Significant Associations with the Inflammation Biomarkers for age, BMI, Dietary Saturated fat, and EPA+DHA Omega-3 fatty acids


Significant Associations with the Inflammation Biomarkers for age, BMI, Dietary Saturated fat, and EPA+DHA Omega-3 fatty acids


Sandi L. Navarro1,*,
Elizabeth D. Kantor1,2,
Xiaoling Song1,
Ginger L. Milne3,
Johanna W. Lampe1,
Mario Kratz1, and
Emily White1
1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Division of Public Health Sciences, Seattle, Washington.
2Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, New York, New York.
3Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.
*Corresponding Author:

Sandi L. Navarro, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N, M4-B402, Seattle, WA 98109. Phone: 206-667-6583; Fax: 206-667-7850;



Background: While much is known about correlates of C-reactive protein (CRP), little is known about correlates of other inflammation biomarkers. As these measures are increasingly being used in epidemiologic studies, it is important to determine what factors affect inflammation biomarker concentrations.


Methods: Using age, sex, and body mass index (BMI) adjusted linear regression, we examined 38 exposures (demographic and anthropometric measures, chronic disease history, NSAIDs, dietary factors, and supplement use) of 8 inflammation biomarkers [CRP, IL1β, IL6, IL8, TNFα, and soluble TNF receptors (sTNFR) in plasma; and prostaglandin E2 metabolite (PGE-M) in urine] in 217 adults, ages 50 to 76 years.


Results: Increasing age was associated with higher concentrations of all biomarkers except IL1β. BMI was positively associated with CRP and sTNFR I and II. Saturated fat intake was associated with increased CRP, sTNFRII, TNFα, and IL1β, whereas eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid (EPA+DHA) intake (diet or total) was associated with decreased CRP, TNFα, and IL1β. Results for sex were varied: CRP and IL6 were lower among men, whereas PGE-M and sTNFRI were higher. Higher CRP was also associated with smoking, hormone replacement therapy use, and γ-tocopherol intake; lower CRP with physical activity, and intakes of dietary vitamin C and total fiber.


Conclusions: Although the associations varied by biomarker, the factors having the greatest number of significant associations (P ≤ 0.05) with the inflammation biomarkers were age, BMI, dietary saturated fat, and EPA+DHA omega-3 fatty acids.


Impact: Our results suggest that potential confounders in epidemiologic studies assessing associations with inflammation biomarkers vary across specific biomarkers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 25(3); 521–31. ©2016 AACR.

Received September 9, 2015.
Revision received December 23, 2015.
Accepted December 28, 2015.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.