The research project to be completed during the proposed pre-doctoral fellowship is focused on the role of long term diet and dietary inflammation in cancer etiology. Given the evidence that dietary factors have either anti- or pro- inflammatory properties, and the idea that no nutrient is consumed alone but in conjunction with other nutrients and non-nutrient components of food, we developed and validated a dietary inflammatory index (DII) to assess the overall quality of diet with regard to its inflammation potential. We recently applied the DII to the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) data and evaluated the association of the DII with three markers of systemic inflammation: high-sensitivity C- reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha receptor 2 (TNF?- 2) at baseline. We inferred from the findings that the FFQ-derived DII is likely to detect significant associations between the inflammatory potential of overall diet and common chronic diseases, including cancer, in the WHI and similar populations of postmenopausal women. Our current objective is to use data from the WHI observational study and clinical trial to: (I) investigate the stability of the DII over time in postmenopausal women, (II) evaluate the association between repeated measures of the DII and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and (III) evaluate the association between repeated measures of the DII and risk of colorectal cancer. The short terms goals that I will achieve at the end of the training period include the following: (1) an improved mastery of diet assessment methods, including the ability to critically evaluate the epidemiologic literature relative to diet and cancer;(2) an increased understanding of translational issues relevant to cancer prevention and control, including a better understanding of the mechanisms by which diets/dietary patterns predispose to, or prevent cancer. (3) an acquisition of a rich experience in cancer- and nutrition-related racial disparities including the ability to better communicate research findings to both the scientific and lay communities, and (4) an increased participation in many career development activities such as ethics seminars, online courses, preparation and submission of a career development grant to help establish myself as a responsible and productive investigator.
Recent evidence has shown that chronic inflammation is associated with the development of many cancers including breast and colorectal cancers. Motivated by the idea that dietary index or dietary pattern analysis is likely to be more predictiv of disease risk than individual foods or nutrients, we developed and validated the dietary inflammatory index to assess the overall quality of diet with regard to its inflammation potential. The proposed work will elucidate the role of the inflammatory potential of the diet in the long term, on the risk of developing breast and colorectal cancers, and provide insights into more easily translated opportunities for health promotion and cancer prevention, while providing a meaningful training program for a talented pre-doctoral fellow.