Impact of metabolic factors on subsequent cancer risk: results from a large-scale population-based cohort study in Japan

Eur J Cancer Prev. 2009 Jun;18(3):240-7. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0b013e3283240460.


The impact of metabolic factors, which are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, on total cancer risk has not been clarified. We prospectively examined whether metabolic factors and their aggregates predict the subsequent occurrence of total and major sites of cancer in the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study. A total of 27 724 participants (9548 men and 18 176 women) aged 40-69 years participating in a questionnaire and health checkup survey in 1993-1995 were followed for total cancer incidence through 2004. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for metabolic factors and for two criteria of their aggregates (three or more than three factors and two or more than two additional factors in addition to being overweight) with a Cox proportional hazards model to control for potential confounding factors. In both sexes, the presence of metabolic factors in the aggregate did not predict subsequent occurrence of cancer as a whole. By site, a significant increase in risk was observed for male liver cancer [HR = 1.73, CI = 1.03-2.91 (three or more than three factors); HR = 1.99, CI = 1.11-3.58 (two or more than two additional factors in addition to being overweight)], and female pancreatic cancer [HR = 1.99, CI = 1.00-3.96 (two or more than two additional factors in addition to being overweight)]. For other sites, positive associations were observed only for specific metabolic factors, that is, high triglycerides and male colon cancer (HR = 1.71, CI = 1.11-2.62), and obesity and female breast cancer (HR = 1.75, CI = 1.21-2.55). Metabolic factors in the aggregate may have little impact on total cancer risk in the Japanese population, although the association between specific components and specific cancers suggests an etiologic link between them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Cholesterol, HDL / metabolism*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides