Background: There is inconsistent evidence on the association between physical activity and pancreatic cancer risk and few studies have investigated early life or life-course physical activity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between trajectories of physical activity across the life-course and pancreatic cancer risk.
Methods: A population-based case-control study was conducted (2011-2013) using cases (n = 315) from the Ontario Pancreas Cancer Study and controls (n = 1254) from the Ontario Cancer Risk Factor Study. Self-reported recall of moderate and vigorous physical activity was measured at three time points: young adulthood (20s-30s), mid-adulthood (40s-50s) and older-adulthood (1 year prior to questionnaire completion). Physical activity trajectories were identified using latent class analysis. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated from multivariable logistic regression adjusted for covariates: age, sex, race, alcohol, smoking, vegetable, fruit and meat consumption, and family history of pancreatic cancer.
Results: Six life-course physical activity trajectories were identified: inactive at all ages (41.2%), low activity at all ages (31.9%), increasingly active (3.6%), high activity in young adulthood with substantial decrease (13.0%), high activity in young adulthood with slight decrease (5.0%), and persistent high activity (5.3%). Compared to the inactive at all ages trajectory, the associations between each trajectory and pancreatic cancer after confounder adjustment were: low activity at all ages (OR: 1.11; 95% CI: 0.75, 1.66), increasingly active (OR: 1.11; 95% CI: 0.56, 2.21), high activity in young adulthood with substantial decrease in older adulthood (OR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.47, 1.23), high activity in young adulthood with slight decrease in older adulthood (OR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.62, 1.53), and persistently high activity (OR: 1.50; 95% CI: 0.86, 2.62). When time periods were evaluated separately, the OR for the association between high moderate activity in the 20s-30s and pancreatic cancer was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.64, 1.25) and some sex differences were observed.
Conclusion: Distinct life-course physical activity trajectories were identified, but there was no evidence that any of the trajectories were associated with pancreatic cancer. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to understand the associations between physical activity trajectories over the life-course and pancreatic cancer risk.
Keywords: Life-course; Pancreatic cancer; Physical activity; Trajectory.