A new study by scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in collaboration with researchers from Maastricht University Medical Center (The Netherlands), found that higher dietary intakes of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) were inversely associated with the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, and were positively associated with the risk of gallbladder cancer. The results have been published in the International Journal of Cancer.
AGEs are proteins or lipids with sugars added to them. They are thought to have pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidative properties in the body. AGEs can form in foods during cooking. The most common food sources of AGEs in this study were cereals and cereal products, meats and meat products, cakes and biscuits, dairy products, fish, and non-alcoholic beverages.
This prospective study in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort included 450 111 participants from nine European countries. After a median follow-up time of 14.9 years, 255 cases of HCC, 100 cases of gallbladder cancer, and 173 cases of biliary tract cancers were ascertained. The researchers found that higher dietary intakes of three well-characterized AGEs were inversely associated with the risk of HCC and positively associated with the risk of gallbladder cancer. No associations were observed with cancers of the intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts.
The inverse associations between higher dietary intakes of AGEs and the risk of HCC contrast with the authors’ hypothesis. However, the observed associations were robust, as was shown after a range of sensitivity analyses. Further studies, including those with complementary study designs, are needed to confirm these findings.
Mayén A-L, Aglago EK, Knaze V, Cordova R, Schalkwijk CG, Wagner K-H, et al.
Dietary intake of advanced glycation endproducts and risk of hepatobiliary cancers: a multinational cohort study
Int J Cancer, published online 25 April 2021;