Childhood body mass index and height and risk of histologic subtypes of endometrial cancer

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BACKGROUND: Endometrial cancer risk factors include adult obesity and taller stature, but the influence of size earlier in life is incompletely understood. We examined whether childhood body mass index (BMI; kg m(-2)) and height were associated with histologic subtypes of endometrial cancer.

METHODS: From the Copenhagen School Health Records Register, 155 505 girls born 1930-1989 with measured weights and heights from 7 to 13 years were linked to health registers. BMI and height were transformed to age-specific z-scores. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by Cox regressions.

RESULTS: A total of 1020 endometrial cancers were recorded. BMI was non-linearly associated with all endometrial cancers, oestrogen-dependent cancers and the subtype of endometrioid adenocarcinomas; associations were statistically significant and positive above a z-score=0 and non-significant below zero. Compared with a 7-year-old girl with a BMI z-score=0, an equally tall girl who was 3.6 kg heavier (BMI z-score=1.5) had a hazard ratio=1.53 (95% confidence interval: 1.29-1.82) for endometrioid adenocarcinoma. BMI was not associated with non-oestrogen-dependent cancers, except at the oldest childhood ages. Height at all ages was statistically significant and positively associated with all endometrial cancers, except non-oestrogen-dependent cancers. At 7 years, per ~5.2 cm (1 z-score), the risk of endometrioid adenocarcinoma was 1.18 (95% confidence interval: 1.09-1.28). Among non-users of unopposed oestrogens, associations between BMI and endometrioid adenocarcinoma strengthened, but no effects on height associations were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Endometrial carcinogenesis is linked to early-life body size, suggesting that childhood BMI and height may be useful indicators for the risk of later development of endometrial cancer and might aid in the early prevention of obesity-related endometrial cancers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Pages (from-to)1096-1102
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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