We examined the associations of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, a history of diabetes, and cigarette smoking with risk of pancreatic cancer among 37,147 women and 45,906 men followed up during 560,666 person-years in the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men; 136 incident cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed. The multivariate rate ratio (RR) of pancreatic cancer for obese women and men (BMI > or =30 kg/m(2)) was 1.81 (95% CI: 1.04-3.15) compared to those with a BMI of 20-25 kg/m(2). For a difference of 20 cm (about two standard deviations) in waist circumference, the multivariate RRs were 1.32 (95% CI: 0.73-2.37) among women and 1.74 (95% CI: 1.00-3.01) among men. Pancreatic cancer risk was associated with history of diabetes (multivariate RR: 1.88; 95% CI: 1.09-3.26) and cigarette smoking (multivariate RR for current compared with never smokers: 3.06; 95% CI: 1.99-4.72). Current smokers of > or =40 pack-years had a five-fold elevated risk compared with never smokers. Risk among past smokers approached the RR for never smokers within 5-10 years following smoking cessation. Findings from this prospective study support positive relationships of overall obesity, abdominal adiposity, diabetes and smoking with risk of pancreatic cancer.