A pooled analysis of 14 cohort studies of anthropometric factors and pancreatic cancer risk

Jeanine M. Genkinger*, Donna Spiegelman, Kristin E. Anderson, Leslie Bernstein, Piet A. van den Brandt, Eugenia E. Calle, Dallas R. English, Aaron R. Folsom, Jo L. Freudenheim, Charles S. Fuchs, Graham G. Giles, Edward Giovannucci, Pamela L. Horn-Ross, Susanna C. Larsson, Michael Leitzmann, Satu Mannisto, James R. Marshall, Anthony B. Miller, Alpa V. Patel, Thomas E. RohanRachael Z. Stolzenberg-Solomon, Bas A. J. Verhage, Jarmo Virtamo, Bradley J. Willcox, Alicja Wolk, Regina G. Ziegler, Stephanie A. Smith-Warner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Epidemiologic studies of pancreatic cancer risk have reported null or nonsignificant positive associations for obesity, while associations for height have been null. Waist and hip circumference have been evaluated infrequently. A pooled analysis of 14 cohort studies on 846,340 individuals was conducted; 2,135 individuals were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during follow-up. Study-specific relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by Cox proportional hazards models, and then pooled using a random effects model. Compared to individuals with a body mass index (BMI) at baseline between 21-22.9 kg/m(2), pancreatic cancer risk was 47% higher (95% CI:23-75%) among obese (BMI >= 30 kg/m(2)) individuals. A positive association was observed for BMI in early adulthood (pooled multivariate [MV]RR = 1.30, 95%CI = 1.09-1.56 comparing BMI >= 25 kg/m(2) to a BMI between 21 and 22.9 kg/m(2)). Compared to individuals who were not overweight in early adulthood (BMI <25 kg/m(2)) and not obese at baseline (BMI <30 kg/m(2)), pancreatic cancer risk was 54% higher (95%CI = 24-93%) for those who were overweight in early adulthood and obese at baseline. We observed a 40% higher risk among individuals who had gained BMI >= 10 kg/m(2) between BMI at baseline and younger ages compared to individuals whose BMI remained stable. Results were either similar or slightly stronger among never smokers. A positive association was observed between waist to hip ratio (WHR) and pancreatic cancer risk (pooled MVRR = 1.35 comparing the highest versus lowest quartile, 95%CI = 1.03-1.78). BMI and WHR were positively associated with pancreatic cancer risk. Maintaining normal body weight may offer a feasible approach to reducing morbidity and mortality from pancreatic cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1708-1717
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011


  • pancreatic cancer
  • anthropometry
  • pooled analysis
  • deceased


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