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  1. Stepien M, Hughes DJ, Hybsier S, Bamia C, Tjønneland A, Overvad K, et al.
    Br. J. Cancer, 2017 Feb 28;116(5):688-696.
    PMID: 28152549 DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2017.1
    BACKGROUND: Copper and zinc are essential micronutrients and cofactors of many enzymatic reactions that may be involved in liver-cancer development. We aimed to assess pre-diagnostic circulating levels of copper, zinc and their ratio (Cu/Zn) in relation to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), intrahepatic bile duct (IHBD) and gall bladder and biliary tract (GBTC) cancers.

    METHODS: A nested case-control study was conducted within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Serum zinc and copper levels were measured in baseline blood samples by total reflection X-ray fluorescence in cancer cases (HCC n=106, IHDB n=34, GBTC n=96) and their matched controls (1:1). The Cu/Zn ratio, an indicator of the balance between the micronutrients, was computed. Multivariable adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (OR; 95% CI) were used to estimate cancer risk.

    RESULTS: For HCC, the highest vs lowest tertile showed a strong inverse association for zinc (OR=0.36; 95% CI: 0.13-0.98, Ptrend=0.0123), but no association for copper (OR=1.06; 95% CI: 0.45-2.46, Ptrend=0.8878) in multivariable models. The calculated Cu/Zn ratio showed a positive association for HCC (OR=4.63; 95% CI: 1.41-15.27, Ptrend=0.0135). For IHBC and GBTC, no significant associations were observed.

    CONCLUSIONS: Zinc may have a role in preventing liver-cancer development, but this finding requires further investigation in other settings.

  2. Molina-Montes E, Sánchez MJ, Buckland G, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Weiderpass E, Amiano P, et al.
    Br. J. Cancer, 2017 Mar 14;116(6):811-820.
    PMID: 28170373 DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2017.14
    BACKGROUND: The Mediterranean diet (MD) has been proposed as a means for cancer prevention, but little evidence has been accrued regarding its potential to prevent pancreatic cancer. We investigated the association between the adherence to the MD and pancreatic cancer risk within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

    METHODS: Over half a million participants from 10 European countries were followed up for over 11 years, after which 865 newly diagnosed exocrine pancreatic cancer cases were identified. Adherence to the MD was estimated through an adapted score without the alcohol component (arMED) to discount alcohol-related harmful effects. Cox proportional hazards regression models, stratified by age, sex and centre, and adjusted for energy intake, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake and diabetes status at recruitment, were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) associated with pancreatic cancer and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

    RESULTS: Adherence to the arMED score was not associated with risk of pancreatic cancer (HR high vs low adherence=0.99; 95% CI: 0.77-1.26, and HR per increments of two units in adherence to arMED=1.00; 95% CI: 0.94-1.06). There was no convincing evidence for heterogeneity by smoking status, body mass index, diabetes or European region. There was also no evidence of significant associations in analyses involving microscopically confirmed cases, plausible reporters of energy intake or other definitions of the MD pattern.

    CONCLUSIONS: A high adherence to the MD is not associated with pancreatic cancer risk in the EPIC study.

  3. Moskal A, Freisling H, Byrnes G, Assi N, Fahey MT, Jenab M, et al.
    Br. J. Cancer, 2016 Nov 22;115(11):1430-1440.
    PMID: 27764841 DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2016.334
    BACKGROUND: Much of the current literature on diet-colorectal cancer (CRC) associations focused on studies of single foods/nutrients, whereas less is known about nutrient patterns. We investigated the association between major nutrient patterns and CRC risk in participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

    METHODS: Among 477 312 participants, intakes of 23 nutrients were estimated from validated dietary questionnaires. Using results from a previous principal component (PC) analysis, four major nutrient patterns were identified. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed for the association of each of the four patterns and CRC incidence using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for established CRC risk factors.

    RESULTS: During an average of 11 years of follow-up, 4517 incident cases of CRC were documented. A nutrient pattern characterised by high intakes of vitamins and minerals was inversely associated with CRC (HR per 1 s.d.=0.94, 95% CI: 0.92-0.98) as was a pattern characterised by total protein, riboflavin, phosphorus and calcium (HR (1 s.d.)=0.96, 95% CI: 0.93-0.99). The remaining two patterns were not significantly associated with CRC risk.

    CONCLUSIONS: Analysing nutrient patterns may improve our understanding of how groups of nutrients relate to CRC.

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