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Title: Iron in relation to gastric cancer in the Alpha-tocopherol, Beta-carotene Cancer Prevention Study.
Authors: Cook MB,  Kamangar F,  Weinstein SJ,  Albanes D,  Virtamo J,  Taylor PR,  Abnet CC,  Wood RJ,  Petty G,  Cross AJ,  Dawsey SM
Journal: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev
Date: 2012 Nov
Branches: GEB, MEB
PubMed ID: 23001240
PMC ID: PMC3493744
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Iron is an essential micronutrient that can have carcinogenic effects when at high or low concentrations. Previous studies of iron in relation to gastric cancer have not assessed subtype-specific relationships. We used the prospective Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene (ATBC) Cancer Prevention Study to assess whether iron metrics were associated with gastric cardia cancer (GCC) and gastric noncardia cancer (GNCC). METHODS: We selected 341 incident gastric cancer cases (86 cardia, 172 noncardia, and 83 nonspecified), accrued during 22 years of follow-up, and 341 individually matched controls. We measured prediagnostic serum iron, ferritin, unsaturated iron binding capacity, and C-reactive protein. Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) and transferrin saturation were estimated from these metrics. Dietary iron exposures were estimated from a food frequency questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression was used for analysis. RESULTS: Serum iron metrics were not associated with GCC, except for a potential "n"-shaped relationship with TIBC (global P = 0.038). GNCC was inversely associated with serum ferritin (global P = 0.024), serum iron (global P = 0.060) and, possibly, transferrin saturation. TIBC appeared to share a "u"-shaped relationship with GNCC (global P = 0.033). Dietary iron exposures were not associated with either subsite. Adjustment for Helicobacter pylori and gastric atrophy had little effect on observed associations. CONCLUSIONS: We found little evidence for the involvement of iron exposure in the pathogenesis of GCC. GNCC was associated with an iron profile similar to that of iron deficiency. IMPACT: Our findings indicate that inverse associations between iron metrics and gastric cancer are driven by associations with GNCC. Further elucidation of potential mechanisms is warranted.