Energy balance-related factors in childhood and adolescence and risk of colorectal cancer expressing different levels of proteins involved in the Warburg-effect

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Abstract

Early-life (childhood to adolescence) energy balance-related factors (height, energy restriction, BMI) have been associated with adult colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. Warburg-effect activation via PI3K/Akt-signaling might explain this link. We investigated whether early-life energy balance-related factors were associated with risk of Warburg-subtypes in CRC. We used immunohistochemistry for six proteins involved in the Warburg-effect (LDHA, GLUT1, MCT4, PKM2, P53, and PTEN) on tissue microarrays of 2399 incident CRC cases from the prospective Netherlands Cohort Study (NLCS). Expression levels of all proteins were combined into a pathway-based sum score and categorized into three Warburg-subtypes (Warburg-low/-moderate/-high). Multivariable Cox-regression analyses were used to estimate associations of height, energy restriction proxies (exposure to Dutch Hunger Winter; Second World War [WWII]; Economic Depression) and adolescent BMI with Warburg-subtypes in CRC. Height was positively associated with colon cancer in men, regardless of Warburg-subtypes, and with Warburg-low colon and Warburg-moderate rectal cancer in women. Energy restriction during the Dutch Hunger Winter was inversely associated with colon cancer in men, regardless of Warburg-subtypes. In women, energy restriction during the Hunger Winter and WWII was inversely associated with Warburg-low colon cancer, whereas energy restriction during the Economic Depression was positively associated with Warburg-high colon cancer. Adolescent BMI was positively associated with Warburg-high colon cancer in men, and Warburg-moderate rectal cancer in women. In conclusion, the Warburg-effect seems to be involved in associations of adolescent BMI with colon cancer in men, and of energy restriction during the Economic Depression with colon cancer in women. Further research is needed to validate these results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1812-1824
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Volume150
Issue number11
Early online date5 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • colorectal cancer
  • early-life energy balance
  • etiological heterogeneity
  • prospective cohort study
  • Warburg-effect
  • EARLY-LIFE
  • COHORT
  • INSULIN
  • HEIGHT
  • ASSOCIATIONS
  • RESTRICTION
  • OBESITY
  • FAMINE
  • EPIDEMIOLOGY
  • MECHANISMS

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