Publications by authors named "Giovanna Masala"

353 Publications

Association of Cycling With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Among Persons With Diabetes: The European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study.

JAMA Intern Med 2021 Jul 19. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Importance: Premature death from all causes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes is higher among persons with diabetes.

Objective: To investigate the association between time spent cycling and all-cause and CVD mortality among persons with diabetes, as well as to evaluate the association between change in time spent cycling and risk of all-cause and CVD mortality.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This prospective cohort study included 7459 adults with diabetes from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Questionnaires regarding medical history, sociodemographic, and lifestyle information were administered in 10 Western European countries from 1992 through 2000 (baseline examination) and at a second examination 5 years after baseline. A total of 5423 participants with diabetes completed both examinations. The final updated primary analysis was conducted on November 13, 2020.

Exposures: The primary exposure was self-reported time spent cycling per week at the baseline examination. The secondary exposure was change in cycling status from baseline to the second examination.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary and secondary outcomes were all-cause and CVD mortality, respectively, adjusted for other physical activity modalities, diabetes duration, and sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.

Results: Of the 7459 adults with diabetes included in the analysis, the mean (SD) age was 55.9 (7.7) years, and 3924 (52.6%) were female. During 110 944 person-years of follow-up, 1673 deaths from all causes were registered. Compared with the reference group of people who reported no cycling at baseline (0 min/wk), the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 0.78 (95% CI, 0.61-0.99), 0.76 (95% CI, 0.65-0.88), 0.68 (95% CI, 0.57-0.82), and 0.76 (95% CI, 0.63-0.91) for cycling 1 to 59, 60 to 149, 150 to 299, and 300 or more min/wk, respectively. In an analysis of change in time spent cycling with 57 802 person-years of follow-up, a total of 975 deaths from all causes were recorded. Compared with people who reported no cycling at both examinations, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 0.90 (95% CI, 0.71-1.14) in those who cycled and then stopped, 0.65 (95% CI, 0.46-0.92) in initial noncyclists who started cycling, and 0.65 (95% CI, 0.53-0.80) for people who reported cycling at both examinations. Similar results were observed for CVD mortality.

Conclusion And Relevance: In this cohort study, cycling was associated with lower all-cause and CVD mortality risk among people with diabetes independent of practicing other types of physical activity. Participants who took up cycling between the baseline and second examination had a considerably lower risk of both all-cause and CVD mortality compared with consistent noncyclists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.3836DOI Listing
July 2021

Prevalence of in Owned Dogs in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Vet Sci 2021 Jun 5;8(6). Epub 2021 Jun 5.

OIE Reference Laboratory for Echinococcosis, National Reference Laboratory for Cystic Echinococcosis (CeNRE), Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sardegna (IZS), 07100 Sassari, Italy.

infection in dogs poses risk of transmission to their owners and family members. We determined the prevalence and factors associated with infection among owned dogs presented at veterinary clinics or hospitals in Lagos State, Nigeria. Fecal samples from 217 dogs were screened for the presence of taeniid eggs using a sedimentation test in a cross sectional study. The taeniid eggs were identified at molecular level using a multiplex PCR. A structured questionnaire was used to obtain data on intrinsic and extrinsic factors from 133 dog owners. Out of the 217 dog fecal samples, 13 (6.0%) had taeniid eggs, of which 12 (92.3%) were identified as We found that infection is present among owned dogs in Lagos State with an overall prevalence of 5.5%. Location of the veterinary clinics or hospital and purpose for keeping dogs were significant factors associated with infection among owned dogs. Dogs living in suburban areas and kept for security purposes or guarding have higher probability of infection. Appropriate and regular treatment of dogs with praziquantel is highly recommended to reduce risk of transmission to humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8060101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8227389PMC
June 2021

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

Sci Rep 2021 Jun 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

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

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

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

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

Associations between dietary amino acid intakes and blood concentration levels.

Clin Nutr 2021 Jun 27;40(6):3772-3779. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Nutrition and Metabolism Section, 69372, Lyon CEDEX 08, France.

Background And Aims: Emerging evidence suggests a role of amino acids (AAs) in the development of various diseases including renal failure, liver cirrhosis, diabetes and cancer. However, mechanistic pathways and the effects of dietary AA intakes on circulating levels and disease outcomes are unclear. We aimed to compare protein and AA intakes, with their respective blood concentrations in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Methods: Dietary protein and AA intakes were assessed via the EPIC dietary questionnaires (DQ) and 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDR). A subsample of 3768 EPIC participants who were free of cancer had blood AA concentrations measured. To investigate how circulating levels relate to their respective intakes, dietary AA intake was examined in quintiles and ANOVA tests were run. Pearson correlations were examined for continous associations between intakes and blood concentrations.

Results: Dietary AA intakes (assessed with the DQ) and blood AA concentrations were not strongly correlated (-0.15 ≤ r ≤ 0.17) and the direction of the correlations depended on AA class: weak positive correlations were found for most essential AAs (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) and conditionally essential AAs (arginine and tyrosine), while negative associations were found for non-essential AAs. Similar results were found when using the 24-HDR. When conducting ANOVA tests for essential AAs, higher intake quintiles were linked to higher blood AA concentrations, except for histidine and phenylalanine. For non-essential AAs and glycine, an inverse relationship was observed. Conditionally-essential AAs showed mixed results.

Conclusions: Weak positive correlations and dose responses were found between most essential and conditionally essential AA intakes, and blood concentrations, but not for the non-essential AAs. These results suggest that intake of dietary AA might be related to physiological AA status, particularly for the essential AAs. However, these results should be further evaluated and confirmed in large-scale prospective studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2021.04.036DOI Listing
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 Jun 8. 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
June 2021

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

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

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

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

Novel Biomarkers of Habitual Alcohol Intake and Associations with Risk of Pancreatic and Liver Cancers and Liver Disease Mortality.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 May 19. Epub 2021 May 19.

Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Alcohol is an established risk factor for several cancers, but modest alcohol-cancer associations may be missed due to measurement error in self-reported assessments. Biomarkers of habitual alcohol intake may provide novel insight into the relationship between alcohol and cancer risk.

Methods: Untargeted metabolomics was used to identify metabolites correlated with self-reported habitual alcohol intake in a discovery dataset from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC; n = 454). Statistically significant correlations were tested in independent datasets of controls from case-control studies nested within EPIC (n = 280) and the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC; n = 438) study. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations of alcohol-associated metabolites and self-reported alcohol intake with risk of pancreatic cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver cancer, and liver disease mortality in the contributing studies.

Results: Two metabolites displayed a dose-response association with self-reported alcohol intake 2-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid and an unidentified compound. A 1-SD (log2) increase in levels of 2-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid was associated with risk of HCC (OR = 2.54; 95% CI = 1.51-4.27) and pancreatic cancer (OR = 1.43; 95% CI = 1.03-1.99) in EPIC and liver cancer (OR = 2.00; 95% CI = 1.44-2.77) and liver disease mortality (OR = 2.16; 95% CI = 1.63-2.86) in ATBC. Conversely, a 1-SD (log2) increase in questionnaire-derived alcohol intake was not associated with HCC or pancreatic cancer in EPIC or liver cancer in ATBC but was associated with liver disease mortality (OR = 2.19; 95% CI = 1.60-2.98) in ATBC.

Conclusions: 2-Hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid is a candidate biomarker of habitual alcohol intake that may advance the study of alcohol and cancer risk in population-based studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab078DOI Listing
May 2021

Molecular detection of Theileria sergentii/orientalis/buffeli and Ehrlichia canis from aborted ovine and caprine products in Sardinia, Italy.

Vet Med Sci 2021 May 6. Epub 2021 May 6.

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sardegna 'G. Pegreffi', Sassari, Italy.

The economic impact and losses caused by abortion of small ruminants represent an important threat to livestock industry worldwide. Infectious agents are the most commonly causes of small ruminant abortion and many of which pose a serious threat to human health. The management of abortion outbreaks is essential to understand the transmission, prevention and control of the zoonotic diseases. This study aimed to increase the knowledge about the common known zoonotic pathogens causing abortion (Coxiella burnetii, Chlamydia abortus and Toxoplasma gondii) circulating in Sardinia. In addition, the occurrence of other infectious agents that, until now, had never been identified in abortion samples and which might be cocirculating during the abortion outbreaks were also considered. In this study, 125 abortion samples collected from 91 small ruminant farms were screened for the presence of Babesia/Theileria spp., Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma spp., Chlamydia spp., C. burnetii and T. gondii by PCR analyses and sequencing. This is the first evidence on the presence of Theileria sergenti/orientalis/buffeli group and Eh. canis in 22 (22/125; 18%) and 26 (26/125; 21%) abortion products from small ruminants, respectively. Chlamydia abortus, C. burnetii and T. gondii were also detected in brain, liver, spleen and placentae at 46% (58/125), 34% (42/125) and 2% (2/125), respectively. This study highlights that pathogens with epizootic and zoonotic potential are circulating in the island and could be involved directly or in association with other pathogens as possible cause of ruminant abortion. Further studies are needed to fully assess the impact of Theileria sergenti/orientalis/buffeli group and Eh. canis on ruminant abortion and their real zoonotic risk in the island.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/vms3.510DOI Listing
May 2021

Metabolic signatures of greater body size and their associations with risk of colorectal and endometrial cancers in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

BMC Med 2021 Apr 30;19(1):101. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

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

Background: The mechanisms underlying the obesity-cancer relationship are incompletely understood. This study aimed to characterise metabolic signatures of greater body size and to investigate their association with two obesity-related malignancies, endometrial and colorectal cancers, and with weight loss within the context of an intervention study.

Methods: Targeted mass spectrometry metabolomics data from 4326 participants enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort and 17 individuals from a single-arm pilot weight loss intervention (Intercept) were used in this analysis. Metabolic signatures of body size were first determined in discovery (N = 3029) and replication (N = 1297) sets among EPIC participants by testing the associations between 129 metabolites and body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) using linear regression models followed by partial least squares analyses. Conditional logistic regression models assessed the associations between the metabolic signatures with endometrial (N = 635 cases and 648 controls) and colorectal (N = 423 cases and 423 controls) cancer risk using nested case-control studies in EPIC. Pearson correlation between changes in the metabolic signatures and weight loss was tested among Intercept participants.

Results: After adjustment for multiple comparisons, greater BMI, WC, and WHR were associated with higher levels of valine, isoleucine, glutamate, PC aa C38:3, and PC aa C38:4 and with lower levels of asparagine, glutamine, glycine, serine, lysoPC C17:0, lysoPC C18:1, lysoPC C18:2, PC aa C42:0, PC ae C34:3, PC ae C40:5, and PC ae C42:5. The metabolic signature of BMI (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.30-1.74), WC (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.27-1.69), and WHR (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.33-1.79) were each associated with endometrial cancer risk. Risk of colorectal cancer was positively associated with the metabolic signature of WHR (OR: 1.26, 95% CI 1.07-1.49). In the Intercept study, a positive correlation was observed between weight loss and changes in the metabolic signatures of BMI (r = 0.5, 95% CI 0.06-0.94, p = 0.03), WC (r = 0.5, 95% CI 0.05-0.94, p = 0.03), and WHR (r = 0.6, 95% CI 0.32-0.87, p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Obesity is associated with a distinct metabolic signature comprising changes in levels of specific amino acids and lipids which is positively associated with both colorectal and endometrial cancer and is potentially reversible following weight loss.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01970-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086283PMC
April 2021

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

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

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

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

A Prospective Diet-Wide Association Study for Risk of Colorectal Cancer in EPIC.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Apr 24. Epub 2021 Apr 24.

Epidemiology and Prevention Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Background & Aims: Evidence regarding the association of dietary exposures with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk is not consistent with a few exceptions. Therefore, we conducted a diet-wide association study (DWAS) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) to evaluate the associations between several dietary exposures with CRC risk.

Methods: The association of 92 food and nutrient intakes with CRC risk was assessed in 386,792 participants, 5069 of whom developed incident CRC. Correction for multiple comparisons was performed using the false discovery rate, and emerging associations were examined in the Netherlands Cohort Study (NLCS). Multiplicative gene-nutrient interactions were also tested in EPIC based on known CRC-associated loci.

Results: In EPIC, alcohol, liquor/spirits, wine, beer/cider, soft drinks, and pork were positively associated with CRC, whereas milk, cheese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, beta carotene, fruit, fiber, nonwhite bread, banana, and total protein intakes were inversely associated. Of these 20 associations, 13 were replicated in the NLCS, for which a meta-analysis was performed, namely alcohol (summary hazard ratio [HR] per 1-SD increment in intake: 1.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.09), liquor/spirits (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.06), wine (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.07), beer/cider (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.04-1.08), milk (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.93-0.98), cheese (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99), calcium (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.90-0.95), phosphorus (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.90-0.95), magnesium (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92-0.98), potassium (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99), riboflavin (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.92-0.97), beta carotene (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93-0.98), and total protein (HR per 1-SD increment in intake, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.92-0.97). None of the gene-nutrient interactions were significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons.

Conclusions: Our findings confirm a positive association for alcohol and an inverse association for dairy products and calcium with CRC risk, and also suggest a lower risk at higher dietary intakes of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, beta carotene, and total protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2021.04.028DOI Listing
April 2021

Dietary intake of advanced glycation endproducts and risk of hepatobiliary cancers: A multinational cohort study.

Int J Cancer 2021 Apr 25. Epub 2021 Apr 25.

Nutrition and Metabolism Branch, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), Lyon, France.

Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) may contribute to liver carcinogenesis because of their proinflammatory and prooxidative properties. Diet is a major source of AGEs, but there is sparse human evidence on the role of AGEs intake in liver cancer etiology. We examined the association between dietary AGEs and the risk of hepatobiliary cancers in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition prospective cohort (n = 450 111). Dietary intake of three AGEs, N -[carboxymethyl]lysine (CML), N -[1-carboxyethyl]lysine (CEL) and N -[5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl]-ornithine (MG-H1), was estimated using country-specific dietary questionnaires linked to an AGEs database. Cause-specific hazard ratios (HR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between dietary AGEs and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), gallbladder and biliary tract cancers were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression. After a median follow-up time of 14.9 years, 255 cases of HCC, 100 cases of gallbladder cancer and 173 biliary tract cancers were ascertained. Higher intakes of dietary AGEs were inversely associated with the risk of HCC (per 1 SD increment, HR-  = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.76-0.99, HR-  = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.74-0.96 and HR-  = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.74-0.97). In contrast, positive associations were observed with risk of gallbladder cancer (per 1 SD, HR-  = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.05-1.56, HR-  = 1.17; 95% CI: 0.96-1.40, HR-  = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.06-1.54). No associations were observed for cancers of the intra and extrahepatic bile ducts. Our findings suggest that higher intakes of dietary AGEs are inversely associated with the risk of HCC and positively associated with the risk of gallbladder cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33612DOI Listing
April 2021

Soft Drink and Juice Consumption and Renal Cell Carcinoma Incidence and Mortality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Jun 13;30(6):1270-1274. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), Lyon, France.

Background: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for more than 80% of kidney cancers in adults, and obesity is a known risk factor. Regular consumption of sweetened beverages has been linked to obesity and several chronic diseases, including some types of cancer. It is uncertain whether soft drink and juice consumption is associated with risk of RCC. We investigated the associations of soft drink and juice consumption with RCC incidence and mortality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Methods: A total of 389,220 EPIC participants with median age of 52 years at recruitment (1991-2000) were included. Cox regression yielded adjusted HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for RCC incidence and mortality in relation to intakes of juices and total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks.

Results: A total of 888 incident RCCs and 356 RCC deaths were identified. In models including adjustment for body mass index and energy intake, there was no higher risk of incident RCC associated with consumption of juices (HR per 100 g/day increment = 1.03; 95% CI, 0.97-1.09), total soft drinks (HR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.98-1.05), sugar-sweetened soft drinks (HR = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.94-1.05), or artificially sweetened soft drinks (HR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.96-1.08). In these fully adjusted models, none of the beverages was associated with RCC mortality (HR, 95% CI per 100 g/day increment 1.06, 0.97-1.16; 1.03, 0.98-1.09; 0.97, 0.89-1.07; and 1.06, 0.99-1.14, respectively).

Conclusions: Consumption of juices or soft drinks was not associated with RCC incidence or mortality after adjusting for obesity.

Impact: Soft drink and juice intakes are unlikely to play an independent role in RCC development or mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1726DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611361PMC
June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plasma concentrations of advanced glycation end-products and colorectal cancer risk in the EPIC study.

Carcinogenesis 2021 May;42(5):705-713

Office of the Director, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France.

Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are a heterogeneous group of compounds formed by the non-enzymatic reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars, or dicarbonyls as intermediate compounds. Experimental studies suggest that AGEs may promote colorectal cancer, but prospective epidemiologic studies are inconclusive. We conducted a case-control study nested within a large European cohort. Plasma concentrations of three protein-bound AGEs-Nε-(carboxy-methyl)lysine (CML), Nε-(carboxy-ethyl)lysine (CEL) and Nδ-(5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl)-ornithine (MG-H1)-were measured by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in baseline samples collected from 1378 incident primary colorectal cancer cases and 1378 matched controls. Multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed using conditional logistic regression for colorectal cancer risk associated with CML, CEL, MG-H1, total AGEs, and [CEL+MG-H1: CML] and [CEL:MG-H1] ratios. Inverse colorectal cancer risk associations were observed for CML (OR comparing highest to lowest quintile, ORQ5 versus Q1 = 0.40, 95% CI: 0.27-0.59), MG-H1 (ORQ5 versus Q1 = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.53-1.00) and total AGEs (OR Q5 versus Q1 = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.37-0.73), whereas no association was observed for CEL. A higher [CEL+MG-H1: CML] ratio was associated with colorectal cancer risk (ORQ5 versus Q1 = 1.91, 95% CI: 1.31-2.79). The associations observed did not differ by sex, or by tumour anatomical sub-site. Although individual AGEs concentrations appear to be inversely associated with colorectal cancer risk, a higher ratio of methylglyoxal-derived AGEs versus those derived from glyoxal (calculated by [CEL+MG-H1: CML] ratio) showed a strong positive risk association. Further insight on the metabolism of AGEs and their dicarbonyls precursors, and their roles in colorectal cancer development is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgab026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8162627PMC
May 2021

Long-term weight change and risk of breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Mar 23. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK.

Background: The role of obesity and weight change in breast-cancer development is complex and incompletely understood. We investigated long-term weight change and breast-cancer risk by body mass index (BMI) at age 20 years, menopausal status, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and hormone-receptor status.

Methods: Using data on weight collected at three different time points from women who participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, we investigated the association between weight change from age 20 years until middle adulthood and risk of breast cancer.

Results: In total, 150 257 women with a median age of 51 years at cohort entry were followed for an average of 14 years (standard deviation = 3.9) during which 6532 breast-cancer cases occurred. Compared with women with stable weight (±2.5 kg), long-term weight gain >10 kg was positively associated with postmenopausal breast-cancer risk in women who were lean at age 20 [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.42; 95% confidence interval 1.22-1.65] in ever HRT users (HR = 1.23; 1.04-1.44), in never HRT users (HR = 1.40; 1.16-1.68) and in oestrogen-and-progesterone-receptor-positive (ER+PR+) breast cancer (HR = 1.46; 1.15-1.85).

Conclusion: Long-term weight gain was positively associated with postmenopausal breast cancer in women who were lean at age 20, both in HRT ever users and non-users, and hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab032DOI Listing
March 2021

Vegetable intake and the risk of bladder cancer in the BLadder Cancer Epidemiology and Nutritional Determinants (BLEND) international study.

BMC Med 2021 Mar 9;19(1):56. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Department of Complex Genetics and Epidemiology, School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, Universiteitssingel 40 (Room C5.570), 6229 ER, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Background: Although a potential inverse association between vegetable intake and bladder cancer risk has been reported, epidemiological evidence is inconsistent. This research aimed to elucidate the association between vegetable intake and bladder cancer risk by conducting a pooled analysis of data from prospective cohort studies.

Methods: Vegetable intake in relation to bladder cancer risk was examined by pooling individual-level data from 13 cohort studies, comprising 3203 cases among a total of 555,685 participants. Pooled multivariate hazard ratios (HRs), with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs), were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression models stratified by cohort for intakes of total vegetable, vegetable subtypes (i.e. non-starchy, starchy, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables) and individual vegetable types. In addition, a diet diversity score was used to assess the association of the varied types of vegetable intake on bladder cancer risk.

Results: The association between vegetable intake and bladder cancer risk differed by sex (P-interaction = 0.011) and smoking status (P-interaction = 0.038); therefore, analyses were stratified by sex and smoking status. With adjustment of age, sex, smoking, energy intake, ethnicity and other potential dietary factors, we found that higher intake of total and non-starchy vegetables were inversely associated with the risk of bladder cancer among women (comparing the highest with lowest intake tertile: HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.64-0.98, P = 0.037 for trend, HR per 1 SD increment = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.81-0.99; HR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.63-0.97, P = 0.034 for trend, HR per 1 SD increment = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.79-0.98, respectively). However, no evidence of association was observed among men, and the intake of vegetable was not found to be associated with bladder cancer when stratified by smoking status. Moreover, we found no evidence of association for diet diversity with bladder cancer risk.

Conclusion: Higher intakes of total and non-starchy vegetable are associated with reduced risk of bladder cancer for women. Further studies are needed to clarify whether these results reflect causal processes and potential underlying mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01931-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7942172PMC
March 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

Red Blood Cell Fatty Acids and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 May 22;30(5):874-885. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

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

Background: A growing body of evidence suggests that alterations of dietary fatty acid (FA) profiles are associated with colorectal cancer risk. However, data from large-scale epidemiologic studies using circulating FA measurements to objectively assess individual FA and FA categories are scarce.

Methods: We investigate the association between red blood cell (RBC) membrane FAs and risk of colorectal cancer in a case-control study nested within a large prospective cohort. After a median follow-up of 6.4 years, 1,069 incident colorectal cancer cases were identified and matched to 1,069 controls among participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). The FA composition of RBC phospholipids (in mol%) was analyzed by gas chromatography, and their association with risk of colorectal cancer was estimated by multivariable adjusted conditional logistic regression models.

Results: After correction for multiple testing, subjects with higher concentrations of RBC stearic acid were at higher risk for colorectal cancer (OR = 1.23; 95% CI = 1.07-1.42, per 1 mol%). Conversely, colorectal cancer incidence decreased with increasing proportions of RBC n-3 PUFA, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (0.75; 0.62-0.92, per 1 mol%). The findings for the n-6 PUFA arachidonic acid were inconsistent.

Conclusions: The positive association between prediagnostic RBC stearic acid and colorectal cancer reflects putative differences in FA intake and metabolism between cancer cases and matched controls, which deserve further investigation. The inverse relationship between EPA and colorectal cancer is in line with the repeatedly reported protective effect of fish consumption on colorectal cancer risk.

Impact: These findings add to the evidence on colorectal cancer prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1426DOI Listing
May 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identification of Genotypes G1 and G3 by SNPs Genotyping Assays.

Pathogens 2021 Jan 26;10(2). Epub 2021 Jan 26.

OIE Reference Laboratory for Echinococcosis, National Reference Center for Echinococcosis (CeNRE), IZS della Sardegna, 07100 Sassari, Italy.

() is the causative agent of cystic echinococcosis in animals and humans. Different genotypes exhibit great diversity in their life cycle, host selectivity and pathogenicity. For this reason, the study of genetic variation within species is of importance for their epidemiological implication. We employed two SNP genotyping technologies to distinguish G1 and G3 ). genotypes. The genotypes of DNA samples (n = 28) extracted from hydatid cysts of different animal species were identified by amplification and sequencing of a fragment of the mitochondrial nad5 gene. Two SYBR green and three TaqMan real time PCR assays were developed for targeting of three nad5 informative positions (SNP758, 1123, and 1380) known to be able to discriminate G1 from G3. Genotyping by SYBR Green PCR based on cycle threshold (Ct) with melting temperature (Tm) analysis and performed on SNP1123 and SNP1380 failed to identify one DNA sample. TaqMan assays for SNP758, 1123 and 1380 effectively confirmed genotype identification obtained by Sanger sequencing. Our results demonstrated that the combination of the three Taqman assays developed in this study represents a valuable and cost effective tool alternative to DNA sequencing for genotyping.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020125DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7910869PMC
January 2021

Coxiellaceae in Ticks from Human, Domestic and Wild Hosts from Sardinia, Italy: High Diversity of Coxiella-like Endosymbionts.

Acta Parasitol 2021 Jun 25;66(2):654-663. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sardegna, Via Duca degli Abruzzi, 8, 07100, Sassari, Italy.

Purpose: Coxiella burnetii is known for its potential as veterinary and human bacterial pathogen. The bacteria have been described in ticks, but their role in transmission of Q fever in humans is considered low. Coxiella endosymbionts closely related to C. burnetii have been also isolated from an extensive range of tick species and evidence is growing that these endosymbionts could be linked to human bacteremia. The aim of this study was to get new information on the presence of Coxiella species in ticks infesting wild and domestic hosts in Sardinia, Italy.

Methods: Here, 138 ticks collected from the study area were analyzed for the presence of C. burnetii and Coxiella-like bacteria by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sequencing and philogenetic analyses using a set of primers targeting the 16S rRNA gene.

Results: DNA of Coxiella species was detected in 69% of the total ticks examined. Based on phylogenetic analysis, the 16S rRNA Coxiella genotypes identified in this study grouped in strongly supported monophyletic clades with identified reference sequences of CLEs detected from Rhipicephalus, Dermacentor, Haemaphysalis and Ornithodoros species and with Coxiella burnetii strains isolated worldwide.

Conclusion: This study reports the molecular detection of a high diversity of Coxiella-like bacteria in Sardinian ticks and confirms also the presence of C. burnetii in tick species previously identified in the island. The role that Coxiella-like endosymbionts play in Sardinian ticks and in their vertebrate hosts needs to be explored further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11686-020-00324-wDOI Listing
June 2021

Germline MC1R variants and frequency of somatic BRAF, NRAS, and TERT mutations in melanoma: Literature review and meta-analysis.

Mol Carcinog 2021 03 14;60(3):167-171. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Germline variants of the melanocortin-1-receptor (MC1R) gene are the most common genetic trait predisposing to cutaneous melanoma (CM). Here, we performed a literature review and meta-analysis of the association between MC1R gene variants and the frequency of somatic mutations of the BRAF, NRAS, and TERT genes in CM patients. We included studies published until January 2020 in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid Medline, and two grey literature databases. Random effect models were used to pool study-specific estimates into summary odds ratio (SOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were conducted to identify potential sources of heterogeneity and assess the robustness of pooled estimates. Twelve studies published between 2006 and 2018 (encompassing 3566 CM, mostly on nonacral sites) were included. MC1R gene variants were not significantly associated with the frequency of somatic mutations of the BRAF and NRAS genes. Only three studies focused on somatic mutations of the TERT gene promoter, all of which reported moderate-to-strong positive associations with MC1R germline variants. MC1R gene variants appear to make only moderate changes, if any, to the risk of BRAF- or NRAS-mutant CM. The association with TERT promoter mutations is suggestive, yet it warrants confirmation as it is based on a still limited number of studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mc.23280DOI Listing
March 2021

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

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

Public Health Directorate, Asturias, Spain.

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

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

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

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

Validation of a Novel Commercial ELISA Test for the Detection of Antibodies against .

Pathogens 2020 Dec 21;9(12). Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Zoonotic Pathology and OIE Reference Laboratory for Echinococcosis, National Reference Center for Echinococcosis (CeNRE), IZS della Sardegna, 07100 Sassari, Italy.

Q fever is a zoonosis caused by , a Gram-negative pathogen with a complex life cycle and a high impact on public and animal health all over the world. The symptoms are indistinguishable from those belonging to other diseases, and the disease could be symptomless. For these reasons, reliable laboratory tests are essential for an accurate diagnosis. The aim of this study was to validate a novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, named the Chorus Q Fever Phase II IgG and IgM Kit (DIESSE, Diagnostica Senese S.p.A), which is performed by an instrument named Chorus, a new device in medical diagnostics. This diagnostic test is employed for the detection of antibodies against Phase II antigens in acute disease. Our validation protocol was performed according to the Italian Accreditation Body (ACCREDIA) (Regulation UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17025:2018 and 17043:2010), OIE (World Organization for Animal Health), and Statement for Reporting Studies of Diagnostic Accuracy (STARD). Operator performance was evaluated along with the analytical specificity and sensitivity (ASp and ASe) and diagnostic accuracy of the kit, with parameters such as diagnostic specificity and sensitivity (DSp and DSe) and positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV), in addition to the repeatability. According to the evaluated parameters, the diagnostic ELISA test was shown to be suitable for validation and commercialization as a screening method in human sera and a valid support for clinical diagnostics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9121075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7767449PMC
December 2020

Risk Prediction for Renal Cell Carcinoma: Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Prospective Cohort Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Mar 17;30(3):507-512. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Early detection of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has the potential to improve disease outcomes. No screening program for sporadic RCC is in place. Given relatively low incidence, screening would need to focus on people at high risk of clinically meaningful disease so as to limit overdiagnosis and screen-detected false positives.

Methods: Among 192,172 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort (including 588 incident RCC cases), we evaluated a published RCC risk prediction model (including age, sex, BMI, and smoking status) in terms of discrimination (C-statistic) and calibration (observed probability as a function of predicted probability). We used a flexible parametric survival model to develop an expanded model including age, sex, BMI, and smoking status, with the addition of self-reported history of hypertension and measured blood pressure.

Results: The previously published model yielded well-calibrated probabilities and good discrimination (C-statistic [95% CI]: 0.699 [0.679-0.721]). Our model had slightly improved discrimination (0.714 [0.694-0.735], bootstrap optimism-corrected C-statistic: 0.709). Despite this good performance, predicted risk was low for the vast majority of participants, with 70% of participants having 10-year risk less than 0.0025.

Conclusions: Although the models performed well for the prediction of incident RCC, they are currently insufficiently powerful to identify individuals at substantial risk of RCC in a general population.

Impact: Despite the promising performance of the EPIC RCC risk prediction model, further development of the model, possibly including biomarkers of risk, is required to enable risk stratification of RCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1438DOI Listing
March 2021

Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of Babesia and Theileria spp. in Sardinian ruminants.

Vet Parasitol Reg Stud Reports 2020 12 25;22:100453. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli studi di Sassari, Italy; Mediterranean Center for Disease Control (MCDC), University of Sassari, Italy. Electronic address:

Tick-borne diseases (TBDs) caused by Theileria and Babesia spp. are common in tropical and subtropical regions. This study investigates the presence of Theileria and Babesia spp. in ruminants from a subtropical Mediterranean region (Sardinia, Italy), a hotspot for ticks infestations. A total of 141 blood samples from healthy and symptomatic ruminants (showing symptoms consistent with tick-borne disease) were screened using a polymerase chain reaction test based on the amplification of the 18 s rRNA fragment. A total of 19/50 sheep (38%), 34/43 bovine (79.1%), and 5/48 goats (10.4%) tested positive to Babesia/Theileria. Phylogenetic analysis assigned all sequences obtained from sheep to the T. ovis cluster, while bovine and goats sequence types grouped in the Theileria buffeli/sergenti/orientalis group. One sequence type, isolated from a symptomatic bovine, clustered with B. major. Information on presence and frequency of piroplasms in ruminants increase our knowledge about the circulation of these pathogens in Sardinian animals and add up to previous studies conducted in ticks in the same area. Results also highlight the importance of subtropical Mediterranean environments as hotspots for ruminants piroplasmosis with potential impact on Veterinary Health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vprsr.2020.100453DOI Listing
December 2020

Interaction Between GAD65 Antibodies and Dietary Fish Intake or Plasma Phospholipid n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Incident Adult-Onset Diabetes: The EPIC-InterAct Study.

Diabetes Care 2021 Feb 10;44(2):416-424. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, U.K.

Objective: Islet autoimmunity is associated with diabetes incidence. We investigated whether there was an interaction between dietary fish intake or plasma phospholipid n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentration with the 65-kDa isoform of GAD (GAD65) antibody positivity on the risk of developing adult-onset diabetes.

Research Design And Methods: We used prospective data on 11,247 incident cases of adult-onset diabetes and 14,288 noncases from the EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study conducted in eight European countries. Baseline plasma samples were analyzed for GAD65 antibodies and phospholipid n-3 PUFAs. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for incident diabetes in relation to GAD65 antibody status and tertiles of plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFA or fish intake were estimated using Prentice-weighted Cox regression. Additive (proportion attributable to interaction [AP]) and multiplicative interactions between GAD65 antibody positivity (≥65 units/mL) and low fish/n-3 PUFA were assessed.

Results: The hazard of diabetes in antibody-positive individuals with low intake of total and fatty fish, respectively, was significantly elevated (HR 2.52 [95% CI 1.76-3.63] and 2.48 [1.79-3.45]) compared with people who were GAD65 antibody negative and had high fish intake, with evidence of additive (AP 0.44 [95% CI 0.16-0.72] and 0.48 [0.24-0.72]) and multiplicative ( = 0.0465 and 0.0103) interactions. Individuals with high GAD65 antibody levels (≥167.5 units/mL) and low total plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFAs had a more than fourfold higher hazard of diabetes (HR 4.26 [2.70-6.72]) and an AP of 0.46 (0.12-0.80) compared with antibody-negative individuals with high n-3 PUFAs.

Conclusions: High fish intake or relative plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFA concentrations may partially counteract the increased diabetes risk conferred by GAD65 antibody positivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-1463DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7818317PMC
February 2021