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Improvements in colorectal cancer (CRC) detection and treatment have led to greater numbers of CRC survivors, for whom there is limited evidence on which to provide dietary guidelines to improve survival outcomes. Higher intake of red and processed meat and lower intake of fibre are associated with greater risk of developing CRC, but there is limited evidence regarding associations with survival after CRC diagnosis. Among 3789 CRC cases in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, pre-diagnostic consumption of red meat, processed meat, poultry and dietary fibre was examined in relation to CRC-specific mortality (n 1008) and all-cause mortality (n 1262) using multivariable Cox regression models, adjusted for CRC risk factors. Pre-diagnostic red meat, processed meat or fibre intakes (defined as quartiles and continuous grams per day) were not associated with CRC-specific or all-cause mortality among CRC survivors; however, a marginal trend across quartiles of processed meat in relation to CRC mortality was detected (P 0·053). Pre-diagnostic poultry intake was inversely associated with all-cause mortality among women (hazard ratio (HR)/20 g/d 0·92; 95 % CI 0·84, 1·00), but not among men (HR 1·00; 95 % CI 0·91, 1·09) (Pfor heterogeneity=0·10). Pre-diagnostic intake of red meat or fibre is not associated with CRC survival in the EPIC cohort. There is suggestive evidence of an association between poultry intake and all-cause mortality among female CRC survivors and between processed meat intake and CRC-specific mortality; however, further research using post-diagnostic dietary data is required to confirm this relationship.
The objective of the present study was to conduct the first systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies investigating the associations between total cholesterol (TC), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels and the risk of breast cancer. Relevant studies were identified in PubMed (up to January 2014). Inclusion criteria were original peer-reviewed publications with a prospective design. Random-effects models were used to estimate summary hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % CI. Distinction was made between studies that did or did not exclude cancer cases diagnosed during the first years of follow-up, thereby eliminating potential preclinical bias. Overall, the summary HR for the association between TC and breast cancer risk was 0·97 (95 % CI 0·94, 1·00; dose–response per 1 mmol/l increment, thirteen studies), and that between HDL-C and breast cancer risk was 0·86 (95 % CI 0·69, 1·09; dose–response per 1 mmol/l increment, six studies), with high heterogeneity (I2= 67 and 47 %, respectively). For studies that eliminated preclinical bias, an inverse association was observed between the risk of breast cancer and TC (dose–response HR 0·94 (95 % CI 0·89, 0·99), seven studies, I2= 78 %; highest v. lowest HR 0·82 (95 % CI 0·66, 1·02), nine studies, I2= 81 %) and HDL-C (dose–response HR 0·81 (95 % CI 0·65, 1·02), five studies, I2= 30 %; highest v. lowest HR 0·82 (95 % CI 0·69, 0·98), five studies, I2= 0 %). There was no association observed between LDL-C and the risk of breast cancer (four studies). The present meta-analysis confirms the evidence of a modest but statistically significant inverse association between TC and more specifically HDL-C and the risk of breast cancer, supported by mechanistic plausibility from experimental studies. Further large prospective studies that adequately control for preclinical bias are needed to confirm the results on the role of cholesterol level and its fractions in the aetiology of breast cancer.
An association between processed and red meat consumption and total mortality has been reported by epidemiological studies; however, there are many controversial reports regarding the association between meat consumption and CVD and IHD mortality. The present meta-analysis was carried out to summarise the evidence from prospective cohort studies on the association between consumption of meat (total, red, white and processed) and all-cause, CVD and IHD mortality. Cohort studies were identified by searching the PubMed and ISI Web of Knowledge databases. Risk estimates for the highest v. the lowest consumption category and dose–response meta-analysis were calculated using a random-effects model. Heterogeneity among the studies was also evaluated. A total of thirteen cohort studies were identified (1 674 272 individuals). Subjects in the highest category of processed meat consumption had 22 and 18 % higher risk of mortality from any cause and CVD, respectively. Red meat consumption was found to be associated with a 16 % higher risk of CVD mortality, while no association was found for total and white meat consumption. In the dose–response meta-analysis, an increase of 50 g/d in processed meat intake was found to be positively associated with all-cause and CVD mortality, while an increase of 100 g/d in red meat intake was found to be positively associated with CVD mortality. No significant associations were observed between consumption of any type of meat and IHD mortality. The results of the present meta-analysis indicate that processed meat consumption could increase the risk of mortality from any cause and CVD, while red meat consumption is positively but weakly associated with CVD mortality. These results should be interpreted with caution due to the high heterogeneity observed in most of the analyses as well as the possibility of residual confounding.
Different lifestyle patterns across Europe may influence plasma concentrations of B-vitamins and one-carbon metabolites and their relation to chronic disease. Comparison of published data on one-carbon metabolites in Western European regions is difficult due to differences in sampling procedures and analytical methods between studies. The present study aimed, to compare plasma concentrations of one-carbon metabolites in Western European regions with one laboratory performing all biochemical analyses. We performed the present study in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort among 5446 presumptively healthy individuals. Quantile regression was used to compare sex-specific median concentrations between Northern (Denmark and Sweden), Central (France, Germany, The Netherlands and United Kingdom) and Southern (Greece, Spain and Italy) European regions. The lowest folate concentrations were observed in Northern Europe (men, 10·4 nmol/l; women, 10·7 nmol/l) and highest concentrations in Central Europe. Cobalamin concentrations were slightly higher in Northern Europe (men, 330 pmol/l; women, 352 pmol/l) compared with Central and Southern Europe, but did not show a clear north–south gradient. Vitamin B2 concentrations were highest in Northern Europe (men, 22·2 nmol/l; women, 26·0 nmol/l) and decreased towards Southern Europe (Ptrend< 0·001). Vitamin B6 concentrations were highest in Central Europe in men (77·3 nmol/l) and highest in the North among women (70·4 nmol/l), with decreasing concentrations towards Southern Europe in women (Ptrend< 0·001). In men, concentrations of serine, glycine and sarcosine increased from the north to south. In women, sarcosine increased from Northern to Southern Europe. These findings may provide relevant information for the study of regional differences of chronic disease incidence in association with lifestyle.
Fish consumption is the major dietary source of EPA and DHA, which according to rodent experiments may reduce body fat mass and prevent obesity. Only a few human studies have investigated the association between fish consumption and body-weight gain. We investigated the association between fish consumption and subsequent change in body weight. Women and men (n 344 757) participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition were followed for a median of 5·0 years. Linear and logistic regression were used to investigate the associations between fish consumption and subsequent change in body weight. Among women, the annual weight change was 5·70 (95 % CI 4·35, 7·06), 2·23 (95 % CI 0·16, 4·31) and 11·12 (95 % CI 8·17, 14·08) g/10 g higher total, lean and fatty fish consumption per d, respectively. The OR of becoming overweight in 5 years among women who were normal weight at enrolment was 1·02 (95 % CI 1·01, 1·02), 1·01 (95 % CI 1·00, 1·02) and 1·02 (95 % CI 1·01, 1·04) g/10 g higher total, lean and fatty consumption per d, respectively. Among men, fish consumption was not statistically significantly associated with weight change. Adjustment for potential over- or underestimation of fish consumption did not systematically change the observed associations, but the 95 % CI became wider. The results in subgroups from analyses stratified by age or BMI at enrolment were not systematically different. In conclusion, the present study suggests that fish consumption has no appreciable association with body-weight gain.
Whether there are differences between countries in the validity of self-reported diet in relation to BMI, as evaluated using recovery biomarkers, is not well understood. We aimed to evaluate BMI-related reporting errors on 24 h dietary recalls (24-HDR) and on dietary questionnaires (DQ) using biomarkers for protein and K intake and whether the BMI effect differs between six European countries. Between 1995 and 1999, 1086 men and women participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition completed a single 24-HDR, a DQ and one 24 h urine collection. In regression analysis, controlling for age, sex, education and country, each unit (1 kg/m2) increase in BMI predicted an approximately 1·7 and 1·3 % increase in protein under-reporting on 24-HDR and DQ, respectively (both P < 0·0001). Exclusion of individuals who probably misreported energy intake attenuated BMI-related bias on both instruments. The BMI effect on protein under-reporting did not differ for men and women and neither between countries on both instruments as tested by interaction (all P>0·15). In women, but not in men, the DQ yielded higher mean intakes of protein that were closer to the biomarker-based measurements across BMI groups when compared with 24-HDR. Results for K were similar to those of protein, although BMI-related under-reporting of K was of a smaller magnitude, suggesting differential misreporting of foods. Under-reporting of protein and K appears to be predicted by BMI, but this effect may be driven by ‘low-energy reporters’. The BMI effect on under-reporting seems to be the same across countries.
Flavonols, flavanones and flavones (FLAV) are sub-classes of flavonoids that exert cardioprotective and anti-carcinogenic properties in vitro and in vivo. We aimed to estimate the FLAV dietary intake, their food sources and associated lifestyle factors in ten European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. FLAV intake and their food sources for 36 037 subjects, aged between 35 and 74 years, in twenty-seven study centres were obtained using standardised 24 h dietary recall software (EPIC-SOFT). An ad hoc food composition database on FLAV was compiled using data from US Department of Agriculture and Phenol-Explorer databases and was expanded using recipes, estimations and flavonoid retention factors in order to increase its correspondence with the 24 h dietary recall. Our results showed that the highest FLAV-consuming centre was the UK health-conscious group, with 130·9 and 97·0 mg/d for men and women, respectively. The lowest FLAV intakes were 36·8 mg/d in men from Umeå and 37·2 mg/d in women from Malmö (Sweden). The flavanone sub-class was the main contributor to the total FLAV intake ranging from 46·6 to 52·9 % depending on the region. Flavonols ranged from 38·5 to 47·3 % and flavones from 5·8 to 8·6 %. FLAV intake was higher in women, non-smokers, increased with level of education and physical activity. The major food sources were citrus fruits and citrus-based juices (especially for flavanones), tea, wine, other fruits and some vegetables. We concluded that the present study shows heterogeneity in intake of these three sub-classes of flavonoids across European regions and highlights differences by sex and other sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.
Over the past 20 years, a large number of epidemiological studies, particularly case-control and cohort studies, have been conducted to investigate the role of diet and the risk of developing different types of cancer. The most consistent finding so far is the association observed between consumption of vegetables and fruit and reduced risk of cancers of the digestive and respiratory tracts. More recently, evidence has accumulated indicating that high consumption of red meat (mainly beef, lamp and pork) and of preserved meat (‘charcuterie’) is specifically associated with a modest but significant increase in colorectal cancer risk. Finally, there is epidemiological evidence supporting an association between the risk of developing gastric cancer and the intake of salt and-preserved foods.
Cancer incidence and dietary habits vary substantially across Europe, and the expected benefit of dietary changes may be somewhat difference in different populations. Despite some uncertainly, it is generally agreed that an increase in the consumption of vegetables and fruits and a decrease in the intake of red meat, processed meat, alcoholic beverages, salt and salt-preserved foods should contribute to a reduction in the incidence of cancers of the digestive and respiratory tract.
To investigate the association of a posteriori dietary patterns with overall survival of older Europeans.
Design and setting
This is a multi-centre cohort study. Cox regression analysis was used to investigate the association of the prevailing, a posteriori-derived, plant-based dietary pattern with all-cause mortality in a population of subjects who were 60 years or older at recruitment to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Elderly cohort). Analyses controlled for all known potential risk factors.
In total, 74 607 men and women, 60 years or older at enrolment and without previous coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer, with complete information about dietary intakes and potentially confounding variables, and with known survival status as of December 2003, were included in the analysis.
An increase in the score which measures the adherence to the plant-based diet was associated with a lower overall mortality, a one standard deviation increment corresponding to a statistically significant reduction of 14% (95% confidence interval 5–23%). In country-specific analyses the apparent association was stronger in Greece, Spain, Denmark and The Netherlands, and absent in the UK and Germany.
Greater adherence to the plant-based diet that was defined a posteriori in this population of European elders is associated with lower all-cause mortality. This dietary score is moderately positively correlated with the Modified Mediterranean Diet Score that has been constructed a priori and was also shown to be beneficial for the survival of the same EPIC-Elderly cohort.
There is increasing evidence for a significant effect of processed meat (PM) intake on cancer risk. However, refined knowledge on how components of this heterogeneous food group are associated with cancer risk is still missing. Here, actual data on the intake of PM subcategories is given; within a food-based approach we considered preservation methods, cooking methods and nutrient content for stratification, in order to address most of the aetiologically relevant hypotheses.
Design and setting
Standardised computerised 24-hour diet recall interviews were collected within the framework of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a prospective cohort study in 27 centres across 10 European countries.
Subjects were 22 924 women and 13 031 men aged 35–74 years.
Except for the so-called ‘health-conscious’ cohort in the UK, energy-adjusted total PM intake ranged between 11.1 and 47.9 g day−1 in women and 18.8 and 88.5 g day−1 in men. Ham, salami-type sausages and heated sausages contributed most to the overall PM intake. The intake of cured (addition of nitrate/nitrite) PM was highest in the German, Dutch and northern European EPIC centres, with up to 68.8 g day−1 in men. The same was true for smoked PM (up to 51.8 g day−1). However, due to the different manufacturing practice, the highest average intake of NaNO2 through PM consumption was found for the Spanish centres (5.4 mg day−1 in men) as compared with German and British centres. Spanish centres also showed the highest intake of NaCl-rich types of PM; most cholesterol- and iron-rich PM was consumed in central and northern European centres. Possibly hazardous cooking methods were more often used for PM preparation in central and northern European centres.
We applied a food-based categorisation of PM that addresses aetiologically relevant mechanisms for cancer development and found distinct differences in dietary intake of these categories of PM across European cohorts. This predisposes EPIC to further investigate the role of PM in cancer aetiology.
Overall dietary patterns have been associated with health and longevity. We used principal component (PC) and cluster analyses to identify the prevailing dietary patterns of 99 744 participants, aged 60 years or older, living in nine European countries and participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Elderly cohort) and to examine their socio-demographic and lifestyle correlates. Two PC were identified: PC1 reflects a ‘vegetable-based’ diet with an emphasis on foods of plant origin, rice, pasta and other grain rather than on margarine, potatoes and non-alcoholic beverages. PC2 indicates a ‘sweet- and fat-dominated’ diet with a preference for sweets, added fat and dairy products but not meat, alcohol, bread and eggs. PC1 was associated with a younger age, a higher level of education, physical activity, a higher BMI, a lower waist:hip ratio and never and past smoking. PC2 was associated with older age, less education, never having smoked, a lower BMI and waist:hip ratio and lower levels of physical activity. Elderly individuals in southern Europe scored positively on PC1 and about zero on PC2, whereas the elderly in northern Europe scored negatively on PC1 and variably on PC2. The results of cluster analysis were compatible with the indicated dietary patterns. ‘Vegetable-based’ and a ‘sweet- and fat-dominated’ diets are prevalent among the elderly across Europe, and there is a north–south gradient regarding their dietary choices. Our study contributes to the identification of groups of elderly who are likely to have different prospects for long-term disease occurrence and survival.
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