Circulating Inflammation Markers and Risk of Gastric and Esophageal Cancers: A Case-Cohort Study Within the Japan Public Health Center-Based Prospective Study

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2019 Apr;28(4):829-832. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-1157. Epub 2019 Mar 15.


Background: Circulating inflammation proteins may be important mediators or markers of carcinogenic mechanisms. There have been few studies with limited numbers of analytes in patients with upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract tumors. We therefore evaluated risk associations of gastric and esophageal cancers with prediagnostic levels of a wide range of these molecules.

Methods: We performed a case-cohort analysis within the Japan Public Health Center-Based Prospective Study Cohort II, including incident cases of gastric (n = 446) and esophageal (n = 68) cancers and a random subcohort (n = 774). A total of 64 biomarkers were measured in baseline plasma using Luminex bead-based assays. The median time between blood collection and diagnosis was 8.1 years for gastric cancer and 9.4 years for esophageal cancer. HRs for association with each marker were adjusted for potential confounders using Cox regression.

Results: In separate models, sEGFR and TSLP were nominally associated with gastric cancer risk, and CRP, CXCL11/ITAC, and CCL15/MIP1D were associated with esophageal cancer. However, no association satisfied statistical significance after FDR correction. Associations did not differ by time from blood collection to cancer (<5 vs. ≥5 years).

Conclusions: Our study failed to identify associations of circulating inflammation markers with risk of upper GI tract tumors.

Impact: To date, this is the largest assessment of inflammation-related proteins with gastric and esophageal cancer risks. However, the evaluated molecules may not fully represent the complex inflammation processes preceding malignant transformation. Further investigation of other markers in prospective studies is warranted, as demonstration of associations may have important implications for prevention and treatment of these cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stomach Neoplasms / physiopathology*