Background: Some, but not all, observational studies have suggested that taller stature is associated with a significant increased risk of glioma. In a pooled analysis of observational studies, we investigated the strength and consistency of this association, overall and for major sub-types, and investigated effect modification by genetic susceptibility to the disease.
Methods: We standardized and combined individual-level data on 1354 cases and 4734 control subjects from 13 prospective and 2 case-control studies. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for glioma and glioma sub-types were estimated using logistic regression models stratified by sex and adjusted for birth cohort and study. Pooled ORs were additionally estimated after stratifying the models according to seven recently identified glioma-related genetic variants.
Results: Among men, we found a positive association between height and glioma risk (≥ 190 vs 170-174 cm, pooled OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.11-2.61; P-trend = 0.01), which was slightly stronger after restricting to cases with glioblastoma (pooled OR = 1.99, 95% CI: 1.17-3.38; P-trend = 0.02). Among women, these associations were less clear (≥ 175 vs 160-164 cm, pooled OR for glioma = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.70-1.62; P-trend = 0.22; pooled OR for glioblastoma = 1.36, 95% CI: 0.77-2.39; P-trend = 0.04). In general, we did not observe evidence of effect modification by glioma-related genotypes on the association between height and glioma risk.
Conclusion: An association of taller adult stature with glioma, particularly for men and stronger for glioblastoma, should be investigated further to clarify the role of environmental and genetic determinants of height in the etiology of this disease.