Adult stature and risk of cancer at different anatomic sites in a cohort of postmenopausal women

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Background: Prospective studies in Western and Asian populations suggest that height is a risk factor for various cancers. However, few studies have explored potential confounding or effect modification of the association by other factors. Methods: We examined the association between height measured at enrollment in 144,701 women participating in the Women's Health Initiative and risk of all cancers combined and cancer at 19 specific sites. Over a median follow-up of 12.0 years, 20,928 incident cancers were identified.Weused Cox proportional hazards models to estimateHRand 95% confidence intervals (CI) per 10cm increase in height, with adjustment for established risk factors. We also examined potential effect modification of the association with all cancer and specific cancers. Results: Height was significantly positively associated with risk of all cancers (HR=1.13; 95% CI, 1.11-1.16), as well as with cancers of the thyroid, rectum, kidney, endometrium, colorectum, colon, ovary, and breast, and with multiple myeloma and melanoma (range of HRs: 1.13 for breast cancer to 1.29 for multiple myeloma and thyroid cancer). These associations were generally insensitive to adjustment for confounders, and there was little evidence of effect modification. Conclusions: This study confirms the positive association of height with risk of all cancers and a substantial number of cancer sites. Impact: Identification of single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated both with height and with increased cancer risk may help elucidate the association. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 22(8); 1353-63. ©2013 AACR.




Kabat, G. C., Anderson, M. L., Heo, M., Hosgood, H. D., Kamensky, V., Bea, J. W., … Rohan, T. E. (2013). Adult stature and risk of cancer at different anatomic sites in a cohort of postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, 22(8), 1353–1363.

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