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Approved research

Risk factors and biomarkers for the development and early diagnosis of upper gastro-intestinal cancers

Principal Investigator: Dr Chris Cardwell
Approved Research ID: 34374
Approval date: February 1st 2017

Lay summary

Our aims are to explore: 1. Factors associated with upper gastro-intestinal (UGI) cancer incidence, specifically oesophageal, gastric, small bowel, pancreatic and hepatobiliary cancers 2. Biomarkers that may assist in the early diagnosis of UGI cancers Specifically, we aim to investigate: (1) Risk factors for UGI cancers including diet, lifestyle, obesity, reproductive factors, medications, gene variants, Vitamin D and lipid levels (2) Whether known risk factors, or sex hormone levels, explain sex differences in the risk of UGI adenocarcinomas (3) Whether baseline levels of certain blood markers e.g. CRP and apolipoproteins are associated with early diagnosis of UGI cancers The aim of UKBIOBANK is to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of serious illnesses, including cancer. The proposed research will further elucidate the aetiology of UGI cancers and may provide novel opportunities for their prevention. In particular, the study will explore why some of these cancers e.g. oesophageal adenocarcinoma exhibit marked sex differences in incidence, and may lead to preventive interventions, especially in high-risk groups (e.g. Barrett?s oesophagus). UGI cancers frequently present at late stage and have poor survival rates. Biomarkers for early diagnosis of these cancers may be identified resulting in improved survival. Linkage between UK Biobank and cancer registries provides information on cohort members diagnosed with UGI cancers. Using appropriate statistical techniques, we will compare cohort members who have developed each of the UGI cancers with those who have not developed these cancers, examining questionnaire and interview data (diet, physical activity etc.), physical measures (e.g. body size measures), genetic data and relevant biomarkers from the panel of blood/urinary markers to be undertaken on all cohort members. We will also compare males and females to determine whether known or novel factors explain the sex difference in incidence of some of these cancers. The full cohort will be included in all analyses to be undertaken.