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  1. Emad El-Omar,
  2. Severine Vermeire,
  3. Alexander Gerbes, Editor and Deputy Editors

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PAH and oesophageal squamous cell cancer in Iran

Golestan Province in north-eastern Iran has one of the highest rates for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in the world. Traditional risk factors such as smoking and alcohol contribute little to the disease burden in this area. Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a prototypical polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), is a group 1 carcinogen for humans. People in Golestan may be highly exposed to PAH but evidence for an association between PAH exposure and ESCC is only indirect and, to date, has not been provided. Abedi-Ardekani et al provide, for the first time, such crucial evidence. They measured the staining intensity of anti-PAH antibodies (8E11) in non-tumoral oesophageal biopsies from ESCC cases and controls. Compared with the lowest quintile of 8E11 staining in the controls, adjusted ORs for the 2nd to 5th quintiles were 2.42, 5.77, 11.3 and 26.6 (95% CI 5.21 to 135), respectively (p for trend <0.001)(see table). This finding strengthens the evidence for a causal role for PAHs in oesophageal carcinogenesis in north-eastern Iran and offers an opportunity for interventions that might reduce the cancer burden in similar areas. See page 1178.

Adjusted OR (95% CI)*
8E11First quintile (<−0.65)Referent
Second quintile (−0.65 to −0.29)2.42 (0.39 to 14.8)
Third quintile (−0.29 to 0.05)5.77 (1.06 to 31.4)
Fourth quintile (0.05 to 0.52)11.3 (2.16 to 59.6)
Fifth quintile (>0.52)26.6 (5.21 to 135)

ORs and 95% CIs for the association between staining intensity and ESCC

Murine DSS colitis is mediated by the NLRP3 inflammasome

The pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 are of pivotal importance in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The activation and secretion of the IL-1 cytokine family is regulated by the NLRP3 inflammasome, a caspase-1 activating multi-protein complex. Genetic variants in NLRP3 have been …

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