Body size and composition and colon cancer risk in women

Int J Cancer. 2006 Mar 15;118(6):1496-500. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21508.


Studies of colon cancer risk in males have reported strong positive associations with obesity, particularly with central adiposity. The association has been weaker and less consistent for women. In a prospective cohort study of women, body measurements were taken directly; fat mass and fat-free mass being estimated by bioelectrical impedance analysis and central adiposity by waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Among 24,072 women followed on average for 10.4 years, 212 colon cancers were ascertained via the population cancer registry. We reviewed medical records of all cases and classified them according to anatomic site and stage. The central adiposity measures of WHR (hazard ratio per 0.1 unit increase = 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-1.58) and waist circumference (hazard ratio per 10 cm increase = 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.28) were positively associated with colon cancer risk. There was little or no association between other anthropometric measures and risk of colon cancer. There was some evidence that the associations were stronger for proximal tumors, but no evidence that risk differed by stage for any of the anthropometric measures. Central adiposity appears to be associated with colon cancer risk in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / physiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Size / physiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Greece / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Italy / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waist-Hip Ratio