Height and pancreatic cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies

Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Aug;23(8):1213-22. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-9983-0. Epub 2012 Jun 12.


Background: Greater height has been associated with increased risk of several cancers, but epidemiological data on height and pancreatic cancer are inconclusive. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies to clarify these results.

Methods: PubMed and several other databases were searched up to September 2011. Prospective studies of height and pancreatic cancer were included. Summary relative risks were estimated by the use of a random effects model.

Results: We identified twelve cohort studies that were included in the meta-analysis. The summary RR per 5-cm increase in height was 1.07 (95 % CI: 1.03-1.12, I (2) = 57 %). The results were similar among men and women. The summary estimate was attenuated when we included results from two pooled analyses together with these studies, summary RR = 1.03 (95 % CI: 1.00-1.07, I (2) = 44 %).

Conclusions: This meta-analysis of cohort studies provides further evidence that greater adult attained height is associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk. However, given the unexplained heterogeneity, further studies are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Height*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires