analyses were carried out by sex, age, tumor location and histological type, smoking habit, socioeconomic status, alcohol intake and fruit consumption. The pooled OR for GC was 1.84 (95% CI: 1.64-2.04; I2 = 6.1%, P heterogeneity = 0.383) in subjects with vs. those without first-degree relatives with GC. No significant differences were observed among subgroups of sex, age, geographic area or study period. Associations tended to be stronger for non-cardia (OR = 1.82; 95% CI: 1.59-2.05 for subjects with FH) than for cardia GC (OR = 1.38; 95% CI: 0.98-1.77), and for the intestinal (OR = 1.92; 95% CI: 1.62-2.23) than for the diffuse histotype (OR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.28-1.96). This analysis confirms the effect of FH on the risk of GC, reporting an approximately doubled risk, and provides further quantification of the risk of GC according to the subsite and histotype. Considering these findings, accounting for the presence of FH to carry out correct prevention and diagnosis measures is of the utmost importance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13153844DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8345354PMC
July 2021

Breast and Prostate Cancer Risks for Male BRCA1 and BRCA2 Pathogenic Variant Carriers Using Polygenic Risk Scores.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jul 28. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Background: Recent population-based female breast cancer and prostate cancer polygenic risk scores (PRS) have been developed. We assessed the associations of these PRS with breast and prostate cancer risks for male BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variant carriers.

Methods: 483 BRCA1 and 1,318 BRCA2 European ancestry male carriers were available from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). A 147-single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) prostate cancer PRS (PRSPC) and a 313-SNP breast cancer PRS were evaluated. There were three versions of the breast cancer PRS, optimized to predict overall (PRSBC), estrogen-receptor (ER) negative (PRSER-) or ER-positive (PRSER+) breast cancer risk.

Results: PRSER+ yielded the strongest association with breast cancer risk. The odds ratios (ORs) per PRSER+ standard deviation estimates were 1.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] =1.07-1.83) for BRCA1 and 1.33 (95% CI = 1.16-1.52) for BRCA2 carriers. PRSPC was associated with prostate cancer risk for both BRCA1 (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.28-2.33) and BRCA2 (OR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.34-1.91) carriers. The estimated breast cancer ORs were larger after adjusting for female relative breast cancer family history. By age 85 years, for BRCA2 carriers, the breast cancer risk varied from 7.7% to 18.4% and prostate cancer risk from 34.1% to 87.6% between the 5th and 95th percentiles of the PRS distributions.

Conclusions: Population-based prostate and female breast cancer PRS are associated with a wide range of absolute breast and prostate cancer risks for male BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers. These findings warrant further investigation aimed at providing personalized cancer risks for male carriers and to inform clinical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab147DOI Listing
July 2021

Plasma concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and pancreatic cancer risk.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Jul 14. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Cancer Registry and Histopathology Department, "Civic-M.P. Arezzo" Hospital, ASP Ragusa, Ragusa, Italy.

Background: Findings and limitations of previous studies on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and pancreatic cancer risk support conducting further research in prospective cohorts.

Methods: We conducted a prospective case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Participants were 513 pancreatic cancer cases and 1020 matched controls. Concentrations of 22 POPs were measured in plasma collected at baseline.

Results: Some associations were observed at higher concentrations of p, p'-DDT, trans-nonachlor, β-hexachlorocyclohexane and the sum of six organochlorine pesticides and of 16 POPs. The odds ratio (OR) for the upper quartile of trans-nonachlor was 1.55 (95% confidence interval 1.06-2.26; P for trend = 0.025). Associations were stronger in the groups predefined as most valid (participants having fasted >6 h, with microscopic diagnostic confirmation, normal weight, and never smokers), and as most relevant (follow-up ≥10 years). Among participants having fasted >6 h, the ORs were relevant for 10 of 11 exposures. Higher ORs were also observed among cases with microscopic confirmation than in cases with a clinical diagnosis, and among normal-weight participants than in the rest of participants. Among participants with a follow-up ≥10 years, estimates were higher than in participants with a shorter follow-up (for trans-nonachlor: OR = 2.14, 1.01 to 4.53, P for trend = 0.035). Overall, trans-nonachlor, three PCBs and the two sums of POPs were the exposures most clearly associated with pancreatic cancer risk.

Conclusions: Individually or in combination, most of the 22 POPs analysed did not or only moderately increased the risk of pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab115DOI Listing
July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The association between diabetes and gastric cancer: results from the Stomach Cancer Pooling Project Consortium.

Eur J Cancer Prev 2021 Jun 25. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milan Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS), Muma College of Business, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan Cancer Risk Factors and Life-Style Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network, ISPRO, Florence, Italy Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California, USA Department of Rehabilitation, Vinmec Hospital Times City, Vinmec Healthcare System Vietnam Colorectal Cancer and Polyps Research Program, Vinmec Healthcare System Department of Surgical Oncology, Viet-Duc University Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam Medical Informatics Center, Peking University, Peking, China Department of Computer Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, Nevada Department of Public Health Sciences, Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA Epidemiology and Prevention Group, Center for Public Health Sciences, National Cancer Center, Japan Nikkei Disease Prevention Center, São Paulo, Brazil Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Russian N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russia CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid ISGlobal IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona Environmental and Cancer Epidemiology Unit, National Center of Epidemiology, Carlos III Health Institute, Madrid, Spain Section of Hygiene, University Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Department of Woman and Child Health and Public Health - Public Health Area, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Roma, Italia Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, NY, USA Department of Public and Community Health, School of Health Sciences, University of West Attica Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Department of Public Health, Miguel Hernandez University, FISABIO-ISABIAL, Campus San Juan, Alicante, Spain Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland, USA Centro Internacional de Pesquisa, A. C. Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, Brazil Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação Médica, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, Al. Prof. Hernâni Monteiro EPIUnit - Instituto de Saúde Pública, Universidade do Porto, Rua das Taipas, Porto, Portugal Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook University, New York, New York, USA Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Background: Prior epidemiologic studies on the association between diabetes and gastric cancer risk provided inconclusive findings, while traditional, aggregate data meta-analyses were characterized by high between-study heterogeneity.

Objective: To investigate the association between type 2 diabetes and gastric cancer using data from the 'Stomach Cancer Pooling (StoP) Project', an international consortium of more than 30 case-control and nested case-control studies, which is large and provides harmonized definition of participants' characteristics across individual studies. The data have the potential to minimize between-study heterogeneity and provide greater statistical power for subgroup analysis.

Methods: We included 5592 gastric cancer cases and 12 477 controls from 14 studies from Europe, Asia, North America, and South America in a two-stage individual-participant data meta-analysis. Random-effect models were used to estimate summary odds ratios (ORs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by pooling study-specific ORs.

Results: We did not find an overall association between diabetes and gastric cancer (pooled OR = 1.01, 95% CI, 0.94-1.07). However, the risk of cardia gastric cancer was significantly higher among individuals with type 2 diabetes (OR = 1.16, 95% CI, 1.02-1.33). There was no association between diabetes and gastric cancer risk in strata of Helicobacter pylori infection serostatus, age, sex, BMI, smoking status, alcohol consumption, fruit/vegetable intake, gastric cancer histologic type, and source of controls.

Conclusion: This study provides additional evidence that diabetes is unrelated to gastric cancer overall but may be associated with excess cardia gastric cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000703DOI Listing
June 2021

Prediagnostic circulating metabolites in female breast cancer cases with low and high mammographic breast density.

Sci Rep 2021 06 22;11(1):13025. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO), Via Cosimo il Vecchio 2, 50139, Florence, Italy.

Mammographic breast density (MBD) is a strong independent risk factor for breast cancer (BC). We designed a matched case-case study in the EPIC Florence cohort, to evaluate possible associations between the pre-diagnostic metabolomic profile and the risk of BC in high- versus low-MBD women who developed BC during the follow-up. A case-case design with 100 low-MBD (MBD ≤ 25%) and 100 high-MDB BC cases (MBD > 50%) was performed. Matching variables included age, year and type of mammographic examination. H NMR metabolomic spectra were available for 87 complete case-case sets. The conditional logistic analyses showed an inverse association between serum levels of alanine, leucine, tyrosine, valine, lactic acid, pyruvic acid, triglycerides lipid main fraction and 11 VLDL lipid subfractions and high-MBD cases. Acetic acid was directly associated with high-MBD cases. In models adjusted for confounding variables, tyrosine remained inversely associated with high-MBD cases while 3 VLDL subfractions of free cholesterol emerged as directly associated with high-MBD cases. A pathway analysis showed that the "phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan pathway" emerged and persisted after applying the FDR procedure. The supervised OPLS-DA analysis revealed a slight but significant separation between high- and low-MBD cases. This case-case study suggested a possible role for pre-diagnostic levels of tyrosine in modulating the risk of BC in high- versus low-MBD women. Moreover, some differences emerged in the pre-diagnostic concentration of other metabolites as well in the metabolomic fingerprints among the two groups of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92508-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8219761PMC
June 2021

Pre-diagnostic DNA methylation patterns differ according to mammographic breast density amongst women who subsequently develop breast cancer: a case-only study in the EPIC-Florence cohort.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Sep 8;189(2):435-444. Epub 2021 Jun 8.

Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO), Via Cosimo il Vecchio 2, 50141, Florence, Italy.

Purpose: Mammographic breast density (MBD) is a marker of increased breast cancer (BC) risk, yet much remains to be clarified about the underlying mechanisms. We investigated whether DNA methylation patterns differ between high- vs. low-MBD women who developed BC during an 8.9-year median follow-up in the Florence section of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

Methods: We analysed 96 pairs of women with BC arising on high- vs. low-MBD breasts (BI-RADS category III-IV vs. I). DNA methylation was determined on pre-diagnostic blood samples using the Illumina Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip assay. The statistical analysis was conducted by performing an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS), by searching differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in gene promoters (followed by functional enrichment and gene annotation analysis); and through a "candidate pathways" approach focusing on pre-defined inflammation-related pathways.

Results: In EWAS, no single CpG site was differentially methylated between high- and low-MBD women after correction for multiple testing. A total of 140 DMRs were identified, of which 131 were hyper- and 9 hypo-methylated amongst high-MBD women. These DMRs encompassed an annotation cluster of 35 genes coding for proteins implicated in transcription regulation and DNA binding. The "apoptosis signalling" was the only inflammation-related candidate pathway differentially methylated between high- and low-MBD women.

Conclusion: Pre-diagnostic methylation patterns differ between high- vs. low-MBD women who subsequently develop BC, particularly, in genes involved in the regulation of DNA transcription and cell apoptosis. Our study provides novel clues about the mechanisms linking MBD and BC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06273-wDOI Listing
September 2021

Prospective analysis of circulating metabolites and endometrial cancer risk.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 08 5;162(2):475-481. Epub 2021 Jun 5.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TERT promoter mutations and melanoma survival: A comprehensive literature review and meta-analysis.

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2021 Apr 3;160:103288. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Cancer Risk Factors and Lifestyle Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO), Florence, Italy. Electronic address:

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between somatic mutations of the TERT gene promoter and melanoma survival. Data from nineteen independent studies (>2,500 melanoma overall) were pooled using random effects meta-analysis models. TERT-mutated melanoma patients had a significantly worse overall survival (OS) (summary hazard ratio 1.43, 95 % confidence intervals (CI) 1.05-1.95) compared to wild-type ones. The association became stronger when combining risk estimates for overall and melanoma-specific survival (MSS) (1.52, 95 % CI 1.14-2.02), and when restricting the analysis to studies mostly based on invasive non-acral cutaneous melanomas (1.77, 95 % CI 1.00-3.15). Limited, yet suggestive evidence of a detrimental effect of TERT promoter mutations on melanoma prognosis emerged also for other survival measures (e.g. disease-free and distant metastasis-free survival). We found suggestive evidence of a detrimental effect of TERT mutations on melanoma patients' survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2021.103288DOI Listing
April 2021

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

Cancer Res 2021 07 11;81(13):3738-3748. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

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

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

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 06 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

Circulating tumour DNA and melanoma survival: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis.

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2021 Jan 27;157:103187. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Cancer Risk Factors and Lifestyle Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO), Florence, Italy. Electronic address:

We reviewed and meta-analysed the available evidence (until December 2019) about circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) levels and melanoma patients survival. We included twenty-six studies (>2000 patients overall), which included mostly stage III-IV cutaneous melanoma patients and differed widely in terms of systemic therapy received and somatic mutations that were searched. Patients with detectable ctDNA before treatment had worse progression-free survival (PFS) (summary hazard ratio (SHR) 2.47, 95 % confidence intervals (CI) 1.85-3.29) and overall survival (OS) (SHR 2.98, 95 % CI 2.26-3.92), with no difference by tumour stage. ctDNA detectability during follow-up was associated with poorer PFS (SHR 4.27, 95 %CI 2.75-6.63) and OS (SHR 3.91, 95 %CI 1.97-7.78); in the latter case, the association was stronger (p = 0.01) for stage IV vs. III melanomas. Between-estimates heterogeneity was low for all pooled estimates. ctDNA is a strong prognostic biomarker for advanced-stage melanoma patients, robust across tumour (e.g. genomic profile) and patients (e.g. systemic therapy) characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2020.103187DOI Listing
January 2021

Time Course and Determinants of Individual Motivation among Women Enrolled in a Diet and Physical Activity Primary Prevention Trial.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 11 19;17(22). Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Cancer Risk Factors and Life-Style Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO), 50139 Florence, Italy.

We studied the determinants of motivation among post-menopausal women enrolled in a two-year diet and physical activity primary prevention randomized trial. Participants were requested to grade the importance attached to changing their lifestyle, their confidence about being able to implement the change, and their willingness to be involved in studies focusing on lifestyle. We used multi-adjusted regression to investigate the association between individual characteristics, study arm, and individual motivation at study entry and end. Participants ( = 234) were highly motivated both at entry and throughout the study. Women with pre-existing healthier eating habits and lifestyles (e.g., high consumption of fruit and vegetables, low red meat consumption, and physically active) were more motivated at entry and over the course of the study. Women assigned to any intervention arm were more motivated than those in the control arm. These findings may help enhance adherence to recommendations and improve effectiveness of community-based health promotion campaigns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228589DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7699275PMC
November 2020

Plasma Vitamin C and Type 2 Diabetes: Genome-Wide Association Study and Mendelian Randomization Analysis in European Populations.

Diabetes Care 2021 01 17;44(1):98-106. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology Research Program and Translational Research Laboratory; Catalan Institute of Oncology - ICO, Group of Research on Nutrition and Cancer, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet of Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: Higher plasma vitamin C levels are associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk, but whether this association is causal is uncertain. To investigate this, we studied the association of genetically predicted plasma vitamin C with type 2 diabetes.

Research Design And Methods: We conducted genome-wide association studies of plasma vitamin C among 52,018 individuals of European ancestry to discover novel genetic variants. We performed Mendelian randomization analyses to estimate the association of genetically predicted differences in plasma vitamin C with type 2 diabetes in up to 80,983 case participants and 842,909 noncase participants. We compared this estimate with the observational association between plasma vitamin C and incident type 2 diabetes, including 8,133 case participants and 11,073 noncase participants.

Results: We identified 11 genomic regions associated with plasma vitamin C ( < 5 × 10), with the strongest signal at , and 10 novel genetic loci including , , , , , , , , , and . Plasma vitamin C was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio per SD 0.88; 95% CI 0.82, 0.94), but there was no association between genetically predicted plasma vitamin C (excluding variant due to its apparent pleiotropic effect) and type 2 diabetes (1.03; 95% CI 0.96, 1.10).

Conclusions: These findings indicate discordance between biochemically measured and genetically predicted plasma vitamin C levels in the association with type 2 diabetes among European populations. The null Mendelian randomization findings provide no strong evidence to suggest the use of vitamin C supplementation for type 2 diabetes prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-1328DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7783939PMC
January 2021

Blood Transcriptome Response to Environmental Metal Exposure Reveals Potential Biological Processes Related to Alzheimer's Disease.

Front Public Health 2020 21;8:557587. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Department of Toxicogenomics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease which is manifested by a progressive and irreversible decline of cognition, memory loss, a shortened attention span, and changes in personality. Aging and genetic pre-dispositions, particularly the presence of a specific form of apolipoprotein E (), are main risk factors of sporadic AD; however, a large body of evidence has shown that multiple environmental factors, including exposure to toxic metals, increase the risk for late onset AD. Lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) are ubiquitous toxic metals with a wide range of applications resulting in global distribution in the environment and exposure of all living organisms on earth. In addition to being classified as carcinogenic (Cd) and possibly carcinogenic (Pb) to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, both compounds disrupt metal homeostasis and can cause toxic responses at the cellular and organismal levels. Pb toxicity targets the central nervous system and evidence for that has emerged also for Cd. Recent epidemiological studies show that both metals possibly are etiological factors of multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). To further explore the association between metal exposure and AD risk we applied whole transcriptome gene expression analysis in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) from 632 subjects of the general population, taken from the EnviroGenomarkers project. We used linear mixed effect models to associate metal exposure to gene expression after adjustment for gender, age, BMI, smoking, and alcohol consumption. For Pb exposure only few associations were identified, including a downregulation of the human eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5 (). In contrast, Cd exposure, particularly in males, revealed a much stronger transcriptomic response, featuring multiple pathways related to pathomolecular mechanisms of AD, such as endocytosis, neutrophil degranulation, and Interleukin-7 signaling. A gender stratified analysis revealed that the Cd responses were male-specific and included a downregulation of the gene in men. This exploratory study revealed novel hypothetical findings which might contribute to the understanding of the neurotoxic effects of chronic Pb and Cd exposure and possibly improve our knowledge on the molecular mechanisms linking metal exposure to AD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.557587DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7609776PMC
May 2021

Cross-Cancer Genome-Wide Association Study of Endometrial Cancer and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Identifies Genetic Risk Regions Associated with Risk of Both Cancers.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 01 3;30(1):217-228. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Background: Accumulating evidence suggests a relationship between endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. Independent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer have identified 16 and 27 risk regions, respectively, four of which overlap between the two cancers. We aimed to identify joint endometrial and ovarian cancer risk loci by performing a meta-analysis of GWAS summary statistics from these two cancers.

Methods: Using LDScore regression, we explored the genetic correlation between endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. To identify loci associated with the risk of both cancers, we implemented a pipeline of statistical genetic analyses (i.e., inverse-variance meta-analysis, colocalization, and M-values) and performed analyses stratified by subtype. Candidate target genes were then prioritized using functional genomic data.

Results: Genetic correlation analysis revealed significant genetic correlation between the two cancers ( = 0.43, = 2.66 × 10). We found seven loci associated with risk for both cancers ( < 2.4 × 10). In addition, four novel subgenome-wide regions at 7p22.2, 7q22.1, 9p12, and 11q13.3 were identified ( < 5 × 10). Promoter-associated HiChIP chromatin loops from immortalized endometrium and ovarian cell lines and expression quantitative trait loci data highlighted candidate target genes for further investigation.

Conclusions: Using cross-cancer GWAS meta-analysis, we have identified several joint endometrial and ovarian cancer risk loci and candidate target genes for future functional analysis.

Impact: Our research highlights the shared genetic relationship between endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. Further studies in larger sample sets are required to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0739DOI Listing
January 2021

Polyphenol Intake and Gastric Cancer Risk: Findings from the Stomach Cancer Pooling Project (StoP).

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 20;12(10). Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Research Group in Gene-Environment Interactions and Health, Instituto de Biomedicina (IBIOMED), University of León, 24071 León, Spain.

Phenolic compounds may exert a favorable effect on the risk of several cancer types, including gastric cancer (GC). However, selected polyphenol classes have not been adequately investigated in relation to GC. The aim of this study is to evaluate the association between the intake of polyphenols in relation to GC risk. We used data from the Stomach cancer Pooling (StoP) Project, including 10 studies from six countries (3471 GC cases and 8344 controls). We carried out an individual participant data pooled analysis using a two-stage approach. The summary odds ratios (ORs) of GC for each compound, and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), were computed by pooling study specific ORs obtained through multivariate logistic regression, using random effect models. Inverse associations with GC emerged for total polyphenols (OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.54-0.81, for the highest versus lowest quartile of intake), total flavonoids (OR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.55-0.90), anthocyanidins (OR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.56-0.92), flavanols (OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.66-0.88), flavanones (OR = 0.57, 95%CI = 0.44-0.69), total phenolic acids (OR = 0.75, 95%CI = 0.55-0.94), and hydroxybenzoic acids (OR = 0.73, 95%CI = 0.57-0.89). Results were consistent across strata of age, sex, social class, and smoking habit. Suggestive inverse associations were also found for flavonols (OR = 0.76, 95%CI = 0.51-1.01) and hydroxycinnamic acids (OR = 0.82, 95%CI = 0.58-1.06). Further investigations from longitudinal data are needed to confirm this association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12103064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7588964PMC
October 2020

Blood Metal Levels and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Risk: A Prospective Cohort.

Ann Neurol 2021 01 6;89(1):125-133. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

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

Objective: Metals have been suggested as a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but only retrospective studies are available to date. We compared metal levels in prospectively collected blood samples from ALS patients and controls, to explore whether metals are associated with ALS mortality.

Methods: A nested ALS case-control study was conducted within the prospective EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) cohort. Cases were identified through death certificates. We analyzed metal levels in erythrocyte samples obtained at recruitment, as a biomarker for metal exposure from any source. Arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, selenium, and zinc concentrations were measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. To estimate ALS risk, we applied conditional logistic regression models.

Results: The study population comprised 107 cases (65% female) and 319 controls matched for age, sex, and study center. Median time between blood collection and ALS death was 8 years (range = 1-15). Comparing the highest with the lowest tertile, cadmium (odds ratio [OR] = 2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.08-3.87) and lead (OR = 1.89, 95% CI = 0.97-3.67) concentrations suggest associations with increased ALS risk. Zinc was associated with a decreased risk (OR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.27-0.94). Associations for cadmium and lead remained when limiting analyses to noncurrent smokers.

Interpretation: This is the first study to compare metal levels before disease onset, minimizing reverse causation. The observed associations suggest that cadmium, lead, and zinc may play a role in ALS etiology. Cadmium and lead possibly act as intermediates on the pathway from smoking to ALS. ANN NEUROL 20209999:n/a-n/a.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25932DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7756568PMC
January 2021

Adult height and risk of gastric cancer: a pooled analysis within the Stomach cancer Pooling Project.

Eur J Cancer Prev 2020 Sep 10. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

Background: The association between height and risk of gastric cancer has been studied in several epidemiological studies with contrasting results. The aim of this study is to examine the association between adult height and gastric cancer within a large pooled analysis of case-control studies members of the Stomach cancer Pooling (StoP) Project consortium.

Methods: Data from 18 studies members of the StoP consortium were collected and analyzed. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to estimate the study-specific odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between 10-cm increase in height and risk of gastric cancer. Age, sex, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, social class, geographical area and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) status were included in the regression model. Resulting estimates were then pooled with random-effect model. Analyses were conducted overall and in strata of selected variables.

Results: A total of 7562 cases and 19 033 controls were included in the analysis. The pooled OR was 0.96 (95% CI 0.87-1.05). A sensitivity analysis was performed restricting the results to the studies with information on H. pylori status, resulting in an OR of 0.97 (95% CI 0.79-1.20).

Conclusion: Our study does not support a strong and consistent association between adult height and gastric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000613DOI Listing
September 2020

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

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

Public Health Directorate, Asturias, Spain.

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

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

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

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