The incidence of cancer overall in Mediterranean countries is lower than in Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This is mostly accounted for by the lower incidence among Mediterranean countries of cancer of the large bowel, breast, endometrium, and prostate. These forms of cancer have been linked to dietary factors, particularly low consumption of vegetables and fruit, and to a certain extent, high consumption of meat. The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by high consumption of foods of plant origin, relatively low consumption of red meat, and high consumption of olive oil, which in several studies has been reported to be more beneficial against cancer than other forms of added lipids. By taking into account the established or presumed nutritional causation of major forms of cancer and the composition of the traditional Mediterranean diet, estimates can be derived concerning the fraction of cancer occurrence in highly developed Western countries that could be attributed to their diets in comparison with the healthy traditional Mediterranean diet. Although estimates can only be crude, it can be calculated that up to 25% of the incidence of colorectal cancer, approximately 15% of the incidence of breast cancer, and approximately 10% of the incidence of prostate, pancreas, and endometrial cancer could be prevented if the populations of highly developed Western countries could shift to the traditional healthy Mediterranean diet.
This large population-based nested case-control study investigated the importance of perinatal characteristics as risk factors for prostate cancer in later life in a cohort of men who were born between 1889 and 1941 in Stockholm, Sweden. Eight hundred and thirty-four prostate cancer cases over 18 years of age and of singleton birth were identified from the cohort between 1958 and 1994. For each case, singleton males born live to the first four mothers admitted after the case's mother were selected as potential controls; 1880 eligible controls were included in the study. For each study subject, we obtained data on mother's parity, pre-eclampsia or eclampsia before delivery, age at delivery, and socioeconomic status, as well as child's birth length and weight, placental weight, and gestational age. Odds ratio (OR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were derived from logistic regression analyses. We found no statistically significant differences between cases and controls with respect to maternal age, socioeconomic status, or parity. Birth weight, birth length, and placental weight were also not significantly related to prostate cancer risk. Pregnancy toxemia (OR = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.07-1.45) and longer gestation age were associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer; the OR estimate was 0.94 (95% CI, 0.89-0.99) for each 1-week prolongation of the duration of gestation. Our results suggest that birth size indicators are not important risk factors for prostate cancer in later life. In addition, our data on gestation age indicate that the late in utero environment may be as important as the early in utero environment in the modulation of prostate cancer risk in offspring.
Linkage of nationwide databases in Sweden allowed us to evaluate the incidence of ovarian cancer among 36,856 women diagnosed with alcoholism between 1965 and 1994. Mean duration of follow-up was 9.6 years, for a total of 317,518 person-years at risk. The expected number of cases of ovarian cancer was calculated by multiplying the number of person-years by 5-year age group and calendar year-specific incidence rates of ovarian cancer in Sweden. The effect measure was the standardized incidence ratio (SIR), with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Our results indicate an overall deficit of cases of ovarian cancer of about 14% among women with a diagnosis of alcoholism. This deficit is particularly strong and statistically significant among alcoholic women younger than 60 years (SIR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.58-1.00). This deficit is compatible with the reported reduction of gonadotrophin levels among alcoholic women younger than 60 years and with the hypothesis invoking these gonadotrophins in the etiology of ovarian cancer.
BACKGROUND: Recent epidemiologic investigations have suggested an association between increased blood levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and increased risk of prostate cancer. Our goal was to determine whether an association exists between serum levels of IGF-1 and one of its binding proteins, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3), and prostate cancer risk. METHODS: An immunoradiometric assay was used to quantify IGF-1 levels and IGFBP-3 levels in serum samples as part of a population-based, case-control study in Sweden. The study population comprised 210 patients with newly diagnosed, untreated prostate cancer and 224 frequency-matched control subjects. Data were analyzed by use of unconditional logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Reported P values are two-sided. RESULTS: The mean serum IGF-1 level for case patients (158.4 ng/mL) was significantly higher than that for control subjects (147.4 ng/mL) (P = .02); corresponding mean serum IGFBP-3 levels were not significantly different between case patients (2668 ng/mL) and control subjects (2518 ng/mL) (P =.09). We found a moderately strong and statistically significant (P = .04) positive association between serum levels of IGF-1 levels and risk of prostate cancer (OR = 1.51; 95% CI = 1.0-2.26 per 100 ng/mL increment); the association was particularly strong for men younger than 70 years of age (OR = 2.93; 95% CI = 1.43-5.97). No association was found between serum IGF-1 levels and disease stage. Serum IGFBP-3 levels were not significantly associated with increased risk of disease, and adjustment for IGFBP-3 had little effect on the association between IGF-1 levels and risk of prostate cancer. CONCLUSION: Elevated serum IGF-1 levels may be an important predictor of risk for prostate cancer. However, our results do not support an important role for serum IGFBP-3 as a predictor of risk for this disease.
Comment In: J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998 Dec 2;90(23):18419839526
Comment In: J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998 Jun 17;90(12):876-99637133
First pregnancies are known to have higher oestrogen levels than later ones and first-born women are at increased breast cancer risk compared with later-born women. We hypothesized that a birth order effect might be even more evident in male breast cancer patients, in whom oestrogens in adult life are generally low. In a population-based study in Denmark involving 77 male breast cancer patients and 288 population controls, first-born men compared with later-born men had a relative risk of 1.71 for the disease (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00-2.92). This result is in line with that seen in female breast cancer cases and indicates that male breast cancer may have roots in the intrauterine life, oestrogens being a likely mediator.
OBJECTIVE: To describe physical activity of participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). DESIGN: A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data of a European prospective cohort study. SUBJECTS: This analysis was restricted to participants in the age group 50-64 years, which was represented in all EPIC centres. It involved 236 386 participants from 25 centres in nine countries. In each EPIC centre, physical activity was assessed by standardised and validated questions. Frequency distribution of type of professional activity and participation in non-professional activities, and age-adjusted means, medians and percentiles of time dedicated to non-professional activities are presented for men and women from each centre. RESULTS: Professional activity was most frequently classified as sedentary or standing in all centres. There was a wide variation regarding participation in different types of non-professional activities and time dedicated to these activities across EPIC centres. Over 80% of all EPIC participants engaged in walking, while less than 50% of the subjects participated in sport. Total time dedicated to recreational activities was highest among the Dutch participants and lowest among men from MalmÃ¶ (Sweden) and women from Naples (Italy). In all centres, total time dedicated to recreational activity in the summer was higher than in the winter. Women from southern Europe spent the most time on housekeeping. CONCLUSIONS: There is a considerable variation of physical activity across EPIC centres. This variation was especially evident for recreational activities in both men and women.