We investigated the association between self-reported alcohol ingestion and colorectal cancer in a cohort of male smokers in Finland. Among 27,109 men aged 50 to 69 years, 87 colon and 53 rectal cases were diagnosed during the five to eight years of follow-up. Among drinkers, colorectal cancer risk increased with the amount of alcohol consumed (P trend = 0.01) with risk increasing by 17 percent for each drink consumed. Both beer and spirits contributed to this increased risk. Further analyses revealed that the positive association with alcohol was primarily for colon cancer (P trend = 0.01). Interestingly, risk of colorectal cancer associated with drinking (cf self-reported abstinence) changed with follow-up time, suggesting an inverse association for alcohol early in follow-up, and a positive association after about three-and-a-half years of follow-up. Follow-up time did not modify the positive association with amount of alcohol among drinkers, however. Results also indicated that beta-carotene supplementation may attenuate the effect of alcohol on colorectal cancer risk among drinkers. In conclusion, this study supports a role for alcohol in colon carcinogenesis and suggests that similar studies should evaluate carefully the effects of lifetime drinking habits and recent abstinence.
We evaluated the association between alcohol intake and lung cancer in a trial-based cohort in Finland, the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC Study).
During an average of 7.7 years of follow-up, 1059 lung cancer cases were diagnosed among the 27,111 male smokers with complete alcohol and dietary information. The relationship between alcohol and lung cancer was assessed in multivariate Cox regression models that adjusted for age, smoking, body mass index and intervention group.
Nondrinkers, 11% of the study population, were at increased lung cancer risk compared to drinkers (RR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0-1.4), possibly due to the inclusion of ex-drinkers who had stopped drinking for health reasons. Among drinkers only, we observed no association between lung cancer and total ethanol or specific beverage (beer, wine, spirits) intake. We found no significant effect modification by level of smoking, dietary micronutrients or trial intervention group; however, for men in the highest quartile of alcohol intake, we observed a slight increase in risk for lighter smokers (30 cigarettes/day).
We concluded that alcohol consumption was not a risk factor for lung cancer among male cigarette smokers, and its effect was not significantly modified by other factors, notably smoking history.
A nested case-control study was conducted within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study cohort to test for associations between selected B-vitamins (folate, vitamin B(6), vitamin B(12)) and incident lung cancer. This trial was conducted in Finland between 1985 and 1993. Serum was analyzed for these nutrients and homocysteine among 300 lung cancer cases and matched controls (1:1). Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were determined in conditional and unconditional (controlling for the matching factors) logistic regression models, after adjusting for body mass index, years of smoking, and number of cigarettes smoked per day. No significant associations were seen between serum folate, vitamin B(12), or homocysteine and lung cancer risk. The authors found significantly lower risk of lung cancer among men who had higher serum vitamin B(6) levels. Compared with men with the lowest vitamin B(6) concentration, men in the fifth quintile had about one half of the risk of lung cancer (odds ratio = 0.51; 95% confidence interval: 0.23, 0.93; p-trend = 0.02). Adjusting for any of the other serum factors (folate, B(12), and homocysteine) either alone or jointly did not significantly alter these estimates. This is the first report from a prospectively conducted study to suggest a role for vitamin B(6) in lung cancer.
A re-examination after 3 years was done in 1975 in a 20% random subsample (n = 1683) of the representative population sample (males and females, 25-59 years) that was examined in 1972 in North Karelia (NK), and a matched reference county as the baseline survey for the community programme in NK. The changes in smoking habits, serum cholesterol, dietary fat consumption and systolic BP were more favourable among the subjects in the NK sample than among the reference sample, although the differences were generally small. Results from multivariable analyses are presented to show the variables that predict a favourable risk factor change in the individual. Living in NK is associated in the analysis with a favourable change in each of the three risk factors. The limitation of this method in the evaluation of a community programme is discussed.
A comprehensive community programme to control cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in North Karelia, Finland, was carried out during 1972-7. The central intermediate objective of the programme was to reduce the prevalence of smoking, the serum cholesterol concentration, and raised blood-pressure values among the population of the area. The effect was evaluated by examining independent representative population samples in 1972 and 1977 in both the county of North Karelia and a matched control county. Over 10 000 subjects were studied each time, the participation rate being around 90%. The decrease that occurred in the risk factors, especially in men, was in general greater in North Karelia compared with the control county. When a multiple logistic function was used for the three risk factors an overall mean net reduction of 17% among men and 12% among women was observed in the estimated risk for coronary heart disease in North Karelia. This community programme effectively reduced the levels of the three main risk factors for CVD in the population, and thus mortality and morbidity from CVD should fall. This is assessed in further studies.
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Evidence is accumulating that folate, a B vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, may affect the development of neoplasia. We examined the relationship between folate status and colorectal cancer in a case-control study nested within the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Study cohort of male smokers 50-69 years old. Serum folate was measured in 144 incident cases (91 colon, 53 rectum) and 276 controls matched to cases on baseline age, clinic, and time of blood collection. Baseline dietary folate was available from a food-use questionnaire for 386 of these men (92%). Conditional logistic regression modeling was used. No statistically significant association was observed between serum folate and colon or rectal cancer. Although a 2-fold increase in rectal cancer risk was suggested for men with serum folate > 2.9 ng/ml and those in the highest quartile of energy-adjusted folate intake, there was no evidence of a monotonic dose-response, and all confidence intervals included unity. For dietary folate and colon cancer, odds ratios of 0.40 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.16-0.96], 0.34 (95% CI, 0.13-0.88), and 0.51 (95% CI, 0.20-1.31) were obtained for the second through fourth quartiles of energy-adjusted folate intake, respectively, compared to the first (P for trend = 0.15). Furthermore, men with a high-alcohol, low-folate, low-protein diet were at higher risk for colon cancer than men who consumed a low-alcohol, high-folate, high-protein diet (OR, 4.79; 95% CI, 1.36-16.93). This study suggests a possible association between low folate intake and increased risk of colon cancer (but not rectal cancer) and highlights the need for further studies that measure dietary folate and methionine, along with biochemical measures of folate (i.e., erythrocyte and serum), homocysteine, and vitamin B12.
Calcium, phosphorus, fructose, and animal protein are hypothesized to be associated with prostate cancer risk, potentially via their influence on 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. We examined these nutrients and overall diet and prostate cancer risk in the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC Study).
The ATBC Study was a randomized 2 x 2 trial of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene on lung cancer incidence conducted among Finnish male smokers; 27,062 of the men completed a food-use questionnaire at baseline, and comprise the current study population. There were 184 incident clinical (stage 2-4) prostate cancer cases diagnosed between 1985 and 1993. We used Cox proportional hazards models to examine associations between dietary intakes and prostate cancer.
We did not observe significant independent associations for calcium and phosphorus and prostate cancer risk. However, men with lower calcium and higher phosphorus intake had a multivariate relative risk of 0.6 (95% CI 0.3-1.0) compared to men with lower intakes of both nutrients, adjusting for age, smoking, body mass index, total energy, education, and supplementation group. Of the other foods and nutrients examined, none was significantly associated with risk.
This study provides, at best, only weak evidence for the hypothesis that calcium and phosphorus are independently associated with prostate cancer risk, but suggests that there may be an interaction between these nutrients.
Based on previous epidemiological studies, high fat and meat consumption may increase and fiber, calcium, and vegetable consumption may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. We sought to address these hypotheses in a male Finnish cohort.
We analyzed data from the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC Study) where 27, 111 male smokers completed a validated dietary questionnaire at baseline. After an average of 8 years of follow-up, we documented 185 cases of colorectal cancer. The analyses were carried out using the Cox proportional hazards model.
The relative risk (RR) for men in the highest quartile of calcium intake compared with men in the lowest quartile was 0.6 (95% CI 0.4-0.9, p for trend 0.04). Likewise, the intake of milk protein and the consumption of milk products was inversely associated with risk of colorectal cancer. However, intake of dietary fiber was not associated with risk, nor was fat intake. Consumption of meat or different types of meat, and fried meat, fruits or vegetables were not associated with risk.
In this cohort of men consuming a diet high in fat, meat, and fiber and low in vegetables, high calcium intake was associated with lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
A deterministic exposure assessment using the Nusser method that adjusts for within-subject variation and for nuisance effects among Finnish children and adults was carried out. The food consumption data covered 2038 adults (25-74 years old) and 1514 children of 1, 3 and 6 years of age, with the data on foods' acrylamide content obtained from published Finnish studies. We found that acrylamide exposure was highest among the 3-year-old children (median = 1.01 µg kg(-1) bw day(-1), 97.5th percentile = 1.95 µg kg(-1) bw day(-1)) and lowest among 65-74-year-old women (median = 0.31 µg kg(-1) bw day(-1), 97.5th percentile = 0.69 µg kg(-1) bw day(-1)). Among adults, the most important source of acrylamide exposure was coffee, followed by casseroles rich in starch, then rye bread. Among children, the most important sources were casseroles rich in starch and then biscuits and, finally, chips and other fried potatoes. Replacing lightly roasted coffee with dark-roasted, swapping sweet wheat buns for biscuits, and decreasing the acrylamide content of starch-based casseroles and rye bread by 50% would result in a 50% decrease in acrylamide exposure in adults. Among children, substituting boiled potatoes for chips and other friend potatoes and replacing biscuits with sweet wheat buns while lowering the acrylamide content of starch-based casseroles by 50% would lead to acrylamide exposure that is only half of the original exposure. In conclusions, dietary modifications could have a large impact in decreasing acrylamide exposure.