Background: The evidence for a role of tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, and body mass index (BMI) in the etiology of small intestine cancer is based mainly on case-control studies from Europe and United States.
Subjects and methods: We harmonized the data across 12 cohort studies from mainland China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, comprising over 500,000 subjects followed for an average of 10.6 years. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) for BMI and (only among men) tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking.
Results: A total of 134 incident cases were observed (49 adenocarcinoma, 11 carcinoid, 46 other histologic types, and 28 of unknown histology). There was a statistically non-significant trend toward increased HR in subjects with high BMI [HR for BMI>27.5 kg/m2, compared with 22.6-25.0, 1.50; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76-2.96]. No association was suggested for tobacco smoking; men drinking>400 g of ethanol per week had an HR of 1.57 (95% CI 0.66-3.70), compared with abstainers.
Conclusions: Our study supports the hypothesis that elevated BMI may be a risk factor for small intestine cancer. An etiologic role of alcohol drinking was suggested. Our results reinforce the existing evidence that the epidemiology of small intestine cancer resembles that of colorectal cancer.