Comparison of general obesity and measures of body fat distribution in older adults in relation to cancer risk: Meta-analysis of individual participant data of seven prospective cohorts in Europe

Type Article

Journal Article


H. Freisling; M. Arnold; I. Soerjomataram; M. G. O'Doherty; J. M. Ordóñez-Mena; C. Bamia; E. Kampman; M. Leitzmann; I. Romieu; F. Kee; K. Tsilidis; A. Tjønneland; A. Trichopoulou; P. Boffetta; V. Benetou; H. B. Bueno-De-Mesquita; J. M. Huerta; H. Brenner;

Year of publication



British Journal of Cancer








Background:We evaluated the associations of anthropometric indicators of general obesity (body mass index, BMI), an established risk factor of various cancer, and body fat distribution (waist circumference, WC; hip circumference, HC; and waist-to-hip ratio, WHR), which may better reflect metabolic complications of obesity, with total obesity-related and site-specific (colorectal and postmenopausal breast) cancer incidence.Methods:This is a meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies participating in the CHANCES consortium including 18 668 men and 24 751 women with a mean age of 62 and 63 years, respectively. Harmonised individual participant data from all seven cohorts were analysed separately and alternatively for each anthropometric indicator using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.Results:After a median follow-up period of 12 years, 1656 first-incident obesity-related cancers (defined as postmenopausal female breast, colorectum, lower oesophagus, cardia stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, endometrium, ovary, and kidney) had occurred in men and women. In the meta-analysis of all studies, associations between indicators of adiposity, per s.d. increment, and risk for all obesity-related cancers combined yielded the following summary hazard ratios: 1.11 (95% CI 1.02-1.21) for BMI, 1.13 (95% CI 1.04-1.23) for WC, 1.09 (95% CI 0.98-1.21) for HC, and 1.15 (95% CI 1.00-1.32) for WHR. Increases in risk for colorectal cancer were 16%, 21%, 15%, and 20%, respectively per s.d. of BMI, WC, HC, and WHR. Effect modification by hormone therapy (HT) use was observed for postmenopausal breast cancer (Pinteraction