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Cordero F.,University of Turin | Ferrero G.,University of Turin | Polidoro S.,Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology Unit | Fiorito G.,Genomic Variation in Human Populations and Complex Diseases Unit | And 14 more authors.

The crosstalk between microRNAs (miRNAs) and other epigenetic factors may lead to novel hypotheses about carcinogenesis identifying new targets for research. Because a single miRNA can regulate multiple downstream target genes, its altered expression may potentially be a sensitive biomarker to detect early malignant transformation and improve diagnosis and prognosis. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that altered methylation of miRNA encoding genes, associated with deregulated mature miRNA expression, may be related to dietary and lifestyle factors and may contribute to cancer development. In a case-control study nested in a prospective cohort (EPIC-Italy), we analysed DNA methylation levels of miRNA encoding genes (2191 CpG probes related to 517 genes) that are present in the Infinium Human Methylation450 BeadChip array in prediagnostic peripheral white blood cells of subjects who developed colorectal cancer (CRC, n = 159) or breast cancer (BC, n = 166) and matched subjects who remained clinically healthy. In the whole cohort, several differentially methylated miRNA genes were observed in association with age, sex, smoking habits and physical activity. Interestingly, in the case-control study, eight differentially methylated miRNAs were identified in subjects who went on to develop BC (miR-328, miR-675, miR-1307, miR-1286, miR-1275, miR-1910, miR-24-1 and miR-548a-1; all Bonferroni-adjusted P < 0.05). No significant associations were found with CRC. Assuming that altered methylation of miRNAs detectable in blood may be present before diagnosis, it may represent a biomarker for early detection or risk of cancer and may help to understand the cascade of events preceding tumour onset. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Source

Molina-Montes E.,University of Granada | Molina-Montes E.,CIBER ISCIII | Sanchez M.-J.,University of Granada | Sanchez M.-J.,CIBER ISCIII | And 53 more authors.
International Journal of Cancer

Despite the potential cancer preventive effects of flavonoids and lignans, their ability to reduce pancreatic cancer risk has not been demonstrated in epidemiological studies. Our aim was to examine the association between dietary intakes of flavonoids and lignans and pancreatic cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. A total of 865 exocrine pancreatic cancer cases occurred after 11.3 years of follow-up of 477,309 cohort members. Dietary flavonoid and lignan intake was estimated through validated dietary questionnaires and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Phenol Explorer databases. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using age, sex and center-stratified Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for energy intake, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol and diabetes status. Our results showed that neither overall dietary intake of flavonoids nor of lignans were associated with pancreatic cancer risk (multivariable-adjusted HR for a doubling of intake = 1.03, 95% CI: 0.95–1.11 and 1.02; 95% CI: 0.89–1.17, respectively). Statistically significant associations were also not observed by flavonoid subclasses. An inverse association between intake of flavanones and pancreatic cancer risk was apparent, without reaching statistical significance, in microscopically confirmed cases (HR for a doubling of intake = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.91–1.00). In conclusion, we did not observe an association between intake of flavonoids, flavonoid subclasses or lignans and pancreatic cancer risk in the EPIC cohort. © 2016 The Authors International Journal of Cancer published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of UICC Source

van Veldhoven K.,Imperial College London | Polidoro S.,Hugef Foundation | Baglietto L.,Hugef Foundation | Severi G.,Hugef Foundation | And 22 more authors.
Clinical Epigenetics

Background: Interest in the potential of DNA methylation in peripheral blood as a biomarker of cancer risk is increasing. We aimed to assess whether epigenome-wide DNA methylation measured in peripheral blood samples obtained before onset of the disease is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. We report on three independent prospective nested case-control studies from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Italy; n = 162 matched case-control pairs), the Norwegian Women and Cancer study (NOWAC; n = 168 matched pairs), and the Breakthrough Generations Study (BGS; n = 548 matched pairs). We used the Illumina 450k array to measure methylation in the EPIC and NOWAC cohorts. Whole-genome bisulphite sequencing (WGBS) was performed on the BGS cohort using pooled DNA samples, combined to reach 50× coverage across ~16 million CpG sites in the genome including 450k array CpG sites. Mean β values over all probes were calculated as a measurement for epigenome-wide methylation. Results: In EPIC, we found that high epigenome-wide methylation was associated with lower risk of breast cancer (odds ratio (OR) per 1 SD = 0.61, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.47–0.80; −0.2 % average difference in epigenome-wide methylation for cases and controls). Specifically, this was observed in gene bodies (OR = 0.51, 95 % CI 0.38–0.69) but not in gene promoters (OR = 0.92, 95 % CI 0.64–1.32). The association was not replicated in NOWAC (OR = 1.03 95 % CI 0.81–1.30). The reasons for heterogeneity across studies are unclear. However, data from the BGS cohort was consistent with epigenome-wide hypomethylation in breast cancer cases across the overlapping 450k probe sites (difference in average epigenome-wide methylation in case and control DNA pools = −0.2 %). Conclusions: We conclude that epigenome-wide hypomethylation of DNA from pre-diagnostic blood samples may be predictive of breast cancer risk and may thus be useful as a clinical biomarker. © 2015, van Veldhoven et al. Source

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