Publications by authors named "Torkjel M Sandanger"

86 Publications

Co-benefits from sustainable dietary shifts for population and environmental health: an assessment from a large European cohort study.

Lancet Planet Health 2021 Nov 22;5(11):e786-e796. Epub 2021 Oct 22.

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

Background: Unhealthy diets, the rise of non-communicable diseases, and the declining health of the planet are highly intertwined, where food production and consumption are major drivers of increases in greenhouse gas emissions, substantial land use, and adverse health such as cancer and mortality. To assess the potential co-benefits from shifting to more sustainable diets, we aimed to investigate the associations of dietary greenhouse gas emissions and land use with all-cause and cause-specific mortality and cancer incidence rates.

Methods: Using data from 443 991 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, a multicentre prospective cohort, we estimated associations between dietary contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and land use and all-cause and cause-specific mortality and incident cancers using Cox proportional hazards regression models. The main exposures were modelled as quartiles. Co-benefits, encompassing the potential effects of alternative diets on all-cause mortality and cancer and potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and land use, were estimated with counterfactual attributable fraction intervention models, simulating potential effects of dietary shifts based on the EAT-Lancet reference diet.

Findings: In the pooled analysis, there was an association between levels of dietary greenhouse gas emissions and all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1·13 [95% CI 1·10-1·16]) and between land use and all-cause mortality (1·18 [1·15-1·21]) when comparing the fourth quartile to the first quartile. Similar associations were observed for cause-specific mortality. Associations were also observed between all-cause cancer incidence rates and greenhouse gas emissions, when comparing the fourth quartile to the first quartile (adjusted HR 1·11 [95% CI 1·09-1·14]) and between all-cause cancer incidence rates and land use (1·13 [1·10-1·15]); however, estimates differed by cancer type. Through counterfactual attributable fraction modelling of shifts in levels of adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet, we estimated that up to 19-63% of deaths and up to 10-39% of cancers could be prevented, in a 20-year risk period, by different levels of adherence to the EAT-Lancet reference diet. Additionally, switching from lower adherence to the EAT-Lancet reference diet to higher adherence could potentially reduce food-associated greenhouse gas emissions up to 50% and land use up to 62%.

Interpretation: Our results indicate that shifts towards universally sustainable diets could lead to co-benefits, such as minimising diet-related greenhouse gas emissions and land use, reducing the environmental footprint, aiding in climate change mitigation, and improving population health.

Funding: European Commission (DG-SANCO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), MRC Early Career Fellowship (MR/M501669/1).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00250-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8581185PMC
November 2021

Food biodiversity and total and cause-specific mortality in 9 European countries: An analysis of a prospective cohort study.

PLoS Med 2021 Oct 18;18(10):e1003834. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Background: Food biodiversity, encompassing the variety of plants, animals, and other organisms consumed as food and drink, has intrinsic potential to underpin diverse, nutritious diets and improve Earth system resilience. Dietary species richness (DSR), which is recommended as a crosscutting measure of food biodiversity, has been positively associated with the micronutrient adequacy of diets in women and young children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, the relationships between DSR and major health outcomes have yet to be assessed in any population.

Methods And Findings: We examined the associations between DSR and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality among 451,390 adults enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study (1992 to 2014, median follow-up: 17 years), free of cancer, diabetes, heart attack, or stroke at baseline. Usual dietary intakes were assessed at recruitment with country-specific dietary questionnaires (DQs). DSR of an individual's yearly diet was calculated based on the absolute number of unique biological species in each (composite) food and drink. Associations were assessed by fitting multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models. In the EPIC cohort, 2 crops (common wheat and potato) and 2 animal species (cow and pig) accounted for approximately 45% of self-reported total dietary energy intake [median (P10-P90): 68 (40 to 83) species consumed per year]. Overall, higher DSR was inversely associated with all-cause mortality rate. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing total mortality in the second, third, fourth, and fifth (highest) quintiles (Qs) of DSR to the first (lowest) Q indicate significant inverse associations, after stratification by sex, age, and study center and adjustment for smoking status, educational level, marital status, physical activity, alcohol intake, and total energy intake, Mediterranean diet score, red and processed meat intake, and fiber intake [HR (95% CI): 0.91 (0.88 to 0.94), 0.80 (0.76 to 0.83), 0.69 (0.66 to 0.72), and 0.63 (0.59 to 0.66), respectively; PWald < 0.001 for trend]. Absolute death rates among participants in the highest and lowest fifth of DSR were 65.4 and 69.3 cases/10,000 person-years, respectively. Significant inverse associations were also observed between DSR and deaths due to cancer, heart disease, digestive disease, and respiratory disease. An important study limitation is that our findings were based on an observational cohort using self-reported dietary data obtained through single baseline food frequency questionnaires (FFQs); thus, exposure misclassification and residual confounding cannot be ruled out.

Conclusions: In this large Pan-European cohort, higher DSR was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, independent of sociodemographic, lifestyle, and other known dietary risk factors. Our findings support the potential of food (species) biodiversity as a guiding principle of sustainable dietary recommendations and food-based dietary guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003834DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8559947PMC
October 2021

Combined Lifestyle Behaviors and the Incidence of Common Cancer Types in the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study (NOWAC).

Clin Epidemiol 2021 16;13:721-734. Epub 2021 Aug 16.

Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Introduction: Only a small number of studies have examined the impact of combined lifestyle behaviors on cancer incidence, and never in a Norwegian population.

Purpose: To examine linear and nonlinear associations of combined lifestyle factors, assessed through a healthy lifestyle index (HLI), with the incidence of postmenopausal breast, colorectal, lung, postmenopausal endometrial, postmenopausal ovarian, pancreatic, and kidney cancer among women in Norway.

Methods: This prospective study included 96,869 women enrolled in the Norwegian Women and Cancer (NOWAC) cohort. Baseline information on lifestyle factors was collected between 1996 and 2004. The HLI was constructed from five lifestyle factors: physical activity level, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, and diet. Each factor contributed 0 to 4 points to the HLI score, which ranged from 0 to 20, with higher scores representing a healthier lifestyle. Multiple imputation was used to handle missing data. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Restricted cubic splines were used to examine nonlinearity in the associations.

Results: The HRs for a one-point increment on the HLI score were 0.97 (95% CI: 0.96-0.98) for postmenopausal breast cancer, 0.98 (0.96-1.00) for colorectal cancer, 0.86 (0.84-0.87) for lung cancer, 0.93 (0.91-0.95) for postmenopausal endometrial cancer, 0.99 (0.96-1.02) for postmenopausal ovarian cancer, 0.92 (0.89-0.95) for pancreatic cancer, and 0.94 (0.91-0.97) for kidney cancer. Nonlinearity was observed for the inverse associations between HLI score and the incidence of lung cancer and postmenopausal breast cancer.

Conclusion: Based on our results, healthier lifestyle, as assessed by the HLI score, was associated with lower incidence of postmenopausal breast, colorectal, lung, postmenopausal endometrial, pancreatic, and kidney cancer among women, although the magnitude and linearity varied. Adoption of healthier lifestyle behaviors should be a public health priority to reduce the cancer burden among Norwegian women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CLEP.S312864DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8378914PMC
August 2021

Assessing the impact of exposome on the course of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystc fibrosis: The REMEDIA European Project Approach.

Environ Epidemiol 2021 Aug 6;5(4):e165. Epub 2021 Aug 6.

University Paris-Est Créteil, INSERM, IMRB, Creteil, France.

Because of the direct interaction of lungs with the environment, respiratory diseases are among the leading causes of environment-related deaths in the world. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF) are two highly debilitating diseases that are of particular interest in the context of environmental studies; they both are characterized by a similar progressive loss of lung function with small bronchi alterations, and a high phenotypic variability of unknown origin, which prevents a good therapeutic efficacy. In the last years, there has been an evolution in the apprehension of the study of diseases going from a restricted "one exposure, one disease" approach to a broader concept with other associating factors, the exposome. The overall objective of the REMEDIA project is to extend the understanding of the contribution of the exposome to COPD and CF diseases. To achieve our aim, we will (1) exploit data from existing cohorts and population registries to create a unified global database gathering phenotype and exposome information; (2) develop a flexible individual sensor device combining environmental and biomarker toolkits; (3) use a versatile atmospheric simulation chamber to simulate the health effects of complex exposomes; (4) use machine learning supervised analyses and causal inference models to identify relevant risk factors; and (5) develop econometric and cost-effectiveness models to assess the costs, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a selection of prevention strategies. The results will be used to develop guidelines to better predict disease risks and constitute the elements of the REMEDIA toolbox. The multidisciplinary approach carried out by the REMEDIA European project should represent a major breakthrough in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with COPD and CF diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EE9.0000000000000165DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8367060PMC
August 2021

Concentrations and geographical patterns of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in meat from semi-domesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus L.) in Norway.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Dec 29;798:149278. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway; NILU - Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Fram Centre, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway.

The study aimed at investigating the concentrations and geographical patterns of 11 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 15 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in reindeer muscle samples (n = 100) collected from 10 grazing districts in Norway, 2009. Concentrations were examined for patterns related to geographical region as well as age and sex of animals. Concentrations measured for PCBs and OCPs in reindeer meat samples were generally low. Geographical patterns were revealed and districts with previous mining activities, military trenches, or those that were in the vicinity of the Russian border exhibited slightly elevated concentrations compared to other districts. Calves (10 months) exhibited higher concentrations than young (1.5 year) and old animals (>2 years) adjusted for sex, whereas males exhibited higher concentrations than females, adjusted for age. All PCB congeners inter-correlated strongly with each other, whereas oxy-chlordane and heptachlor epoxide were the strongest inter-correlated OCP compounds. Concentrations of PCBs and OCPs in reindeer meat were all considerably lower than the maximum levels set for those contaminants in foodstuffs for safe human consumption by the European Commission. Thus, reindeer meat is not likely to be a substantial contributor to the human body burden of persistent organic pollutants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149278DOI Listing
December 2021

MercuNorth - monitoring mercury in pregnant women from the Arctic as a baseline to assess the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention.

Int J Circumpolar Health 2021 12;80(1):1881345

Axe Santé Des Populations Et Pratiques Optimales En Santé, Centre De Recherche Du CHU De Québec, Québec, QC, Canada.

Exposure to mercury (Hg) is a global concern, particularly among Arctic populations that rely on the consumption of marine mammals and fish which are the main route of Hg exposure for Arctic populations.The MercuNorth project was created to establish baseline Hg levels across several Arctic regions during the period preceding the Minamata Convention. Blood samples were collected from 669 pregnant women, aged 18-44 years, between 2010 and 2016 from sites across the circumpolar Arctic including Alaska (USA), Nunavik (Canada), Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Lapland (Finland) and Murmansk Oblast (Russia). Descriptive statistics were calculated, multiple pairwise comparisons were made between regions, and unadjusted linear trend analyses were performed.Geometric mean concentrations of total Hg were highest in Nunavik (5.20 µg/L)  and Greenland (3.79 µg/L), followed by Alaska (2.13 µg/L), with much lower concentrations observed in the other regions (ranged between 0.48 and 1.29 µg/L). In Nunavik, Alaska and Greenland, blood Hg concentrations have decreased significantly since 1992, 2000 and 2010 respectively with % annual decreases of 4.7%, 7.5% and 2.7%, respectively.These circumpolar data combined with fish and marine mammal consumption data can be used for assessing long-term Hg trends and the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/22423982.2021.1881345DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8183506PMC
December 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 Nov;113(11):1542-1550

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 because of 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 to 4.27) and pancreatic cancer (OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.99) in EPIC and liver cancer (OR = 2.00, 95% CI = 1.44 to 2.77) and liver disease mortality (OR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.63 to 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 to 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
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8562969PMC
November 2021

Phenotypic Characteristics and Melanoma Thickness in Women.

Acta Derm Venereol 2021 Apr 29;101(4):adv00446. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Department of Research, Cancer Registry of Norway, PB 5313 Majorstuen, NO-0304 Oslo, Norway. E-mail:

Patients' phenotypic characteristics might be associated with melanoma aggressiveness, but the evidence is scarce. This study examined the associations be-tween pigmentary characteristics, naevi and melanoma thickness. Data from the Norwegian Women and Cancer (NOWAC) study were analysed. By 2014, 1,243 women were diagnosed with a primary melanoma, and 1,140 had information on thickness. Using ordinal logistic regression models, the probability of being diagnosed with a specific thickness category was calculated by pigmentary score and naevi. Fair pigmentary score was associated with thinner trunk melanomas (probabilities of being diagnosed with a tumour ≤1.0 mm thickness were 74%, 66%, and 51% for fair, medium and dark pigmentary scores, respectively), but not the other sites. High number of naevi was associated with thicker nodular melanoma (NM) but not with super-ficial spreading melanoma. These findings suggest the need for greater overall vigilance and skin checks among women with fair pigmentary score. The association between naevi and NM suggest possible biological mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2340/00015555-3806DOI Listing
April 2021

Physical activity and cutaneous melanoma risk: A Norwegian population-based cohort study.

Prev Med 2021 Dec 20;153:106556. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Physical activity (PA) is an important factor in cancer prevention, but positive association between PA and risk of cutaneous melanoma found in recent studies may complicate this strategy. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure during outdoor PA is a plausible explanation for a positive association. We investigated the associations between PA, UVR and melanoma risk in the Norwegian Women and Cancer cohort. Overall PA was reported by 151,710 women, aged 30-75 at inclusion, using a validated 10-point-scale at enrolment and during follow-up, together with recent numbers of sunburns, indoor tanning sessions and weeks on sunbathing vacations. Seasonal outdoor walking and seasonal PAs were recorded in subsamples (n = 102,671 and n = 29,077, respectively). Logistic and Cox regression were used. Mean follow-up was 18.5 years, and 1565 invasive incident melanoma cases were diagnosed. Overall PA was inversely associated with sunburns, while positively associated with sunbathing vacations and indoor tanning. Overall PA was not associated with melanoma risk in all body sites combined (p = 0.61), but reduced risk was found in upper limb melanomas (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51-0.96; high versus low PA). Non-significant reduced risks were found for seasonal outdoor walking >2 h/day versus 30-60 min/day (summer HR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.66-1.00; autumn HR = 0.74, 95%CI 0.55-1.01). Seasonal PAs were not associated with melanoma risk. In conclusion, we found positive associations between overall PA and sunbathing vacations and indoor tanning, and, unlike literature, inverse association between overall PA and sunburns. Our results do not support a positive association between PA and melanoma risk in Norwegian women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106556DOI Listing
December 2021

Transcriptomic signals in blood prior to lung cancer focusing on time to diagnosis and metastasis.

Sci Rep 2021 04 1;11(1):7406. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Community Medicine, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, Langnes, P.O. Box 6050, 9037, Tromsø, Norway.

Recent studies have indicated that there are functional genomic signals that can be detected in blood years before cancer diagnosis. This study aimed to assess gene expression in prospective blood samples from the Norwegian Women and Cancer cohort focusing on time to lung cancer diagnosis and metastatic cancer using a nested case-control design. We employed several approaches to statistically analyze the data and the methods indicated that the case-control differences were subtle but most distinguishable in metastatic case-control pairs in the period 0-3 years prior to diagnosis. The genes of interest along with estimated blood cell populations could indicate disruption of immunological processes in blood. The genes identified from approaches focusing on alterations with time to diagnosis were distinct from those focusing on the case-control differences. Our results support that explorative analyses of prospective blood samples could indicate circulating signals of disease-related processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-86879-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017014PMC
April 2021

Assessing the role of genome-wide DNA methylation between smoking and risk of lung cancer using repeated measurements: the HUNT study.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Nov;50(5):1482-1497

Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

Background: It is unclear if smoking-related DNA methylation represents a causal pathway between smoking and risk of lung cancer. We sought to identify novel smoking-related DNA methylation sites in blood, with repeated measurements, and to appraise the putative role of DNA methylation in the pathway between smoking and lung cancer development.

Methods: We derived a nested case-control study from the Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT), including 140 incident patients who developed lung cancer during 2009-13 and 140 controls. We profiled 850 K DNA methylation sites (Illumina Infinium EPIC array) in DNA extracted from blood that was collected in HUNT2 (1995-97) and HUNT3 (2006-08) for the same individuals. Epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) were performed for a detailed smoking phenotype and for lung cancer. Two-step Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses were performed to assess the potential causal effect of smoking on DNA methylation as well as of DNA methylation (13 sites as putative mediators) on risk of lung cancer.

Results: The EWAS for smoking in HUNT2 identified associations at 76 DNA methylation sites (P < 5 × 10-8), including 16 novel sites. Smoking was associated with DNA hypomethylation in a dose-response relationship among 83% of the 76 sites, which was confirmed by analyses using repeated measurements from blood that was collected at 11 years apart for the same individuals. Two-step MR analyses showed evidence for a causal effect of smoking on DNA methylation but no evidence for a causal link between DNA methylation and the risk of lung cancer.

Conclusions: DNA methylation modifications in blood did not seem to represent a causal pathway linking smoking and the lung cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8580278PMC
November 2021

Pre- and post-diagnostic blood profiles of chlorinated persistent organic pollutants and metabolic markers in type 2 diabetes mellitus cases and controls; a pilot study.

Environ Res 2021 04 9;195:110846. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UIT-The Arctic University of Norway, NO-9037, Tromsø, Norway.

Objective: Several risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are also associated with blood concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and factors related to the disease may affect POP concentrations, and subsequent associations between POPs and T2DM. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the change in concentrations of lipids, hormones and POPs pre- and post-diagnosis in T2DM cases compared to healthy controls and their associations with T2DM.

Methods: We measured POPs, lipids, and thyroid and steroid hormones in plasma from 44 female cases collected prior to (pre-diagnostic) and following (post-diagnostic) T2DM diagnosis, and in 44 healthy female age-matched controls. We compared cross-sectional differences and longitudinal changes within and between matched cases and controls with t-tests and multivariable linear regression models. Associations between POP concentrations and T2DM were investigated using conditional logistic regression.

Results: Between the pre- and post-diagnostic measurement, cases developed more favorable lipid profiles and the longitudinal changes in lipid-normalized concentrations of non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin-like PCBs, beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), HCB, and 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl) ethane (p,p'-DDE) differed significantly between cases and controls. The longitudinal changes in POPs were mainly driven by changes in bodyweight, total lipids and T2DM status. Cases had significantly higher pre-diagnostic concentrations of POPs and triglycerides, and lower concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and free thyroxin than controls. Pre-diagnostic POP concentrations were not significantly associated with incident T2DM, whereas several post-diagnostic POP concentrations were significantly positively associated with prevalent T2DM.

Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that factors related to T2DM affect blood concentrations of POPs and may partly explain the positive associations between POPs and T2DM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.110846DOI Listing
April 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Int J Cancer 2021 06 22;148(11):2759-2773. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece.

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

Gene expression in blood reflects smoking exposure among cancer-free women in the Norwegian Women and Cancer (NOWAC) postgenome cohort.

Sci Rep 2021 01 12;11(1):680. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT -the Arctic University of Norway, 9037, Tromsø, Norway.

Active smoking has been linked to modulated gene expression in blood. However, there is a need for a more thorough understanding of how quantitative measures of smoking exposure relate to differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in whole-blood among ever smokers. This study analysed microarray-based gene expression profiles from whole-blood samples according to smoking status and quantitative measures of smoking exposure among cancer-free women (n = 1708) in the Norwegian Women and Cancer postgenome cohort. When compared with never smokers and former smokers, current smokers had 911 and 1082 DEGs, respectively and their biological functions could indicate systemic impacts of smoking. LRRN3 was associated with smoking status with the lowest FDR-adjusted p-value. When never smokers and all former smokers were compared, no DEGs were observed, but LRRN3 was differentially expressed when never smokers were compared with former smokers who quit smoking ≤ 10 years ago. Further, LRRN3 was positively associated with smoking intensity, pack-years, and comprehensive smoking index score among current smokers; and negatively associated with time since cessation among former smokers. Consequently, LRRN3 expression in whole-blood is a molecular signal of smoking exposure that could supplant self-reported smoking data in further research targeting blood-based markers related to the health effects of smoking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80158-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803754PMC
January 2021

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

BMC Med 2021 01 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

Metabolic Signatures of Healthy Lifestyle Patterns and Colorectal Cancer Risk in a European Cohort.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 Dec 29. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Spain; Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria ibs.GRANADA, Granada, Spain; Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.

Background & Aims: Colorectal cancer risk can be lowered by adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) guidelines. We derived metabolic signatures of adherence to these guidelines and tested their associations with colorectal cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort.

Methods: Scores reflecting adherence to the WCRF/AICR recommendations (scale, 1-5) were calculated from participant data on weight maintenance, physical activity, diet, and alcohol among a discovery set of 5738 cancer-free European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition participants with metabolomics data. Partial least-squares regression was used to derive fatty acid and endogenous metabolite signatures of the WCRF/AICR score in this group. In an independent set of 1608 colorectal cancer cases and matched controls, odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were calculated for colorectal cancer risk per unit increase in WCRF/AICR score and per the corresponding change in metabolic signatures using multivariable conditional logistic regression.

Results: Higher WCRF/AICR scores were characterized by metabolic signatures of increased odd-chain fatty acids, serine, glycine, and specific phosphatidylcholines. Signatures were inversely associated more strongly with colorectal cancer risk (fatty acids: OR, 0.51 per unit increase; 95% CI, 0.29-0.90; endogenous metabolites: OR, 0.62 per unit change; 95% CI, 0.50-0.78) than the WCRF/AICR score (OR, 0.93 per unit change; 95% CI, 0.86-1.00) overall. Signature associations were stronger in male compared with female participants.

Conclusions: Metabolite profiles reflecting adherence to WCRF/AICR guidelines and additional lifestyle or biological risk factors were associated with colorectal cancer. Measuring a specific panel of metabolites representative of a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle may identify strata of the population at higher risk of colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.11.045DOI Listing
December 2020

Soluble Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products (sRAGE) and Colorectal Cancer Risk: A Case-Control Study Nested within a European Prospective Cohort.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 01 20;30(1):182-192. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Public Health Directorate, Oviedo, Spain.

Background: Overexpression of the receptor for advanced glycation end-product (RAGE) has been associated with chronic inflammation, which in turn has been associated with increased colorectal cancer risk. Soluble RAGE (sRAGE) competes with RAGE to bind its ligands, thus potentially preventing RAGE-induced inflammation.

Methods: To investigate whether sRAGE and related genetic variants are associated with colorectal cancer risk, we conducted a nested case-control study in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Plasma sRAGE concentrations were measured by ELISA in 1,361 colorectal cancer matched case-control sets. Twenty-four SNPs encoded in the genes associated with sRAGE concentrations were available for 1,985 colorectal cancer cases and 2,220 controls. Multivariable adjusted ORs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed using conditional and unconditional logistic regression for colorectal cancer risk and circulating sRAGE and SNPs, respectively.

Results: Higher sRAGE concentrations were inversely associated with colorectal cancer (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.59-1.00). Sex-specific analyses revealed that the observed inverse risk association was restricted to men (OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.42-0.94), whereas no association was observed in women (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.68-1.48; for sex = 0.006). Participants carrying minor allele of rs653765 (promoter region of ) had lower colorectal cancer risk (C vs. T, OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.82-0.99).

Conclusions: Prediagnostic sRAGE concentrations were inversely associated with colorectal cancer risk in men, but not in women. An SNP located within gene, pertaining to RAGE shedding, was associated with colorectal cancer risk.

Impact: Further studies are needed to confirm our observed sex difference in the association and better explore the potential involvement of genetic variants of sRAGE in colorectal cancer development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0855DOI Listing
January 2021

Pre- and post-diagnostic blood profiles of perfluoroalkyl acids in type 2 diabetes mellitus cases and controls.

Environ Int 2020 12 9;145:106095. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UIT-The Arctic University of Norway, NO-9037 Tromsø, Norway.

Background: Studies exploring the associations between perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are rather limited and have reported conflicting results. All studies to date, including prospective ones, have relied on a single blood sample to study this association. Similarly, studies investigating how T2DM status may influence the longitudinal changes in PFAA concentrations have not been previously performed. As PFAA concentrations in humans have changed considerably over the last two decades, and as individuals diagnosed with T2DM usually undergo lifestyle changes that could influence these concentrations, a single blood sample may not necessarily reflect the life-time exposure to PFAA concentrations. Hence, repeated measurements from the same individuals will extend our understanding of how PFAAs are associated with T2DM. The present study, therefore, aimed to explore associations between pre- and post-diagnostic PFAA blood profiles and T2DM and assess factors associated with longitudinal changes in PFAAs in T2DM cases and controls.

Methods: Questionnaire data and blood samples from women participating in the Norwegian Women and Cancer study were used to conduct a nested case-control study among 46 T2DM cases matched to 85 non-diabetic controls. PFAAs were measured in blood samples collected prior to (2001/02) and after (2005/6) T2DM diagnosis. We investigated the association between PFAAs and incident and prevalent T2DM using conditional logistic regression. We assessed the longitudinal changes in PFAA concentrations within and between matched cases and controls using t-tests and linear regression models.

Results: We observed no significant associations between pre-diagnostic PFAA concentrations and T2DM incidence. Similar results were observed for the post-diagnostic PFAA concentrations and T2DM prevalence. Decrease over time in PFAA concentrations were observed for PFOA and ∑PFOS concentrations, whereas increase over time were observed for PFNA, PFDA and PFUnDA concentrations. Longitudinal trends in PFAA concentrations among T2DM cases were similar to the changes observed in controls.

Conclusions: The study did not find evidence of association between PFAAs and incident or prevalent T2DM. The longitudinal changes in PFAAs concentrations were not influenced by T2DM status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.106095DOI Listing
December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A metabolomic study of red and processed meat intake and acylcarnitine concentrations in human urine and blood.

Am J Clin Nutr 2020 08;112(2):381-388

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

Background: Acylcarnitines (ACs) play a major role in fatty acid metabolism and are potential markers of metabolic dysfunction with higher blood concentrations reported in obese and diabetic individuals. Diet, and in particular red and processed meat intake, has been shown to influence AC concentrations but data on the effect of meat consumption on AC concentrations is limited.

Objectives: To investigate the effect of red and processed meat intake on AC concentrations in plasma and urine using a randomized controlled trial with replication in an observational cohort.

Methods: In the randomized crossover trial, 12 volunteers successively consumed 2 different diets containing either pork or tofu for 3 d each. A panel of 44 ACs including several oxidized ACs was analyzed by LC-MS in plasma and urine samples collected after the 3-d period. ACs that were associated with pork intake were then measured in urine (n = 474) and serum samples (n = 451) from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC) study and tested for associations with habitual red and processed meat intake derived from dietary questionnaires.

Results: In urine samples from the intervention study, pork intake was positively associated with concentrations of 18 short- and medium-chain ACs. Eleven of these were also positively associated with habitual red and processed meat intake in the EPIC cross-sectional study. In blood, C18:0 was positively associated with red meat intake in both the intervention study (q = 0.004, Student's t-test) and the cross-sectional study (q = 0.033, linear regression).

Conclusions: AC concentrations in urine and blood were associated with red meat intake in both a highly controlled intervention study and in subjects of a cross-sectional study. Our data on the role of meat intake on this important pathway of fatty acid and energy metabolism may help understanding the role of red meat consumption in the etiology of some chronic diseases. This trial was registered at Clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03354130.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa140DOI Listing
August 2020

Lifetime Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure and DNA Methylation in Blood Leukocytes: The Norwegian Women and Cancer Study.

Sci Rep 2020 03 11;10(1):4521. Epub 2020 Mar 11.

Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is a leading cause of skin cancers and an ubiquitous environmental exposure. However, the molecular mechanisms relating UVR exposure to melanoma is not fully understood. We aimed to investigate if lifetime UVR exposure could be robustly associated to DNA methylation (DNAm). We assessed DNAm in whole blood in three data sets (n = 183, 191, and 125) from the Norwegian Woman and Cancer cohort, using Illumina platforms. We studied genome-wide DNAm, targeted analyses of CpG sites indicated in the literature, global methylation, and accelerated aging. Lifetime history of UVR exposure (residential ambient UVR, sunburns, sunbathing vacations and indoor tanning) was collected by questionnaires. We used one data set for discovery and the other two for replication. One CpG site showed a genome-wide significant association to cumulative UVR exposure (cg01884057) (p = 3.96e-08), but was not replicated in any of the two replication sets (p ≥ 0.42). Two CpG sites (cg05860019, cg00033666) showed suggestive associations with the other UVR exposures. We performed extensive analyses of the association between long-term UVR exposure and DNAm. There was no indication of a robust effect of past UVR exposure on DNAm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-61430-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7066249PMC
March 2020

Mitochondrial DNA Copy-Number Variation and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in the Prospective EPIC Cohort.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 03 13;29(3):681-686. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Background: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number in peripheral blood has been found to be associated with risk of developing several cancers. However, data on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) are very limited.

Methods: To further our knowledge on this topic, we measured relative mtDNA copy number by a quantitative real-time PCR assay in peripheral leukocyte samples of 476 PDAC cases and 357 controls nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Results: We observed lower mtDNA copy number with advancing age ( = 6.54 × 10) and with a high body mass index (BMI) level ( = 0.004) and no association with sex, smoking behavior, and alcohol consumption. We found an association between increased mtDNA copy number and decreased risk of developing PDAC with an odds ratios (OR) of 0.35 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.16-0.79; = 0.01] when comparing the fifth quintile with the first using an unconditional logistic regression and an OR of 0.19 (95% CI, 0.07-0.52; = 0.001) with a conditional analysis. Analyses stratified by BMI showed an association between high mtDNA copy number and decreased risk in the stratum of normal weight, consistent with the main analyses.

Conclusions: Our results suggest a protective effect of a higher number of mitochondria, measured in peripheral blood leukocytes, on PDAC risk.

Impact: Our findings highlight the importance of understanding the mitochondrial biology in pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611119PMC
March 2020

Use of skincare products and risk of cancer of the breast and endometrium: a prospective cohort study.

Environ Health 2019 12 3;18(1):105. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Background: Concerns have been raised that extensive use of personal care products that contain endocrine disrupting compounds increase the risk of hormone sensitive cancers.

Objective: To assess the effect of skincare product use on the risk of pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer, estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and negative (ER-) breast cancer and cancer of the endometrium.

Methods: We used data from 106,978 participants in the population-based Norwegian Women and Cancer cohort. Participants were categorized into non-, light, moderate, frequent and heavy users of skincare products based on self-reported use of hand and facial cream and body lotion. Cancer incidence information from the Cancer Registry of Norway was linked to individual data through the unique identity number of Norwegian citizens. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression was used to assess the effect of skincare product use on the risk of cancer of the breast and endometrium. We used multiple imputation by chained equations to evaluate the effect of missing data on observed associations.

Results: We found no associations between use of skincare products and incidence of premenopausal breast cancer (frequent/heavy versus non-/light use: hazard ratio [HR] =1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.92-1.32), postmenopausal breast cancer (heavy versus light use: HR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.65-1.18, frequent versus light use: HR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.88, 1.07) or endometrial cancer (frequent/heavy versus non-/light use: HR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.79-1.20). Use of skincare products did not increase the risk of ER+ or ER- breast cancer and there was no difference in effect across ER status (0.58 ≤ p ≤ 0.99). The magnitude and direction of the effect estimates based on complete case analyses and multiple imputation were similar.

Conclusion: Heavy use of skincare products, i.e. creaming the body up to two times per day during mid-life, did not increase the risk of cancer of the breast or endometrium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-019-0547-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889352PMC
December 2019

exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, micro-RNA profiles, and fetal growth: a pilot study protocol.

J Public Health Res 2019 Sep 5;8(2):1550. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

The developing fetus is particularly vulnerable to the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Molecular fingerprints of EDCs can be identified via microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles and may be etiologically implicated in the developmental origin of disease (DOHaD). This pilot study includes pregnant women at high risk (smoking at conception), and low risk (non-smoking at conception) for SGA birth (birthweight<10 percentile for gestational age). We have randomly selected 12 mothers (3 high-risk SGA birth, 3 low-risk SGA birth, 3 high-risk non-SGA birth, 3 low-risk non-SGA birth), with EDC measurements from gestational week 17. All offspring are female. We aim to test the stability of our samples (maternal serum, cord blood, placenta tissue), observe the differential expression of miRNA profiles over time (gestational weeks 17, 25, 33, 37, birth), and study the consistency between maternal EDC measures and miRNA expression profiles across our repeated measures. Results from this pilot study will inform the development of a larger cohort wide analysis, and will impact the current state of knowledge in the fields of public health, epigenetics, and the DOHaD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/jphr.2019.1550DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6747021PMC
September 2019

Appraising the causal relevance of DNA methylation for risk of lung cancer.

Int J Epidemiol 2019 10;48(5):1493-1504

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit.

Background: DNA methylation changes in peripheral blood have recently been identified in relation to lung cancer risk. Some of these changes have been suggested to mediate part of the effect of smoking on lung cancer. However, limitations with conventional mediation analyses mean that the causal nature of these methylation changes has yet to be fully elucidated.

Methods: We first performed a meta-analysis of four epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of lung cancer (918 cases, 918 controls). Next, we conducted a two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis, using genetic instruments for methylation at CpG sites identified in the EWAS meta-analysis, and 29 863 cases and 55 586 controls from the TRICL-ILCCO lung cancer consortium, to appraise the possible causal role of methylation at these sites on lung cancer.

Results: Sixteen CpG sites were identified from the EWAS meta-analysis [false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05], for 14 of which we could identify genetic instruments. Mendelian randomization provided little evidence that DNA methylation in peripheral blood at the 14 CpG sites plays a causal role in lung cancer development (FDR > 0.05), including for cg05575921-AHRR where methylation is strongly associated with both smoke exposure and lung cancer risk.

Conclusions: The results contrast with previous observational and mediation analysis, which have made strong claims regarding the causal role of DNA methylation. Thus, previous suggestions of a mediating role of methylation at sites identified in peripheral blood, such as cg05575921-AHRR, could be unfounded. However, this study does not preclude the possibility that differential DNA methylation at other sites is causally involved in lung cancer development, especially within lung tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyz190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6857764PMC
October 2019

Prospective analysis of circulating metabolites and breast cancer in EPIC.

BMC Med 2019 09 24;17(1):178. Epub 2019 Sep 24.

Department of Community Medicine, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Tromso, Norway.

Background: Metabolomics is a promising molecular tool to identify novel etiologic pathways leading to cancer. Using a targeted approach, we prospectively investigated the associations between metabolite concentrations in plasma and breast cancer risk.

Methods: A nested case-control study was established within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer cohort, which included 1624 first primary incident invasive breast cancer cases (with known estrogen and progesterone receptor and HER2 status) and 1624 matched controls. Metabolites (n = 127, acylcarnitines, amino acids, biogenic amines, glycerophospholipids, hexose, sphingolipids) were measured by mass spectrometry in pre-diagnostic plasma samples and tested for associations with breast cancer incidence using multivariable conditional logistic regression.

Results: Among women not using hormones at baseline (n = 2248), and after control for multiple tests, concentrations of arginine (odds ratio [OR] per SD = 0.79, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.70-0.90), asparagine (OR = 0.83 (0.74-0.92)), and phosphatidylcholines (PCs) ae C36:3 (OR = 0.83 (0.76-0.90)), aa C36:3 (OR = 0.84 (0.77-0.93)), ae C34:2 (OR = 0.85 (0.78-0.94)), ae C36:2 (OR = 0.85 (0.78-0.88)), and ae C38:2 (OR = 0.84 (0.76-0.93)) were inversely associated with breast cancer risk, while the acylcarnitine C2 (OR = 1.23 (1.11-1.35)) was positively associated with disease risk. In the overall population, C2 (OR = 1.15 (1.06-1.24)) and PC ae C36:3 (OR = 0.88 (0.82-0.95)) were associated with risk of breast cancer, and these relationships did not differ by breast cancer subtype, age at diagnosis, fasting status, menopausal status, or adiposity.

Conclusions: These findings point to potentially novel pathways and biomarkers of breast cancer development. Results warrant replication in other epidemiological studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-019-1408-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6757362PMC
September 2019

Exogenous hormone use and cutaneous melanoma risk in women: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

Int J Cancer 2020 06 10;146(12):3267-3280. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain.

Evidence suggests an influence of sex hormones on cutaneous melanoma risk, but epidemiologic findings are conflicting. We examined the associations between use of oral contraceptives (OCs) and menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and melanoma risk in women participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). EPIC is a prospective cohort study initiated in 1992 in 10 European countries. Information on exogenous hormone use at baseline was derived from country-specific self-administered questionnaires. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Over 1992-2015, 1,696 melanoma cases were identified among 334,483 women, whereof 770 cases among 134,758 postmenopausal women. There was a positive, borderline-significant association between OC use and melanoma risk (HR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.00-1.26), with no detected heterogeneity across countries (p = 0.42). This risk increased linearly with duration of use (p = 0.01). Among postmenopausal women, ever use of MHT was associated with a nonsignificant increase in melanoma risk overall (HR = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.97-1.43), which was heterogeneous across countries (p = 0.05). Our findings do not support a strong and direct association between exogenous hormone use and melanoma risk. In order to better understand these relations, further research should be performed using prospectively collected data including detailed information on types of hormone, and on sun exposure, which may act as an important confounder or effect modifier on these relations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32674DOI Listing
June 2020

Global test for high-dimensional mediation: Testing groups of potential mediators.

Stat Med 2019 08 9;38(18):3346-3360. Epub 2019 May 9.

Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

We address the problem of testing whether a possibly high-dimensional vector may act as a mediator between some exposure variable and the outcome of interest. We propose a global test for mediation, which combines a global test with the intersection-union principle. We discuss theoretical properties of our approach and conduct simulation studies that demonstrate that it performs equally well or better than its competitor. We also propose a multiple testing procedure, ScreenMin, that provides asymptotic control of either familywise error rate or false discovery rate when multiple groups of potential mediators are tested simultaneously. We apply our approach to data from a large Norwegian cohort study, where we look at the hypothesis that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by modifying the level of DNA methylation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sim.8199DOI Listing
August 2019

Time trends of persistent organic pollutants in 30 year olds sampled in 1986, 1994, 2001 and 2007 in Northern Norway: Measurements, mechanistic modeling and a comparison of study designs.

Environ Res 2019 05 1;172:684-692. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Department of Community Medicine, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway; NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Fram Centre, Tromsø, Norway.

Background: Human biomonitoring studies have demonstrated decreasing concentrations of many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in years after emission peaks.

Objectives: To describe time trends of POPs in blood using four cross-sectional samples of 30 year olds from Tromsø, Norway across 1986-2007, and to compare the measured concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (PCB-153) to model-estimated values. A second objective was to compare the repeated cross-sectional time trends with those observed in our previous longitudinal study using repeated individual measurements in older men from the same surveys.

Methods: Serum from 45 persons aged 30 years in each of the following years: 1986, 1994, 2001, and 2007 was analyzed for 14 POPs. Further, predicted concentrations of PCB-153 in each sampling year were derived using the emission-based CoZMoMAN model.

Results: The median decreases in summed serum POP concentrations (lipid-adjusted) in 1994, 2001, and 2007 relative to 1986 were - 71%, - 81%, and - 86% for women and - 65%, - 77%, and - 87% for men, respectively. The overall time trend in predicted PCB-153 concentrations demonstrated agreement with the observed trend although model predictions were higher than the measured concentrations at all time points. Compared to our previous longitudinal study of repeated individual measurements in older men, similar although more prominent declines were observed in the younger cross-sectional samples.

Discussion: Observed declines in serum concentrations from 1986 to 2007 were substantial for legacy POPs in men and women at reproductive ages in Northern Norway and are generally consistent with previous longitudinal biomonitoring efforts in the study population. The measured concentrations and observed declines likely reflect a combination of recent and historic exposures. Small differences in time trends observed between the studies could be attributed to different study designs (i.e. the chosen age group or sex and cross-sectional versus repeated individual measurement sampling).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.02.047DOI Listing
May 2019
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