Background: The etiology of small intestinal cancer (SIC) is largely unknown, and there are very few epidemiological studies published to date. No studies have investigated abdominal adiposity in relation to SIC.
Methods: We investigated overall obesity and abdominal adiposity in relation to SIC in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a large prospective cohort of approximately half a million men and women from ten European countries. Overall obesity and abdominal obesity were assessed by body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression modeling was performed to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs). Stratified analyses were conducted by sex, BMI, and smoking status.
Results: During an average of 13.9 years of follow-up, 131 incident cases of SIC (including 41 adenocarcinomas, 44 malignant carcinoid tumors, 15 sarcomas and 10 lymphomas, and 21 unknown histology) were identified. WC was positively associated with SIC in a crude model that also included BMI (HR per 5-cm increase = 1.20, 95 % CI 1.04, 1.39), but this association attenuated in the multivariable model (HR 1.18, 95 % CI 0.98, 1.42). However, the association between WC and SIC was strengthened when the analysis was restricted to adenocarcinoma of the small intestine (multivariable HR adjusted for BMI = 1.56, 95 % CI 1.11, 2.17). There were no other significant associations.
Conclusion: WC, rather than BMI, may be positively associated with adenocarcinomas but not carcinoid tumors of the small intestine.
Impact: Abdominal obesity is a potential risk factor for adenocarcinoma in the small intestine.
Keywords: Abdominal obesity; Cancer; Obesity; Small intestine.