Published original articles
- M Bretthauer G Gondal, I K Larsen, E Carlsen, TJ. Eide, T Grotmol, E Skovlund, K M Tveit, M Vatn, G Hoff. Design, organisation and management of a controlled population screening study for detection of colorectal neoplasia. Attendance rates in the NORCCAP study (Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention). Scand J Gastroenterol 2002;37;568-73
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Together with similar randomized studies in UK, Italy and USA, this is the first large trial on flexible sigmoidoscopy screening – the previous Telemark Polyps Study no. I (TPS-I) was only a small size randomized trial on screening (evidently the first ever). NORCCAP is different from the three other big studies by inviting directly after randomization from the population register – thus mimicking invitation procedure in national screening programmes (management design) in contrast to the experimental design of the others having a post-recruitment randomization design. NORCCAP is therefore the only on-going study giving attendance rates reflecting a real-life screening programme. This gave a 67% coverage (attendance) in the target population while this can only be estimated with experimental design (estimated to be 39% and 10% for UK and Italy, respectively).
Consequences and transfer value: Organization of NORCCAP may serve as a model for implementation of colorectal cancer screening in general and flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in particular – provided that follow-up results show a benefit of this type of screening (Note: Expected publication of 10-year results in 2014).
- Bretthauer, E Thiis-Evensen, G Huppertz-Hauss, L Gisselsson, T Grotmol, E Skovlund, G Hoff. NORCCAP (Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention): A randomised trial to assess the safety and efficacy of carbon dioxide versus air insufflation in colonoscopy. Gut 2002;50:604-7
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The large bowel has to be inflated somewhat with air or other gas to allow view of the interior lining of the bowel wall during colonoscopy. Worldwide, air is the predominant gas used for this, while CO2 is an alternative. CO2 eliminates an already very small risk of explosion during use of diathermy. In addition, CO2 is absorbed and disappears from the bowel much faster than air after the colonoscopy. This is the first randomized trial on CO2 vs/air insufflation during colonoscopy. It shows that patients have much less pain and discomfort after the examination when CO2 is used rather than air. The additional procedural cost was less than NOK 2.00 ($0.35).
Consequences and transfer value: CO2 should be considered as standard insufflation method during all colonoscopies. Transfer value to routine clinics. (Note: CO2 is now strongly recommended for colonoscopy in EU Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Screening and Diagnosis – February 2011)
- Larsen IK, Grotmol T, Bretthauer M, Gondal G, Huppertz-Hauss G, Hofstad B, Efskind P, Jørgensen A, Hoff G. Continuous evaluation of patient satisfaction in endoscopy centres. Scand J Gastroenterol 2002;37:850-5
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: In the first year of the NORCCAP trial, 4956 attendees filled in a questionnaire after flexible sigmoidoscopy screening. Changing from anonymized to person identifiable replies caused a drop in questionnaire response from 95% to 91%. A system with patients giving feedback appeared useful to improve standards, including quality of endoscopy examinations.
Consequences and transfer value: The NORCCAP quality assurance, including the patient questionnaire, formed the basis for establishing the quality assurance network Gastronet in 2003. Gastronet achieved status as one out of 33 national quality assurance registers in Norway in 2012. This implies compulsory registration to Gastronet database of all colonoscopies in Norway for quality assurance purposes (https://www.sthf.no/helsefaglig/gastronet). Transfer value to routine clinics.
- M Bretthauer, G Hoff, E Thiis-Evensen, T Grotmol, E Skovlund, S Thorp-Holmsen, V Moritz, M Bu Carbon dioxide insufflation reduces patient discomfort due to screening flexible sigmoidoscopy for colorectal cancer. Scand J Gastroenterol 2002;37:1103-7
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This randomized trial on CO2- vs/air-insufflation shows the same benefits of CO2 during flexible sigmoidoscopy as was shown for colonoscopy (ref. 2 above) – the patients have significantly less discomfort after the examination when CO2 is used rather than air.
Consequences and transfer value: CO2 insufflation should be used also for flexible sigmoidoscopy. This is expected to have a favourable effect on attendance if an endoscopy-based screening programme is to be implemented. Transfer value to implementation of screening programmes.
- M Bretthauer, G Hoff, E Thiis-Evenesen, Ø Kjellevold, T Grotmol, I K Larsen, E Skovlund. Use of a disposable sheath system for flexible sigmoidoscopy in decentralised colorectal cancer screening. Endoscopy 2002;34:814-8
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: A series of 226 persons invited for flexible sigmoidoscopy screening were randomized to examination using a standard videoendoscope or a fiberoptic disposable sheath endoscope (Endosheath®). Fewer polyps were discovered when using Endosheath® (42%) than the standard endoscope (63%), but there was no difference in detection of polyps >5mm.
Consequences and transfer value: Endosheath® facilitates establishing small-size satellite screening centres independent of installing heavy equipment like endoscope washing machines. The importance of lower detection rate for polyps <5mm is uncertain. A video solution is desirable (presently (2002) not available for Endosheath®). Transfer value to implementation of screening programmes.
- G Gondal, T Grotmol, B Hofstad, M Bretthauer, T Eide, G Hoff. Grading of distal colorectal adenomas as predictors for proximal colonic neoplasia. Experience from the Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention study (NORCCAP). Gut 2003;52;398-403
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This is based on a cohort of 1833 patient having an adenoma (any size) detected at flexible sigmoidoscopy screening with a subsequent colonoscopy work-up. If threshold for colonoscopy work-up had been set at >3 adenomas or at least one high-risk adenoma at flexible sigmoidoscopy screening, then we would have saved 73% of our colonoscopies, but we would have missed 46% (39/85) of the proximal advanced lesions and one cancer (out of a total of 6 proximal cancers).
Consequences and transfer value: The threshold for colonoscopy work-up after flexible sigmoidoscopy screening should be «any adenoma» - independent of size, degree of dysplasia, villousness or number of adenomas. Transfer value to implementation of screening programmes.
- G Gondal, T Grotmol, B Hofstad, M Bretthauer, T Eide, G Hoff. The Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention (NORCCAP) screening study: Baseline findings and implementations for clinical work-up in age groups 50-64 years. Scand J Gastroenterol 2003;38:635-42
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study shows a much higher attendance rate (65%) than comparable, on-going studies in countries where attendance by implementation of the one-step invitation design (as in NORCCAP) was estimated to be 39% (UK) and 10% (Italy). Additional testing for fecal occult blood (FOBT) reduced attendance from 67% to 63% without contributing to increased detection rates in the target population (intention-to-screen analysis). 41 cases of colorectal cancer (0.3%) and 2208 (17%) with adenoma – including 545 (4.2%) with high-risk adenoma. There were no serious complications at screening, but 6 perforations at therapeutic colonoscopies (1:336).
Consequences and transfer value: Attendance and findings were promising with regard to a future flexible sigmoidoscopy screening programme. It is doubtful if the addition of FOBT will benefit on a population level if it will cause lower attendance as shown in this trial. Transfer value to implementation of screening programmes.
- Bretthauer, A Jørgensen, BE Kristiansen, G Hoff. Quality control in colorectal screening: Systematic microbiological investigation of endoscopes used in the NORCCAP (Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention) trial. BMC Gastroenterology 2003;3:15 (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-230X/3/15)
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: In the NORCCAP trial, 8573 flexible sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies were performed in two years. From 178 examinations (2%) we sampled for bacteriology after disinfection from the biopsy channel and tip of the endoscope. Disinfection followed national guidelines. One sample showed fecal contamination (0.5%) and 25 (14%) showed growth of non-virulent environmental microbes.
Consequences and transfer value: The recommended disinfection routines were considered insufficient and adjustments were made to satisfy recommendations from the European Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE). Hygienic surveillance should be implemented as routine procedure for all gastrointestinal endoscopy. Transfer value to routine clinics
- M Bretthauer, G Hoff, E Thiis-Evensen, G Huppertz-Hauss, E Skovlund. Air and carbon dioxide insufflated during colonoscopy.Gastrointest Endosc 2003;58:203-6
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The volume of gas insufflated during colonoscopy was measured in a series of 218 participants in the NORCCAP trial. They were randomized to insufflation using air or CO2 in a double-blinded study. There was no difference between the groups regarding volume of gas insufflated (mean 8.2 and 8.3 liters, respectively). This is first time there have been done measurements of volumes of gas insufflated during colonoscopy.
Consequences and transfer value: The findings should contribute to make endoscopists more conscious about how big volumes they actually inflate and that they may be leaving the patient to handle after the examination (ref. study 2 and 4 above). Transfer value to routine clinics.
- M Bretthauer, E Skovlund, T Grotmol, E Thiis-Evensen, G Gondal, G Huppertz-Hauss, P Efskind, B Hofstad, S Thorp-Holmsen, TJ Eide, G Hoff. Inter-endoscopist variation in polyp and neoplasia pick-up rates in Flexible Sigmoidoscopy screening for colorectal cancer prevention. Scand J Gastroenterol 2003;38:1268-74
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study is based on a cohort of 8822 persons attending for flexible sigmoidoscopy screening performed by eight endoscopists – of which three were trained from scratch for the purpose of working in the screening trial. There was significant difference between some of the endoscopists in their ability to detect adenomas (adenomas detected in 12.7-21.2% of the examinations). Those three that were trained from scratch for screening, all had a 5.0% detection rate for advanced neoplasia – the others varied between 2.9-4.4%.
Consequences and transfer value: Monitoring of individual endoscopist performance is important to secure quality of service provided. This is now implemented in the Norwegian national quality assurance programme Gastronet (https://www.sthf.no/helsefaglig/gastronet). Systems for training of endoscopists should be revised. Transfer value to routine clinics.
- G Hoff, T Grotmol, E Thiis-Evensen, M Bretthauer, G Gondal, M H Vatn. Testing for fecal calprotectin (PhiCal®) in the Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention trial on flexible sigmoidoscopy screening. Comparison with an immunochemical test for occult blood (FlexSure OBT®). Gut 2004;53:1329-33
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Half of those invited for flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in NORCCAP were additionally asked to deliver three consecutive stool samples for immunochemical testing of fecal occult blood (iFOBT) using a qualitative test (FlexSure OBT®) and a single sample to determine fecal calprotectin (PhiCal®). 25% had a positive PhiCal® test (cut-off >50ug/g), 12% had a positive FlexSure OBT®. The sensitivity for advanced neoplasia was 27% for a single PhiCal® test and 35% for a series of three stool samples for FlexSure OBT®. Specificity for any neoplasia was 76% and 90% for PhiCal® and FlexSure OBT®, respectively.
Consequences and transfer value: There is no place for PhiCal® test in screening for colorectal neoplasia. This does not exclude other use of this test – e.g. to monitor patients with chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Transfer value to routine clinics – particularly family practice.
- E Aas. Hvem er det som møter frem til screening? Økonomisk forum, nr. 8, 2004 http://www.samfunnsokonomene.no/forside.php?k=samfunnsokonomene/tidsskrift_okonomiskforum&aid=4024 [Norwegian]
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This NORCCAP-based study explored which factors contribute to attending for colorectal cancer screening. The aim was to find a model for optimizing resources and staff at screening centres. The study showed that the probability for attending depends on travel time to screening centre, income, marital status, county of residence, the individual’s expectations of screening benefit, no. of GP consultations, no. of hospital admissions, the individual’s estimate of his/her own health and cancer risk, no. of cancer cases among family members and friends, and whether those invited were employed in paid work or not.
Consequences and transfer value: Improved knowledge of who attend for screening and who do not. From this it should be possible to better estimate attendance and requirements at screening centres. Transfer value to implementation of screening programmes.
- E Skovlund, M Bretthauer, T Grotmol, IK Larsen, G Hoff. Sensitivity of pain rating scales in an endoscopy trial. Clin J Pain 2005;21:292-6
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study compares the sensitivity of two well established scales for pain (VAS and VRS-4), since previous results have not been conclusive regarding which is best. In this study, both scales have been used for the same pain experience for comparison. The comparison is done by stochastic simulation based on 168 paired forms, and shows that VAS constantly provides better sensitivity than VRS-4.
Consequences and transfer value: The VAS-scale has an advantage regarding sensitivity, and it should be the preferred scale when measuring weak to moderate pain.
- G Gondal, T Grotmol, B Hofstad, M Bretthauer, TJ Eide, G Hoff. Lifestyle related risk factors and chemoprevention for colorectal neoplasia: Experience from the large-scale NORCCAP screening trial. Eur J Cancer Prev 2005;14:373-9
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The study is based on registered data on body mass index (BMI), alcohol intake, smoking and the use of some medicines (estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT), NSAIDs and salicylates) among 12,960 participants in the NORCCAP flexible sigmoidoscopy screening trial. An association was found between smoking and prevalence of colorectal neoplasia. Prescription of NSAIDs and the use of salicylates are both associated with conditions which themselves are associated with colorectal neoplasia, and a possible neoplasia-preventive effect may therefore not be visible in this study.
Consequences and transfer value: Routine clinical use of HRT, NSAIDs and salicylate as practiced in this cohort of average risk individuals cannot be expected to have a group effect on colorectal neoplasia. Reduced smoking may be expected to reduce the risk of colorectal neoplasia.
- G Gondal, T Grotmol, B Hofstad, M Bretthauer, TJ Eide, G Hoff. Biopsy of colorectal polyps is not adequate for grading of neoplasia. Endoscopy 2005;37:1193-7
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: In the NORCCAP study, 532 adenomas in 442 screening participants were biopsied at flexible sigmoidoscopy screening and later polypectomized at colonoscopy work-up. Examination of the biopsy material underestimated degree of dysplasia in 38 (7%) and villousness in 26 (6%) of the adenomas. Among 56 cases of advanced neoplasia, biopsy of 35 of these (63%) only showed low-grade dysplasia. Underestimation was correlated to size of polyps.
Consequences and transfer value: Biopsy material underestimate grading of severity of colorectal adenomas. Polypectomy is preferrable for accuracy of diagnosis. This is of importance for choice of treatment- and surveillance strategies in routine clinics.
- R Hansen, M Sæbø, C Furu Skjelbred, BAndersen Nexø, PChr Hagen, G Bock, IM Bowitz Lothe, E Johnson, S Aase, I-L Hansteen, U Vogel, EH Kure. GPX Pro198Leu and OGG1 Ser326Cys polymorphisms and risk of development of colorectal adenomas and colorectal cancer. Cancer Letters 2005;229:85-91
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study explores the risk of colorectal neoplasia according to molecular changes (polymorphisms) in genes involved in DNA-repair of oxidative stress. The study includes 166 cases of adenocarcinoma, 974 cases of adenoma and 397 controls from the NORCCAP screening trial and routine clinics. The findings suggest that low capacity for repair of oxidative stress may not be a risk factor for development of colorectal carcinomas and adenomas.
Consequences and transfer value: Any association between genetic changes and risk of colorectal neoplasia is expected to be found elsewhere than in the polymorphisms examined in the present study.
- IK Larsen, T Grotmol, Kari Almendingen, G Hoff. Lifestyle characteristics among participants in a Norwegian colorectal cancer screening trial. Eur J Cancer Prev 2006;15:10-19
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study is based on a questionnaire among 4111 persons aged 50-54 years who attended flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in the NORCCAP trial (61% attendance in this age group), 2628 who did not attend for screening and 7000 who were not invited for screening (control group – drawn from the national population register). Those attending were more physically active and had dietary habits more in accordance with recommendations than the control group, but they were more often smokers. The assumption that the most health-conscious are those attending for screening (i.e. low-risk individuals) was therefore only partly supported by this study. Consequences and transfer value: With an attendance rate of at least 60% in a Norwegian age cohort at 50-54 years of age, it may be possible to achieve coverage of parts of the population with higher lifestyle risk than the background average risk population – not only reach low-risk individuals with least need of screening.
- IK Larsen, T Grotmol, K Almendingen, G Hoff. Lifestyle as a predictor for colonic neoplasia in asymptomatic individuals. BMC Gastroenterology 2006 6:5
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This is a cross-sectional study of 4111 persons at age 50-54 years attending for flexible sigmoidoscopy screening. 97% filled in an abbreviated version of a questionnaire on lifestyle (estimated time allowance for filling in: 10 min). 108 (3%) had advanced neoplasia, 443 (11%) had low-risk adenomas. Smoking was the only variable with a dose-response association with colorectal neoplasia, but there were trends associated also with other known lifestyle variables. For individuals with advanced neoplasia, the probability of not having adhered to any lifestyle recommendations was twice that of individuals with no neoplasia.
Consequences and transfer value: This abbreviated version of validated lifestyle forms, requiring a minimum of time for filling in (10 mins), appears to capture known correlations between colorectal neoplasia and lifestyle. It might be applied in similar large-scale population studies aiming for valid registrations reflecting the target population on most important key issues in more comprehensive lifestyle- and dietary forms normally requiring 40 minutes to fill in.
- A Stormorken, G Hoff, J Norstein, IM Bowitz-Lothe, E Hanslien, E Gridedal, P Møller. Estimated prevalences of hereditary cancers and need for surveillance in a Norwegian county, Telemark. Scand J Gastroenterol 2006;41:71-9
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study is based on a simplified questionnaire on cancer in the family among 7224 persons attending for flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in Telemark in the NORCCAP trial. 2866 registered having cases of any cancer among close relatives - 2479 giving information not suspect of hereditable cancer syndromes. Further medical genetic investigations of the remaining persons revealed 64 persons belonging to families with hereditary breast and breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC syndrome) (prevalence 2.8‰) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer syndrome (HNPCC syndrome) (prevalence 0.77‰). 30 (47%) of these were already captured and registered by the National Health Service as members of families with hereditary cancer and included in family surveillance programmes.
Consequences and transfer value: Maintenance of attention on hereditary cancer syndromes is important in routine clinics. When suspecting hereditary cancer, medical-genetic work-up is a cost-effective once-only investment. Transfer value to routine clinics.
- M Sæbø, CF Skjelbred, R Breistein, IMB Lothe, P C Hagen, G Bock, I-L Hansteen, EH Kure. Association between cigarette smoking, APC mutations and the risk of developing sporadic colorectal adenomas and carcinomas. BMC Cancer 2006,6:71, doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-71
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The basis for this study was 133 cases (45 adenomas, 88 carcinomas) and 334 controls from the NORCCAP trial. The association between smoking and colorectal neoplasia was explored regarding possible mutations in the APC-gene. The results suggest an association between smoking and adenomas and development of colorectal cancer – strongest for cases without APC mutation – except for cases where smoking had persisted for more than 40 years. This suggests that smoking may contribute to colorectal cancer through mutations in the APC gene if smoking starts very early (before adenoma development) in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence of events.
Consequences and transfer value: Some increased insight in the importance of smoking in development of colorectal cancer.
- C Furu Skjelbred, M Sæbø, H Wallin, B Andersen Nexø, PChr Hagen, IM Bowitz Lothe, S Aase, E Johnson, I-L Hansteen, U Vogel, EH Kure. Polymorphisms of the XRCC1, XRCC3 and XPD genes and risk of colorectal adenoma and carcinoma, in a Norwegian cohort. BMC Cancer 2006,6:67, doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-67
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: In this case-control study, five different molecular changes (polymorphisms) in genes associated with DNA-repair were examined with regard to the risk of developing colorectal neoplasia. The study material consisted of 157 carcinomas, 983 adenomas and 399 controls from the NORCCAP trial and routine clinics. There was an increased risk of adenomas for the polymorphism XRCCI 280His, reduced risk of high-risk adenomas for XRCCI 399Gln and increased probability of low-risk adenomas for XPD 751Gln. There was no association between these polymorphisms and the risk of colorectal cancer.
Consequences and transfer value: No association between the polymorphisms examined and carcinoma, but there may be an association with adenomas and an association between some polymorphisms and regression of adenomas.
- LK Vogel, CF Skjelbred, M Sæbø, K Abell, EDK Pedersen, U Vogel, EH Kure. The ratio of Matripase/HAI-1 mRNA is higher in colorectal adenomas and carcinomas than in corresponding normal tissue. BMC Cancer 2006,6;176
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The study, based on NORCCAP data, shows that matriptase/HAI-1 mRNA ratio is higher in individuals with colorectal cancer compared to healthy controls. Quantitative RT-PCR is applied on samples of tumor/polyp tissue and normal mucosa from individuals with mild/moderately dysplastic adenomas (n=21), severely dysplastic adenomas (n=15), colorectal cancer (n=9), in addition to healthy individuals with no colorectal neoplasia (n=10). The dysregulation in the ratio seems to happen at an early stage in the colorectal cancer development and is maintained during all stages of the progression to malignancy.
Consequences and transfer value: The study gives some increased insight into the possible importance of dysregulation of the matriptase/HAI-I mRNA ratio.
- CF Skjelbred, M Sæbø, BA Nexø, H Wallin, I-L Hansteen, U Vogel, EH Kure. Effects of polymorphisms in ERCC1, ASE-1 and RAI in the risk for colorectal carcinomas and adenomas. BMC Cancer 2006,6:175
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This case-control study addressed molecular changes (polymorphisms) in a genomic area found to be associated with increased risk of several types of cancer (skin-, breast- and lung cancer). The study used blood samples from persons attending for flexible sigmoidoscopy screening and from patients with clinical colorectal cancer (CRC) – altogether 156 with CRC, 227 with high-risk adenomas, 754 with low-risk adenomas and 399 with no lesions at flexible sigmoidoscopy screening (control group). There was no association between the defined high-risk polymorphisms and risk of CRC or adenomas.
Consequences and transfer value: Any possible associations between genetic changes and risk of colorectal neoplasia may be expected to be found elsewhere than among the polymorphisms explored in the present study.
- M Sæbø, CF Skjelbred, B Nexø, H Wallin, I-L Hansteen, U Vogel, EH Kure. Increased mRNA expression levels of ERCC1, OGG1 and RAI in colorectal adenomas and carcinomas. BMC Cancer 2006,6:208
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: There has been reported an association between level of mRNA and activity in DNA-repair when the repair genes OGG1 and ERCC1 are involved. mRNA may therefore express DNA-repair activity. The study is based on tissue samples from 9 cases of colorectal cancer (CRC), 15 adenomas with high-grade dysplasia and 21 with low-grade dysplasia. Compared to normal tissue, there was a 3-8 times higher expressed activity of ERCC1, OGG1 and RAI in neoplastic tissue, but no difference between CRC- and adenomatous tissue.
Consequences and transfer value: The repair activity triggered by repair genes appears to be an early event in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence of events.
- Ulvik A, Ueland PM, Fredriksen Å, Meyer K, Vollset SE, Hoff G, Schneede J. Functional inference of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677C>T and 1298 A>C polymorphisms from a large-scale epidemiological study. Hum Genet 2007;121:57-64
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Low metylentetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) activity is associated with low serum folate level which is associated with increased risk of several types of cancer. The study is based on blood samples from 10,601 participants in the NORCCAP trial. The study verifies the association between MTHFR 677/1298 polymorphisms and serum folate. Lowest folate and highest tHcy was observed for 677TT/1298AA genotype.
Consequences and transfer value: Increased understanding of the importance of MTHFR polymorphisms in relation to serum folate and homocystein.
- Holm PI, Hustad S, Ueland PM, Vollset SE, Grotmol T, Schneede J. Modulation of the homocysteine-betaine relationship by methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677 C->T genotypes and B-vitamin status in a large scale epidemiological study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007;92:1535-41
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Betaine is a naturally occurring potential source of important methylation processes. The study is based on blood samples from 10,601 participants in the NORCCAP screening trial. New results: Betaine is an important methyl donor in methylation processes, particularly in persons with low serum folate and MTHFR TT genotype.
Consequences and transfer value: Increased knowledge about important methylation processes and interactions between dietary habits and genetics. In persons with low intake of folate, betaine may possibly take on functions normally covered by folate. Betaine should therefore always be considered when evaluating the effects that vitamin- or methyl-group deficiency may have on risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- IK Larsen, T Grotmol, K Almendingen, G Hoff. Does colorectal cancer screening have an impact on future lifestyle? Results from a 3-year randomised controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007;5:477-83
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study is based on questionnaire replies from 6961 persons invited to flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in the NORCCAP trial (attendees and non-attendees) and 7000 that were not invited for screening (control group) – both groups at ”baseline” (in connection with screening) and after 3 years. The groups showed changes in lifestyle over time, but compared to the control group, attendees had a high weight increase, consumed less fruit and vegetables and reduced their smoking habits less than the control group. Increase in body weight was most pronounced among attendees who had no polyps at screening. The study shows that screening may have undesirable effects on lifestyle.
Consequences and transfer value: All screening should be accompanied by an educational element stressing the importance of lifestyle and the limitations of screening (CRC screening may only help for CRC risk – no other lifestyle risks – and a panorama of screening programmes must not undermine personal incentives for healthy lifestyle and responsibility for own health.) Transfer value to screening and health check programmes.
- M Sæbø, C Furu Skjelbred, K Brekke Li, I-M Bowitz Lothe, P Chr Hagen, E Johnsen, KM Tveit, EH Kure. CYP1A2 164 A-C polymorphism, cigarette smoking, well-done red meat consumption and risk of developing colorectal adenomas and carcinomas. Anticancer Research 2008;28:2285-95
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Smoking is associated with increased risk of colorectal adenomas. Fried meat may contain heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA) with carcinogenic properties. CYP1A2 is an important enzyme for biotransformation of carcinogens. This case-control study included 198 cases of colorectal cancer (CRC), 216 with high-risk adenomas, 206 with low-risk adenomas and 222 polyp-free controls. The authors found an association between smoking and neoplasia, but intake of red meat, intensity of frying or CYP1A2 polymorphism showed no association with prevalence of CRC or high- or low-risk adenomas.
Consequences and transfer value: Increased insight into the relative importance of smoking and cancer risk related to parts of dietary habits (meat intake).
- CF Skjelbred, M Sæbø, A Hjartåker, T Grotmol, I-L Hansteen, KM Tveit, G Hoff, EH Kure. Meat, vegetables and genetic polymorphism and the risk of colorectal carcinomas and adenomas. BMC Cancer 2007;7:228
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This case-control study (234 colorectal cancers, 229 high-risk adenomas, 762 low-risk adenomas and 400 controls) showed that the ratio between total meat intake and fruit-berry-vegetable intake was associated with both high- and low-risk adenomas. There was no consistent pattern in relation to the gene polymorphisms addressed, but the meat/fruit-berry-vegetable ratio was positively related to high-risk adenomas EPHX1 codon 113, GSTM1 and GSTP1 codon 105 polymorphisms. These genes code for important biotransforming enzymes for degradation of carcinogens.
Consequences and transfer value: The findings are not conclusive, but they give some increased insight into the possible role of some biotransforming enzymes in the development of colorectal cancer.
- Fredriksen A, Meyer K, Vollset SE, Grotmol T, Ueland PM, Schneede J. Large-scale population-based metabolic phenotyping of thirteen genetic polymorphisms related to one-carbon metabolism Human Mutation 2007;28:856-65
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: High total homocystein (tHcy) and low serum folate is associated with several conditions and pathological processes, including gastrointestinal cancer. This study is based on blood samples from 10,601 persons attending for flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in the NORCCAP trial. Apart from the already known association between MTHFR677C>T and folate/tHcy status, this study shows (thanks to its unique size) similar associations also for several other polymorphisms involved in the same or related metabolic prosesses.
Consequences and transfer value: Considerable increased insight into folate-related metabolic processes in relation to several genetic polymorphisms. The different combinations of polymorphisms are of crucial importance for the effect that individual polymorphisms may have.
- Hustad S, Midttun O, Schneede J, Vollset SE, Grotmol T, and Ueland PM. The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677C>T polymorphism as a modulator of a B vitamin network with major effects on homocysteine metabolism. Am J Hum Genetics 2007;80:846-55
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The study is based on blood samples from 10,601 participants in the NORCCAP trial – a normal population sample with MTHFR677C>T genotype distribution of 5,452 with CC genotype, 4299 with CT and 850 with TT genotype. The study shows that high tHcy not only is a marker for folate and colbalamin status, but can also be an expression of low levels of riboflavine and vitamin B6.
Consequences and transfer value: Increased knowledge about metabolic processes that may influence markers of disease. The term ’B-vitamin network’ implies that a generally good level of B-vitamins may partly compensate for shortage of a single B-vitamin, but a generally low level of B-vitamins may on the other hand increase the effect of lack of a single B-vitamin.
- Midttun Ø, Hustad S, Schneede J , Vollset SE, Ueland, PM. Plasma vitamin B6 forms and their relations to transsulfuration metabolites in a large-scale populationbased study. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:131-8
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study is based on blood samples from 10,601 participants in the NORCCAP trial. The plasma level for all known B-vitamins and MTHFR 677C-> T genotype were examined. The unique size of this material made it possible to give good estimates of the relations between level of B-vitamins and their metabolites in relation to MTHFR status.
Consequences and transfer value: Increased understanding of B-vitamin metabolism – some of which are co-factors in many enzymatic processes.
- Lorentzen A, Vogel LK, Lewinsky RH, Sæbø M, Skjelbred CF, Hoff G, Tveit KM, Lothe IMB, Ikdahl T, Kure EH, Mitchelmore C. Expression of NDRG2 is down-regulated in high-risk adenomas and colorectal carcinoma. BMC Cancer 2007,7:192
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: N-myc Downstream Regulatory Gene 2 (NDRG2) is a relatively new group of genes involved in cancer and neurological disorders. NDRG2 mRNA activity appears to be low in cancer disease. This study is a case-control study using tissue samples (tumor and normal tissue) from 50 patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), 57 with high-risk adenomas, 15 with low-risk adenomas and 15 with normal findings at flexible sigmoidoscopy screening (controls). NDRG2 mRNA activity was lower in CRC and adenomas compared to tissue samples from normal mucosa from the same patients and normal mucosa from controls. NDRG2 downregulation is mostly associated with progression from dysplasia (adenoma) to carcinoma, but it is uncertain if this is cause or effect of the adenoma-carcinoma development.
Consequences and transfer value: There is an inverse association between development of colorectal neoplasia and NDGR2 mRNA activity. The importance of this is unclear, e.g. if it can be used as a prognostic marker. Further studies are needed.
- Ulvik A, Vollset SE, Hoff G, Ueland PM. Coffee consumption and circulating B-vitamins in healthy middle-aged men and women. Clin Chem 2008;54:1489-96
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Intake of coffee is associated with risk factors for coronary heart disease – high cholesterol, high blood pressure and plasma total homocystein (tHcy). tHcy is influenced by several B-vitamins. The study is based on blood samples from 10,601 participants in the NORCCAP trial. Coffee was associated with reduced B-vitamin level (inverse dose-response association between coffee and folate, pyridoxal phosphate and riboflavin). The findings support a hypothesis that coffee increases urinary loss of surplus-B-vitamin, but it has little effect at low blood levels of B-vitamin. The study shows only associations – cause/effect has to be investigated in intervention studies. Knowledge about lifestyle factors that may influence B-vitamin status is important because these factors may either directly influence risk of colorectal cancer – or possibly indirectly through low B-vitamin levels.
Consequences and transfer value: The study strengthens the documentation of an association between high coffee consumption and risk factors for coronary heart disease, but cause/effect studies are lacking.
- G Hoff, M Bretthauer. The impact of appointments timed in proximity to annual milestones on compliance with screening: randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2008;337:a2794
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This is the first study showing that attendance for screening (flexible sigmoidoscopy screening) may be improved by mailing invitations in connection with birthdays (67.9% attendance compared to 64.5% the rest of the year). In the month of December, attendance was 72.3% compared to 64.6% the rest of the year – the hypothesis being that ritual reminders that ‘time is running’ (birthdays, Christmas/New Year) may trigger consciousness on age, age-related health risks and a need for ‘health checks’.
Consequences and transfer value: If practically possible, invitations for screening should be in proximity to birthdays for individual invitees. Transfer value to screening programmes.
- Aas E. Pecuniary compensation increases participation in screening for colorectal cancer. Health Economics 2009;18: 337-354.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study is based on questionnaires sent to NORCCAP invitees that did not attend (n=2628), invitees attending after a reminder (n=933) and a random sample of invitees attending without reminder (n=1437). The study shows that economic compensation may increase attendance. An increase in attendance from 62% to 68% will cost €808 per additional screened participant. Other factors important for attendance were verified – most of them documented in previous studies: Good income, age, living in Telemark (mixed rural/urban area in contrast to living in urban Oslo), married/partner, expecting benefit of screening (e.g. familial predisposition for cancer), level of education (except the highest level of education).
Consequences and transfer value: It is not considered an issue to pay Norwegians to attend – at least not so far. Known factors to decide on attendance or non-attendance apply also to Norway. This information may be used for tailoring invitations to screening for groups of the target population. Transfer value to screening programmes.
- G Hoff, T Grotmol, E Skovlund, M Bretthauer. Risk of colorectal cancer seven years after flexible sigmoidoscopy screening: a randomized trial. BMJ 2009;338:b1846
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Out of four ongoing randomized trials on flexible sigmoidoscopy screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) (USA, United Kingdom, Italy and Norway) this is the first presenting follow-up results. It is also the only one with a so-called ‘management design’ making the results directly transferable to what may be expected in a national screening programme. 67% attended. Among those attending, there was a 59% reduced risk of CRC death and 76% reduced risk of death caused by CRC in the rectum and sigmoid colon (i.e. within the reach of the flexible sigmoidoscope) after 7 years of follow-up. The gold standard for effect is still the ’intention-to-screen’-analysis (or intention-to-treat – ITT) where all invited are included in the analysis (including those choosing not to attend). ITT analysis showed a statistically non-significant CRC mortality reduction of 27%. Numerically, this is better than the only alternative CRC screening method tested – guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) showing 15 % CRC mortality reduction. The present study being an interim analysis, we shall have to wait for 10-year follow-up results which are expected in 2014.
Consequences and transfer value: Increased insight into the need for randomized trials before implementation of national screening programmes.
- G Hoff, PM Ottestad, SR Skafløtten, M Bretthauer, V Moritz. Quality assurance as an integrated part of the electronic medical record – a prototype applied for colonoscopy. Scand J Gastroenterol 2009;44:1259-65
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Electronic medical records (EMR) are still largely unstructured on the ‘free-text-typewriter’ level – not suited for extraction of clinical data and quality control of health services. This study presents ColoReg – a structured EMR for colonoscopy. Free text is reduced to a minimum. Illogical entries trigger warnings - including entry of surveillance intervals diverging from national guidelines. Logged-in endoscopists get real-time feedback on their performance (e.g. cecum intubation, polyp detection) compared to other (anonymized) endoscopists in the database.
Consequences and transfer value: ColoReg is translated to several languages and is being used in large-scale screening trials in several countries and recently (since 2012) in the Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot Study. Transfer value to routine clinics.
- Andersen V, Agerstjerne L, Jensen D, Østergaard M, Sæbø M, Hamfjord J, Kure EH, Vogel U, The multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) gene polymorphisms G-rs3789243-A is not associated with disease susceptibility in Norwegian patients with colorectal adenoma and colorectal cancer; a case control study, BMC Med Genet, 2009 Feb 27; 10:18.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: We have previously reported on an association between this polymorphism and the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) in a Danish population. The aim of the present case-control study was to explore if the MDR1 polymorphism G-rs3789243-A may be associated with risk of CRC in a Norwegian population. In this Norwegian case-control study (167 CRCs, 990 adenomas and 400 controls) we found no association between MDR1 polymorphism and colorectal adenomas or CRC.
Consequences and transfer value: The MDR1 polymorphism does not seem to be of importance in this population. This may be explained by population heterogeneity and differences in exposure to carcinogens – the risk of which may be modified by variations in susceptibility genes in the population.
- Skovbjerg H, Anthonsen D, Lothe IMB, Tveit KM, Kure EH, Vogel L, Collagen mRNA levels changes during colorectal cancer carcinogenesis, BMC Cancer, 2009 May 7; 9:136.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The aim of this study was to examine which changes occur in collagen mRNA levels in the basal membrane during cancer development. This has been previously investigated if such changes may coincide with invasive growth properties. The study suggests that type a6(IV) collagen is downregulated as a late event in cancer development and it does coincide with development of invasive growth properties. Further it showed that a1(IV) and a1(VII) mRNA are upregulated already in dysplasic tissue.
Consequences and transfer value: Further studies are needed to clarify if the observed changes in collagen are a cause or effect of malignant tumor development.
- Setzer-Plon J, Bornholdt J, Fris S, Bisgaard HC, Lothe IMB, Tveit KM, Kure EH, Vogel U, Vogel LK. Expression of prostasin and its inhibitors during colorectal cancer carcinogenesis. BMC Cancer 2009,9:201 (25 June 2009).
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Previous research has shown that overexpression of prostasin in certain cancer cells may reduce their invasive properties. In clinical studies, it has been shown that prostasin has tumor suppressor-like properties. In this study we have examined levels of mRNA-levels of prostasin and its inhibitors PN-1, HAI-1A and HAI-1B in cancer development. The results show that the mRNA level of PN-1 is significantly increased in colorectal cancer tissue.
Consequences and transfer value: Further studies are needed to clarify if downregulation of prostasin activity through PN-1 upregulation may cause malignant development or if this is an effect of cancer development.
- Lind GE, Raiborg C, Danielsen SA, Rognum TO, Thiis-Evensen E, Hoff G, Nesbakken A, Stenmark H, Lothe RA. SPG20, a novel biomarker for early detection of colorectal cancer, encodes a regulator of cytokinesis. Oncogene 18 April 2011 doi;10.1038/onc.2011.109
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Colorectal tumors may bleed intermittently while tumor cells are shed continuously into the stools. There have therefore been great expectations to the development of stool tests that may detect tumor-specific cellular changes. The quest for useful genetic- (DNA-) markers has so far been disappointing, but epigenetic markers appear to be more promising – e.g. tests detecting hypermethylated genes. SPG20 is one such marker. SPG20 is hypermethylated in 89% of colorectal tumors, 78% of adenomas and only 1% in normal mucosa.
Consequences and transfer value: SPG20 is a promising marker for colorectal cancer screening and should be tested out in a prospective screening study.
- Riedel BM, Molloy AM, Mayer K, Fredriksen Å, Ulvik A, Schneede J, Nexø E, Hoff G, Ueland PM. Transcobalamin polymorphism 67A->G, but not 776C->G affects serum holotranscobalamin in a cohort of healthy middle-aged men and women. J Nutr 2011;141:1-7
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Vitamin B-12 is one of several co-enzymes involved in intracellular processes related to colorectal cancer development. B-12 is transported to the cells by e.g. transcobalamin. There are at least 11 variations of the gene coding for transcobalamin. Two of these were examined in this study – one of them was shown to influence circulating B-12, but not the bioavailability of B-12 inside the cells.
Consequences and transfer value: The study has contributed to increased understanding of very complex interactions between B-12 and genetic variations that may influence availability of B-12. So far no transfer value to clinical routine or colorectal cancer screening.
- De Vogel S, Schneede J, Ueland PM, Vollset SE, Mayer K, Fredriksen Å, Midttun Ø, Bjørge T, Kampman E, Bretthauer M, Hoff G. Biomarkers related to one-carbon metabolism as potential risk factors for distal colorectal adenomas. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2011;20:1726-35
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: B-vitamins and sufficient access substances (molecules) that may serve as methyl group donors on cellular level, may theoretically protect against colorectal cancer (CRC), but research results so far have been inconclusive. ”Methyl-donor” molecules are e.g. methionine, choline and betaine with vitamin B-2, B-6 and B-12 as important co-factors. More than 10,000 persons participated in the study. The study showed that a high plasma level of metionine, betaine, B-2 and B-6 was associated with low prevalence of high-risk adenomas (benign, but believed to carry a high risk for CRC). Folate, choline, B-12 or variations of related genes were not associated with high-risk adenomas.
Consequences and transfer value: The findings apply only to high-risk adenomas – not CRC. The findings should be examined closer in separate studies before giving specific advice aiming to reduce risk of CRC.
- Lind GE, Danielsen SA, Ahlquist T, Merok MA, Andresen K, Skotheim RI, Hektoen M, Rognum TO, Meling GI, Hoff G, Bretthauer M, Thiis-Evensen E, Nesbakken A, Lothe RA. Identification of an epigenetic biomarker panel with high sensitivity and specificity for colorectal cancer and adenomas. Molecular Cancer 2011;10:85
This study is based on material from routine clinics and from the Telemark Polyp Study no. I (TPS-I) and NORCCAP. Hypermethylation of genes CNRIP1, FBN1, INA, MAL, SNCA and SPG20 was frequently found in tissue from colorectal cancer (65-94%) and adenomas (35-91%), but not in normal colorectal mucosa (0-5%). There is an urgent need to develop non-invasive screening tests for colorectal cancer and high-risk adenomas – tests that are not dependent on intermittent bleeding from lesions.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This novel panel of epigenetic markers detected in tissue (not stool) showed a sensitivity of 94% for cancer and 93% for adenomas with a specificity of 98%. This is very promising.
Consequences and transfer value: It remains to see how this panel performs when tested on stools (not tissue). No immediate transfer value.
- Bornholdt J, Friis S, Godiksen S, Poulsen SS, Santoni-Rugiu E, Bisgaard HC, Lothe IMB, Ikdahl T, Tveit KM, Johnson E, Kure EH, Vogel LK. The level of claudin-7 is reduced as an early event in colorectal carcinogenesis. BMC Cancer 2010,11:65
The lining of the bowel wall (mucosa) consists of epihelial cells (like a lined up row of bricks) with filling “glue” between the cells (like mortar mass). One of the ingredients in this «mortar» is a group of proteins – claudins – which regulate the thickness of this «mortar». There are 24 types of claudins. One of them is claudin-7 which makes the mortar more solid and reduces the risk of leakage from bowel lumen to blood and other organs. This study is based on analyses of the claudin-7 level in pathologic and healthy mucosa from patients with adenomatous polyps (potential precursor to bowel cancer) and from patients with normal mucosa, respectively. Adenomatous polyps are graded into slight/moderate dysplasia (small/moderate degree of «cellular unrest» and therefore a low risk of cancer development) or severe dysplasia («high risk of progression to cancer»).
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The claudin-7 level was reduced in cancer tissue samples and all grades of dysplasia in adenomas compared to normal mucosa. This suggests that a change in claudin-7-levels occurs very early in a possible development from adenomatous polyp to cancer.
Consequences and transfer value: There are many more genes and proteins than claudin-7 which are involved in transport of possibly unwanted substances through the mucosa. This project opens up for further studies on this issue. No immediate transfer value to clinical work.
- Marcos NT, Bennett EP, Gomes J, Magalhaes A, Gomes C, David L, Dar I, Jeanneau C, DeFrees S, Krustrup D, Vogel LK, Kure EH, Burchell J, Taylor-Papadimitriou J, Clausen H, Mandel U, Reis CA. ST6GalNac-I controls expression of sialyl-T antigen in gastrointestinal tissues. Frontiers in Bioscience E3, June 1, 2011, 1443-1455
Sialyl-Tn is an antigen (molecule) which is detectable in some cancer tumors (like bowel cancer) by means of immunfluorescence technology applied on tissue samples and surgical sections from the tumor. A high level of sialyl-Tn suggests aggressive growth and poor prognosis. In this study, we used a new antibody (named 2C3) to see if the enzyme ST6GalNAc-I may be responsible for formation of sialyl-Tn.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The monoclonal antibody 2C3 is very specific for the ST6GalNAc-I enzyme in tumor tissue. The study rightly showed that ST6GalNAc-I is very important (plays a major responsible role) for formation of sialyl-Tn.
Consequences and transfer value: The study provided some more insight in the processes forming the prognostic marker sialyl-Tn. However, no immediate transfer value to clinical work.
- Ahmed D, Danielsen SA, Aagesen TH, Bretthauer M, Thiis-Evensen E, Hoff G, Rognum TO, Nesbakken A, Lothe RA, Lind GE. A tissue-based comparative effectiveness analysis of biomarkers for early detection of colorectal tumors. Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology 2012, doi:10.10387ctg.2012.21
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: We recently identified a six-gene methylation-based biomarker panel suitable for early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC). In the present case-control study, the panel was tested against 485 tissue samples from CRC, adenomas and normal mucosa. The panel proved highly suitable for discrimination between CRC, adenomas and normal mucosa with SEPT9 and VIM being methylated in 82% and 67% of CRCs (n=169), 88% and 54% of adenomas (n=104) and 3% of normal mucosa samples (n=107).
Consequences and transfer value: This new panel of methylation markers is very promising and should be further explored in prospective studies on CRC screening.
- Hamfjord J, Stangeland AM, Hughes T, Skrede ML, Tveit KM, Ikdahl T, Kure EH. Differential expression of miRNAs in colorectal cancer: Comparison of paired tumor tissue and adjacent normal mucosa using high-throughput sequencing. PLOS One 2012;7:e34150
Micro-RNA (miRNA) is a group of molecules which regulate gene expression and thereby influence a number of processes on a cellular level. There are more than 1000 different miRNA’s. They have a potential to be used as markers for diagnosis and prognosis of malignant tumors (cancer) and for future «tailoring» of individualized cancer therapy. In this pilot study, with only eight cancer patients included, the study group has explored a large number of known and until now unknown miRNA’s found to be associated with bowel cancer.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The study found 37 different miRNA’s that were up- or downregulated in bowel cancer tumors when compared to normal mucosa in the same patients. 16 of these miRNA’s had not previously been related to bowel cancer.
Consequences and transfer value: This is a pilot study which therefore will require a lager number of patients in the continued research. No imminent trasfer value to clinical work.
- Andersen V, Vogel U, Godiksen S, Frenzel FB, Sæbø M, Hamfjord J, Kure EH, Vogel LK. Low ABCB1 gene expression is an early event in colorectal carcinogenesis. PLOS One 2013;8:e72119
ABCB1/P-glycoprotein er et protein som regulerer transport av forskjellige substanser gjennom cellemembraner, f.eks. transport av stoffer som kan fremkalle tarmkreft. Som i prosjekt nr. 46 ovenfor ble forhold i tarmkreftsvulster og polypper sammenlignet med funn i normal slimhinne hos de samme pasientene og hos pasienter med frisk tarm. I dette prosjektet var det ABCB1 mRNA-nivåer som ble undersøkt i vevsprøvene. I likhet med undersøkelse på claudin-7-nivåer i studie nr. 46 ovenfor, viste denne studien at også lavt ABCB1 mRNA-nivå kan være noe som skjer tidlig i utviklingen fra adenomatøs polypp til kreft i tarmen.
Konsekvenser og overføringsverdi: Lav ABCB1 aktivitet kan legge forhold til rette for lettere opptak av kreftfremkallende stoffer inn i epitelcellene i tarmslimhinnen, men videre forskning trengs før en kan trekke noen konklusjoner. Ingen umiddelbar overføringsverdi til klinisk virksomhet.
- Holme Ø, Løberg M, Kalager M, Bretthauer M, Hernan MA, Aas E, Eide TJ, Skovlund E, Schneede J, Tveit KM, Hoff G. Effect of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening on colorectal cancer incidence and mortality: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2014;312:606-615.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This is the first flexible sigmoidoscopy screening study with direct invitation from the population registry mimicking routines for a national screening programme. Three previous studies from USA, UK and Italy, respectively, were based on volunteers willing to be randomized. In NORCCAP, age groups 50-54 years were also invited – not only 55-64 yr olds as in the other trials. After 11-yr follow-up, relative CRC incidence reduction was 20% and 27% for CRC mortality compared to the control group (no screening). These results were similar to those found in the other three studies with different design. The younger age group (50-54 yrs) had at least as good effect of screening as the 55-64 yr age group.
Consequences and transfer value: The previously shown effects of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in other studies also holds true for an unselected average risk population. Flexible sigmoidoscopy screening is at present the only CRC screening method shown to reduce CRC incidence, not only CRC mortality. The results are better than those shown in studies on fecal occult blood screening. Transfer value to national screening programmes.
- Berstad P, Løberg M, Larsen IK, Kalager M, Holme Ø, Botteri E, Bretthauer M, Hoff G. Long-Term Lifestyle Changes after Colorectal Cancer Screening:Randomized, Controlled Trial. Gut 2014;64:1268-76
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: During the last year of active screening in the NORCCAP trial (2001), 13,961 individuals in the screening and the control groups were asked to fill in a questionnaire on lifestyle. This was repeated in 2004 and 2012. The proportion adhering to international recommendations on lifestyle improved with time for both groups, but the improvement in lifestyle was weaker in the screening group, particularly among those having identified (and removed) polyps at screening.
Consequences and transfer value: This unwanted effect of screening was statistically significant, but numerically small and of little or no significance on individual level. It may, however, matter on a population level. In screening programmes, one should consider combining screening (secondary prevention) with giving advice on lifestyle (primary prevention). Transfer value to national screening programmes.
- Holme Ø, Bretthauer M, Eide TJ, Løberg EM, Grzyb K, Løberg M, Kalager M, Adami HO, Kjellevold Ø. Long-term risk of colorectal cancer in individuals with serrated polyps. Gut 2014 doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2014-307793
Up to few years ago, so-called serrated polyps (SSP) were classified as hyperplastic polyps with no potential to develop into colorectal cancer (CRC), i.e. innocent by-standers. Recently, molecular characteristics found in CRC were also identified in SSP. Still, it is uncertain if SSP only is a marker for an increased risk of CRC – or if it is an active part of a polyp-CRC development. In this NORCCAP sub-study, tissue samples from hyperplastic polyps measuring 10mm or more in diameter, were re-classified. Screening participants re-classified to having (or having had) SSPs were invited for a colonoscopy follow-up on average 11 yrs after screening. The risk of CRC for patients with large SSPs was found to be 2.5 times that of average risk individuals – similar to that of patients with high-risk adenomas. Among 23 patients whose SSPs >10mm had not been removed at screening, there was little or no change in characteristics and no CRC development in these lesions after 11yrs.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study showed that patients with large SSPs have an increased risk of CRC, but SSPs themselves do not appear to play an active part in a polyp-cancer sequence of events.
Consequences and transfer value: Colonoscopy controls may be more important than removal of SSPs in these patients. This may be of clinical importance since large SSPs are predominantly found in the proximal, thin-walled parts of the colon, they are flat and endoscopic removal carries an increased risk of complications. Transfer value to routine clinics.
- Vogel LK, Sæbø M, Høyer H, Kopp T I, Vogel U, Godiksen S, Frenzel FB, Hamfjord J, Bowitz-Lothe I M, Johnson E, Kure EH, Andersen V; Intestinal PTGS2 mRNA levels, PTGS2 gene polymorphisms, and colorectal carcinogenesis. PLoS ONE 2014 Aug 28;9(8):e105254.
Bowel cancer and its precursor lesions (polyps) have been shown to be associated with inflammatory processes. Prostaglandins promote inflammation. Some genes contribute to reduction of inflammation, e.g. by activation of prostaglandin synthase cyclooxygenase-2 (PTGS2). This can be measured by PTGS2 mRNA.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: High PTGS2 mRNA activity can be measured very early in a possible development toward cancer – already in tissue samples from persons with adenomatous polyps with low-grade dysplasia (cellular unrest). But – very few of these polyps do actually develop into cancer. Consequences and transfer value: More knowledge obtained, but no immediate transfer value to routine clinics.
- Huitfeldt A, Kalager M, Robins JM, Hoff G. Methods to estimate the comparative effectiveness of clinical strategies that administer the same intervention at different times. Curr Epidemiol Rep 2015;2:149-61
Guidelines for clinical work should be based on scientific evidence – ideally from several “randomized studies”. Unfortunately, this is not real life and guidelines are often based on published experience (observational studies) and expert opinion. Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study presents a theoretical model on how to simulate randomized studies based on data from observational studies. Consequences and transfer value: No direct transfer value to clinical work.
- Swanson SA, Holme Ø, Løberg M, Kalager M, Bretthauer M, Hoff G, Aas E, Hernan MA. Bounding the per-protocol effect in randomized trials: an application to colorectal cancer screening. Trials 2015 16:541 (doi 10.1186/s13063-015-1056-8)
The gold standard for testing new treatment is through randomized trials, i.e. studies where individual patients are drawn at random to receive either the new treatment or the current standard of care. Then the sum of persons drawn for the two groups are compared for treatment outcomes – whether they have completed the treatment or not (so-called “intention to treat analysis”). The analysis would be misleading if only individuals who manage to complete the therapy are included – e.g. the most healthy with best prospects of a healthy recovery independent of therapy. For individual patients, however, it is the effect for those actually completing the treatment that appears most interesting – “does it work if I complete the treatment?”) – excluding those who drop out for various reasons.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: This study presents a theoretical model on how to include limitations and presumptions into the analysis to provide a graded level of uncertainty regarding the effects of a new treatment.
Consequences and transfer value: The study may contribute to a more careful evaluation of randomized trials. No transfer value to clinical work.
- Andersen V, Vogel LK, Kopp TI, Sæbø M, Nonboe AW, Hamfjord J, Kure EH, Vogel U. High ABCC2 and low ABCG2 gene expression are early events in the colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence. PLOS One 2015;10:e0119255
Hypothesis and design for this study are similar to studies no. 46 and 50 described above. In this particular study, the researchers explored the possible role of transport proteins ABCC2 and ABCG2. Similar to the proteins explored in study no. 46 and 50, the activity of these proteins was also modified early in the course of events from adenomatous polyp to cancer.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: There appears to be a wealth of transport mechanisms through the mucosa with changing activity early in the chain of events from early adenomatous polyp to bowel cancer.
Consequences and transfer value: No transfer value to clinical work.
- Berstad P, Botteri E, Larsen IK, Løberg M, Kalager M, Holme Ø, Bretthauer M, Hoff G. Lifestyle changes at middle-age and mortality: A population-based prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health 2016.
One may sometimes wonder if there is any point in adopting a more healthy lifestyle at a mature age – or just make the best of it and enjoy it. In this study, we followed 4211 persons from age 50-54 yrs for, on average, another 12 years with diet and lifestyle registrations at baseline and after 3 years. Study endpoint was all-cause mortality. Individuals were categorized into “lifestyle scores» 0-4 dependent on how many international lifestyle advices they adhered to (including non-smoking, physical activity and dietary habits).
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Individuals who spontaneously improved their lifestyle score with one point on the 0-4 scale within 3 years, achieved a 38% reduced risk of dying during the 12-year follow-up.
Consequences and transfer value: The results from this study ought to strengthen engagement and motivation to modify lifestyle even at 50-60 years of age. Obvious transfer value to clinical work.
- Lorentzen JA, Grzyb K, De Angelis PM, Hoff G, Eide TJ, Andresen PA. Oncogene mutations in colorectal polyps identified in the Norwegian CRC Prevention (NORCCAP) Screening Study. Clin Med Insights Pathol 2016;9:19-28 doi:10.4137/CPath.S40143
In this NORCCAP substudy, 204 polyps measuring >5mm in diameter were removed at endoscopy screening (colonoscopy after a positive flexible sigmoidoscopy screening test). These were examined for mutations in KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA genes.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Mutations in KRAS exon 3 and 4 were surprisingly frequent (more than in previous studies on colorectal cancer (CRC)). There were also more KRAS mutations among women than men. There were no cases of CRC after polyp removal during the 11 years of follow-up in this substudy.
Consequences and transfer value: There is a need for further understanding of the difference between men and women with regard to CRC development. The observed difference in oncogene mutations in the present population-based study may be worthwhile to pursue. No transfer value to clinical work.
- Holme Ø, Schoen RE, Senore C, Segnan N, Hoff G, Løberg M, Bretthauer M, Adami H-O, Kalager M. Effectiveness of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in men and women and different age groups: pooled analysis of randomized trials. BMJ 2017;356:i6673
This is an analysis of data from 3 out of 4 big randomized trials on sigmoidoscopy screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) and polyps in USA, Italy and Norway. Contribution to fill knowledge gap: After 12 yrs follow-up, the collective data showed a CRC reduction of 24% for men and 17 % for women. Death due to CRC was reduced by 33 % for men and 18 % for women. This lower effect for women was particularly obvious for age groups older than 60 years where women appeared to have no benefit of sigmoidoscopy screening. Similar sex differences have been observed in other studies screeening for invisible blood in stools. Although sigmoidoscopy screening is found to be the best screening method with best documented effect so far, we are still far from having the ideal screening method – particularly for women.
Consequences and transfer value: This underlines the need for ongoing research within the framework of a national screening programme to continuously develop and improve screening services.
- Holme Ø, Løberg M, Kalager M, Bretthauer M, Hernan MA, Aas E, Eide TJ, Skovlund E, Lekven J, Schneede J, Tveit KM, Vatn M, Ursin G, Hoff G. Effect of sigmoidoscopy screening on colorectal cancer incidence in women and men: A randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2018;168:775-82
This is an update of long-term follow-up after a once-only bowel cancer screening examination using sigmoidoscopy – now with results 15 years after screening at age 50-64 years. Among those invited to be screened, the number of subsequent deaths due to colorectal cancer (CRC) was reduced by 37% for men, but there was no statistically significant reduction for women. The number of new cases of CRC showed similar results – 34% reduction for men and no reduction for women.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: The results strengthen findings from similar CRC screening studies, i.e. that women have less or no benefit of screening with currently tested screening methods compared to men (using sigmoidoscopy or guaiac-based testing for invisible blood in stools).
Consequences and transfer value: The findings underpin the need for acceptance to integrate research within the framework of a national screening programme to develop and improve screening services – particularly for women. Tranfer value to clinical work and screening planning.
- Pinsky P, Holme Ø, Kalager M, Bretthauer M, Senore C, Schoen R, Atkin W, Wooldrage K, Segnan N, Hoff G. Number of adenomas removed and cancer prevented in sigmoidoscopy screening trials. Gastroenterology 2018;155:1059-68
Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are two variants of “fiberoptic examination of the bowel” which may be used in screening to detect and remove polyps (adenomas) - the aim being to prevent adenomatous polyps from develop into cancer. In screening programmes, this effect may be measured in the «number of screened persons needed to prevent one case of cancer (NNS- «number needed to screen»). The present study uses data from four large screening studies, including the Norwegian NORCCAP study, to develop alternative terms - the terms «number of adenomas needed to remove» (NNR) and «adenoma dwell time avoided» (DTA). DTA is similar to NNR, but incorporates also «time after removal of adenoma».
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: NNR and DTA may become useful tools to estimate effectiveness of polyp removal for the purpose of preventing cancer. Consequences and transfer value: NNR and DTA may be useful supplements to the commonly used NNS («number needed to screen – to prevent one case of bowel cancer»). Transfer value to clinical work.
- Jodal HC, Løberg M, Holme Ø, Adami HO, Bretthauer M, Emilsson L, Ransohoff DF, Hoff G, Kalager M. Mortality from postscreening (interval) colorectal cancers is comparable to that from cancer in unscreened patients – a randomized sigmoidoscopy trial. Gastroenterology 2018;155:1787-94
Screening for different cancer diseases gives far from 100% protection. Cancer is detected between screening rounds, e.g. in mammograpy screening, screening for invisible blood in stools and PSA blood test in prostate screening. In all these screening activities, it has been shown that patients with cancer detected between screening rounds (interval cancer) fare no worse in terms of survival than persons not being screened. In the NORCCAP trial, screening is offered only once – using sigmoidoscopy. In the present study, the fate of those diagnosed with bowel cancer during 15 years of follow-up was compared to patients in the control group who were not invited to screening.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Those diagnosed with bowel cancer during 15 years of follow-up fared no worse that the control group not invited for screening.
Consequences and transfer value: International guidelines have recommended sigmoidoscopy screening every 5th year. Added to other follow-up data from the NORCCAP trial, the present findings strengthen the need to revice recommended screening intervals. Alternatively, a once-only screening service may suffice – at an optimal age which needs to be defined. Transfer value to clinical work.
- Rounge TB, Meisal R, Nordby J, Ambur OH, de Lange T, Hoff G. Evaluating gut microbiota profiles from archived fecal samples. BMC Gastroenterol 2018;18:171
During active screening in the NORCCAP trial in 1999-2001, fresh stool samples were obtained for long-term deep freeze storage for future development of new screening tools for early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) and/or polyps that may progress to cancer. There have been some reports suggesting an association between gut bacteria (microbiota) and bowel cancer. Technology based on culture and growth of bacteria has not been good enough to improve knowledge on the possible role of microbiota in carcinogenesis. This is further complicated by the enormous volume and variety of gut microbes (there are about as many bacteria in the gut as the number of cells in a human body). In recent years, molecular analyses of genetic material in bacteria have greatly improved the situation. In this study, we have explored the validity of molecular analyses of deep frozen stools stored for 16 years compared to short-term storage and fresh stools from volunteers. The test samples were collected at different number of years in advance of a bowel cancer diagnosis.
Contribution to fill knowledge gap: Frozen stool samples stored for up to 16 years have sufficient microbial DNA-profiles to be used in studies on possible association between microbiota and the risk of bowel cancer.
Consequences and transfer value: The study suggests that we may proceed with studies on stored stool samples to explore associations between microbiota and bowel cancer risk. No immediate transfer value to clinical work.
- Michael Bretthauer (PhD thesis). Colorectal cancer screening by flexible sigmoidoscopy. Aspects of quality control and quality improvement based on experience from the NORCCAP (NORwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention) trial. University of Oslo, January 2004. ISBN 82-8072-079-0
- Ghous G Gondal (PhD thesis). Colorectal cancer screening by flexible sigmoidoscopy. Baseline findings in the NORCCAP (NORwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention) trial. University of Oslo, February 2006. ISBN 82-8080-158-8
- Inger Kristin Larsen (PhD thesis). Colorectal cancer screening by flexible sigmoidoscopy: Acceptance of screening, risk factors for neoplasia, and impact of screening on future health behaviour. University of Oslo, January 2007. ISBN 82-8072-411-7
- Astrid Stormorken (PhD thesis). Hereditary colorectal cancer. University of Bergen, April 2007. ISBN 978-82-308-0338-7
- Bettina Riedel (dr.med. thesis) Assessment of Cobalamin Status in Experimental and Clinical Studies by Intracellular and Extracellular Markers of Vitamin Function. University of Bergen, February 2007. ISBN 978-82-308-0300-4
- Pål Ivar Holm (PhD thesis) Betaine and its Relation to Homocysteine Status and One-Carbon Metabolism in Humans. -Analytical Method and Biochemical Studies. University of Bergen, December 2007. ISBN 978-82-308-0474-2
- Eline Aas (PhD thesis) Screening from a health economics perspective: the case of colorectal cancer. University of Oslo, June 2008. ISSN 1504-3991
- Camilla Furu Skjelbred (twin PhD thesis together with Mona Sæbø) Colorectal Carcinogenesis: Genetic Susceptibility and Environmental Impact. University of Oslo,October 2008. ISBN 978-82-8072-875-3
- Mona Sæbø (twin PhD thesis together with Camilla Furu Skjelbred) Colorectal Carcinogenesis: Genetic Susceptibility and Environmental Impact. University of Oslo,October 2008. ISBN 978-82-8072-875-3
- Magnus Løberg (PhD thesis). Prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer. A study of epidemiological methods to evaluate cancer screening and surveillance. University of Oslo, January 2015. ISBN 978-82-8264-941-4
- Øyvind Holme (PhD thesis). Flexible sigmoidoscopy screening for colorectal cancer. University of Oslo, June 2015. ISBN 978-82-8333-027-4/Nr. 1997
- Kjetil Garborg (PhD thesis). Randomized controlled trials to investigate colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer. University of Oslo, October 2016. ISBN 978-82.8333-295-7