Background: Obesity has been proposed as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
Methods: Pooled data were analyzed from the National Cancer Institute Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PanScan) to study the association between prediagnostic anthropometric measures and risk of pancreatic cancer. PanScan applied a nested case-control study design and included 2170 cases and 2209 control subjects. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression for cohort-specific quartiles of body mass index (BMI [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared]), weight, height, waist circumference, and waist to hip ratio as well as conventional BMI categories (underweight, <18.5; normal weight, 18.5-24.9; overweight, 25.0-29.9; obese, 30.0-34.9; and severely obese, > or = 35.0). Models were adjusted for potential confounders.
Results: In all of the participants, a positive association between increasing BMI and risk of pancreatic cancer was observed (adjusted OR for the highest vs lowest BMI quartile, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.12-1.58; P(trend) < .001). In men, the adjusted OR for pancreatic cancer for the highest vs lowest quartile of BMI was 1.33 (95% CI, 1.04-1.69; P(trend) < .03), and in women it was 1.34 (95% CI, 1.05-1.70; P(trend) = .01). Increased waist to hip ratio was associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer in women (adjusted OR for the highest vs lowest quartile, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.31-2.69; P(trend) = .003) but less so in men.
Conclusions: These findings provide strong support for a positive association between BMI and pancreatic cancer risk. In addition, centralized fat distribution may increase pancreatic cancer risk, especially in women.