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.