Birth weight, adult height, and testicular cancer: cohort study of 337,249 Swedish young men

Cancer Causes Control. 2003 Aug;14(6):595-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1024860826830.


Objective: A positive association has been reported between adult height and the incidence of testicular cancer. No previous study has explored whether this relationship is due to the influence of fetal growth on adult height.

Methods: This research question was studied in a Swedish national cohort comprising 337,249 males born 1973-1980 and followed-up for a mean of 4.8 years after army medical conscription examination. Cases of testicular cancer were ascertained from the Swedish National Cancer Register. 144 cases of testicular cancer (120 non-seminomas) diagnosed after conscription were identified.

Results: Positive associations were found between height at age 18 years and the incidence of testicular cancer. No associations were observed between gestational age adjusted birthweight and cancer incidence. The positive association between height and cancer incidence was not attenuated in models controlling for birth weight.

Conclusions: Factors influencing post-natal growth such as diet or growth related genes might underlie the association between height and cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Height*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Seminoma / epidemiology*
  • Seminoma / etiology
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / etiology