METHODS AND FINDINGS: The association of metabolically defined body size phenotypes with colorectal cancer was investigated in a case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Metabolic health/body size phenotypes were defined according to hyperinsulinaemia status using serum concentrations of C-peptide, a marker of insulin secretion. A total of 737 incident colorectal cancer cases and 737 matched controls were divided into tertiles based on the distribution of C-peptide concentration amongst the control population, and participants were classified as metabolically healthy if below the first tertile of C-peptide and metabolically unhealthy if above the first tertile. These metabolic health definitions were then combined with body mass index (BMI) measurements to create four metabolic health/body size phenotype categories: (1) metabolically healthy/normal weight (BMI < 25 kg/m2), (2) metabolically healthy/overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2), (3) metabolically unhealthy/normal weight (BMI < 25 kg/m2), and (4) metabolically unhealthy/overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2). Additionally, in separate models, waist circumference measurements (using the International Diabetes Federation cut-points [≥80 cm for women and ≥94 cm for men]) were used (instead of BMI) to create the four metabolic health/body size phenotype categories. Statistical tests used in the analysis were all two-sided, and a p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. In multivariable-adjusted conditional logistic regression models with BMI used to define adiposity, compared with metabolically healthy/normal weight individuals, we observed a higher colorectal cancer risk among metabolically unhealthy/normal weight (odds ratio [OR] = 1.59, 95% CI 1.10-2.28) and metabolically unhealthy/overweight (OR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.01-1.94) participants, but not among metabolically healthy/overweight individuals (OR = 0.96, 95% CI 0.65-1.42). Among the overweight individuals, lower colorectal cancer risk was observed for metabolically healthy/overweight individuals compared with metabolically unhealthy/overweight individuals (OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.49-0.96). These associations were generally consistent when waist circumference was used as the measure of adiposity. To our knowledge, there is no universally accepted clinical definition for using C-peptide level as an indication of hyperinsulinaemia. Therefore, a possible limitation of our analysis was that the classification of individuals as being hyperinsulinaemic-based on their C-peptide level-was arbitrary. However, when we used quartiles or the median of C-peptide, instead of tertiles, as the cut-point of hyperinsulinaemia, a similar pattern of associations was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: These results support the idea that individuals with the metabolically healthy/overweight phenotype (with normal insulin levels) are at lower colorectal cancer risk than those with hyperinsulinaemia. The combination of anthropometric measures with metabolic parameters, such as C-peptide, may be useful for defining strata of the population at greater risk of colorectal cancer.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: NIDDM patients of Chinese, Indian, and Malay origin attending a diabetic clinic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were matched for age, sex, diabetes duration, and glycemic control (n = 34 in each group). Urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio was measured in an early morning urine sample. Biochemical measurements included markers of the acute-phase response: serum sialic acid, triglyceride, and (lowered) HDL cholesterol.
RESULTS: The frequency of microalbuminuria did not differ among the Chinese, Indian, and Malay patients (44, 41, and 47%, respectively). In Chinese patients, those with microalbuminuria had evidence of an augmented acute-phase response, with higher serum sialic acid and triglyceride and lower HDL cholesterol levels; and urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio was correlated with serum sialic acid and triglyceride. The acute-phase response markers were not different in Indians, with microalbuminuria being high in even the normoalbuminuric Indians; only the mean arterial blood pressure was correlated with urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio in the Indians. Malay NIDDM subjects had an association of microalbuminuria with acute-phase markers, but this was weaker than in the Chinese subjects.
CONCLUSIONS: Microalbuminuria is associated with an acute-phase response in Chinese NIDDM patients in Malaysia, as previously found in Caucasian NIDDM subjects. Elevated urinary albumin excretion has different correlates in other racial groups, such as those originating from the Indian subcontinent. The acute-phase response may have an etiological role in microalbuminuria.
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