METHODS: We used a case-control study design nested within a large prospective cohort to assess the association between circulating levels of anti-lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and anti-flagellin immunoglobulin A (IgA) and G (IgG) (reflecting long-term exposures to LPS and flagellin, respectively) and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. A total of 139 men and women diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma between 1992 and 2010 were matched to 139 control subjects. Multivariable rate ratios (RRs), including adjustment for potential confounders, hepatitis B/C positivity, and degree of liver dysfunction, were calculated with conditional logistic regression.
RESULTS: Antibody response to LPS and flagellin was associated with a statistically significant increase in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (highest vs. lowest quartile: RR = 11.76, 95% confidence interval = 1.70-81.40; P trend = 0.021). This finding did not vary substantially by time from enrollment to diagnosis, and did not change after adjustment for chronic infection with hepatitis B and C viruses.
CONCLUSIONS: These novel findings, based on exposures up to several years prior to diagnosis, support a role for gut-derived bacterial products in hepatocellular carcinoma development. Further study into the role of gut barrier failure and exposure to bacterial products in liver diseases is warranted.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to evaluate the potential mediating roles of inflammatory, metabolic, liver injury, and iron metabolism biomarkers on the association between coffee intake and the primary form of liver cancer-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
DESIGN: We conducted a prospective nested case-control study within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition among 125 incident HCC cases matched to 250 controls using an incidence-density sampling procedure. The association of coffee intake with HCC risk was evaluated by using multivariable-adjusted conditional logistic regression that accounted for smoking, alcohol consumption, hepatitis infection, and other established liver cancer risk factors. The mediating effects of 21 biomarkers were evaluated on the basis of percentage changes and associated 95% CIs in the estimated regression coefficients of models with and without adjustment for biomarkers individually and in combination.
RESULTS: The multivariable-adjusted RR of having ≥4 cups (600 mL) coffee/d compared with <2 cups (300 mL)/d was 0.25 (95% CI: 0.11, 0.62; P-trend = 0.006). A statistically significant attenuation of the association between coffee intake and HCC risk and thereby suspected mediation was confirmed for the inflammatory biomarker IL-6 and for the biomarkers of hepatocellular injury glutamate dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT), and total bilirubin, which-in combination-attenuated the regression coefficients by 72% (95% CI: 7%, 239%). Of the investigated biomarkers, IL-6, AST, and GGT produced the highest change in the regression coefficients: 40%, 56%, and 60%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: These data suggest that the inverse association of coffee intake with HCC risk was partly accounted for by biomarkers of inflammation and hepatocellular injury.
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