Salivary Immunoglobulin A Secretion Rate Is Negatively Associated with Cancer Mortality: The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study



Phillips AC, Carroll D, Drayson MT & Der G (2015) Salivary Immunoglobulin A Secretion Rate Is Negatively Associated with Cancer Mortality: The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study. PLOS ONE, 10 (12), Art. No.: e0145083.

Immunoglobulins are essential for combating infectious disease although very high levels can indicate underlying pathology. The present study examined associations between secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in saliva and mortality rates in the general population. Participants were 639 adults from the eldest cohort of the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study aged 63 years at the time of saliva sampling in 1995. From unstimulated 2-minute saliva samples, saliva volume and S-IgA concentration were measured, and S-IgA secretion rate determined as their product. Mortality data were tracked for 19 years. Cox proportional hazard models were applied to compute hazard ratios (HR) for all-cause mortality from sIgA secretion rate. Associations were adjusted for gender, assay batch, household occupational group, smoking, medication usage, and self-reported health. There was a negative association between log sIgA secretion rate and all-cause mortality, HR = 0.81, 95%CI = 0.73–0.91, p < .001. Further analysis of specific causes of mortality revealed that the all-cause association was due to an underlying association with cancer mortality and in particular with cancers other than lung cancer. The HR for non-lung cancer was 0.68 (95%CI = 0.54 to 0.85) implying a 32% reduction in mortality risk per standard deviation rise in log sIgA secretion rate. Effects were stronger for men than women. For deaths from respiratory diseases, sIgA secretion had a non-linear relationship with mortality risk whereby only the very lowest levels of secretion were associated with elevated risk. SIgA concentration revealed a similar but weaker pattern of association. In the present study, higher secretion rates of sIgA were associated with a decreased risk of death from cancer, specifically non-lung cancer, as well as from respiratory disease. Thus, it appears that sIgA plays a protective role among older adults, and could serve as a marker of mortality risk, specifically cancer mortality.

PLOS ONE: Volume 10, Issue 12

FundersMedical Research Council
Publication date23/12/2015
Publication date online23/12/2015
Date accepted by journal28/11/2015
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)

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Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Sport