Background: Case-control studies suggest that patients with allergic diseases have a lower risk of developing glioma but not meningioma or schwannoma. However, those data can be differentially biased. Prospective studies with objective measurements of immunologic biomarkers, like immunoglobulin E (IgE), in blood obtained before cancer diagnosis could help to clarify whether an aetiological association exists.
Methods: The present case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) measured specific serum IgE as a biomarker for the most common inhalant allergens in 275 glioma, 175 meningioma and 49 schwannoma cases and 963 matched controls using the ImmunoCAP specific IgE test. Subjects with an IgE level ≥0.35 kUA/l (kilo antibody units per litre) were classified as sensitized by allergens. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated by adjusted conditional logistic regression models for each tumour subtype. The effect of dose-response relationship was assessed in five increasing IgE level categories to estimate P-values for trend.
Results: The risk of glioma was inversely related to allergic sensitization (OR = 0.73; 95% CI 0.51-1.06), especially pronounced in women (OR = 0.53; 95% CI 0.30-0.95). In dose-response analyses, for high-grade glioma, the lowest OR was observed in sera with the highest IgE levels (P for trend = 0.04). No association was seen for meningioma and schwannoma.
Conclusion: The results, based on serum samples prospectively collected in a cohort study, provide some support for the hypothesis that individuals with allergic sensitization are at reduced risk of glioma and confirm results from previous case-control studies.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.