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News

Body mass index increases the risk of esophageal cancer

November's issue of Gut investigates the association between body mass index, height and risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and gastric cardia.

News image

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In the last decades, the incidence of esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma has increased rapidly in the Western world.

Dr Audrey Merry and colleagues from the Netherlands investigated the association between body mass index, height and risk of oesophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma.

For esophageal adenocarcinoma, the rate ratio was 3.9 for obese subjects
Gut

The team initiated a cohort study in 1986 including 120,852 participants, aged 55 to 69 years.

Cases were identified through annual record linkage with the Netherlands Cancer Registry.

After 13 years of follow-up, complete data from 4,552 subcohort members, 133 esophageal and 163 gastric cardia adenocarcinomas were available for case-cohort analyses.

The patients completed a self administered questionnaire.

Incidence rate ratios and corresponding 95% confidence intervals were estimated using Cox proportional hazard models.

The researchers found that the rate ratio of esophageal adenocarcinoma was 1.4 for overweight subjects with a body mass index of 25 to 29 kg/m2.

The rate ratio of esophageal adenocarcinoma for obese subjects with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 was 4.0.

The team found for gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, these rate ratios were 1.3 and 2.7 for overweight and obese subjects, respectively.

The team found that a change in body mass index during adulthood was positively associated with the risk of esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma.

However, no association was found with body mass index in early adulthood.

The team found that none of the tumor types investigated was significantly associated with height.

Dr Merry's team concluded, "These results confirm higher risks of esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma with increasing body mass index."

"This implies that the increasing prevalence of obesity may be one of the explanations for the rising incidence of oesophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma in the Western world."

Gut 2007: 56(11): 1503-11
22 October 2007

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