Publications by authors named "Immaculata De Vivo"

237 Publications

The clinical and functional effects of TERT variants in myelodysplastic syndrome.

Blood 2021 May 21. Epub 2021 May 21.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

Germline pathogenic TERT variants are associated with short telomeres and an increased risk of developing myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) among patients with a telomere biology disorder. We identified TERT rare variants in 41 of 1514 MDS patients (2.7%) without a clinical diagnosis of a telomere biology disorder who underwent allogeneic transplantation. Patients with a TERT rare variant had shorter telomere length (p<0.001) and younger age at MDS diagnosis (52 vs. 59 years, p=0.03) than patients without a TERT rare variant. In multivariable models, TERT rare variants were associated with inferior overall survival (p=0.034) driven by an increased incidence of non-relapse mortality (NRM) (p=0.015). Death from a non-infectious pulmonary cause was more frequent among patients with a TERT rare variant. The majority of variants were missense substitutions and classified as variants of unknown significance (VUS). Therefore, we cloned all rare missense variants and quantified their impact on telomere elongation in a cell-based assay. We found that 90 percent of TERT rare variants had severe or intermediate impairment in their capacity to elongate telomeres. Using a homology model of human TERT bound to the shelterin protein TPP1, we inferred that TERT rare variants disrupt domain-specific functions, including catalysis, protein-RNA interactions, and recruitment to telomeres. Our results indicate that the contribution of TERT rare variants to MDS pathogenesis and NRM risk is underrecognized. Routine screening for TERT rare variants in MDS patients regardless of age or clinical suspicion may identify clinically inapparent telomere biology disorders and improve transplant outcomes through risk-adapted approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021011075DOI Listing
May 2021

Endometrial Tumor Classification by Histomorphology and Biomarkers in the Nurses' Health Study.

J Cancer Epidemiol 2021 12;2021:8884364. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA, USA 02115.

Objective: Endometrial cancers have historically been classified by histomorphologic appearance, which is subject to interobserver disagreement. As molecular and biomarker testing has become increasingly available, the prognostic significance and accuracy of histomorphologic diagnoses have been questioned. To address these issues for a large, prospective cohort study, we provide the results of a centralized pathology review and biomarker analysis of all incidental endometrial carcinomas occurring between 1976 and 2012 in the Nurses' Health Study.

Methods: Routine histology of all ( = 360) cases was reviewed for histomorphologic diagnosis. Cases were subsequently planted in a tissue microarray to explore expression of a variety of biomarkers (e.g., ER, PR, p53, PTEN, PAX2, AMACR, HNF1, Napsin A, p16, PAX8, and GATA3).

Results: Histologic subtypes included endometrioid (87.2%), serous (5.6%), carcinosarcoma (3.9%), clear cell (1.7%), and mixed type (1.7%). Biomarker results within histologic subtypes were consistent with existing literature: abnormal p53 was frequent in serous cases (74%), and HNF1 (67%), Napsin A (67%), and AMACR (83%) expression was frequent in clear cell carcinomas. Our dataset also allowed for examination of biomarker expression across non-preselected histologies. The results demonstrated that (1) HNF1 was not specific for clear cell carcinoma, (2) mutations occurred across many histologies, and (3) GATA3 was expressed across multiple histotypes, with 75% of positive cases demonstrating high-grade features.

Conclusions: Our findings establish the subtypes of endometrial cancer occurring in the Nurses' Health Study, corroborate the sensitivity of certain well-established biomarkers, and call into question previously identified associations between certain biomarkers (e.g., HNF1B) and particular histotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2021/8884364DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8093077PMC
March 2021

Associations between Genetically Predicted Circulating Protein Concentrations and Endometrial Cancer Risk.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 26;13(9). Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Population Sciences in the Pacific Program, Cancer Epidemiology Division, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.

Endometrial cancer (EC) is the leading female reproductive tract malignancy in developed countries. Currently, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 17 risk loci for EC. To identify novel EC-associated proteins, we used previously reported protein quantitative trait loci for 1434 plasma proteins as instruments to evaluate associations between genetically predicted circulating protein concentrations and EC risk. We studied 12,906 cases and 108,979 controls of European descent included in the Endometrial Cancer Association Consortium, the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium, and the UK Biobank. We observed associations between genetically predicted concentrations of nine proteins and EC risk at a false discovery rate of <0.05 (-values range from 1.14 × 10 to 3.04 × 10). Except for vascular cell adhesion protein 1, all other identified proteins were independent from known EC risk variants identified in EC GWAS. The respective odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) per one standard deviation increase in genetically predicted circulating protein concentrations were 1.21 (1.13, 1.30) for DNA repair protein RAD51 homolog 4, 1.27 (1.14, 1.42) for desmoglein-2, 1.14 (1.07, 1.22) for MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence B, 1.05 (1.02, 1.08) for histo-blood group ABO system transferase, 0.77 (0.68, 0.89) for intestinal-type alkaline phosphatase, 0.82 (0.74, 0.91) for carbohydrate sulfotransferase 15, 1.07 (1.03, 1.11) for D-glucuronyl C5-epimerase, and 1.07 (1.03, 1.10) for CD209 antigen. In conclusion, we identified nine potential EC-associated proteins. If validated by additional studies, our findings may contribute to understanding the pathogenesis of endometrial tumor development and identifying women at high risk of EC along with other EC risk factors and biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092088DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8123478PMC
April 2021

Telomere length shortening in hospitalized preterm infants: A pilot study.

PLoS One 2021 20;16(1):e0243468. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Leukocyte telomere length is a biomarker of aging-related health risks. Hospitalized preterm infants frequently experience elevated oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which contribute to telomere shortening. Our aim was to examine changes in telomere length during neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization in a cohort of preterm infants <32 weeks' gestation. We conducted a longitudinal study of 10 infants (mean gestational age 27 weeks, range 23.5 to 29, at birth). We isolated DNA from dried blood spots and used Real Time Quantitative PCR to measure relative leukocyte telomere length in triplicate at three time points for each participant. From birth to discharge, infants experienced an average decline in relative telomere length of 0.021 units per week (95% CI -0.040, -0.0020; p = 0.03), after adjustment for gestational age at birth. Our results suggest a measurable decline in telomere length during NICU hospitalization. We speculate that telomere length change may convey information about NICU exposures that carry short- and long-term health risks.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243468PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7817026PMC
April 2021

Optimism and telomere length among African American adults in the Jackson Heart Study.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2021 Mar 29;125:105124. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Background: Optimism is linked with greater longevity in both White and African American populations. Optimism may enhance longevity by slowing cellular aging, for which leukocyte telomere shortening is a biomarker. However, limited studies have examined the association of optimism with leukocyte telomere length among African Americans.

Methods: Data are from 723 men and 1244 women participating in the Jackson Heart Study (age = 21-93 years). We used multivariable linear regression models to conduct cross-sectional analyses examining whether higher optimism was associated with longer mean absolute leukocyte telomere length (assayed with Southern blot analysis). Models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, depressive symptomatology, health conditions, and health behavior-related factors. We also considered potential effect modification by key factors.

Results: In the age-adjusted model, optimism, measured as a continuous variable, was not associated with leukocyte telomere length (β = 0.01, 95%CI: -0.02, 0.04). This association remained null in the fully-adjusted model (β = 0.02, 95%CI: -0.02, 0.05) and was also null when considering optimism as a binary measure (higher vs. lower optimism). We found no evidence of effect modification by sex, age, body mass index, income, or chronic conditions.

Conclusions: Optimism was not associated with leukocyte telomere length among African American adults. Future studies should investigate alternate biological and behavioral mechanisms that may explain the optimism-health association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.105124DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052931PMC
March 2021

Short telomere length predicts nonrelapse mortality after stem cell transplantation for myelodysplastic syndrome.

Blood 2020 12;136(26):3070-3081

Division of Hematological Malignancies, Department of Medical Oncology, and.

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only potentially curative treatment for patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), but long-term survival is limited by the risk of transplant-related complications. Short telomere length, mediated by inherited or acquired factors, impairs cellular response to genotoxic and replicative stress and could identify patients at higher risk for toxicity after transplantation. We measured relative telomere length in pretransplant recipient blood samples in 1514 MDS patients and evaluated the association of telomere length with MDS disease characteristics and transplantation outcomes. Shorter telomere length was significantly associated with older age, male sex, somatic mutations that impair the DNA damage response, and more severe pretransplant cytopenias, but not with bone marrow blast count, MDS treatment history, or history of prior cancer therapy. Among 1267 patients ≥40 years old, telomere length in the shortest quartile was associated with inferior survival (P < .001) because of a high risk of nonrelapse mortality (NRM; P = .001) after adjusting for significant clinical and genetic variables. The adverse impact of shorter telomeres on NRM was independent of recipient comorbidities and was observed selectively among patients receiving more intensive conditioning, including myeloablative regimens and higher dose melphalan-based reduced-intensity regimens. The effect of shorter telomeres on NRM was prominent among patients who developed severe acute graft-versus-host disease, suggesting that short telomere length may limit regenerative potential of mucosal tissues after acute injury. MDS patients with shorter telomere length, who have inferior survival driven by excess toxicity, could be considered for strategies focused on minimizing toxic effects of transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020005397DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7770569PMC
December 2020

Oxidative stress, DNA damage, inflammation and gene expression in occupationally exposed university hospital anesthesia providers.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2021 02 20;62(2):155-164. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Medical School, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Botucatu, Brazil.

Considering the importance and lack of data of toxicogenomic approaches on occupational exposure to anesthetics, we evaluated possible associations between waste anesthetic gases (WAGs) exposure and biological effects including oxidative stress, DNA damage, inflammation, and transcriptional modulation. The exposed group was constituted by anesthesia providers who were mainly exposed to the anesthetics sevoflurane and isoflurane (10 ppm) and to a lesser degree to nitrous oxide (150 ppm), and the control group was constituted by physicians who had no exposure to WAGs. The oxidative stress markers included oxidized DNA bases (comet assay), malondialdehyde (high-performance liquid chromatography [HPLC]), nitric oxide metabolites (ozone-chemiluminescence), and antioxidative markers, including individual antioxidants (HPLC) and antioxidant defense marker (ferric reducing antioxidant power by spectrophotometry). The inflammatory markers included high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (chemiluminescent immunoassay) and the proinflammatory interleukins IL-6, IL-8 and IL-17A (flow cytometry). Telomere length and gene expression related to DNA repair (hOGG1 and XRCC1), antioxidant defense (NRF2) and inflammation (IL6, IL8 and IL17A) were evaluated by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. No significant differences (p > .0025) between the groups were observed for any parameter evaluated. Thus, under the conditions of the study, the findings suggest that occupational exposure to WAGs is not associated with oxidative stress or inflammation when evaluated in serum/plasma, with DNA damage evaluated in lymphocytes and leucocytes or with molecular modulation assessed in peripheral blood cells in university anesthesia providers. However, it is prudent to reduce WAGs exposure and to increase biomonitoring of all occupationally exposed professionals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.22420DOI Listing
February 2021

DNA methylation ageing clocks and pancreatic cancer risk: pooled analysis of three prospective nested case-control studies.

Epigenetics 2021 Jan 7:1-11. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Public Health & Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.

DNA methylation (DNAm) age may reflect age-related variations in biological changes and abnormalities related to ageing. DNAm age acceleration measures have been associated with a number of cancers, but to our knowledge, have not been examined in relation to pancreatic cancer risk or survival. DNAm levels in leukocytes of prediagnostic blood samples of 393 pancreatic cancer cases and 431 matched controls, pooled from three large prospective cohort studies, were used to estimate DNAm age, epigenetic age acceleration (AA), and intrinsic epigenetic age acceleration (IEAA) metrics. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to examine the relationship between the various AA and IEAA metrics and pancreatic cancer risk and survival, respectively. The results showed that pancreatic cancer risk was significantly increased across all IEAA metrics, ranging from 83% to 95% increased risk when comparing the third and highest quartiles to the lowest quartile of IEAA. Consistent with these findings, the results from multivariate spline regression analyses showed non-linear relationships between all three IEAA metrics and pancreatic cancer risk with apparent threshold effect including two turning points at minimal and at maximal risks, respectively. There is no evidence of a significant association between pancreatic cancer survival and any of the epigenetic AA or IEAA metrics. Our results indicate DNAm age acceleration, measured in blood prior to cancer diagnosis, is associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in a complex nonlinear, dose-response manner. Epigenetic IEAA metrics may be a useful addition to current methods for pancreatic cancer risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15592294.2020.1861401DOI Listing
January 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

Epigenome-Wide Association Study Using Prediagnostic Bloods Identifies New Genomic Regions Associated With Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2020 Oct 19;4(5):pkaa041. Epub 2020 May 19.

Department of Epidemiology, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

Background: Epigenome-wide association studies using peripheral blood have identified specific sites of DNA methylation associated with risk of various cancers and may hold promise to identify novel biomarkers of risk; however, few studies have been performed for pancreatic cancer and none using a prospective study design.

Methods: Using a nested case-control study design, incident pancreatic cancer cases and matched controls were identified from participants who provided blood at baseline in 3 prospective cohort studies. DNA methylation levels were measured in DNA extracted from leukocytes using the Illumina MethylationEPIC array. Average follow-up period for this analysis was 13 years.

Results: Several new genomic regions were identified as being differentially methylated in cases and controls; the 5 strongest associations were observed for CpGs located in genes , , , , and . For some CpGs located in chromosome 16p13.3 (near genes and ), associations were stronger with shorter time to diagnosis (eg, odds ratio [OR] = 5.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.52 to 23.12, for top vs bottom quartile, for <5 years between blood draw and cancer diagnosis), but associations remained statistically significantly higher even when cases were diagnosed over 10 years after blood collection. Statistically significant differences in DNA methylation levels were also observed in the gastric secretion pathway using Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) analysis.

Conclusions: Changes in DNA methylation in peripheral blood may mark alterations in metabolic or immune pathways that play a role in pancreatic cancer. Identifying new biological pathways in carcinogenesis of pancreatic cancer using epigenome-wide association studies approach could provide new opportunities for improving treatment and prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa041DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7583152PMC
October 2020

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

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

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

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

Telomere length and its relationships with lifestyle and behavioural factors: variations by sex and race/ethnicity.

Age Ageing 2021 May;50(3):838-846

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Adherence to healthy lifestyles/behaviours promotes healthy ageing. However, little is known about whether age, sex and/or race/ethnicity moderate associations of lifestyle/behavioural factors with relative telomere length (RTL), a potential biomarker of ageing.

Methods: We included 749 midlife to older non-Hispanic White (n = 254), Black (n = 248) and Hispanic (n = 247) US participants [mean (standard deviation) age = 69.3 (7.2) years; women: 50.5%]. We extracted genomic DNA from peripheral leucocytes. RTL was assayed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Multivariable regression was used to examine associations between lifestyle/behavioural exposures (i.e. physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking and depression) with RTL.

Results: Increasing chronological age was associated with shorter RTL (P < 0.01). Higher physical activity was associated with longer RTL (P-trend = 0.03); daily versus never/rare alcohol consumption and 30+ versus <5 smoking pack-year were associated with shorter RTLs (P-trend = 0.02). Associations varied significantly by sex and race/ethnicity. The association between physical activity and longer RTL appeared strongest among non-Hispanic Whites (P-interaction = 0.01). Compared to men, women had stronger associations between heavy smoking and shorter RTLs (P-interaction = 0.03). Light/moderate alcohol consumption (monthly/weekly) was associated with longer RTL among non-Hispanic Whites, while daily consumption was related to shorter RTLs among Blacks and Hispanics (P-interactions < 0.01). Associations of daily alcohol and heavy smoking with shorter RTLs were particularly apparent among Black women.

Conclusion: We observed novel variations by sex and race/ethnicity in associations between lifestyle/behavioural factors and RTL. Further work is needed to replicate these findings and to address potential public health implications for modifying strategies by sex or across racial/ethnic groups to optimise lifestyles/behaviours for healthy ageing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afaa186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8098796PMC
May 2021

Mendelian randomization analyses suggest a role for cholesterol in the development of endometrial cancer.

Int J Cancer 2021 01 7;148(2):307-319. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Blood lipids have been associated with the development of a range of cancers, including breast, lung and colorectal cancer. For endometrial cancer, observational studies have reported inconsistent associations between blood lipids and cancer risk. To reduce biases from unmeasured confounding, we performed a bidirectional, two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis to investigate the relationship between levels of three blood lipids (low-density lipoprotein [LDL] and high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol, and triglycerides) and endometrial cancer risk. Genetic variants associated with each of these blood lipid levels (P < 5 × 10 ) were identified as instrumental variables, and assessed using genome-wide association study data from the Endometrial Cancer Association Consortium (12 906 cases and 108 979 controls) and the Global Lipids Genetic Consortium (n = 188 578). Mendelian randomization analyses found genetically raised LDL cholesterol levels to be associated with lower risks of endometrial cancer of all histologies combined, and of endometrioid and non-endometrioid subtypes. Conversely, higher genetically predicted HDL cholesterol levels were associated with increased risk of non-endometrioid endometrial cancer. After accounting for the potential confounding role of obesity (as measured by genetic variants associated with body mass index), the association between genetically predicted increased LDL cholesterol levels and lower endometrial cancer risk remained significant, especially for non-endometrioid endometrial cancer. There was no evidence to support a role for triglycerides in endometrial cancer development. Our study supports a role for LDL and HDL cholesterol in the development of non-endometrioid endometrial cancer. Further studies are required to understand the mechanisms underlying these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33206DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7757859PMC
January 2021

Lifestyle and behavioral factors and mitochondrial DNA copy number in a diverse cohort of mid-life and older adults.

PLoS One 2020 12;15(8):e0237235. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) is a putative biomarker of oxidative stress and biological aging. Modifiable factors, including physical activity (PA), avoidance of heavy alcohol use and smoking, and maintaining good mental health, may reduce oxidative stress and promote healthy aging. Yet, limited data exist regarding how these factors are associated with mtDNAcn or whether age, sex or race/ethnicity moderate associations. In this cross-sectional study, we selected 391 adults (183 non-Hispanic White, 110 Black and 98 Hispanic; mean = 67 years) from the VITAL-DEP (VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL-Depression Endpoint Prevention) ancillary to the VITAL trial. We estimated associations between lifestyle and behavioral factors (PA, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and depression) and log-transformed mtDNAcn using multivariable linear regression models. MtDNAcn was not correlated with chronological age; women had ~17% higher mtDNAcn compared to men. There were no significant associations between PA measures (frequency, amount or intensity) or alcohol consumption with mtDNAcn. Cigarette smoking (per 5 pack-years) was significantly associated with mtDNAcn (percent difference = -2.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) = -5.4%, -0.4%)); a large contrast was observed among heavy vs. non-smokers (≥30 vs. 0 pack-years): percent difference = -28.5% (95% CI = -44.2%, -8.3%). The estimate of mtDNAcn was suggestively different for past vs. no depression history (percent difference = -15.1% 95% CI = -30.8%, 4.1%), but this difference was not statistically significant. The association between smoking and log-mtDNAcn varied by sex and race/ethnicity; it was stronger in men and Black participants. While chance findings cannot be excluded, results from this study support associations of smoking, but not chronological age, with mtDNAcn and suggest nuanced considerations of mtDNAcn as indicative of varying oxidative stress states vs. biological aging itself.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237235PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7423118PMC
October 2020

Mediterranean Diet and Telomere Length: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Adv Nutr 2020 11;11(6):1544-1554

Departament of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Human Nutrition Unit, Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Sant Joan de Reus University Hospital, Reus, Spain.

Accelerated telomere shortening has been associated with several age-related diseases and/or decreased lifespan in humans. The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is considered to be 1 of the most recognized diets for disease prevention and healthy aging, partially due to its demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties which may impact on telomere length (TL). The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine the associations between MedDiet adherence and TL maintenance. MEDLINE-PubMed and Cochrane databases were searched up to December 2018 for studies evaluating the association between MedDiet adherence and TL in blood cells. Two reviewers, working independently, screened all titles and abstracts to identify studies that met the inclusion criteria [cross-sectional, case-control, and prospective cohort studies and randomized clinical trials (RCTs) published in English and excluded nonoriginal articles]. Data were pooled by the generic inverse variance method using the random effects model and expressed as standardized mean difference (SMD). Heterogeneity was identified using the Cochran Q test and quantified by the I2 statistic. A total of 8 original cross-sectional studies were included for the quantitative meta-analysis, comprising a total of 13,733 participants from 5 countries. A positive association between adherence to the MedDiet and TL was observed in all meta-analyses, with the exception of those conducted only in men: SMD (95% CI) of 0.130 (0.029; 0.231) for all subjects, 0.078 (0.005; 0.152) for women, and 0.095 (-0.005; 0.195) for men. Only 1 prospective cohort study and 1 RCT were identified, therefore, we could not undertake a meta-analysis for these study designs. The present meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies demonstrates that higher MedDiet adherence is associated with longer TL. At the same time, larger and high-quality prospective studies and clinical trials are warranted to confirm this association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmaa079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666892PMC
November 2020

Association between pre-diagnostic leukocyte mitochondrial DNA copy number and survival among colorectal cancer patients.

Cancer Epidemiol 2020 10 14;68:101778. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA; Department of Global Health, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA; IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) is considered a biomarker for mitochondrial function and oxidative stress. Although previous studies have suggested a potential relationship between mtDNAcn at the time of colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis and CRC prognosis, findings have been inconsistent, and no study has specifically investigated the association of pre-diagnostic mtDNAcn with CRC survival.

Methods: We examined the association of pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNAcn (measured by qPCR) with overall and CRC-specific survival among 587 patients in Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Cox models were constructed to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CIs).

Results: During a mean follow-up of 10.5 years, 395 deaths were identified; 180 were due to CRC. Overall, we did not observe significant associations between mtDNAcn and either overall or CRC-specific survival among all cases or by cancer location, grade, or stage. In an exploratory stratified analysis, a suggestive inverse association of mtDNAcn and overall death risk appeared among current smokers [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease in mtDNAcn = 1.50 (0.98, 2.32), P-trend = 0.06]. Reduced mtDNAcn and lower CRC-specific death risk was observed among patients aged ≤ 70.5 at diagnosis [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease of mtDNAcn = 0.71 (0.52, 0.97), P-trend = 0.03], ≤ 5 years from blood collection to diagnosis [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease in mtDNAcn = 0.65 (0.44, 0.96), P-trend = 0.03] and those consuming a low-inflammatory diet [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease in mtDNAcn = 0.61 (0.42, 0.88), P-trend = 0.009].

Conclusion: no significant associations between pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNAcn and either overall or CRC-specific survival appeared but exploratory analysis identified potential sub-group associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2020.101778DOI Listing
October 2020

Assessment of polygenic architecture and risk prediction based on common variants across fourteen cancers.

Nat Commun 2020 07 3;11(1):3353. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have led to the identification of hundreds of susceptibility loci across cancers, but the impact of further studies remains uncertain. Here we analyse summary-level data from GWAS of European ancestry across fourteen cancer sites to estimate the number of common susceptibility variants (polygenicity) and underlying effect-size distribution. All cancers show a high degree of polygenicity, involving at a minimum of thousands of loci. We project that sample sizes required to explain 80% of GWAS heritability vary from 60,000 cases for testicular to over 1,000,000 cases for lung cancer. The maximum relative risk achievable for subjects at the 99th risk percentile of underlying polygenic risk scores (PRS), compared to average risk, ranges from 12 for testicular to 2.5 for ovarian cancer. We show that PRS have potential for risk stratification for cancers of breast, colon and prostate, but less so for others because of modest heritability and lower incidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16483-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7335068PMC
July 2020

Peripheral Blood Leukocyte Telomere Length and Endometriosis.

Reprod Sci 2020 10 23;27(10):1951-1959. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 221 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.

Endometriosis is a common gynecologic disease defined by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterine cavity. While its etiology is largely unknown, accumulating evidence suggests that inflammation plays a major role. Our objective was to investigate the association between peripheral blood leukocyte telomere length (LTL) and endometriosis using data from two large population-based studies, the New England Case-Control Study (NEC; n = 877) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; n = 2268). NEC control participants were identified through a combination of random digit dialing, drivers' license lists, and town resident lists. In NHANES, selection algorithms were used to identify a nationally representative sample. Blood samples and demographic, reproductive, and health-related information were available from both data sources. Endometriosis was defined as self-reported of physician-diagnosed endometriosis. LTL was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Multivariable logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between LTL and endometriosis. Shorter LTL was associated with greater odds of history of endometriosis. In NEC, women with the shortest LTL tertile compared with the longest had a 2.5-fold greater odds of endometriosis (OR = 2.56, 95% CI = 1.16-5.63; p value, test for linear trend = 0.02). The association was stronger among women who usually experienced moderate or severe menstrual pain (OR  = 3.50, 95% CI = 1.12-10.97). In NHANES, the data suggested a similar but attenuated association (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 0.85-1.96). The observed associations in NEC suggest that shorter LTL may be associated with greater odds of endometriosis. A better understanding of how LTL influences endometriosis risk could elucidate novel disease pathophysiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43032-020-00214-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483746PMC
October 2020

Pro-inflammatory status is not a limit for longevity: case report of a Sicilian centenarian.

Aging Clin Exp Res 2021 May 23;33(5):1403-1407. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Laboratory of Immunopathology and Immunosenescence, Department of Biomedicine, Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics, University of Palermo, Corso Tuköry, 211, 90134, Palermo, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01628-7DOI Listing
May 2021

Polyphenols as Caloric Restriction Mimetics Regulating Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Mitophagy.

Trends Endocrinol Metab 2020 07 17;31(7):536-550. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Department of Medicine and Health Sciences 'V. Tiberio', University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.

The tight coordination between mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy can be dysregulated during aging, critically influencing whole-body metabolism, health, and lifespan. To date, caloric restriction (CR) appears to be the most effective intervention strategy to improve mitochondrial turnover in aging organisms. The development of pharmacological mimetics of CR has gained attention as an attractive and potentially feasible approach to mimic the CR phenotype. Polyphenols, ubiquitously present in fruits and vegetables, have emerged as well-tolerated CR mimetics that target mitochondrial turnover. Here, we discuss the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy, and we summarize the current knowledge of how CR promotes mitochondrial maintenance and to what extent different polyphenols may mimic CR and coordinate mitochondrial biogenesis and clearance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2020.02.011DOI Listing
July 2020

Insulinemic Potential of Lifestyle Is Inversely Associated with Leukocyte Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number in US White Adults.

J Nutr 2020 08;150(8):2156-2163

Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Background: Poor lifestyles have been linked to insulin insensitivity/hyperinsulinemia, which may contribute to downstream changes such as inflammation and oxidative damage and the development of chronic diseases. As a biomarker of intracellular oxidative stress, leukocyte mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNA-CN) has been related to lifestyle factors including diet and weight. No epidemiologic study has examined the relation between combined insulinemic potential of lifestyle and mtDNA-CN.

Objectives: Our aim was to examine the association between Empirical Lifestyle Index for Hyperinsulinemia (ELIH) and leukocyte mtDNA-CN in US men and women.

Methods: This cross-sectional analysis included 2835 white adults without cancers, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease at blood collection, including 2160 women from the Nurses' Health Study and 675 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. ELIH is an index based on plasma C-peptide that characterizes the insulinemic potential of lifestyle (diet, body weight, and physical activity). Relative mtDNA-CN in peripheral blood leukocytes was measured by qPCR-based assay.

Results: We found a significant inverse association between ELIH and mtDNA-CN. In multivariable-adjusted linear models, absolute least squares means ± SDs of mtDNA-CN z score across ELIH quintiles in women were as follows: Q1: 0.14 ± 0.05; Q2: 0.04 ± 0.06; Q3: 0.008 ± 0.05; Q4: 0.01 ± 0.05; and Q5: -0.06 ± 0.05 (P-trend = 0.006). Means ± SDs in men were as follows: Q1: 0.25 ± 0.09; Q2: 0.23 ± 0.09; Q3: 0.07 ± 0.09; Q4: 0.02 ± 0.09; and Q5: -0.04 ± 0.09 (P-trend = 0.007). Means ± SDs in all participants were as follows: Q1: 0.16 ± 0.05; Q2: 0.07 ± 0.05; Q3: 0.01 ± 0.05; Q4: 0.01 ± 0.05; and Q5: -0.05 ± 0.05 (P-trend = 0.0004).

Conclusions: Hyperinsulinemic lifestyles (i.e., higher ELIH) were associated with lower leukocyte mtDNA-CN among subjects without major diseases, suggesting that the difference in lifestyle insulinemic potential may be related to excessive oxidative stress damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398789PMC
August 2020

DNA Methylation-Derived Immune Cell Profiles, CpG Markers of Inflammation, and Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 08 19;29(8):1577-1585. Epub 2020 May 19.

Department of Epidemiology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

Background: Pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second most common cause of cancer-related death over the next 5 years. Because inflammation is thought to be a common trajectory for disease initiation, we sought to prospectively characterize immune profiles using DNA methylation markers and examine DNA methylation levels previously linked to inflammation biomarkers to evaluate whether these immune markers play a key role in pancreatic cancer.

Methods: In a nested case-control study pooling three U.S. prospective cohort studies, DNA methylation was measured in prediagnostic leukocytes of incident pancreatic cancer cases and matched controls using the Illumina MethylationEPIC array. Differentially methylated regions were used to predict immune cell types, and CpGs previously associated with inflammatory biomarkers were selected for the analysis. DNA methylation data from a retrospective case-control study conducted in Spain (PanGenEU) was used for independent replication.

Results: Immune cell proportions and ratio of cell proportions were not associated with pancreatic cancer risk in the nested case-control study. Methylation extent of CpGs residing in or near gene was significantly associated with pancreatic cancer risk in the nested case-control study and replicated in PanGenEU. Methylation level of a promoter CpG of gene was associated with survival in both studies.

Conclusions: Using a targeted approach, we identified several CpGs that may play a role in pancreatic carcinogenesis in two large, independent studies with distinct study designs.

Impact: These findings could provide insight into critical pathways that may help identify new markers of early disease and survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0378DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7415654PMC
August 2020

Height, nevus count, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma: Results from 2 large cohorts of US women.

J Am Acad Dermatol 2020 Oct 4;83(4):1049-1056. Epub 2020 May 4.

Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana; Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indianapolis, Indiana; Department of Global Health, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana. Electronic address:

Background: Taller individuals are at higher risk of melanoma.

Objective: To prospectively investigate the association of height with nevus count and melanoma and estimate the proportion of height-melanoma association explained by nevus count among white participants from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and Nurses' Health Study 2 (NHS2).

Methods: We used Cox proportional hazards regression and multinomial logistic regression for data analyses, with adjustment of potential confounders in the multivariate model.

Results: We included 82,468 and 106,069 women from NHS and NHS2, respectively. The hazard ratio was 1.21 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12-1.31) for the association between every 10-cm increase in height and melanoma. Compared with women with no nevi, the odds ratios (95% CIs) associated with a 10-cm increase in height were 1.35 (95% CI 1.23-1.48) in the NHS and 1.12 (95% CI 1.09-1.15) in the NHS2 for women with greater than or equal to 10 moles. The proportion of excess melanoma risk associated with each 10-cm increase in height explained by nevus count was 8.03% in the NHS and 10.22% in the NHS2.

Limitation: Self-reported height and nevus count. Mole counts were limited to 1 arm or both legs.

Conclusion: Nevus count is an important explanatory factor for the excess risk of melanoma among taller white women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2020.04.158DOI Listing
October 2020

The Phenotypic Characterization of the Cammalleri Sisters, an Example of Exceptional Longevity.

Rejuvenation Res 2020 Dec 11;23(6):476-484. Epub 2020 May 11.

Laboratory of Immunopathology and Immunosenescence, Department of Biomedicine, Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

This article shows demographic, clinical, anamnestic, cognitive, and functional data as well as biochemical, genetic, and epigenetic parameters of two exceptional siblings: Diega (supercentenarian) and Filippa (semisupercentenarian) Cammalleri. The purpose of this study is to provide new insights into the extreme phenotypes represented by semisupercentenarians and supercentenarians. Different studies have been published on supercentenarians, but to the best of our knowledge, this is the only concerning two sisters and the most detailed from a phenotypic point of view. Our findings agree with the suggestion that supercentenarians have an increasing relative resistance to age-related diseases, approximating the limits of the functional human reserve to address successfully the acute causes of death. More interestingly, our data agree with, and extend, the suggestion that inflammation and oxidative stress predict centenarian mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/rej.2019.2299DOI Listing
December 2020

Patterns of change in telomere length over the first three years of life in healthy children.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2020 05 20;115:104602. Epub 2020 Feb 20.

Division of Developmental Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States; Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston, MA, United States.

There is growing interest in the use of telomere length as a biomarker of health and a predictor of later morbidity and mortality. However, little is known about developmentally expected telomere erosion over the first years of life. This gap hinders our ability to interpret the meaning of relative telomere length and rate of attrition in relation to risk factors and health outcomes. The overall goal of this study was to examine the rate of relative telomere length attrition in a large, normative sample of healthy children (N = 630) followed from infancy to three years of age. A secondary goal was to explore associations between sociodemographic characteristics and telomere erosion over this time period. Relative telomere length was assessed from DNA in saliva samples collected in infancy (M = 8.6 months), age 2 years (M = 25.2 months), and age 3 years (M = 38.3 months). In the sample as a whole, relative telomere length decreased from infancy to 2 years but remained stable from 2 years to 3 years. Notably, increases in relative telomere length were observed in 29 % of children between infancy and 2 years of age and in 46 % of children between 2 and 3 years of age; 62 % of children showed both increases and decreases in relative telomere length across the study period. Females showed longer relative telomere length than males, regardless of timepoint. There was some evidence that parental age and family finances were associated with changes in child relative telomere length across time. Overall, the findings suggest that telomere length attrition is not uniform across the early years of life, with the most rapid attrition occurring during the first two years, and that increases as well as decreases in telomere length during this period are commonly observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104602DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7183438PMC
May 2020

In utero exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and telomere length at birth.

Environ Res 2020 03 17;182:109053. Epub 2019 Dec 17.

Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Telomere length correlates with morbidity and mortality. While telomere length appears to be influenced by hormone levels, the potential impact of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has not been studied. We examined the association between maternal gestational concentrations of biomarkers of EDC exposure and telomere length at birth in the Harvard Epigenetic Birth Cohort. EDC (phenols and phthalates) biomarker concentrations were measured in maternal spot urine samples during the first trimester and telomere length in maternal and cord blood collected at delivery among 181 mother-newborn singleton dyads. Maternal and newborn telomere length exhibited a positive correlation (Spearman ρ = 0.20 (p-value< 0.01). Infant telomere length was associated with maternal biomarker concentrations of specific EDCs, and most of these associations were observed to be infant sex-specific. Prenatal exposure to triclosan, a non-paraben phenol with antimicrobial properties, was one of the most strongly associated EDCs with telomere length; telomere length was 20% (95% CI 5%-33%) shorter among boys in the highest quartile of maternal biomarker concentrations compared to the lowest quartile. In contrast, we observed longer telomere length associated with increased gestational concentrations of mono-isobutyl phthalate, and among boys, with increased concentrations of mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate. In this birth cohort, we observed associations between maternal gestational exposure to select EDC biomarkers and telomere length, most of which were sex-specific. These findings need to be confirmed in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.109053DOI Listing
March 2020

Association between coffee drinking and telomere length in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial.

PLoS One 2020 8;15(1):e0226972. Epub 2020 Jan 8.

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States of America.

Mounting evidence indicates that coffee, a commonly consumed beverage worldwide, is inversely associated with various chronic diseases and overall mortality. Few studies have evaluated the effect of coffee drinking on telomere length, a biomarker of chromosomal integrity, and results have been inconsistent. Understanding this association may provide mechanistic insight into associations of coffee with health. The aim of our study was to test the hypothesis that heavier coffee intake is associated with greater likelihood of having above-median telomere length. We evaluated the cross-sectional association between coffee intake and relative telomere length using data from 1,638 controls from four previously conducted case-control studies nested in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Coffee intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire, and relative telomere length was measured from buffy-coat, blood, or buccal cells. We used unconditional logistic regression models to generate multivariable-adjusted, study-specific odds ratios for the association between coffee intake and relative telomere length. We then conducted a random-effects meta-analysis to determine summary odds ratios. We found that neither summary continuous (OR = 1.01, 95% CI = 0.99-1.03) nor categorical (OR <3 cups/day vs. none = 1.37, 95% CI = 0.71-2.65; OR ≥3 cups/day vs. none = 1.47, 95% CI = 0.81-2.66) odds ratio estimates of coffee drinking and relative telomere length were statistically significant. However, in the largest of the four contributing studies, moderate (<3 cups/day) and heavy coffee drinkers (≥3 cups/day) were 2.10 times (95% CI = 1.25, 3.54) and 1.93 times as likely (95% CI = 1.17, 3.18) as nondrinkers to have above-median telomere length, respectively. In conclusion, we found no evidence that coffee drinking is associated with telomere length. Thus, it is unlikely that telomere length plays a role in potential coffee-disease associations.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0226972PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6948744PMC
April 2020

The Relation of Optimism to Relative Telomere Length in Older Men and Women.

Psychosom Med 2020 Feb/Mar;82(2):165-171

From the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (Kim, Kubzansky) and Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness (Kim, Kubzansky), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Human Flourishing Program, Institute for Quantitative Social Science (Kim), Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Tindle, Duncan); Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Epidemiology (SLiu), Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI; Department of Epidemiology (Manson, Grodstein), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Department of Medicine (Manson), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Stanford Prevention Research Center (Springfield), Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; Miriam Hospital, Warren Alpert School of Medicine (Salmoirago-Blotcher), Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Department of Family Medicine and Public Health (Shadyab), University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, California; Department of Epidemiology (BLiu), College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa; Channing Division of Network Medicine (Grodstein, De Vivo), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Objective: Mounting evidence suggests that higher optimism is associated with reduced risk of age-related morbidities and premature mortality. However, possible biological mechanisms underlying these associations remain understudied. One hypothesized mechanism is a slower rate of cellular aging, which in turn delays age-related declines in health.

Methods: We used data from two large cohort studies to test the hypothesis that higher optimism is associated with longer leukocyte telomere length. With cross-sectional data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS; n = 6417; mean age = 70 years) and the Women's Health Initiative (WHI; N = 3582; mean age = 63 years), we used linear regression models to examine the association of optimism with relative telomere length (assessed in leukocytes from saliva [HRS] or plasma [WHI]). Models adjusted for sociodemographics, depression, health status, and health behaviors.

Results: Considering both optimism and telomere length as continuous variables, we found consistently null associations in both cohorts, regardless of which covariates were included in the models. In models adjusting for demographics, depression, comorbidities, and health behaviors, optimism was not associated with mean relative telomere length (HRS: β = -0.002, 95% confidence interval = -0.014 to 0.011; WHI: β = -0.004, 95% confidence interval = -0.017 to 0.009).

Conclusions: Findings do not support mean telomere length as a mechanism that explains observed relations of optimism with reduced risk of chronic disease in older adults. Future research is needed to evaluate other potential biological markers and pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000764DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7522724PMC
January 2021

Pre-diagnostic leukocyte mitochondrial DNA copy number and colorectal cancer risk.

Carcinogenesis 2019 12;40(12):1462-1468

Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is susceptible to oxidative stress and mutation. Few epidemiological studies have assessed the relationship between mtDNA copy number (mtDNAcn) and risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), with inconsistent findings. In this study, we examined the association between pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNAcn and CRC risk in a case-control study of 324 female cases and 658 matched controls nested within the Nurses' Health Study (NHS). Relative mtDNAcn in peripheral blood leukocytes was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction-based assay. Conditional logistic regression models were applied to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for the association of interest. Results showed lower log-mtDNAcn was significantly associated with increased risk of CRC, in a dose-dependent relationship (P for trend < 0.0001). Compared to the fourth quartile, multivariable-adjusted OR [95% confidence interval (CI)] was 1.10 (0.69, 1.76) for the third quartile, 1.40 (0.89, 2.19) for the second quartile and 2.19 (1.43, 3.35) for the first quartile. In analysis by anatomic subsite of CRC, we found a significant inverse association for proximal colon cancer [lowest versus highest quartile, multivariable-adjusted OR (95% CI) = 3.31 (1.70, 6.45), P for trend = 0.0003]. Additionally, stratified analysis according to the follow-up time since blood collection showed that the inverse association between mtDNAcn and CRC remained significant among individuals with ≥ 5 years' follow-up, and marginally significant among those with ≥ 10 years' follow-up since mtDNAcn testing, suggesting that mtDNAcn may serve as a long-term predictor for risk of CRC. In conclusion, pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNAcn was inversely associated with CRC risk. Further basic experimental studies are needed to explore the underlying biological mechanisms linking mtDNAcn to CRC carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgz159DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7346713PMC
December 2019

Prediagnostic Leukocyte Telomere Length and Pancreatic Cancer Survival.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2019 11 19;28(11):1868-1875. Epub 2019 Aug 19.

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Leukocyte telomere length has been associated with risk of subsequent pancreatic cancer. Few prospective studies have evaluated the association of prediagnostic leukocyte telomere length with pancreatic cancer survival.

Methods: We prospectively examined the association of prediagnostic leukocyte telomere length with overall survival (OS) time among 423 participants diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma between 1984 and 2008 within the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Nurses' Health Study, Physicians' Health Study, and Women's Health Initiative. We measured prediagnostic leukocyte telomere length in banked blood samples using quantitative PCR. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate HRs for OS with adjustment for potential confounders. We also evaluated 10 SNPs at the telomerase reverse transcriptase locus.

Results: Shorter prediagnostic leukocyte telomere length was associated with reduced OS among patients with pancreatic cancer ( = 0.04). The multivariable-adjusted HR for OS comparing the lowest with highest quintiles of leukocyte telomere length was 1.39 (95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.93), corresponding to a 3-month difference in median OS time. In an analysis excluding cases with blood collected within 2 years of cancer diagnosis, the association was moderately stronger (HR, 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-2.21; comparing the lowest with highest quintiles; = 0.01). No prognostic association or effect modification for the prognostic association of prediagnostic leukocyte telomere length was noted in relation to the studied SNPs.

Conclusions: Prediagnostic leukocyte telomere length was associated with pancreatic cancer survival.

Impact: Prediagnostic leukocyte telomere length can be a prognostic biomarker in pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0577DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825575PMC
November 2019