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Scientific Highlights July - October 2019

, by DCEG Staff

All-Cause Mortality

Nut and Peanut Butter Consumption

Data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study were used to evaluate nut and peanut butter consumption in relation to mortality. Nut consumption was significantly associated with reduced risk of overall mortality and death from cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory, infectious, renal and liver disease, but not from diabetes or Alzheimer disease. However, peanut butter consumption was not associated with differential mortality. (Amba V, Murphy G, Etemadi A, et al. Nut and peanut butter consumption and mortality in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Nutrients 2019: Epub July 2)


Dietary Protein Sources

Investigators evaluated the substitution effect of dietary intake of protein from plant sources, compared to animal sources, with risk of colorectal cancer in the large prospective NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Using a substitution model with total protein intake held constant, so that an increase in plant protein was offset by an equal decrease in animal protein, the study showed that substituting plant protein for animal protein, especially red meat protein, is associated with a reduced risk of CRC. (Liao LM, Lotfield E, Etemadi A, et al. Substitution of dietary protein sources in relation to colorectal cancer risk in the NIH-AARP cohort study. Cancer Causes Control 2019; Epub July 20)


Viral Coinfection Analysis

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection associated with cervical cancer that frequently occurs as a coinfection of types and subtypes. Current typing methods are not able to distinguish highly-similar sublineages (that convey over 100-fold differences in cancer risk). This report describes an efficient set of computational tools, rkmh, for analyzing complex mixed infections of related viruses based on sequence data. rkmh makes extensive use of MinHash similarity measures and includes utilities for removing host DNA and classifying reads by type, lineage, and sublineage. The rkmh tool is capable of assigning reads to their HPV type as well as HPV 16 lineage and sublineages, which is also applicable to other mixtures of related sequences. (Dawson ET, Wagner S, Roberson D, et al. Viral coinfection analysis using a MinHash toolkit. BMC Bioinformatics 2019 Jul 12)


Genetic Susceptibility

Understanding of genetic factors involved in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and how they contribute to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced carcinogenesis is limited. Investigators conducted whole-exome capture/sequencing among 251 individuals from 97 multiplex families from Taiwan (205 affected, 21 obligate carriers, and 25 unaffected) using SeqCap EZ Human Exome Library v3.0 and Illumina HiSeq. Variants in 12 genes likely involved in cancer pathogenesis, viral infection or immune responses to infection were identified. These included genes postulated to be involved in magnesium transport (NIPAL1), EBV cell entry (ITGB6), modulation of EBV infection (BCL2L12, NEDD4L), telomere biology (CLPTM1L, BRD2, HNRNPU), modulation of cAMP signaling (RAPGEF3), DNA repair (PRKDC, MLH1), and Notch signaling (NOTCH1, DLL3). Pathway based analysis demonstrated enrichment for Notch signaling genes. Evaluation of individuals within NIPAL1 families suggested lower serum magnesium in NPC compared to unaffected members, which is consistent with findings demonstrating a role for magnesium channeling in T-cell responses to EBV. (Yu G, Hsu WL, Coghill AE, et al. Whole-exome sequencing of nasopharyngeal carcinoma families reveals novel variants potentially involved in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Sci Rep 2019 Jul 9)

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