Association of inflammatory and insulinemic potential of diet and lifestyle with risk of hepatocellular carcinoma

Wanshui Yang, Jing Sui, Longgang Zhao, Yanan Ma, Fred K. Tabung, Tracey G. Simon, Dong Hoon Lee, Xufen Zeng, Long H. Nguyen, Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, Andrew T. Chan, Edward L. Giovannucci, Xuehong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We prospectively examined the extent to which greater inflammatory and insulinemic potential of diet and lifestyle are associated with the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in two nationwide cohorts. Methods: Five kinds of pattern scores, including the empirical dietary inflammatory pattern (EDIP), empirical dietary index for hyperinsulinemia (EDIH) and insulin resistance (EDIR), empirical lifestyle pattern score for hyperinsulinemia (ELIH) and insulin resistance (ELIR) were calculated. Multivariable hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using Cox regression. Results: After an average follow-up of 25.6 years among 119,316 participants, 142 incident HCC cases were documented. Higher adherence to EDIP (HR by comparing extreme tertiles: 2.03; 95% CI, 1.31-3.16; Ptrend = 0.001), EDIH (HR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.06-2.43; Ptrend=0.02), and EDIR (HR, 1.62; 95% CI: 1.08-2.42; Ptrend=0.02) was associated with increased risk of HCC. Likewise, participants with higher scores of ELIH (HR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.25-2.87; Ptrend = 0.001) and ELIR (HR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.34-3.14, Ptrend = 0.0004) had higher risk of developing HCC. Additional adjustment for diabetes mellitus and/or body mass index attenuated the magnitude of the associations, indicating that diabetes and/or adiposity may partly mediate the association of these patterns with HCC risk. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that inflammation and insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia are potential mechanisms linking dietary or lifestyle factors and HCC development. Impact: Inflammation and insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia may partly mediate the association of diet and other lifestyles with HCC development, and interventions to reduce the adverse effect of pro-inflammatory and hyperinsulinemic diet and lifestyle may reduce HCC risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-796
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
T.G. Simon reports grants from Amgen and other from Aetion outside the submitted work. J.A. Meyerhardt reports personal fees from COTA Healthcare, Ignyta, and Taiho Pharmaceutical outside the submitted work. A.T. Chan reports personal fees from Pfizer Inc., as well as grants and personal fees from Bayer Pharma AG, and personal fees from Boehringer Ingelheim outside the submitted work. No disclosures were reported by the other authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Association for Cancer Research.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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